If you’re seeking ultimate relaxation out in the yard, the kind of chilling out that takes you to another level of zen-like consciousness – then it might just be time you treated yourself to a hammock chair.
Soft and luxurious, hammock chairs hang upright like a conventional chair, but sway very lightly to create the ultimate relaxing seating. Hung from a purpose built frame on your patio or decking, or out in the garden from a tree, a hammock chair is an extremely comfortable item of outdoor furniture.
There’s some things in life that you just can’t do without – and it looks like a hammock chair may be one of them. Let’s dive down into what these are and why you need one – as I’ve just got to get me one of these! 🙂
Are Hammock Chairs Good For Your Back?
If you suffer from back or neck pain, sitting in a hammock chair can help alleviate your symptoms. This position reduces the strain on your back and neck, which in turn will reduce the pain.
Unlike a conventional chair, a hammock chair isn’t rigid. The seat naturally forms around the contours of your body, gently supporting you, while the gentle rocking motion can act a bit like a massage. So, your sore muscles are softly supported, and not forced into any particular position as they would be were you sitting on a chair.
Also, hammock chairs are so relaxing. Your body feels less tense as you settle into the comfortable, slightly swaying seat. This full-body relaxation is really good for tense muscles, which of course, helps to prevent back, neck and shoulder pain.
How Do You Sit in a Hammock Chair?
Unlike the traditional, horizontal hammock, sitting in a hammock chair doesn’t require skill and practise. You simply sit back in it, like you do any chair. This feels a bit strange at first, as your body will naturally be expecting a firm seat, not one that feels like it’s giving when you sit on it.
Then gently sit back, letting the fabric fit around your body, giving you that subtle support. Getting out again requires a bit more work from your abdominal muscles than getting off a hard chair does, as you don’t get as much purchase from the seat.
The first time you use your new hammock chair, test the weight slowly before committing yourself to sitting in it. First, pull down on the chair. If this feels OK, add some weight to the seat, like heavy books, bags of flour, and weights.
If it still feels secure, it’s time to try it yourself (after moving the books and flour, obviously). Sit on the chair very lightly, keeping your feet firmly on the floor and keeping most of your weight on your legs. Gradually transfer the weight from your legs to the seat until it’s completely holding you. If this feels stable, the chair can be used.
Can You Swing in a Hammock Chair?
You can swing in a hammock chair, yes – but it’s more of a gentle rock than a full-on swing, the way that kids do in a playground. If your kids want to have a proper swing, we suggest getting separate playground equipment, and leaving the hammock chair for sitting on.
Some designs swing more than others. An egg-shaped hanging chair on a stand will sway slightly, while a more hammock style made from fabric and ropes will rock more vigorously. Whichever style you go for, allow at least three feet between the hammock chair and the wall so you have room for it to spin or sway.
How Much Weight Can a Hammock Chair Hold?
The amount of weight a hammock chair can hold depends entirely on your particular hammock. Each one should come with a manufacturer’s maximum weight, which ranges between 200 and about 330 pounds. Obviously, you must never exceed the manufacturer’s limit, because not only will you invalidate the warranty, but you might also hurt the user (and the structure).
So, that’s a broad range, which means if you have bought a used hammock chair, you can’t really guess how many pounds it’ll hold. The standard chair seems to have a maximum weight limit of around 250 pounds., but it’s always best to play it safe.
You also need to be aware of the pressure you’re putting on the beam the chair is suspended from. If in doubt, use a hammock stand (more about these in a minute), and go for one that will take a greater weight than the hammock does. Don’t get a robust hammock chair that’ll take 300 pounds, then attach it to a stand that takes only 250.
Can I Sleep in My Hammock Chair?
Hammock chairs aren’t to be confused with hammocks, which were originally designed as an easy way to sleep off the ground. The main difference between a hammock and a hammock chair is the same as that between a bed and a chair. The first is designed for comfortable, horizontal sleeping, and the second is intended as a seat.
As with a comfortable armchair, you might find yourself drifting off to sleep in your hammock chair. The gentle rocking motion is especially soporific: if you sit in your hammock chair after a large meal, you’re pretty likely to end up taking a nap!
So yes to naps, no to sleeping. If you want to sleep in a hammock, get a proper, horizontal one, not a hammock chair. Sleeping in a hammock is extremely relaxing, and can reduce the pressure on your shoulders and back. That rocking motion is also helpful if you have difficulty dropping off to sleep.
Can I Hang My Hammock Chair From a Covered Patio or Pergola?
Opinion is divided on this, but we’d say a firm no. You have to be very sure of a structure to hang a seat from it, and most pergola beams simply can’t support this weight. The only exception is if you have a structured porch, which is a built part of your home, and even then, we’d ask a builder before fixing a hammock chair to the ceiling.
So, where can you hang your hammock chair outdoors? Some folks suggest a strong, hardwood tree branch: it’s an idyllic image, but unless the branch is extremely robust, it’s still a bit risky. Close to the patio doors in your home is a good compromise if you want an outdoor hammock chair.
A reliable and easy solution is to buy a hammock chair stand. These are easily available online, and you won’t even need to get your drill out.
Do I Need a Stand For My Hammock Chair?
A hammock chair stand is a brilliant idea. You don’t have the nail-biting experience of drilling into your ceiling and hoping that both your home and your handiwork are tough enough. You don’t have to worry whether you’ve screwed it into the right beam, or feel a little anxious when somebody new sits in it.
There are lots of great reasons why you should use a hammock stand. The elegantly curving stands can be attractive features in their own right, and are available in a choice of finishes. For outdoor use, you’ll need a rust and water-resistant frame like powder coated aluminum.
It also means that you can easily move your hammock chair, as you can simply carry the stand with you. You can follow the sun around the yard by moving the chair, or shift it onto the porch or even indoors when it’s raining.
And yes, you don’t have the worry of fixing it into a beam. You know you have a stable, designed-for-purpose stand that should last you for years. Most cost around $100 to $150 – just make sure you get one that’s suited for outdoor use.
During bad weather and over the winter, store both the stand and the hammock chair indoors. Ig you have the space, you can set them up in your living room or conservatory as a relaxing indoor chair.
In the final analysis – outdoor hammock chairs are very comfortable – and then some!
If you sit back and take a load off in one of these out on your decking or patio, or perhaps under the trees down the garden – then relaxation is guaranteed.
And don’t forget one of those fancy stands to go with your hammock chair. This will make things even more stable and comfortable, giving you complete peace of mind as you read your latest book or sip a glass of wine. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >