10 best rocking chairs that bring a classic up to date

Laurie Davidson
·10-min read
<p>You’re sure to be swayed by at least one of our picks</p> (The Independent)

You’re sure to be swayed by at least one of our picks

(The Independent)

First, we want you to banish your childhood memories of granny’s ornate, chintz-covered rocking chair, because this overlooked piece of furniture has had a serious style update in recent years.

Whether you’re looking for a big, plush upholstered number that you can really sink into, one that can be used outdoors as well as in, or a timeless design that could become the next family heirloom, we’ve rounded up a style to suit everyone at all price points.

As well as being perfect for watching TV or curling up with a good book, a rocking chair can be a godsend for new parents. Let’s face it, anything that can help little ones get back to sleep at 3am or make the nighttime feeds easier can only be a good thing.

Consider where you plan to put your rocking chair. While they can be placed on wood or tiled floors, you may find that they rock just a tad too much or don’t feel quite as stable as if they were positioned on a rug or carpet, so bear this in mind before buying.

When testing, it goes without saying that all eyes were on comfort, but we also looked to see how easy (or difficult!) these chairs were to get in and out of, the quality of the finish and materials, ease of assembly and value for money.

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You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Hashtag Home chamberland rocking chair

Best for: Mid-century style

This chair requires a little more assembly than some, but it’s easy to do and worth it for the end result. It’s nice and sturdy, easy to get in and out of, and the cushions are comfortable – although not if you were going to be sitting for hours in it. The mottled grey fabric feels very mid-century modern and, as such, it’ll easily slide into most styles of decor without sticking out like a sore thumb.

The additional back cushion is a nice touch and offers extra support, so we give it a few extra points for that, but it’s the good value for money and stylish looks that we think make this design a winner.

Buy now £214.99, Wayfair.co.uk

Bruco rocker chair

Best for: Gentlemen’s club vibes

A chair that takes its design cues from famous furniture (it definitely tips its cap to Cor’s sinus chair), this piece is unashamedly minimal and modern. The deep, undulating one-piece cushion feels gorgeous and is covered in a leather-effect material that’s nice and soft, wipeable and looks more expensive than its price suggests. The legs have to be attached but that is simple enough, with just a few screws needed on each side.

The rocking motion is fairly long, though it doesn’t ever feel unstable, and it’s easier to get out of than we thought it might be upon first glance – although it is very low, so keep that in mind. It blurs the lines brilliantly between lounger and rocking chair and is made for settling in with a good book or bingeing your favourite TV show.

Buy now £349.00, Dwell.co.uk

Vitra Eames RAR rocking chair

Best for: Iconic, well-made design

If it’s a design classic you’re after, look no further than Eames’s beautifully ergonomic RAR chair. It’s made from moulded plastic for a supportive, snug feel that’s very comfortable despite not being upholstered, while contrasting maple feet and chrome legs continue the simple, sleek look. It rocks fairly gently and was by far the easiest chair in our tests to get in and out of. It’s also easy to move around, so would make a great bedroom chair or one for a nursery.

It’s not cheap, at more than £500, but this sturdy and stylish chair is the epitome of mid-century style and difficult to find fault with. No wonder it has legions of fans.

Buy now £540.00, Heals.com

Rockett St George traditional rattan rocking chair

Best for: On-trend looks

A fair few of the chairs we’ve tested take their design cues from the 1950s and Sixties, so this throwback to Seventies-tastic rattan is a welcome change. Except, of course, it’s bang on trend now and ticks the eco-friendly box too. It’s lightweight and sturdy, and rocks a fair amount more than some of the others we tested; some will like that, others won’t.

It’s not the best choice if, like this tester, you’re on the shorter side (5ft 5in), as you’ll have to shuffle yourself forward on the chair to get off. Although the seat area is comfy, you’ll probably want to pop a cushion behind your back if you plan on sitting in it for a while. It certainly looks the part, but it’s up to you whether you can see past the £365 price tag.

Buy now £365.00, Rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Next Anderson rocking chair

Best for: Good looks at a great price

Many have tried to replicate the Eames RAR chair with varying degrees of success, and this upholstered version from Next is pretty impressive. Although our tester chair came assembled, yours will likely come with the feet and legs needing to be attached to each other, then to the chair itself, but it’s no problem for one person.

