How to Safely Install a Hanging Chair

Hanging chair near grey wooden sofa in ethno living room interior with round mirror

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $10- 30

Hanging chairs are a fun and creative addition to any interior. From hammock chairs to bubble chairs, there are many different designs to choose from, meaning you're bound to find one that suits your space. While it's easy to find the perfect chair, installing it isn't always the simplest task. This is due to both the hanging nature of the chair and the fact that it calls for special attention to be shown to ensure the safety of the chair. We've laid out the process for you to make installing a safe hanging chair easier than ever before.

What Is a Hanging Chair?

The term "hanging chair" refers to any chair that is supported from a rope or chain above rather than by legs.

Before You Begin

While you've likely already picked out your dream hanging chair, there are a few things to be sure of before you make your purchase. First, ensure the hanging chair that you're intending to buy has a weight limit that accommodates those that plan to use it. Second, make sure there's an accessible ceiling joist positioned far enough away from any walls or obstacles to allow the hanging chair to move freely once installed.

If you plan to mount two hanging chairs positioned in accordance with one another, such as flanking a fireplace or doorway, make sure that there are ceiling joists that allow for your desired position before moving forward.

Safety Considerations

The safety of a hanging chair is the number one priority when installing. If you're a DIY enthusiast, you've likely assumed that a hanging chair must be fastened to a ceiling joist. However, it's of immense importance that it's not only fastened securely to a ceiling joist but that it's fastened directly in the center of the joist. The joists are only 1-1/2 inches wide, so drifting toward the edge of the joist when installing will compromise the hold of the bolt. Additionally, it doesn't matter how safely you install a hanging chair if those that use it don't heed to the weight limit. For this reason, it's never a good idea to allow more than one user at a time.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Pliers (optional)
  • Painting supplies
  • Caulking gun

Materials

  • Large lag screw eye bolt or hanging chair hardware kit
  • Thick rope or strong chain
  • Paintable caulk
  • Ceiling paint

Instructions

How to Safely Install a Hanging Chair

Follow along with the steps below to ensure your hanging chair is mounted safely and securely.

  1. Locate the Joist

    Use a stud finder to locate the ceiling joist behind the drywall. Mark each edge of the joist using a pencil.

    Tip

    If you're having a hard time finding the edge of the joist, it could be that the joist is running in a different direction than you anticipated. If you're able, go into the attic to figure out which direction the joist runs.

  2. Find the Center of the Joist

    To easily find the center of the joist, take a small drill bit and drill into the ceiling at the pencil marks. If both drill points produce wood in the drill bit, this means you are on the edges of the joist. If this isn't the case, slightly move your drill accordingly until you find the edges of the joist. Mark the center using a pencil.

  3. Drill Pilot Holes

    If you're using a single heavy-duty lag screw eye bolt, drill a pilot hole using a drill bit that's smaller than the bolt's shaft (inside the threads). If you're using hanging chair hardware with more than one bolt, line the hardware up with the center of the joist, and mark the holes in the hardware on the ceiling. Drill pilot holes at each point.

    Warning

    Do not use a drill bit that's too large for your bolts. This will compromise the bolt's hold and the safety of the hanging chair.

  4. Install Bolt

    Install the bolt or bolts using the necessary tool. If installing an eyebolt, use the handle of pliers to aid in twisting once the resistance is too much for hand tightening. Make sure you don't over-tighten or the wood fibers will strip.

  5. Attach Hanging Chair to Hardware

    Not all hanging chairs are created equally, but most feature a type of clasp to fasten to the hardware. If this isn't included with your hanging chair or you need an alternative solution to accommodate taller ceilings, the safest way to hang a hanging chair is with a strong chain and locking carabiners.

    For a more aesthetically pleasing option, many people opt for thick ropes rather than chains. This is a viable solution, however, you must be confident in your knot-tying abilities. The most versatile and most common knot used for hanging chairs, tire swings, and other similar items is a bowline knot. The knots will set when weight is applied, so always leave plenty of slack and mount the chair slightly higher than you intend it to hang.

  6. Set Knots and Test Chair

    Once you've safely installed the hanging chair and inspected all factors for safety, set the knots by sitting in the chair.

  7. Repair Ceiling

    If you drilled small holes to find the edges of the stud, fill these with paintable caulk and touch up with ceiling paint once dry.

When to Call a Professional

If you're uncertain about the placement of your ceiling joists or the strength and condition of your ceiling joists, it may be wise to consult with a professional before installing a hanging chair. Failing to properly install a hanging chair on strong ceiling joists will likely lead to serious injury.

When to Replace a Hanging Chair

Hanging chairs that are regularly used should be inspected for safety often. Fraying material, worn parts, and broken pieces should be taken seriously, and the hanging chair should be promptly taken down and replaced. Even if the chair is not regularly used, it should be inspected before use.