Different Types of Rocking Chairs

This guide differentiates rocking chair types, offers tips for what to look for when purchasing a chair, and highlights the benefits of working with Countryside Amish Furniture on your project.

Most readers will know the basic definition of a rocking chair, but they may not be aware of the many proven benefits of this classic type of furniture. For starters, rocking chairs deliver versatile health benefits, including improved circulation in legs and feet, reduced muscle tension, and relief for back pains due to the lessened pressure on the spine. What’s more, the repetitive rocking motion can help users relax for improved general well-being. 

Other reasons to consider purchasing a rocking chair? They’re immensely comfortable and take on a surprisingly broad range of design themes. 

Some readers may be surprised to learn that there are many different types of rocking chairs. Below, we highlight the differences between the most popular styles to help you decide the best option for your home.

Ready to make a purchase? Shop for Amish-made rocking chairs and gliders of all types

Differentiating Rocking Styles from Gliders

Often, rocking chairs and gliders are presented side-by-side, but take note; these are two different types of seats. 

A rocking chair has two curved bands at the base (referred to as rockers) that enable sitters to sway forwards and back. Though there are plenty of exceptions, rocking chairs are commonly associated with a more traditional style. 

On the other hand, a glider chair moves back and forth on a flat frame; at no point does the user change the angle at which they sit through the action of gliding. Generally speaking, gliders tend to take on a more contemporary appearance. However, the styling of the rocker or glider is entirely in your hands with the customization options of Countryside Amish Furniture.

Different Types of Rocking Chairs

Classic rocking chairs

If you try to quickly imagine a rocking chair, this is the style that would come to mind. The classic type of rocking chair is made from solid wood; while there may be some upholstery, the wood frame is always exposed. However, the lack of cushions doesn’t mean that this type of rocking chair is any less comfortable than its peers, as the contoured seat and shape of the backrest are designed for optimal support. 

Classically styled chairs can incorporate many different elements. However, one of the most common features is the use of spindles or thin slats with empty spaces in-between. 

Examples of classically styled rocking chairs from Countryside Amish Furniture:

Outdoor rocking chairs

At first glance, it may be tricky to understand what makes outdoor rocking chairs different from other types. However, if you look closer or run your hand across its surface, the answer will become obvious - it’s the materials, themselves. In order to confidently face the elements day and night, this style of rocker or glider should come in poly lumber, an environmentally-friendly plastic composite that is highly durable, resistant to mildew and rot, and is easy to clean. Plus, it won’t fade over time and takes on the appearance of wood. 

Examples of outdoor rocking chairs and gliders from Countryside Amish Furniture:

We would be amiss talking about outdoor rocking chairs without bringing up Adirondack rockers, specifically. This type of chair is defined by its wide, flat armrests and the dramatic backrest angle, leading the sitter to recline. Examples of this style include:

Contemporary rocking chairs

Much like classic rocking chairs, there is no singular style trait that unites all contemporary rocking chairs. However, they’re more likely to have completely filled backs, as well as to feature greater upholstery coverage. What’s more, gliders are more likely to fall under this particular category, as they’re the younger sibling to the rocking chair (the former was invented in the 1930s and the latter in the 18th Century). These are not the only style elements frequently seen with this type of rocking chair.

Use of Leather

The use of leather is an easy way to add an element of cool to any type of rocking chair or glider. Order it in darker colors that contrast with lighter woods for a bold, contemporary look. For another idea, customize your rocking chair with medium brown leather akin to the wood’s stain for a natural, timeless look. For examples:

Use of Patterns

Bold patterns with contrasting colors are an earmark of newer decor themes, particularly those that feature geometric shapes and clean lines. Comparatively, a more traditional textile pattern will feature muted color choices and soft curves. While our rocking chairs can be upholstered with whatever color or pattern you desire, the below products demonstrate the power of a well-chosen pattern:

Rocking loveseat

Why rock alone when you can rock with a loved one or friend? This lesser-known type of rocking chair makes it possible! When featured indoors, almost all rocking or gliding loveseats have upholstered full-backs, while outside models can come bare or with cushions. Another reason to consider this type of rocking chair? A loveseat allows you to sit two while taking up less floor space than separate seats. 

