The Designer-Approved Swing Chair That Lured My Bookworm Child Outside

published Jul 27, 2021
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Credit: Birch Lane

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Last summer, when my daughter learned to read, I wrestled with a laughable yet persistent worry: If left to her own devices, would my then 6-year-old ever venture outside again, comfortable as she was paging through one book after another? By growing her reading stack, were my husband and I laying the foundation for her pale-faced, reclusive future, a la Emily Dickinson? 

As much as I delight in watching my little one revel in her imaginary worlds, I want her to have a chance at tasting the real world too — in all its sun-kissed shoulders, grass-stained knees, and sticky-popsicle glory. I don’t want her to trade in the magic of a childhood summer for bookish adventures, as gripping and wonderful as they may be. 

So it was pure serendipity when my parents dug out an old swing chair from their garage and cleaned it up as a birthday surprise for my daughter. Since then, my kid has spent countless hours in league with witches, dragons, and plucky heroines, devouring new reads while swaying gently beneath a summer sun. The magic swing chair has become a sort of transportive device, allowing my daughter to straddle two worlds at once. Curled up in this chair, she can live inside her fictional worlds, all while soaking in a day surrounded by birds, squirrels, and waving neighbors. 

When I asked my daughter what made a good reading spot, she hardly hesitated. In the words of a second grade bookworm, the perfect reading chair is one that holds its readers as if snug in a cocoon. So it’s little wonder she’s taken up a summer residence in her swing chair with its enveloping arches and spacious seat. But of course she’s not the only one to pick up on its magic. Though the swing chair has roots in Mid-Century Danish design, this vintage piece is exploding in popularity, popping up all over social media and in famous homes like that of Reese Witherspoon

Hang a swing chair inside or out and the effect is the same: a vibe that’s playful, fuss-free, and instantly whimsical. With this chair, adaptability abounds. Cushions, throws, or an ottoman add supreme coziness and comfort, while hanging options — either freestanding or strung from above — offer versatility and ease of use. An unexpected perk? A swing chair invites restless kids to curl up without the expectation of sitting still. 

If you’re looking for an authentic vintage swing chair, garage sales, flea markets, and grandparents’ attics are a good place to start. If you choose to buy new, there are some affordable options too. To help you in your search, here are just a few bookworm-approved finds: