Published on December 14th, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Turning a Chair into a Swivel Rocker

Materials: Ektorp Jennylund Chair, swivel rocker base and hardware, a 2×4, a 1×2, a piece of 3/4″ plywood, scissors, wood screws

Description: We had searched tirelessly for a rocker or glider to put in our baby’s room.

First of all, they are expensive.
Secondly, they are almost always HUGE. Even if we were able to find one we liked for cheap, it probably wouldn’t fit in our itty-bitty nursery.
Thirdly, we wanted a white upholstered rocker but couldn’t find one with a washable slip cover and we refused to pay over $500 for something that would be ruined if anything ever spilled on it, (which is inevitable in a child’s room).

Everything out there was either too large or way too expensive.

So, what were we to do?
Turn to IKEA, of course.

We found an Ektorp Jennylund Chair in the “as is” section.
It was 45% off.
It had no legs.

We must have been the only people in the world searching for that chair and planning to take off the legs after we brought it home.
It was meant to be.

We ordered a swivel rocker base from an online chair parts store and simply installed it onto the bottom of the Jennylund.

First, we flipped the chair upside down and cut the black fabric off of the bottom.

The frame of the chair has pieces of wood across the back and the front, but the piece in the front was lower than the one in the back, so we screwed the 1×2 onto the front side in order to make a level surface for the plywood to sit on.

Next, we screwed a piece of 3/4″ thick plywood right into those two (now level) “support beams” that run across the front and back of the chair. (The thicker wood was necessary since there is no beam running across the middle of the chair for support.)

In order to make it tall enough for the slipcover to clear the ground, we added two pieces of 2×4, (screwed into the plywood).

Finally, we screwed the swivel rocker base into the 2x4s and…


It is inexpensive, the perfect size, super comfy, and has a washable slip cover.
We love it!

See more of the swivel rocker chair.

~ Heather and Christian, Carmel, IN

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

17 Responses to Turning a Chair into a Swivel Rocker

  1. Jill says:

    I just had my husband make one and loved your blog. Does your one tip forward slightly still, my husband whose a carpenter said that no matter where we move the rocker/swivel it will always slightly lean forward when you sit. He said moving it off centre will could potentially cause it to tip over. Like when I sit down, it leans forward if it take my feet off the ground.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just found an old swivel rocker chair at a resale shop for $20. I’m so excited to take off it’s base and do this. Thank you for the great idea!

  3. Krista says:

    Hi Heather! I just wanted to let you know that I’m making the glider version (or at least, that’s the goal) and will definitely share the process with you once it’s done. We weren’t lucky enough to find a clearanced, legless Jennylund, but after looking at the glider base prices (nearly $200!) on that website, I knew something else had to be done. So I got on craigslist and found a glider ottoman w/ metal glider mechanism for $35 and will be using that instead. There were actually quite a few gliders for sale (not the wood kind; those won’t work – but the old school upholstered chairs w/ metal gliders) – and some of them were even free! So if this does work out, that’ll definitely be the route to take; in the spirit of resourcefulness and sheer cheapness. :) Thanks for the idea – it’s been a treasure of a tutorial to find that we’ll be able to have an upholstered glider at a fraction of the cost of buying one.

    • Krista,
      I hadn’t been back here in a long while and I am so glad I found this comment! PLEASE let me know how your project goes! It would be awesome if you go to my blog when you’re done since I never miss comments there. Can’t wait to hear more!

  4. Anonymous says:

    How much was the total for the project? Was the swivel base expensive??

    • Since we got the chair on clearance and used wood we had left over from our kitchen remodel, the total for our project was about $180 but normally, the chair and slip cover alone would cost $199 and the swivel base is just under $60. I don’t know how much the lumber would cost but not a lot, (under $20?). Still less expensive than many of the gliders/rockers out there today. Hope that helps and sorry it took me so long to respond.

  5. Susan says:

    Can you tell me where you ordered your base and how much it cost?


  6. Anonymous says:

    I have the same problem and I just had this idea too, but didn’t know how to put it into action! Thanks so much, I am going to go scour the “as is” section!

  7. Anonymous says:

    That is awesome! I live in Indianapolis. If I ever want to do this, I am going to look you up for assistance! :)

  8. Here is the link to just about everything in our nursery (including the print behind the rocker) and where we got it:
    For more details on the swivel rocker and the link to the website where we bought the rocker base see this:

  9. MarkG says:

    Would you share the chair parts online store you used?

  10. Anonymous says:

    That´s wonderfull!! And I´m in love with the paint you have on the wall. May you send me a photo or tell me were can I buy one like yours? Thank you from Spain!!

  11. Omg too much hard for me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow brilliant idea and execution! I’m impressed with your brain!

  13. Now this is thinking outside of the box! We had the exact problem and ended up with a rocker that took up a quarter of our room. This is genius!

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