A chair that wobbles is a pain in the rear. It is unsettling to sit on, and it becomes a constant irritant anytime you take a seat. If a chair leg is shorter than its fellow four-legged seats or if the level of the chair doesn't meet the elevation requirements of the dining table, you can add height to chair legs with very little effort.
Chair Leg Extenders
Furniture leg extenders come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs.
- Clear, gelled plastic extenders will cup around any size of chair leg to a degree, lifting it slightly. It will also protect flooring from scrapes and divots from pointy chair legs.
- Plastic cups will raise the leg a few inches and keep bugs from traveling up the chair leg.
- Versatile and inexpensive, furniture leg extenders or levelers with pads and screws can level your chairs as well as offer significant height increases in small or large increments.
Just for Height
If the chair height isn't aligned with the height of the dining table or desk, then you may have a quick, inexpensive fix rather than having to rebuild the legs.
- Seat cushion – Adding a thick seat cushion adds height as well as comfort. For upholstered chairs, a seat cushion of contrasting color or in the same shade can also add a design element to an otherwise bland dining set or an old desk chair. Slipcovers with added batting or padding can also increase height without taking away from the aesthetic.
- Lifts – Placing wooden or metal disks with divots in the center to hold the chair can add just the right amount of height. They also widen the bottom of the leg to create a more stable seat all around. These chair risers can also protect your flooring from scraping when the chair is scooted across the floor or is pulled out or pushed in.
Screw-In Chair Legs
Many types of chairs have removable legs. Rather than add a caster or block to the chair leg, you can switch them out for a completely different — and taller — style.
Try to go longer and wider rather than shorter and more slender than the original chair leg. This can cause the chair to be unstable and the legs not able to support the weight of the chair, much less the added weight of a person.
Upholstered chairs and recliners often have short, screw-in chair legs. Installing longer, wider legs to these larger chairs can make it easier for the elderly or ailing to get up from the chair, and they are more comfortable.
Fixing Uneven Chairs
A wobbly chair can benefit from added hardware and a bit of length on the shortest leg to keep it from quavering. Turn the chair over and add a brace where each leg meets the seat. Make sure it is flush with the underside of the chair seat.
Before inserting braces, drill pilot holes for the screws. This will keep the thick planks of wood from splitting.
Add Height One Leg at a Time
To add height to a specific leg, place a shim under the leg until you reach the desired height and then cut it to fit. Glue or nail the shim to the bottom of the leg and sand it until it is flush with the narrow part of the chair leg.
Stain the leg to match the other chair legs. This is also a good time to stain or paint the entire chair so that the repair to the leg and the added braces are well hidden. Do this for each leg that isn't level with the rest of the legs.
Once you've completed working on the chair, give it a good sit-down test before putting your tools away. It may need minor adjustments once the legs are securely back in place.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.