Short of their very own entertainment system, there’s nothing cooler than a hanging chair, hammock chair, or indoor swing in a kid’s room. Cool, yes, but the high-degree of DIY difficulty is bound to turn parents off. Fear not: With a few basic tools and a ladder, it’s a seriously straightforward task. In fact, with about 30 minutes of work you can revamp any corner of your kid’s room into the best spot in the house to hang. Here’s how to do it.
Scout a Location
Your kid is going to do more than quietly read on a hanging chair, so you need to plan for that. Look for a spot that has 2 or 3 feet of clear space surrounding the proposed center of the seat, free of walls or furniture. Can’t spare that kind of space? Consider adding some soft padding to the walls surrounding the swing. Move any furniture that might be in the way or add protective bumpers to sharp corners. Keep in mind the base of a hanging chair can be between 28 and 32 inches wide.
Check the Ceiling
Set a ladder up above the spot in the floor you’re considering. If your house is framed with wood, use the screws that come with the swing’s hardware to bite into the ceiling joists. Those joists are usually spaced 16 or 24 inches on center. If you have access to the ceiling on the floor below your kid’s room, take a peek at the joists there. Whatever direction they run in that ceiling, you can expect them to be in a perpendicular orientation in your kid’s room.
Use the stud finder to locate the center of a joist and mark it with a pencil. If you have a concrete ceiling, you can pretty much locate the mount wherever you want. Once you have the right mounting spot, you can confirm it’s directly above the area on the floor by hanging a plumb bob from the mount, but usually eyeballing it is enough. Because the eventual location is dictated by the structure in the wood ceiling, you’ll need some flexibility here with situating the swing. Hanging a swing without securing it to the structure is unsafe, so be prepared to move to accommodate the joists.
Mark the Mount
If your swing chair came with the hardware, use that as it’s been designed to work with the weight limit of the chair. If you’re buying a mount, the X-shaped versions used for aerial yoga are perfect for hanging a chair. Look for one with a load rating of at least 600 pounds — just in case an adult wants to give the chair a shot — which means it’ll be plenty strong for the swing and a child. Hold the mount on the mark on the ceiling and use a pencil to draw the locations of the fasteners.
Drill Pilot Holes
The mount will specify what size of wood bit to use to drill holes in the ceiling, but usually it’s around 1/4-inch. To know how deep to drill, wrap a piece of tape around the bit that represents the length of the fastener’s threads — that’s how deep you want the holes to be. Drill out the location of the mount’s bolts.
Attach the Mount
Thread the bolts through the mount into the ceiling by hand and then finish with a wrench. With the mount tight to the wall, test your work. Hang off of the mount to make sure it holds an adult’s weight.
Add the Swing
Now follow the manufacturer’s directions for adding the swing, and then adjust its height off the floor. Ideally, the swing is low enough that your child can climb in and out comfortably. Generally, toddlers are comfortable at a seat height around 10 inches; 12 inches for kindergarten-aged children; 14 inches for elementary school-age kids.
The Best Ceiling Mount
If the hanging chair you buy doesn’t come with a ceiling mount, this solid steel, 4 1/2-inch wide version has fasteners for both wood and concrete ceilings. Simple to install, it holds up to 750 pounds, connecting to a hanging chair with a simple carabiner clip.
Hanging chairs run the gambit from sacks to wide, flat bottom structures that will hold a couple of kids. When shopping, pay attention to the weight rating and buy the strongest you can and be sure to add a mount to the cart if one is not provided.
Available in three bright colors, this 27 1/2-inch wide cotton chair comes with a nylon strap to help adjust the overall distance off the ceiling, from 41 to 74-inches.
Able to support up to 250 pounds, the 32-inch wide chair hangs from a nearly 10-foot long adjustable strap. A pair of windows, along with the door opening, flood the interior with light and air.
Whale-shaped, this chair has handles inside to give kids as young as three a better grip. An inflatable PVC pillow — think air mattress — acts as a comfortable floor.
This tent holds up to 330 pounds, enough for two or three children. Inside, the 40-inch wide base and 52-inches of headroom offer plenty of space to hang out, with a fabric door for privacy.
For older kids (or even some adults) looking for a quiet spot to read, this larger chair holds up to 264 pounds. The wood spreader bar makes sure you have enough room to wiggle around the cotton pillows.
Designed for children who could benefit from sensory input, this sack helps develop the vestibular input required to understand the environment and spatial awareness. The polyester and lycra fabric is extra stretchy, and it holds up to 77 pounds.
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