How to Easily Remove a Recliner's Back

For whatever reason – moving across the room, across town or across the country – sometimes you need to remove a recliner's back and reinstall it. Some recliners are part of a sofa, while others are standalone chairs. Most all reclining chairs and sofa have an option to remove the back to make it easier to lift and move the furniture. While the methods are pretty much the same, slight differences exist based on the furniture's manufacturer. Some have thumbscrews, locking tabs or clips that require release before you can remove the back.

The Berkline Recliner

When you need to move your Berkline recliner into another room, you'll need to take the back off to get it through the door. Removing the back makes it easier to carry and manipulate the chair.

  • Move the chair or couch away from the wall and roll it forward onto its front lower panel.
  • Pull the lower bottom of the upholstered fabric or leather away from the chair where it is attached with hook-and-loop tape.
  • Fold this across the back of the chair to expose the chair's mechanism.
  • Look for metal tabs or thumb screws halfway between the arms and lower bottom of the chair.
  • Remove the thumbscrews by turning them counterclockwise.
  • For chairs equipped with metal locking tabs, grasp the tabs firmly and press them forward while pulling the bottom half of the chair back to unlock the mechanism.
  • Lift the back straight up and off the chair. You may need to gently rock it back and forth to slide the back off the brackets.

La-Z-Boy Back Removal

La-Z-Boy recliners have a lockable back that you can easily remove once you know the steps. The process requires a flat-headed or slotted screwdriver. Recliners that contain loose upholstery have hook-and-loop tape that keeps the upholstered back attached to the chair base.

  • Roll the chair forward onto its front to make the back more accessible in a position away from the wall.
  • Detach both sides of the strip at the bottom to access the back.
  • Examine the internal part chair to find the brackets that lock the chair back on either side near the arms.
  • Pull the levers that lock the mechanism between the back of the chair and the back of the arm with the screwdriver -- on both sides of the chair.
  • Roll the chair back into its upright position.
  • Grab the top of the chair back on both sides, gently lifting the back from the chair.
  • You may need to rock the chair back slightly from side to side to slip the brackets from their tracks.

Simmons Reclining Chair or Couch

With the Simmons reclining couch or chair in the full upright position, allowing enough room to access the back of the couch or chair, lift up the upholstered fabric from the bottom where it is attached with hook-and-loop tape.

  • Roll the fabric up and over the back of the chair out of the way.
  • Release the tabs that lock the back in place using a slotted or flat-headed screwdriver.
  • With the locking tabs released, pull up on the chair back to remove it from its brackets. Y
  • You may need to lift first one side a bit, and then the other, walking the chair back up the brackets before you can remove the back.

Reinstall the Back

The reinstallation process is the opposite of removal:

  • Line up the brackets on the chair back over the brackets on the chair's bottom half; this requires a bit of maneuvering to line up the brackets evenly, as one set of brackets slides in or over the other, depending on the manufacturer.
  • After you've slid the back into place, add the thumbscrews or adjust the levers or tabs to lock the back on the chair.