How do I Make a Swiveling Base for a Recliner?

Written by wilhelm schnotz
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How do I Make a Swiveling Base for a Recliner?
The proper way to add a swivel base to a recliner is to change its mechanism. (brown leather rocker recliner image by James Phelps from

If you're shopping for a new recliner chair and want one with a swivel base, you're much better served holding out and paying a little more for ones designed to spin rather than attempting to modify a stationary chair. If you'd like to modify a recliner to include a swivel, brace yourself for a modification that can be more difficult than you may imagine.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Swivel base or replacement swivel mechanism

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  1. 1

    Order a replacement mechanism for your recliner from the store where you purchased it. Mechanisms routinely wear out and replacement parts are available. Your dealer should be able to provide you with a new mechanism that allows for swivelling, if it's available for your model of recliner.

  2. 2

    Remove the chair's back. Most recliners feature removable backs that can be detached by removing a set screw or releasing a spring mechanism on the struts that support the back.

  3. 3

    Turn chair over and disconnect the lever mechanism. The lever may be a physical lever on the side of your chair, a rip-cord like pull nestled between the cushions or a switch or button on the side of the chair. Some types of recliners aren't operated by a level, so if you can't find one, yours probably doesn't have it. Leave the lever attached to the chair as much as possible, only removing the cable or lever from where it attaches to the reclining mechanism.

  4. 4

    Remove the reclining mechanism. Although it varies by brand and model, mechanisms usually attach to the chair's frame under the front of the seat, along the armrests and near the back of the chair.

  5. 5

    Remove the footrest from the mechanism by removing the bolts on its underside.

  6. 6

    Replace the standard reclining mechanism with the swivel mechanism. Start by attaching the mechanism at the back end of the recliner, underneath the back, then attach it to the chair's frame at the front of the chair. Secure the sides last. Do not tighten fasteners down all the way until each one is started.

  7. 7

    Reattach the lever to the swivel reclining mechanism, and affix the footrest to the new mechanism.

  8. 8

    Turn chair over and reattach the back by pressing it onto the struts. Secure set screws if the back is held on that way.

Tips and warnings

  • Depending upon the quality of your recliner, it may be a better approach to replacing an inexpensive upholstered recliner rather than purchasing a new swivel and attempting the modification yourself.

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