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Guide for Picking the Perfect Porch Swing for Your Space

Posted by Eric King on

Porch swings bring comfort and liveliness to any outdoor space. Why not freshen up your home with a swing of your own? To help you choose the swing that's right for you, we've made this guide to picking the perfect porch swing for your space full of useful tips to reference when shopping. Read on for our words of advice.

The Location

The first step in this guide to picking the perfect porch swing for your space is to choose a location for your new accessory. The name "porch swing" implies you should place your swing on the porch, but this moniker is misleading. You can place your porch swing wherever you want as long as you have the right hardware to hang it. With a frame, you can put your swing under a tree, in the garden, on a balcony, or wherever else you want it to go.

However, keep in mind that the location you choose will influence your swing's future maintenance needs. A swing placed in a sheltered area will need much less maintenance than a swing placed out in the open and exposed to the elements. If you're planning to place your swing in an uncovered spot, we recommend investing in a swing with a cover, or one made from strong and weather-resistant material.

The Size

How big is the area you plan to put your swing? And how many people do you want your swing to seat? These are two crucial questions to consider when choosing an appropriately sized swing. To determine the best size for your swing, you'll want to measure your space. Then, you'll want to compare those measurements to the swing measurements you see online.

Swing measurements are just as important as the measurements of your location—if not more important! When looking at swings, take note of the height, length, and width of the swing and the length of the chain or rope assembly. Your swing should be "thin" enough that it won't bump into things like porch railing or other furniture. A clearance of 14 inches on either side of the swing should be adequate. The swing should also sit 18-22 inches from floor to cushion for an ideal sitting height. You may want to fine-tune these numbers by a few inches, depending on how short or tall you are.

Another thing to keep in mind is the arc, which is the distance the swing moves in the front and back. Your swing should have an arc minimum of 3 feet; that means your swing should have 3 feet of empty space in front of it and 3 feet of empty space behind it. However, if you choose a swing bed, you only need 2 feet of arc because they sway more than they swing.

Bed or Standard Swing?

On the topic of swing bed—do you want a standard porch swing? Or would you prefer something roomier and more casual? If the latter sounds like you, you may want to consider a bed swing rather than a standard swing. What's a bed swing, you might ask? As the name suggests, it's a bed that swings! Bed swings aren't too different from your average porch swing. The main differences are that they're more commodious (most are twin-mattress-size, but you can go larger) and that they offer more versatility in the frame department.

Bed swings are a great option if you want something modern and cozy that you can gather on with friends and family for a hangout session. Swings, on the other hand, are more traditional and intimate and are ideal for one-on-one conversations.

The Material

Next, you need to choose a material. When selecting a material, keep your location—as different materials hold up better in different climates—and the amount of maintenance you're willing to do in mind. Porch swings come in various materials, the most common of which is natural wood.

Some of the most popular types of woods for swings include cedar, cypress, oak, teak, and treated pine—and each has its pros and cons. Cedar is beautiful, customizable, and eco-friendly, cypress is durable, oak is sturdy and can support a lot of weight, teak is luxurious and scratch-resistant, and treated pine is rustic and cost-friendly.

Plastic is another option, with most swing manufacturers using polywood, a material made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

The Style

There's a porch swing for every person. Because porch swings are so customizable, you can get a piece that's one-of-a-kind and uniquely you. You get to pick the size, the material, and most importantly, the style of your swing!

If you're the bold and eccentric sort, a painted poly swing with an intricate backboard is right up your alley. Do you consider yourself a modern and trendy kind of person? A minimalist, neutral-colored swing will fit right in with the rest of your modern exterior and landscaping. Or, if you prefer the rustic and traditional style, you can get a wooden swing with a simple and traditional configuration. There are hundreds to thousands of porch swings out there, so take the time to browse and find one that speaks to you!

The Hanging Assembly

You have several choices when it comes to the hanging assembly. Rope and chain are the most common. Chains have a sleek, modern appearance that’s great for adding a contemporary touch to your swing. Also, they're very durable and easy to install. Ropes provide a more rustic and traditional look. Natural manila rope is the most common rope, but you can use other kinds as long as the rope is at least 3/4th of an inch thick.


As mentioned previously, porch swings are highly customizable. Many companies offer add-ons you can use to make your swing more unique and functional. Cup holders are a common add-on and are a fantastic choice for those who like to relax outside with a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade in hand. Cushions and pillows are other things you can add to your swing. They make your swing look more colorful and improve comfort. If you're placing your swing out in the open, another add-on to consider is a cover that protects your swing from pests and the elements.

If you're searching for the perfect porch swing for your home, come and check out our selection at Magnolia Porch Swings. Our swings come in various styles, colors, and materials. Whether you want a traditional swing or a more modern polywood porch swing, we have it all! We also offer plenty of customization options to make it easy to get exactly what you want. Come and find your dream porch swing today!

Guide for Picking the Perfect Porch Swing for Your Space

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