The Daybed Porch Swing

When I’m on the swing with her, it makes me almost high. - John Anderson



Just-a-swangin, well just-a-swangin….


I now believe that singer-songwriter John Anderson and “Little Charlotte” have nothin’ on Terry and Shelly Massey these days.


All it took was some browsing around on Pintrest, an extra twin-size mattress, and a lot of spare time thanks to the Covid shelter-in order, and the Masseys can now be out on their upper-level porch anytime, just a-swingin’.


When Shelly saw the daybed swings on Pintrest, she knew their upstairs back porch was the perfect place. “I was going to buy one and he said ‘I can make it,’” she said. Terry added that he saved money by doing it himself, plus he had fun in the process.


“It was a fairly easy project; it’s just not one you can do overnight,” he said, noting it took him three to four weeks to accomplish. “But it wasn’t too bad. I think I’d tackle this project again.”


Although his profession as an attorney and judge requires Massey to adhere to written rules, he said he chose not to follow any rules or directions when building the bed swing. In fact, there were no plans at all. Shelly looked at daybed swings online and decided what she liked, and then Terry purchased materials and started building it in their garage. “I looked at all her pictures to see the styles, but we never had any drawn out plans,” he explained. “Mostly I just tried it and kept what worked. It’s all screwed together, so if I did make a mistake, I could just unscrew it and redo it.”


The swings they viewed online ranged from $900 to $2,000, but Terry said he put around $650 in the one he built. “There’s a lot of interesting things in it that you don’t usually think about in a swing,” he said as he pointed out the solid wood frame, heavy 4-inch by 4-inch posts, and the fact that it hangs from the base of the swing.



Shelly said there is a wide variety of styles to choose from, including farm style with crossbuck backboard or sideboards, solid backboard and sideboards, vertical or horizontal slats, and many more. She preferred horizontal boards across the back, vertical boards on the sides, and a wide solid armrest. So, that is just what her husband built, but he added a unique feature just for her.


“I knew how much she likes pillows and I knew it would have a lot of pillows on it, so I added an extra back ledge to the base to make space for the pillows without using up the mattress seat space,” Massey said as he pulled away the back pillows and showed the wooden ledge under them.


“The hanging part was more of a challenge than making the swing,” Terry and Shelly both said, and began laughing as they described the many obstacles of the installation process. Terry said he had to go up into the attic to make sure the swivels were anchored in the ceiling joists. Shelly told how her father and some friends helped them and they set the swing on stacks of books while they pulled the ¾-inch ropes through the swivels. Another option is to place a five-gallon bucket under the swing or for more height, stack two buckets inside of each other.


They advised leaving approximately 18-inches clearance in front and back for the swinging motion. And talking at the same time, they both pointed to the U-bolts keeping the rope knots tight and described how Terry thought they were perfect but Shelly thought they looked too industrial.


But they both agreed the bed swing is the most luxurious place to relax and unwind. The mattress offers plenty of space for one or two people along with pets and a book, the many pillows offer comfortable support, and the motion is more of a smooth glider than a swing, offering a mesmerizing state of mind amidst the birdsong in the surrounding trees.

Story by Lynn Hobbs & photos by Terry N. Massey

Video by Katie Marie O'Neal