The boucle-style material feels like a cross between wool and towelling and makes for a perfectly comfortable and durable covering. It’s not a huge chair – it’s fairly low in design – and it rocks back and forth perhaps slightly more than the genuine Eames article, but there’s not a huge amount in it. The pale wood feet and upholstered cream finish give this chair more of a Scandi feel than a mid-century one, but that’s no bad thing. It’s a really good all-rounder for a great price.

Buy now £199.00, Next.co.uk

Mogg rocking closer armchair

Best for: All-out decadence

Of all the rocking chairs we’ve tested, none say “sit in me” more than this plush velvet design. The rocking motion is fairly gentle, and while it’s very easy to sit down in, it’s slightly more difficult to get out of. That’s our only minor gripe, though. The deep, cocooning cushion is what makes this rocking chair so comfortable to sit in, so we definitely wouldn’t forgo any of its squishiness to make getting up any easier.

The velvet cover is removable, and the simple feet – which curve outward instead of the more usual upward – ooze elegance. It looks expensive and well-made, and that’s because it is – an eye-watering £1,815, to be exact. It’s fairly large too, at a metre wide, but this chair was never designed to be shoehorned into a corner. It demands plenty of space, so make sure you have the room, and let it shine as the star of your interiors show.

Buy now £1815.00, Gomodern.co.uk

Where Saints Go rocker chair

Best for: Tall people

A real leather rocking chair for less than £200? It’s true. We were smitten when we saw this sophisticated design and loved everything about it: the gorgeously simple brass frame, the gentle rocking motion, the durable yet comfortable tan leather seat, its generous size, the barely believable price…

The one thing to make you aware of is the seating position – its back is a lot more reclined than other designs. For a chair that’s all about comfort and relaxation, that could be a deal breaker if you’re on the short side. Despite that, this chair made its way into our top 10 easily and would probably have hit the first place mark if it wasn’t for it being slightly too angled for this tester’s height.

Buy now £189.00, Wheresaintsgo.co.uk

Ikea gubbon rocking chair

Best for: Outdoor lounging

By far the cheapest of our selection, this powder-coated steel and plastic chair is certainly no-frills when it comes to looks, but unlike any of the others we tested, this can be used outdoors as well as inside. Like pretty much all Ikea products, self-assembly is needed, but it’s only a matter of screwing in 10 bolts with an Allen key, so not taxing at all. It does have a nice high back, so it’s good if you need neck support when sitting down, but we’d recommend adding a seat pad and back cushion for extra comfort, especially if you’re sitting outside on a sunny day in shorts, to avoid getting marks on the back of your legs. It is easy to get in and out of, however, and weighs very little. We’d pitch it as a good, inexpensive alternative to an outdoor lounger, especially if you don’t have a large garden.

Buy now £70.00, Ikea.com

Jysk nebel rocking chair

Best for: Armchair lovers

We had high hopes for this chair: it’s got a touch of the Eames RAR design in terms of looks (gently curving, cocooning shape, wooden feet, metal legs), but is upholstered and has a nice high back, so it feels more like an armchair than a rocking chair. While it’s easy to get in and out of and feels supportive, it could definitely do with a little more padding to up its comfort factor. We love its colour, but be warned that it’s more grey-blue than the dusky blue seen on the website. It certainly looks the part, however, and would work brilliantly in a Scandi or mid-century scheme.

Buy now £199.99, Jysk.co.uk

So’Home blush velvet egg-shaped rocking chair

Best for: Art Deco glam

We had two thoughts when we saw this rocking chair: Art Deco and teenager’s bedroom. This unashamedly feminine design has just the right amount of rocking motion and while it’s not a chair for hunkering down in, it looks beautiful and the velvet feels wonderful, though it would benefit from slightly deeper padding for extra comfort.

Its price belies how expensive it looks, and because the seating position means you’ll be sitting fairly upright, it would be a great choice for a dressing room or in a nursery for rocking baby back to sleep. It’s a little more compact than the others on test, at 72cm wide, so it’s a good option if space is at a premium.

Buy now £169.00, Laredoute.co.uk

The verdict: Rocking chairs

It was difficult to decide between Wayfair’s chamberland chair and Dwell’s bruco rocker for the honour of top dog, but the chamberland chair just edged it on comfort and all-rounder style. When we questioned what we wanted in a rocking chair, comfort and style that would last were key, and this design won the day.

If it weren’t for the higher price, the Eames chair from Heal’s would be nearer the top of the tree, as would the Mogg design, which is the most comfortable and enticing of all the rocking chairs we tested and definitely the most arresting to look at.

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