From chairs to couches to recliners, anything you sit on can end up sliding around when you sit down. This can be true whether they are situated on carpet or on a slicker surface, such as hardwood or linoleum flooring.
But the problem seems to get a lot worse with recliners. The act of engaging the reclining mechanism can cause them to “walk.”
It gets worse with an active family full of small kids. If you are just one person who occasionally sits down to watch TV for a few hours, it may not do a lot of walking. But with many people sitting down, reclining the chair, then moving it back into the upright position to get up and do other things, it can walk a lot.
Some people are not particularly bothered by this. But others find it crazy-making. It can also potentially damage carpets or floor surfaces and is potentially a safety hazard.
If the chair moves around a lot, people may run into it or trip over it because it isn’t where they expected it to be. This goes double with very active young people running around if with elderly family members or anyone with special needs.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure the recliner is well positioned. For starters, it needs adequate space behind it to actually recline.
If it is pushed too close to a wall or other obstacle, people will have no choice but to pull it forward a bit before using it. Alternately, the act of running into the wall as it reclines may push it forward.
So make sure it has adequate clearance to fully recline without being moved or running into anything. This will help reduce how much the chair moves around.
But also make sure it is well-positioned in other respects. If it is used primarily to watch TV, make sure that it is positioned such that it has a good view of the TV.
This will help prevent people from reclining back, realizing they can’t see the TV, then getting up to adjust it. If people have to hop up two or three times and adjust the position every time someone sits down, this will cause the chair to do more walking.
You may think that accessorizing is about improving appearance. Although some people use it that way, that is not the only reason for adding a few accessories to the chair.
Keeping a small throw pillow and a small throw on the chair itself can help people get comfortable without getting up again. This can help them stay put for long periods, reducing how much the chair walks.
Keep in mind that this is for utilitarian reasons, not decorative. It’s fine if you want to pick a pillow and a throw that look good on the chair, but they also need to work well.
Both items should be compact enough to be genuinely optional for whoever is sitting in the chair. The pillow should not be so large that it tempts people to toss it on the floor as the only convenient means to get it out of the way. The throw should be sized such that it can easily be folded and draped over the arm or the back and not interfere with comfort when not in use.
Other useful accessories can include a small table for drinks and snacks. A TV remote located on that table can be another great way to help people stay seated and minimize having the chair mechanism repeatedly engaged.
Type of Flooring
Some carpets or other flooring is fairly slick. This will also make furniture more like to slide around.
It may not be practical to change the carpeting solely because it causes the furniture to slide around, but it is a factor to keep in mind when replacing worn or outdated flooring for any reason. Low pile carpets will tend to be slicker than deeper carpeting. If you want your chair to stop sliding around, choose a deeper carpet.
Adding Non-Skid Materials
In addition to the above measures, you can add non-skid grips to the feet. These can be either purchased or made and may be permanently attached or simply placed beneath the feet.
The commercial variety is not terribly expensive. They can be reliably found in any hardware store.
Some people will take old carpet or cork, cut to size, and glue it to the bottom of the feet. Others will go purchase a commercial product and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Especially in a rental situation, you may want to get the kind that looks like tiny plastic saucers and simply place them beneath the feet of the recliner. Or you may want to get a non-skid mat to place beneath the recliner, especially if it has a round metal base instead of feet.
In some cases, you will need to consider additional details. For example, some materials can potentially leave stains on light floors or carpets. So keep in mind that this non-skid material must withstand a fair amount of friction and it does that by gripping the floor. This can leave bits of it behind, sometimes visible.
If you are concerned about the environment and don’t want to use plastic or rubber for that reason, cork is a natural option. It is a kind of softwood. It provides cushioning and soundproofing and is non-skid.
If you drink wine, you may even be able to use old wine bottle corks as a source. They can be cut into thin rounds and glued to the bottom of the chair feet.
You will need to physically turn the chair on its side. Make sure the glue has time to fully dry before standing it back on its feet or you may find you have a new, more serious problem. You could find your chair is now glued to the carpet permanently. Oops!