DIY / Tutorials Furniture Home Decor upholstery

Upholstered Rocking Chair Redo

When I found my first upholstered rocking chair face down, curbside, and broken, I had no idea how popular my rockers would become.

This first one was a gorgeous antique with swan’s head arm rests and intricate carvings.  My husband perfectly remade the back leg, and I upholstered the chair,  making it as good as new.  The original finish is already perfectly distressed and needed nothing.

Curbside Rocking Chair Repair and Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |


My next rocking chair was from a garage sale where the curves are what beckoned me to bring it home and rescue it from the fabric it was wearing.

How to Upholster a Rocking Chair by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comUsing this rocker, I wrote tutorials on how to reupholster & paint a rocking chair.  Check them out if you’d like to know some basics!

This particular rocker sold within a couple of hours of being listed in my shop, and I have had over 20 requests for another.  So, I am constantly looking for another candidate because there are a ton of mommies-to-be that are asking for one.

Do you know how hard it is to find an antique upholstered rocking chair?  If I was looking for a solid wood one, no problem.  The upholstered part is the key. Every mom knows how important a soft, comfy chair is a need to rock that new baby in.


After getting another request, I went on a hunt and found this beauty on Craigslist.

Art Deco Rocking Chair Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comThe original fabric was faded and worn, but was gorgeous in its own right with the Art Deco design.  The spindles were the draw for me, and most importantly my client loved them too.

The story behind this rocker is the lady who owned it bought it from an estate sale from a grand home in her neighborhood.  Although she owned several rockers, this one was her favorite because her colicky son would only be calmed by the rocking of this chair.  You see, the rockers are smaller, creating a shorter rock, which soothed the baby like none other.  She even said she would have strapped it to her car and taken it everywhere with her if she could.

He’s in college now and it was time for this chair to belong for a new little one and the mommy-to-be.


Time for the face lift!

Deconstructed Art Deco Rocking Chair Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comA couple of broken springs, but overall just needed some love.  So I replaced the webbing and burlap, and gave it some antique white chalk paint topped with a hand-rubbed wax.

Painted Vintage Rocking Chair During Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

Back of Art Deco Rocking Chair by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comDon’t you just love how distressing brings out the detail?

Distressing Rocking Chair Frame by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comNext, came the springs.  Originally, tried to find replacements online and even asked on Freecycle, but time was sparse. I went ahead and purchased new. Do you know as soon as I placed my order I received a response from a lady on Freecycle with a rocker that had the exact size springs I needed.  Isn’t that the way it always works?

Oh well. If you’re looking for how to replace coil springs in the seat of a chair, you need to check out the tutorials from Design Sponge on how to construct coil seats.  The seat is better than ever now that its done.

Reseating Art Deco Rocking Chair Seat Springs by Prodigal Pieces |

Let me just say I have hard time getting my rear end out of that chair.  With the new springs, foam padding, and batting, it was soooo comfy!!


Here it is all spiffed up and ready for the new mommy-to-be.

Ikat Art Deco Rocking Chair by Prodigal Pieces |

I love the blue Ikat fabric and the white frame just freshens up the entire look of the chair. Don’t you think?

Back of Ikat Upholstered Rocking Chair by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comI am so excited that the reproduction Ikat fabric chosen by my client was gorgeous. Here’s what she said:

 “We got the chair yesterday and everything is seriously perfect!” 

One more look at the change…

Before and After of Upholstered Rocking Chair by Prodigal Pieces |…aah…so much better. However, funny thing is I found out I am expecting our sixth baby at this time. I had no idea the roller coaster ride I was about to be on. Amazing how life changes.

In addition, pin if you loved this upholstered rocker makeover.♥

Art Deco Rocking Chair Gets a Modern Ikat Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

Not long after I refinished this rocker, I found another candidate with this vintage Bentwood rocking chair and gave it an embroidered twist.

Outdated Bentwood Rocking Chair Gets Embroidered Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

I currently have another upholstered rocking chair awaiting a makeover in my stash. Hmmm…what will it become?? Follow along to see. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates, my FREE Furniture Buying Guide, plus a discount to my shop.

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Also, more makeovers like my upholstered rocking chair:

Antique Stereo Repurposed Into Sewing Cabinet by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpiecesDiamond in the Rough Thrifted Dresser with an Old World Look by Prodigal Pieces |

25 replies on “Upholstered Rocking Chair Redo”

The transformations of all three rockers looks great but I think this last one might be my favorite. It might be because of the fabric. It’s a surprising pattern for the chair and the colors are gorgeous! I love it! Looks comfy too! Great job!

Great transformation, perfect colors and perfect fabric. Looks like you are getting to be quite the “Rocker Girl” So much nicer than the modern platform rocker we’ve been seeing the last 10 years! Kudos

I have that exact rocker! It was my Grandma’s. I restored it years ago and have recovered it several times to match whatever my current color/style was at the time. It is a treasure! Now, my hubby’s grandmother’s rocker sits in the workshop waiting to be repaired and re-upholstered. You are an inspiration! Blessings!!!

Gorgeous, Larissa!! My inlaws gave me an antique upholstered rocker full of carved details, but it was in such poor condition and I was overwhelmed at the thought of trying to restore it that I donated it. Never occurred to me that it would be perfect for a nursery! I’ll know better next time, and I’ll find your tutorial to help me through it! ?

Do you have pictures of you constructing the seat and back before you put fabric on it? I am trying to redo one very similar and not sure what to do. Did you just staple fabric underneath for seat and right in the back side and then cover it with the piping?

I love your blog and post. Makes my heart beat fast every time I see a new one pop up. Inspiration for me every day.

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