How Do You Take Apart a Recliner Chair?

Quite often it is actually done to change the older upholstery in order to refresh an otherwise perfectly operational chair. While many people struggle with the assembly process, they assume doing the opposite would be a piece of cake. Disassembling a recliner is not necessarily complicated but it does ask for a certain amount of care and attention.

Most modern recliners have similar construction with some minor differences found in types of screws used and the design of support bearings. It is safe to say, however, that by mastering the basics of taking apart at least one recliner, in the future you may as well be able to figure out how to handle models from other brands.

Recliner Chair

How to take apart an Ashley recliner chair?

Most Ashley recliner chairs can be taken apart on your own, though some minimal assistance wouldn’t go amiss. Whether you have any helpers or not, it’s best to prepare for a lot of labeling of all your disassembled parts or, if you prefer to rely on your memory, a careful organization process.

  1. If your Ashley chair is a power recliner, you will first need to disconnect it from its power source. Experts recommend to pull out the footrest and tip the backrest before your disassembly beings since it proves to be a much safer process.
  2. Once the recliner is in full view, take detailed pictures for future reference. This way you will always be able to check with your photos whenever you need to remember how parts are connected or positioned.
  3. Now it’s time to find the locking mechanisms of your Ashley chair. Your best bet would be going straight for the back of the chair where most Ashley models house their release levers. Though keep in mind that some chairs have their locks under the seat which you can reach when the footrest is fully lifted.
  4. If you have a fabric-covered Ashley recliner, such as microfibre, synthetic, and quality materials upholstery blends, the back of the chair will most likely feature a neatly outlined flap with a hook-and-loop fastener. Simply find the edge of the flap and pull it open. There you will find the chair’s frame and mechanical parts which you can now work on.
  5. Leather Ashley recliners can also come with hook-and-loop backside flaps, but not every leather model has them. If yours doesn’t seem to have any visible flap, then your way into the release locks could lie through backrest seams. Inside there should be a release lever that lets you detach the backrest. Some release levers may need some tool assistance due to how firmly they are secured, so a screwdriver would come in handy for this job.
  6. Place the recliner on its backrest (if it is still attached; otherwise tip it however you find it most comfortable to access the underside). Be careful when lowering the chair to avoid damaging your floors as well as the recliner itself. Always watch where your hands go to keep your fingers safe.
  7. Examine the exposed mechanism for all springs, screws, bearings, and various mechanisms that hold the chair’s elements together. Set the chair upright for the next step.
  8. A great way to organize disassembled parts (bolts, springs, etc) is by using bags with labels corresponding with each section of the chair, for example, footrest bearings or reclining mechanism.
  9. First, you might want to take care of the seat. You can remove it by loosening respective levers located on the rear of the recliner. Once the seat is released, you may move onto both armrests that have their own locking levers, though the principle is identical.
  10. Flip the chair on its back once again to have a clear view of the footrest. Use a screwdriver to remove all present screws, then work on other bearings that require the application of a wrench. Remember to sort all hardware bits carefully so you can remember which bit goes where.
  11. Remove the footrest from the main structure and set aside. Then do the same to the base.
  12. Use your tools to loosen the pieces that hold the armrests secured to the frame. Remove the mounting brackets first, then take off both armrests. Again, don’t forget to keep an eye on your bolts and screws.
  13. All that’s left is to take off frame bearings and rails remaining in the area where the seat has been, after which the backrest and any small hardware bits like springs should follow.
  14. If your Ashley recliner has a motor system, you can finally remove it safely with all its wirework.

After the job is done, you should have several neat bagfuls of organized parts and a completely disassembled Ashley recliner chair. Remember where you store each bit so you can assemble the chair without any hassle.

How do you move a recliner chair?

Transferring a recliner from house to house can be left to professional movers that are equipped to take care of it with your other furniture. However, you wouldn’t want to call on a team just to move your recliner into another room or upstairs.

Recliners can be quite heavy, and even if they are not, the problem of their general bulkiness remains. So to ensure you don’t damage your floors and walls, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the proper procedure.

  1. The first step is taking a set of measurements. Plan your moving path and measure each hallway and entrance to compare it against the width of your fully assembled recliner (like La-Z Boy). If the chair is too heavy and/or large, you will have to remove certain parts to get the entire unit to the new room, piece by piece.
  2. If the recliner can be moved without the assistance of a moving team, make sure you remove all objects from the chair’s future moving passage.
  3. Find the release locks for the backrest at the bottom of the chair’s rear. Most levers need to be lifted with a flat screwdriver to detach the upper section of the backrest. Remove this part and carry it to the new room. Repeat with the other heavy back pieces and assemble them in the new room.
  4. The base of the recliner still remains and it has to be set straight. When you are sure it’s secured and ready to be transported, cover the recliner base in its entirety using a strong plastic sheet and tape the wraps for safety. This will also prevent slippage during the move.
  5. This part of the move requires two people to perform it. You will also need a two-wheeler or a cart dolly to transport the recliner base. To do that, position the cart under the base and get ready to lift. While one person inclines the back of the chair, the other should hoist the front.
  6. Pull the cart while holding the recliner in place into the new room. If you are taking the stairs, take each step with the utmost care and avoid rushing at all costs as it may result in injury.
  7. Move the chair into the new room, remove the cart, and cut away the tape. Remove the plastic and continue with the rest of the assembly should you require it.

Quite often you might not be able to find a good pathway for moving the recliner, in which case your only option remains calling for a moving team. Expert moves are able to evaluate every possible backup passage for transporting the recliner; chances are such pathways are going to be quite tricky to accomplish—lifting the chair from the ground to the upstairs window, for example—so you should always leave it to professional expertise.

Can you manually recline a power recliner?

Power recliners, and some cuddler recliner chairs, are designed to perform all available motions automatically with the help of the integrated motor. The motor is usually located on the underside of the recliner chair and can be replaced in case of malfunction.

Since the electrics are supposed to free you of any unnecessary physical exertion that’s usually required to set some manual recliners (swiveling or gliding) in the desired position, you probably won’t find a manual lever that lets you push back against the frame and control the angle of recline with your body.

Though manual models have nearly identical mechanisms and bearings that move the chair in the right direction, the difference is in the amount of force you will have to apply to reach any position. Some manual recliners have partially automatic features, but the nature of their operation remains more or less of a push-and-pull variety.

If the motor on your power recliner has recently gone out of commission and you are thinking of converting the chair into a manual one, it might be best to actually just order a replacement motor. New motors for brand models are easier to come by and much simpler to install than converting the entire recliner for manual use.


Often tutorials for recliner couches and various rocking recliners turn out to be just as illuminating as something dedicated to your particular chair brand and make. These guides can also serve as a helpful outline for the proper ways of handling the reclining mechanism in case you are unable to find a tutorial for the make of your chair.

By staying informed and well-researched you can master the intricacies of any relatively new recliner model which can save you the need to call in movers for help. Moreover, with a little more practice you can take apart and move not only recliner chairs, but also recliner couches and a whole furniture set.

About the author

Lou Anderson

Lou Anderson

Lou Anderson is a keen home and garden innovator with over 25 years of hands-on experience in, home improvement, landscape gardening and all things appliance related to making life easier and more interesting.

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