For examples of rocking loveseats, check out:

Swivel rocking chair

For yet another spin on traditional options, check out seats that both rock and swivel! This added motion gives sitters the option to face toward the television, the window, or other guests, all without having to physically pick up and move the chair. It’s also common to see more streamlined styles of this rocker perched behind a desk, particularly one that is an L or U-shape, granting easy access to all work surfaces. 

For examples of contemporary-styled rocking chairs that both lean and swivel, check out:

Rocking ottoman

Your seat doesn’t have to be the only type of furniture that rocks. Buy a gliding ottoman that can synchronize with your chair for the ultimate relaxing experience. For examples, check out:

What to Look for in a Rocking Chair, Regardless of Its Type?

So, now that you know about the different types of rocking chairs available, it’s time to think about what other factors to consider when making your purchase. 

Quality materials and construction. A rocking chair undergoes more rigors than a traditional chair due to the regular movement. Therefore, invest in a type of rocking chair made from reliable textiles (ideally real wood). Moreover, joinery should utilize sophisticated techniques rather than glue or cheap nails. For more tips, read Buying Solid Wood Furniture Made in the USA - Why it Matters

The size of the chair in relation to the room or patio. Make sure the chair fits comfortably in the space and allows for easy movement when rocking. 

Consider whether you want the rocking chair to be an accent that pops or is cohesive with your other furniture. Thanks to the dozens of different stains, fabric colors, and leathers available at Countryside Amish Furniture, both are possible. If you want to see how the wood or upholstery would look in comparison to your other pieces, order up to four samples of each for free. 

The chair’s alignment with the room’s surrounding decor. It should be obvious by now that not every rocking chair will work with every type of decor theme. Therefore, try to find seating that echoes the spirit of the room. In other words, don’t put an ornately Queen Anne-style rocking chair in an industrial-themed living room.

Additional Tips for Furnishing Your Home With Rocking Chairs

  • Leave enough space between the seat and wall to account for the movement - No matter whether you choose a traditional type of rocker or a swivel style, expect some sort of movement. Therefore, you’ll need to position the seat with greater margins than other chairs would require. The general rule is to provide rocking chairs of all types with a minimum of two feet of space in all directions. 
  • Avoid placing the rocking chair on the edge of a rug - The repetitive rocking of the chair risks ruining the hem of the rug. Plus, the uneven surface will make the otherwise smooth motion bumpy. 
  • Consider pairing your rocker with an ottoman or footrest - There may be times in which you want to sit but don’t feel like rocking. During such occasions, a simple footstool or ottoman can help you keep the chair fixed at a recliner-like angle. 
  • Think about what the rocking chair will face in order to maximize use - A rocking chair may help fill an empty corner but, if it faces outward at nothing in particular, chances are that it’ll get minimal use. Therefore, think about what the sitter (or yourself) would want to look at when rocking back and forth. A lit fireplace? Loved ones sitting on a nearby couch? Make sure to tilt it in that direction. 

Shop for a Rocking Chair From Countryside Amish Furniture

Countryside Amish Furniture specializes in handcrafted, solid wood furniture crafted in authentic Amish workshops. Additionally, we offer a wide range of customizable options, allowing you to choose the wood species, finish, and style of the upholstery of your rocking chair. 

The end result? Quality rocking chairs made with elevated Amish woodworking techniques that you’ll be proud to display and pass down to future generations. 

Not sure how to get started? Explore our inventory or use our live chat to talk with a sales representative. Countryside Amish Furniture established a track record for excellent customer service and is committed to providing the best shopping experience possible.

Author, Baileigh Basham

Bailiegh Basham is Lead Sales & Marketing Strategist at Countryside Amish Furniture. She's been a team member since 2014. Bailiegh is deeply passionate about furniture design and home decor.