How to Install a Hanging Chair From the Ceiling Without Tears
Including the tool never to use, according to a general contractor.
Updated May 30, 2023 9:39 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Rocking chairs. Hammocks. Swing sets. Put us in any seat that sways and we’re instantly happy. That’s probably why hanging chairs have been having a moment—they look as good on a porch as they do in a living room, and they don’t consume any floor space. The catch, of course, is that they have to be securely installed. So how do you hang a chair from the ceiling? It’s a lot easier than you’d think (for starters, you can do it by yourself). We asked Maria Salmeron, a general contractor and Matriarchy Build pro based in Texas, to share a few dos and don’ts so you can lounge all year long. Psst: Always follow the instructions that come with your swing. Our hanging suggestions are an additional resource.
- Hanging chair
- Hanging hardware (if your chair did not come with hanging hardware, you will need an ⅜-inch eye screw that can hold at least 300 pounds, with thread at least 4 inches long)
- 2 quick link chain connectors, S-hooks, or locking carabiners (all must be able to support at least 300 pounds)
- Electric drill
- Provided chains or rope (if your chair did not come with this, use a heavy-duty galvanized chain, premeasured)
Step 1: Determine Your Cord Length
The chair should sit about 3 feet off the ground. Measure from the ceiling to the chair’s attachment ring, lifted to its desired height off the floor, to find the length of chain you need.
If you prefer rope to galvanized metal chains, select a rope that’s at least a ¾ inch in diameter and can hold at least 300 pounds. Manila is a great choice if you want a natural-fiber rope since it’s both outdoor-friendly and long-lasting. Marine-grade braided nylon, polyester, and polypropylene rope are other options that stand up to the outdoor elements. Add an extra foot for tying knots. You can adjust the length of the rope or cut off excess rope later if needed.
Step 2: Find Your Attachment Point
Locate ceiling joists, which are typically horizontal ceiling supports, in your desired location that are at least 2-by-6 inches to ensure it can support the weight of the chair and person sitting in it. There are multiple ways to do this. Your first option? Use a stud finder. Glide it back and forth over the ceiling. “When it lights up, it indicates this is a joist. Mark that spot. It’s going to stay lit until you reach the other side of the joist. Mark that spot,” says Salmeron. Measure between the two lines to find the center point. This is where the chair will hang from.
If you don’t own a stud finder (or yours is particularly finicky, as many of them are), Salmeron suggests using a magnet to identify where the drywall nails are. Because drywall has to be attached to something (like a joist), these magnetic spots will give you a good idea of the beam’s location. “You’re not going to be able to find the center line exactly, but try drilling a pilot hole, and if you feel resistance, you know you’re in a joist,” she says.
Choose a spot that allows for at least 3 feet of space behind the swing and at least 14 inches on either side to prevent hitting a wall or railing.
Step 3: Make Your Mark
Drill a pilot hole about 3 inches deep into the center mark on the joist. Make sure that the drill bit you use is smaller than the width of the eye screw.
Step 4: Get Your Hardware in Place
Install the eye screw into the pilot hole carefully to ensure the wood does not split. Twist until all of the threading is no longer visible on the screw. Wedge a screwdriver through the eye if you need help tightening. Attach an S-hook or locking carabiner to the eye screw.
Warning: Do not attempt to use wall anchors. “Those are meant for hanging things off Sheetrock, which is half an inch thick,” says Salmeron. “It won’t be secure at all for this.”
Step 5: Connect the Dots
Attach one end of the rope to the chair’s hanging device and the other end of the rope to the S-hook or carabiner at the eye screw. There are different ways of doing this depending on the type of chair; often knots and carabiners are used. Follow the instructions given with your chair.
If your chair did not come with instructions:
- Create a bowline French knot or a uni knot at the top and bottom of the rope.
- Attach one loop to the S-hook or carabiner at the eye screw.
- Attach a carabiner to the bottom rope loop and clip it again onto the chair’s hanging ring and lock it closed.
Now what? Here’s how to style your swing for optimal coziness.
Make It a Part of Your Living Room Arrangement
Armchairs and stools aren’t your only accent seating options in a formal living room. Garance Doré hung a rattan chair in her space, and we have no doubts that guests call dibs on it.
Go for Contrast
You’d paint your walls, so why not your hanging chair, too? Bonus points if the seat pops against the room color, like this red, white, and blue combo.
Swap the Seat for Something Cuddly
A swing chair is a great addition to a child’s room after they’ve graduated from a nursery rocker. They can crawl into the nook and sway themselves sleepy, especially if they are lounging on a faux sheepskin throw.