How to Choose a Nursery Chair You’ll Actually Love
How to Choose a Nursery Chair You’ll Actually Love
October 28, 2021

How to Choose a Nursery Chair You’ll Actually Love

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How to Choose a Nursery Chair You’ll Actually Love.
How to Choose a Nursery Chair You’ll Actually Love

Out of all the things you buy before the baby comes, there’s one key gear purchase that’s really for you: your nursery chair (which may actually be more like a bedroom chair or living room chair, depending on where your baby ends up sleeping!).

But for something you’ll spend so much time in, there aren’t a lot of options to actually test out your choices with your own back and butt before you buy, which can make it challenging to figure out what you really want. So we’ve partnered with Pottery Barn Kids to share a few pro tips on how to find a chair you’ll end up loving.

Nursery Chairs 101

To start, there are typically three different kinds of nursery chair options:

Rocking Chair

The classic nursery chair, rockers offer the most diversity when it comes to style—there are modern rocking chairs, extra-wide rocking chairs, wingback rocking chairs, you name it. While they don’t offer as much variety of movement (rockers pretty much do what the name says—rock back and forth), one major benefit is that some come with removable legs. So when you’re no longer using your nursery chair in your nursery, you can pop off the rockers and replace them with stationary legs to turn your rocker into an accent chair.


Gliders are the modern answer to rocking chairs—instead of rocking back and forth, they silently glide back and forth for ultra-quiet soothing sessions. Think of a rocker sort of like a treadmill and a glider kind of like an elliptical trainer. Gliders like the one below can also offer slimmer silhouettes, which can be handy for smaller nurseries.

And some even feature multiple movement modes, like swivel gliders that rotate and glide.


Is there a chair more comfortable than a recliner? Your grandpa would probably say no. But nursery recliners usually take it up a notch by adding swivel motions or even combining a swivel, glider and recliner in one.

You can also choose between manual recliners and power recliners, which are basically the Cadillac of nursery chairs, silently leaning back with the push of a button. Power recliners can also include USB ports, which come in handy when your baby falls asleep in your arms and you’ve got Schitt’s Creek reruns to catch up on.

One key tip: if you opt for a rocker or glider, consider adding an ottoman to the mix too (many have matching options). In addition to letting you kick your feet up, the added leverage can make it easier to achieve that rocking or gliding motion without having to put your leg muscles to work as hard.

So how do you pick the chair that’s right for you?

Start Early

If you shop online, you’ve probably gotten used to the magic of two-day shipping. But nursery furniture is a whole different story, and high-quality customizable chairs often have the longest production time—anywhere from a few weeks to a few months—because they’re custom made when you place your order. So if you want to have your pick, start early (at least twelve weeks). It’s totally fine to choose a nursery chair before you know what your crib looks like.

But if you’re short on time, there’s no need to stress. Just make sure to narrow your search by what’s in stock and ready to ship to avoid falling in love with something that doesn’t work with your timeline.

Order the Swatch

It’s not your job to know the difference between chenille fabric and boucle just by looking at a picture online (or even have any idea what those fabrics are to begin with!) That’s why fabric swatches were invented. If you order from Pottery Barn Kids, they’ll arrive within 3-7 business days, and you can compare up to 15 fabrics at once—using your hands instead of your eyes.

One thing to keep in mind: if you’re concerned about choosing a fabric that will stand the test of time (or multiple toddlers) look for fabrics that have the word “performance” in the name, as those are usually a little extra durable and easier to clean.

Mind Your Height

Typically the big difference between nursery chair styles is range of motion (gliding vs rocking vs swiveling). But beyond that, one thing to look out for is the height of your chair back. If you or a partner are tall, or just want extra head and neck support, look for a chair that has a high back, like a wingback chair. Those extra few inches will give you a spot to rest your head when you and your baby are relaxing.

Other comfort features to keep an eye out for include plush, comfy armrests like the ones on this power recliner and lumbar pillows for extra back support like the one that comes with this glider.

Take a Firm Stance

One of the challenges of choosing a nursery chair is trying to figure out seating that prioritizes comfort and style (because you can have both!). Particularly because comfort means different things to different people. Think about the kind of furniture you normally enjoy spending time in. Is your favorite spot in the house a big, fluffy couch? Or an old-school tufted chair? Do you prefer a firm mattress or a soft one? Then take that and apply it to your nursery seating.

If you can’t test out the chair you’re planning to buy, look for context clues in the photo. A tufted chair like this (where the fabric is pulled more tightly against the frame of the chair) will offer firmer support than a more loosely structured pillow-backed glider like this. Here are a few other chairs that offer firm support.

Want to see how different nursery chairs work in action? Head over to Pottery Barn Kids’ nursery seating guide for video demos (with tall and short parents!). And if you’re feeling extra stuck, request a virtual appointment with a design consultant and let them make the decision for you—or at least help you along the way.

This article is sponsored by Pottery Barn Kids. Babylist’s free site, apps and emails are made possible by our sponsors. We limit our sponsored content to relevant partners that offer products and services we believe in and use ourselves.

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