Here's Everything You Need to Know About Hanging an Indoor Swing

Including how to have one even in a rental.

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Nick Scott

Just try not to smile on an indoor swing. "They remind me of my childhood, spark creativity, and are, of course, super cozy," says Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s resident trend expert, who happens to have a few in her office. She’s not the least bit surprised that decorators and Instagrammers alike are currently obsessed. Neither is designer Starrett Zenko Ringbom, who attributes the trend to a rise in the playful side of design: "It’s the nervousness people get when they’re decorating their homes that holds them back from being adventurous—I think people are letting go of that."

If you, too, are letting go and looking to infuse a little extra adventure into your home in the form of an indoor swing or hanging chair, here's what you need to know. Yes, you can DIY it, but you have to know what you're doing—take it from a pro. Alan Chenkin, a D.C.-based carpentry expert and Taskrabbit tasker, told Natipernavigare all about the swing-hanging process.

"A hanging chair in a formal living room is certainly unexpected, but it’s all in how you style it," says Kirsty Williams, chief design officer at Serena & Lily, who suggests adding a luxe throw.
Justin Coit / trunkarchive.com

Step 1: Choose Your Location

Along with making sure the swing itself can fit in your chosen spot, you need to make sure there's adequate room around it. "Choose a spot that allows for at least three feet of space behind the swing, and at least 14 inches on either side to prevent hitting a wall or railing," Chenkin advises.

Step 2: Find the Ceiling Joist

It might be the second step, but it's definitely the most important. You need to find a solid ceiling joist to mount the swing to, and if you can't find a solid ceiling joist in your chosen location, it's back to square one—having the right amount of space doesn't mean anything if it can't be safely installed there.

"If you don’t find a solid joist, installers risk attaching the swing mount to a ceiling that cannot support it, or worse—it will pull the ceiling down on the person sitting in the swing," Chenkin says. "If the only spot you have for a swing can't support the load, you have to consider an alternate location or using a mounting plate."

And you have to be careful, because not all ceilings can hold the weight of a swing. Even when they look solid, "some ceilings are strictly decorative," he explains. "Most suspended ceilings are not designed to hold any real weight."

Chenkin also adds that you may have to mount a board across the joists to "ensure adequate support for the swing," which would require opening up the ceiling and adding extra support.

Step 3: Install (and Check!) the Mount

Once you've got your location—and a ceiling joist with proper support—it's time to install the mount. So, let's talk about weight requirements: "A single person swing should have a mount of 600 pounds capacity or more," Chenkin says, noting that a double swing requires two mounts.

Now, for the install. First, you have to pre-drill holes and use suitable lag bolts to attach the mounting. Then you have to test it out—yes, before you actually hang the swing. "Test it with your full body weight by hanging on the mount," he explains.

Step 4: Hang the Swing

"Once the mount is installed, attach the swing and double-check the swing cable or ropes to ensure it's solid," Chenkin says. When you hang the swing, you'll need to make sure it's at the appropriate height—typically that should be somewhere between 18 and 24 inches from the ground.

Pro tip from Ringbom: Step up a simple conversation corner by hanging two swings facing each other on a diagonal.
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Okay, so how hard is hanging a swing, really?

Chenkin says hanging an indoor swing is "a project of moderate difficulty," and again, stresses the importance of finding a solid joist. "If you are at all unsure of how to proceed, consult a knowledgeable person or a professional," he adds.

What if you can't install one?

The good news is, you can still have an indoor swing or hanging chair in your home, even if you can't actually hang it from your ceiling. They may not look quite as cool and airy as a swing that's literally suspended from your ceiling, but swing stands are your friend, indoors and out, and you'll get to safely enjoy that same nostalgic feeling. Yes, even in a rental.



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