DIY Recliner: The Complete Guide!

Recliners are one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture on the modern market, and it supplies an unprecedented amount of comfort. However, some people feel constraints while using the mass-produced recliner. That is not that big of a surprise, to be honest. The main goal of the companies like La-Z-boy, Ashley, and others is to gain profits. Thus, they produce high-demand products, forcing people with unique demands to settle down with an armchair that doesn’t meet their needs.

The DIY recliner can solve the majority of these problems. Thus, I’ve created a guide to teach you how to build your custom recliner. I hope that this article will help you out.

Types of recliners

There are three general armchairs: manual, power, and massage. Massage recliners have built-in motors that supply various massaging options, such as rolling, kneading, and tapping. They can be pretty expensive and difficult to build, but you can create this if you have enough skill and money.

Power armchairs have an electric motor that moves the chair into the desired position. This type of recliner is ideal for those with mobility issues, as it can be run with a simple touch of a button. It is not as hard to build as a massage armchair, but you will still need some amount of skill.

Manual recliners require you to use your strength to adjust the chair’s position. While this type is generally less expensive than power recliners, it can be more challenging to use if you have limited mobility. Besides, it is easier to create than power and massage types, and I highly recommend it to be the first one you build.

What DIY recliner will be best for you?

Before starting your DIY recliner project, it’s essential to decide which type of recliner will be best for you. I’ve discussed different armchairs you might consider building in the earlier section.

Once you’ve decided the type of recliner you need, it’s time to get started on your project! This article will guide you through the steps necessary to create a manual recliner using basic materials and tools. Let’s get started!

Step 0: Create a blueprint

No, I’m not talking about the complex blueprint. I recommend you take measurements of the armchair you would like to build. It is an essential requirement before you start building anything. The precise measure will ensure that your armchair is a perfect size and fits comfortably in your space. On the other hand, poorly conducted actions will force you to spend extra time fixing your mistakes.

Use a ruler or tape measure to measure the desired recliner’s height, width, and depth to take correct measurements. Don’t forget about the dimensions of the armrests and headrest, if applicable. Write down these measurements to refer to them later as you begin constructing your recliner.

Step 1: Gather your materials.

I recommend you get the following materials to DIY an armchair.

  • One chair frame
  • One piece of plywood, at least 24″ x48.”
  • One part of foam, at least 24″ x48.”
  • Fabric, enough to cover the chair
  • Batting, enough to cover the chair
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Screws
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Paint or wood stain (optional)

So, you’ve successfully got your hands on a piece that you will need. Congratulations! Now you are ready to start.

Step 2: Cut the plywood and foam

I recommend you measure and mark the plywood 24″ x48″. A ruler or measuring tape to do this should do the trick. Your next step will be to cut the plywood using a saw. After that, measure and mark the foam 24″ x48″. Cut the foam using a knife or scissors.

Step 3: Cover the chair frame

Cover the chair frame with batting, making sure to staple it in place. Then, cover the batting with fabric, pinning it in place. You can paint or stain the chair frame before covering it with a cloth if you want.

Step 4: Attach the plywood

Lay the piece of plywood on top of the chair frame, making sure that it is centered. Attach the plywood to the frame by using screws.

Step 5: Adjust the recliner position

To adjust the recliner position, pull up on the lever found on the side of the chair. This will cause the back of the chair to recline. You can adjust the armchair to any position you want.

There you have it! Your very own manual recliner. Congratulations on a job well done!


I want to answer some of the most often asked questions about building your custom recliner.

Are power recliners challenging to build?

No, they are not difficult to build but require some basic electrical knowledge.

Can I use an existing chair frame for my recliner?

Yes, you can use an existing chair frame for your armchair, but it is essential to make sure that the structure is sturdy and can support the weight of the foam and plywood.

What type of fabric should I use for my recliner?

You can use any fabric that you like for your armchair. However, it is crucial to choose a durable and comfortable material.

Last updated: 25/04/2022

About Karen Miller

Hello! I'm Karen Miller, an interior designer from Chicago with a passion for creating beautiful and functional spaces. After leading designer at Chicago Interior LLC in 2010-2020, I started to share my expertise on home comfort. I'm excited to help you transform your home into a place of comfort and joy. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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