How to Make a Chair into a Swivel Rocker

Updated February 21, 2017

You can convert a standard upholstered chair into a swivel rocker with only basic equipment. A swivel rocker can work well in a bedroom, living room or nursery and is an excellent solution if you need a single chair to work with two distinct conversation areas.

Choose the right chair. Look for a chair with a skirt to the ground to cover the swivel rocker hardware. You can also opt to reupholster or slipcover a chair to make it work as a swivel rocker once the base is in place.

Unscrew the legs from your chair. In most cases, this will not require tools. Take a good look at the bottom of your chair. The swivel rocker base will need to screw into the centre of the bottom of the chair.

Reinforce the underside of the chair if needed. Cut plywood to the necessary size for your chair, carefully matching the dimensions of the underside of the chair and secure into place with crossed boards. Be sure that you have a sturdy base. If the bottom of the chair is quite sturdy, this will not be necessary.

Drill holes into the base of the chair, aligning them with the mounting holes for your swivel rocker base.

Screw or bolt the swivel rocker base into place on your chair. Tighten all hardware as needed. Turn your chair upright.

Slipcover or reupholster your chair if needed to cover the swivel rocker hardware.


Replacing old or damaged swivel rocker bases is easy. Simply remove screws or bolts and replace with new swivel rocker hardware.


Be sure to adequately reinforce the base of your chair to support the swivel rocker base.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstered chair
  • Swivel rocker base
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Screws or bolts as needed
  • Scrap lumber, if necessary
  • Thick plywood
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About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.