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A Ballard Design's Porch Swing Makeover

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

I'm pretty sure Duke Ellington had a different type of swing in mind when he wrote the classic "It Don't Mean a Thing" and if I recall correctly, it was an explanation as to why people weren't dancing to the music. Ironically, I think the same can be said about a porch. Let's face it, a porch is not a porch without a swing, and a swing is not a swing without a porch. Indeed, ask any highly respected southerner which came first: the porch or the swing, and you'll probably get a real strange look before they say "bless your heart, of course the swing did my dear." Naturally, I'm only kidding... about the response that is, but the significance of a southern porch with a swing can not be overstated.

With all of that said, this project started with our long and narrow porch that screamed for swings and so did my husband when I told him the average price of custom porch swing beds. Sadly he's not the handy man type and neither of us have ever made anything so DIY was a big capital NO GO. Plus in all fairness, we were up to our knees in dirt with overhauling our landscape at the time which left minimal resources and energy to start something new. However, I did have time to shop for swing beds 😉 and with a 20% off coupon code I did a swing of a different genre.To delete or edit an existing image or video in each post, click on the media to reveal a toolbar, which also allows you to customize the size and layout of your visuals.


Frequently asked

Where did I get the swings?

In the spring of 2019 I purchased two of the Sunday Porch Swings in the Gray Wash color from Ballard's Designs. I also purchased two coordinating tray tables and outdoor covers.

What type, brand and color paint was used?

I'm a terrible painter so I chose to spray paint the swings by hand (yes, you read that right) with Krylon's Fusion All in One Prime & Paint in a Matte Black finish.

What is needed to hang the swings and how did I do it?

The tools you'll need depends on how and where you plan to hang it. Some people hang their swings indoors, and others will hang theirs outside under arbors, decks, porches or even trees.

I hired a contractor to hang my swings, and the following steps were followed. My swings hang from the ceiling of a porch. An eye screw was installed into 2x4s that were anchored into the ceiling's joists. Note: If your ceiling joists are centered then you won't need the 2x4s. However, my ceiling joists were not centered which would've made my swings off centered on the porch and that, my friends would not have been a good look.

A soft shackle was then inserted into the the eyebolt in the ceiling and then threaded through the eye of the splice at the top of the rope. The bottom ends of the rope were threaded through the swings' eyebolt and tied into a knot. To prevent the rope from fraying I burned the ends with a lighter and then wrapped them in black outdoor gorilla tape.

If you're like me and need a visual sometimes, Plank & Pillow does an excellent job explaining how to hang a porch swing so you may want check out their blog on How to Hang a Porch Swing for tips.

Where did I get the rope and what kind of rope is it?

This is a bit tricky so I'll tell you about the rope and later explain why you shouldn't buy the rope until you do a few things first. Now back to the rope, I bought eight pieces (because I have two swings) of 1" 3 strand black polypropylene rope from Knot and Rope Supply.

They no longer carry the 1" black polypropylene; however, they do have 1" 3 strand nylon rope that looks exactly like the poly pro I used as well as countless and beautiful options like manila.

The 1" rope won't fit the swing's existing eyebolt. How did I do it?

With an eyebrow raised and brief sigh, you're correct. Any rope that is 1" or greater in diameter will not fit the swing's existing eyebolt because the diameter of the eyebolt is 1". Unfortunately, the eyebolt is custom to that swing only and can not be replaced with an after market eyebolt. Trust me, I tried and it can't so save yourself some time.

A hefty investment in rope meant I had to find a solution. I took the existing eyebolts (a total of 8 in my case) to a local metal fabricator and had him remove and replace the eye (top portion only) with a larger eye. He welded all eight of them in a black finish leaving the screw aka bottom portion of the eyebolt in tact. With that said, for obvious safety reasons I do not recommend you do this. You can achieve a similar look with a smaller 1/2" or 3/4" diameter rope which will fit the existing eyebolt perfectly without any manipulation.

Where did I get the cushions and pillows?

I opted to not use the cushion and pillows included in the swing's purchase because I needed high quality outdoor materials and fabrics (e.g. UV, mold and mildew resistant). I commissioned Cushion Source to custom make the outdoor swing mattresses, cushions and bolster pillows and covered them in Sunbrella Canvas Black with Canvas White piping.

The accent pillow covers are from Hofdeco, one of my favorite pillow cover companies. To learn more, check out my blog Outdoor Pillow Covers You'll Want To Use Inside.


Tips to Remember

Before You Paint Request a FREE wood sample of the swing from Ballards. It's a perfect way to test paint colors to determine how well your paint choice responds to the wood. Also, don't forget to look at your painted sample in natural light at different times of the day.

Buy samples of rope and don't forget to splice it Shop around and purchase rope in different diameters and/or colors. This will give you a good idea about what your swing will look like when it's done. After you've settled on the size and color of your rope it's time for splicing. Of course YouTube can probably teach you how to do this, but if you've never done this or if you're unsure about how to do it then let the professionals do it for you. It's worth the extra money, and more importantly your piece of mind. Buy the Outdoor Cover It is difficult to find a porch swing cover, let alone one that fits the crib size Sunday Porch swing perfectly. With that said, I highly suggest you purchase the outdoor swing covers because they have a tendency to go out of stock.

Eye Screws & Shackles Don't forget to purchase eye screws and shackles. I used soft shackles custom made by a local rope artisan. However, hard shackles are often used and are very easy to find at your local auto repair or hardware store.


Before and after

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