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Hanging Chairs: A Space-Saving Alternative To A Classic Hammock

Hammocks are a ubiquitous part of summer, almost synonymous with lazy days and warm weather. But traditional hammocks take up quite a bit of space, sometimes at the expense of other outdoor furniture (or space for the kids to play in your yard!). So if you love a good sunny summertime lounge but don’t want to dedicate your whole deck to the purpose (or if you don’t have anything to tie a hammock to in the first place), it might be time to consider an alternative. Hanging chairs, swing chairs, and mounted hammocks provide much the same experience in a whole lot less space, often with little or no setup.

Hammocks vs. Hanging Chairs

Whisk Outdoor Patio Swing EEI-2656-PER-SET from Modway Furniture
Whisk Outdoor Patio Swing EEI-2656-PER-SET from Modway Furniture

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One of the biggest problems with hammocks is that they have to be mounted to something on both ends – more than a body-length apart – in order for them to be usable. Even if you take them down when you aren’t using them, that’s a lot of space to dedicate to seating for one. But hanging chairs and swing chairs are typically only mounted in one place, so regardless of the shape of the chair, you don’t need to have a lot of available anchors. Of course, hanging chairs with that single anchor are often a little smaller than a hammock, too – allowing you to swing, but not necessarily stretch out.

Hanging Lounge Chairs

Landscape Hanging Chaise Lounge Outdoor Patio Swing Chair EEI-2952-LGR-BEI from Modway Furniture
Landscape Hanging Chaise Lounge Outdoor Patio Swing Chair EEI-2952-LGR-BEI from Modway Furniture

The good news is, that isn’t always the case. Hanging chaise lounges look a little like something out of a sci-fi movie, but they let you stretch out your legs, put your feet up, lie back, and relax, all while offering a little more stability and support than a traditional net hammock. Sometimes, hanging chairs even come with built in sun umbrellas or awnings to help protect you from the sun, which means you can lounge comfortably even if you don’t have a shady spot to set it up.

Hanging Chairs With Overhead Mounts

Abate Outdoor Patio Chair EEI-2657-GRY-WHI-SET from Modway Furniture
Abate Outdoor Patio Chair EEI-2657-GRY-WHI-SET from Modway Furniture

Like hammocks, most hanging chairs do need to be mounted to something, but rather than mounting them at waist height, they need to be hung from something overhead, like a porch beam or tree branch. As with hammocks, you want to make sure that whatever you mount your chair to is sturdy enough to support the weight of both the chair and anyone that will be sitting in it. But unlike a hammock that might take up your entire porch, hanging chairs can be set up in less space than you’d need for a porch swing.

Standalone Hanging Chairs+Mounting Stand

Arbor Outdoor Patio Wood Swing Chair EEI-2279-ORA-SET from Modway Furniture
Arbor Outdoor Patio Wood Swing Chair EEI-2279-ORA-SET from Modway Furniture

On the flip side, you can also find hanging chairs that don’t need to be mounted to anything at all, because they come with their own stands. These stands are compact and sturdy, typically made of stainless steel to ensure they can hold 250+ pounds of weight, and powder coated for weatherproofing so you can place them just about anywhere in your back yard, not just on your deck or patio. The chairs themselves are exactly the same as free-hanging models, but rather than being mounted to a tree or beam, they simply hang from the hook on the stand. That means that not only can you put them just about anywhere, but also that you can move them around as needed without any complicated uninstalling or reinstalling.

Weatherproof Synthetic Construction

Bean Outdoor Patio Swing Chair EEI-2658-YLW-WHI-SET from Modway Furniture
Bean Outdoor Patio Swing Chair EEI-2658-YLW-WHI-SET from Modway Furniture

Hanging chairs are also often made of highly weatherproofed materials. While most hammocks have to sacrifice some durability for comfort (since you’re laying directly on the material they’re made of), hanging chairs and chaises typically come with at least one cushion between you and the chair itself. That means that instead of simple netting or weatherproofed fabric, they’re typically made of synthetic wicker or rattan that has the same breezy, breathable feel, but that is designed to hold up to long term exposure to sun, rain, and heat without deteriorating.

Standalone Mounted Hammocks

If you can truly accept no substitute, look for hammocks with built-in stands that let you get your swing on just about anywhere (by GFDStudio)
If you can truly accept no substitute, look for hammocks with built-in stands that let you get your swing on just about anywhere (by GFDStudio)

All that said, if you can’t be swayed (pun intended) from getting an authentic hammock, you aren’t out of luck. While they’re far from space-saving, it is possible to buy hammocks that are pre-mounted to hefty wood or metal frames that can support your weight, no side-by-side trees needed. Rather than being simple nets, these hammocks are often made of fabric with built in frames that help them hold their shape, and are designed to be statement pieces rather than earthy accessories. If you want that real true authentic hammock experience, though, this is the best way to get it in a portable form. Just set up the frame, hang the hammock, and you’re good to go!