Porch swings give your backyard space that stylistic finish. When properly installed, few things can rival a good time spent on a porch swing, with a lovely book in hand. But then, given that the bulk of porch swings are made from wood, chains, and other metallic hardware, you must have wondered if porch swings are comfortable.
Porch swings are enjoyable to rest on if the ergonomics of the porch swing is right and it is correctly installed. The tilt, backrest inclination, material type used in constructing the porch swing, and your sitting posture are some critical determinants of the level of comfort you would derive from your porch swing.
There is a lot to know about making your porch swing comfortable enough to be your relaxation haven. How do you ensure your porch swing has the proper support, sturdiness, and ergonomics for comfort? This is what we will examine in this guide.
What positioning and support make your porch swing comfortable?
There is no way you are getting a relaxing user experience if your ceiling does not properly hold up your porch swing. Getting the positioning wrong would affect the swing and flexibility of your porch swing.
For adequate support, always ensure your porch support beam is strong enough to hold your swing and the load on it. To be on the safer side, your joist shouldn’t be any lesser than 2×6.
Regarding the positioning, clearance is a massive part of your porch swing’s comfortability. Of course, you wouldn’t be comfortable on your porch swing if you were constantly bumping against stuff.
For a free-swinging experience, there should be at least a 2.5 feet clearance from the wall or railing. A clearance of 3.5 feet is even more comfortable.
Always have ample space in front of your porch swing. Anywhere around 3-feet spacing would do, giving you an enjoyable swinging experience.
What tilt do you need for a comfortable porch swing?
The tilt of your porch swing affects your posture and the feel of the seat on your back. A slight angle on your porch makes it more comfortable.
With such tilt, there is less loading on the spine and your bottoms. This relieves your trunk and head posture.
To achieve this, the front of the porch swing’s seat should be slightly elevated above the back of the seat. This has a lot to do with the way you set up your chain or tie your rope when installing your porch swing.
Before anchoring your chain or tying your ropes (if you are using a 4-rope setup), add an extra inch to your two back ropes or an extra chain link.
For those leveraging the triangle chain setup, it is slightly different. To achieve a similar tilt, you need to join the long chain to the shorter one at a position away from the center of the smaller chain. Preferably, it should be a bit close to the chain’s front.
This should give your porch swing a befittingly comfortable backward tilt. We will learn more about this consequently.
What armrests make your porch swing more comfortable?
Many don’t know that the elevation of the armrest (relative to the porch swing’s backrest) affects how comfortable they feel on their porch swings.
Raised armrests give you that enhanced comfy feel when you relax on the porch swing. It would feel like your body is forcefully slumping down if the armrests are too low.
Inevitably, this leads to a bad sitting posture. Now, when such posture is sustained, you can expect back pains in no time, and in some more unfortunate cases, chronic pain.
But there is yet succor if you have already bought a porch swing with a low armrest. Adding armrest supports would help you yet derive the said comfy feel from an elevated armrest.
What are the ergonomics of a comfortable porch swing?
Quite many design aspects sum up to determine the ergonomics of your porch swing and consequently how comfortably it feels on you.
How about I tell you some vital aspects?
Get the swing seat height right
First is the height of your swing’s seat above the ground. You don’t want your porch swing too hoisted in the air so that your feet don’t touch the ground.
For the most comfortable feel, you should be able to sit on your porch swing with your feet in your front, laid flatly – say, on the patio.
An over-elevated swing seat would interrupt blood flow around your back thighs, commonly leading to dead legs. The clearance from the floor to the swing seat shouldn’t exceed 17 inches.
The seat depth is also decisive
Your porch swing needs to just be dip enough to get you comfortable. If your porch swing is too deep, you will struggle to relax against the backrest.
Conversely, if it is too shallow, then you will inevitably be pushed to the seat’s extremes. This is not comfortable either.
So what is the ideal seat depth? Generally, your porch swing shouldn’t be deeper than 18 inches. It also shouldn’t be shallower than 14 inches.
How about the porch swing’s slope?
While we have previously about the tilt, let us dig deeper into the befitting inclination of your porch swing to give you a comfy feel.
It would be best if the porch seat slopes down as you progress to the rear. An inclination as slight as a 5-degree would do. This way, when you sit on the swing, it better nestles you.
The inclination between the porch swing’s backrest and seat also matters. For the most relaxing experience, the backrest should be inclined at least 100 degrees from the seat.
The way the porch swing positions your feet and knees relative to your body also contributes to your sitting experience.
The porch swing’s base should allow you to freely pull your feet back up your body for maximum comfort.
Does your posture affect your comfort?
Indeed, your porch swing’s construction and ergonomics significantly influence the amount of relaxation you enjoy. But the best porch swing ergonomics, design, and wealth of accessories wouldn’t give you much comfort you adopt the wrong posture when sitting on your swing.
Yes, it would help if you did some work practicing the right sitting position. Getting a befitting posture is particularly important if you are sitting for prolonged periods on your porch swing.
Let us start with your feet. Keep it flat on the surface. By resting it flat, you better transport the weight from your heel to toe.
Aside from your feet, your knee inclination is a vital aspect of your sitting posture. You stand to enjoy the most comfortable experience on your porch swing if your knee inclination (when sitting) is lower than 90 degrees. Your quads feel less exerted and consequently relaxed when seated this way.
Also, you would quickly feel uncomfortable on your porch swing if your lower back is slumped. Therefore, try as much as possible to keep it straight when you sit.
If you are reading or watching a movie on your porch swing, your neck should be poised perpendicularly to the ground, with your eyeballs looking forward.
It is even ideal if what you are reading is in a perfectly level position with your eye elevation. Accordingly, you can reduce having to slump your head downward for prolonged periods, exhausting yourself on your porch swing.
While these are the advocated sitting posture to attain maximum comfort on your porch swing, it is understandable that you will not always be alert enough to maintain these poses.
But by consistently applying yourself, they would almost become subconsciously activated, allowing you to enjoy more pleasure on your porch swing.
What accessories make your porch swing more comfortable?
We have talked extensively about getting the most comfortable sitting experience on your porch swing. But it would benefit you to know you can also leverage additional accessories to enhance the comfortability of your porch swing.
A footrest makes your porch swing more relaxing
Yes, we have emphasized the importance of your feet’ posture on the ground. A footrest can help you better accomplish this. Footrests are especially important for people with shorter legs.
With the right footrest, your feet can enjoy superior solid support from the ground. Consequently, it is easier to sit in an upright position. This improves your body’s positioning relative to the ground, enhancing your comfort.
Feel free to add some comfy cushions
Are you looking for more pleasure? You may consider adding in some lovable swing cushions. You can choose between swing cushions with thick pads and those with thin pads.
The intended use of your porch swing would decide which you choose. If you anticipate holding small gatherings (say with friends) on your porch swing, you need thicker cushions.
A thin pad would do for the homeowner who would just be occasionally sitting on his porch swing.
Now, for the cushion’s maximum thickness, that is more of a personalized choice. Your porch swing’s elevation, design structure, and personal taste will influence your choice of cushion thickness.
For context, a swing cushion with a 6-inch thickness would make climbing your porch swing more challenging. In fact, such cushion thickness could completely shut off your kids from accessing the porch swing.
When choosing swing cushions, consider durability. Since your cushion would be on an outdoor porch swing, you need a cushion whose fabric can sustainably withstand weather elements. I recommend going for cushions with outdoor performance fabric like solution-dyed acrylic.
Lastly, some large throw pillows will ramp up the pleasure
Larger pillows on porch swings are gradually diffusing into the mainstream. Take note that large throw pillows are better suited to bigger porch swings.
On a smaller porch swing, such pillows could swallow a sizable chunk of the sitting space. For bigger porch swings, a number of throw pillows (say 20-inch square sizes) would significantly ramp up the sitting experience of your porch swing.
Specifically, if you need to use a large throw pillow of such size on your porch swing, you need a porch swing whose width is in the 60-inch region.