When purchasing a new recliner chair, one important consideration is how much space you need to place the chair away from the wall. Different types of recliners have different space requirements depending on how far back they recline and if they swivel or rock. Selecting the right recliner for your room and placing it properly will ensure maximum comfort and functionality. This article provides tips on how much space you need to leave between a recliner and the wall based on the type of recliner, intended use, and your own preferences.

Types of Recliners

There are several common types of recliners, each with different space requirements:

  • Wall Hugger Recliners: These recliners are designed to sit close to the wall to save space. They only need a few inches clearance to fully recline.

  • Rocker Recliners: With a curved base that allows for a gentle rocking motion, these recliners need around 1 foot of clearance from the wall.

  • Swivel Recliners: With a round base, these chairs can swivel up to 180 degrees, so allow at least 2 feet of space from walls.

  • Power ReclinersElectric recliners that allow you to adjust the backrest and footrest require some space behind to recline fully without hitting the wall.

When determining space needs, consider:

  • The reclining distance – how far back does the chair recline?

  • Swiveling range – does it turn side to side?

  • Rocking feature – does it rock back and forth?

  • Will it be placed in a corner or central spot along a wall?

Measure the space where you plan to place the recliner and check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure enough room for full functionality.

Space Needed for Recliners

When determining how much space you need to leave between a recliner and the wall, consider these factors:

  • Distance for full recline: Most recliners need at least 2-3 feet of clearance to fully recline backward without hitting the wall. However, wall huggers may only need 4-12 inches.

  • Room layout: Look at the placement of other furniture like side tables, lamps, and TV stands that the chair will need to swivel/rock around.

  • Measure available space: Use a tape measure to measure the area where you plan to place the recliner. Consider traffic paths in the room as well.

  • Wall clearance: Check manufacturer specs for recommended distance from the wall. This varies by model.

  • Comfort needs: Will multiple people be using the recliner? Ensure enough space for maximum comfort.

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To determine the space needed:

  • Fully recline the chair and measure the furthest point back.

  • Add 2-4 feet behind that for clearance.

  • Evaluate furniture layout and traffic flow in the room.

  • Check manufacturer recommendations.

  • Test different positions and ensure enough comfort.

Factors Affecting Space Needs

Several key factors affect how much space you need to allow between a recliner and the wall:

  • Type of recliner:

    • Wall huggers need only a few inches when reclined.

    • Larger rocker or swivel recliners may need a couple feet.

  • Intended use:

    • Using the reclining feature fully vs just slightly tilted.

    • Rocking or swiveling frequently vs rarely.

    • Needs of different users – elderly, children, etc.

  • User comfort preferences:

    • Ability to fully recline flat.

    • Leaving space for a side table.

    • Unobstructed headrest and legroom.

    • Not hitting walls when rocking.

  • Room size: More space in a larger room.

  • Furniture layout: Accommodating surrounding chairs, lamps, etc.

  • Traffic flow in the room.

Consider your specific needs and preferences for maximum relaxation and usability when determining space for recliners.

Tips for Placing Recliners

Follow these tips for optimal placement of your recliner:

  • Allow enough clearance to fully recline:

    • Measure furthest recline point and add 2-4 feet behind.

    • Ensure no walls, furniture obstruct when fully reclined.

  • Leave space in front for footrest:

    • Allow about 2 feet clearance for full footrest extension.

    • Don’t place directly against furniture blocking footrest.

  • Check manufacturer recommendations:

    • Look for minimum clearance specs in manual.

    • Contact company if unclear.

  • Test different positions:

    • Recline fully and swivel to ensure enough room.

    • Have others test comfort and space needs.

  • Consider furniture layout:

    • Ensure surrounding chairs, lamps, etc. don’t obstruct movement.

    • Leave pathway for safe traffic flow.

Proper measurement, testing, and following manufacturing specs will allow optimal recliner usage and enjoyment.


In conclusion, when purchasing a recliner chair, it is essential to consider the amount of space needed between the chair and the wall. The specific requirements will vary depending on the type of recliner, intended use, and personal preferences. Those who enjoy reclining at a slight angle may prefer to leave more space between the chair and the wall, allowing for a greater range of motion. On the other hand, individuals who prefer to stay upright may not require as much distance. Additionally, those who enjoy using their recliner to relax and unwind may benefit from leaving the chair further from the wall, while those who frequently need to move forward may opt to place the chair closer to the wall. Ultimately, understanding the various factors and considering one’s own needs will ensure a comfortable and functional recliner chair for any space.

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1. How much space does a recliner need from the wall?

Most standard recliners need 2-4 feet of clearance behind to fully recline without hitting the wallWall hugger models may only need 4-12 inches.

2. Can a recliner go directly against a wall?

No, you should leave some clearance behind the recliner so it can recline fully without hitting the wallWall huggers can be closer but still need a few inches.

3. How far should a rocker recliner be from the wall?

Rocker recliners need about 1 foot of space to allow full rocking motion without hitting the wall behind.

4. Do swivel recliners need more room?

Yes, swivel recliners need extra space to allow a full 180-degree turning radius so should be placed 2+ feet from the walls.

5. How much space in front is needed for a recliner?

Allow around 2 feet in front for clearance when extending the footrest on most recliners.

6. What factors affect how much space a recliner needs?

The type of recliner, intended useuser comfort needs, room size, and furniture layout all impact space needs.

7. Should I measure my room before purchasing a recliner?

Yes, carefully measure the available space in your room beforehand so you can select the right recliner for the space.

8. Where should I measure the clearance for a recliner?

Measure the furthest recline point, then add 2-4 feet behind that spot for the wall clearance needed.

9. How can I ensure proper recliner placement?

Fully reclineswivel, and rock the chair, have others test it, and check manufacturer recommendations.

10. Why is proper recliner placement important?

Good placement ensures you have full comfortfunctionality, and the ability to recline, rock and swivel without obstruction.