Updating a 1940s Kroehler Rocker


I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. My chance to update a Kroehler rocker has come at last. You may have seen these chairs around…my step-dad has one in his man-cave. I see them listed on Kijiji often. And, unfortunately, I see them curb side on garbage day once in awhile.


I’ve been wanting the chance to upholster one for a long time, to see if these old-fashioned chairs could be made a tad more contemporary.


Stripped down, the chair looks like this.


It’s got a nicely curved side that I wanted to simplify. It was previously a little choppy looking, with the piping dragged to the back this way.



I started, by adding a thick layer of bonded polyester.


And I made a capped seat with piping.


Here’s the shot of the side. The side border was created in one piece, which I think makes it look cleaner.


Once the arms are back in place, it looks quite sophisticated. What do you think? Does it look more contemporary with the new changes?



11 thoughts

  1. I like what you did with the seat cushion. The look is ‘tighter’, more refined. Doubling the buttons pulls the eye down a little, effectively ‘shortening’ the back – works better with the cushion. Nice job!

  2. I just has a similar chair reupholstered, but am very disappointed with the job, after seeing what you have done. How much would you expect to pay to a local small upholsterer for the job. ?

    1. Prices will vary widely, with a number of considerations, including the overall condition of the piece. If you are in a major metropolitan area, upholstery shops can and do charge premium rates. You will probably be able to find someone who works on their own (not a big shop) and their rates would likely be lower. Be careful of the quality of craftsmanship. Look for someone with excellent references, because many people are self-taught, and don’t actually know what they are doing. To answer your question, for a chair like this, expect to pay $250 – $600.

  3. It looks fantastic! I have 2 very similar rockers that need to be reupholstered. One has its original 1965 Kroehler tag and was bought for $25. The other, slightly larger, is very dear to me; I have a picture of my mother holding me as a baby, sitting in the chair – the photo was taken in 1956. The older one was re-done about 25 years ago and needs an update. The 1965 model has been well-loved by our cats.

    I’m inspired! THANK YOU for the great information! I’ll be carefully looking for someone with special skills here.

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