How to Tighten the Arm on a Reclining Sofa

Wade Shaddy

Reclining sofa arms are basic. It's nothing more than a wood, metal or plastic arm attached to a 1/2-inch square axle. When you push or pull on the arm, it turns the axle inside the chair to fold the footrest up or down. Attrition can take a toll on the arm, causing the screws holding the arm to loosen or slip.

Keep your feet up with recliner arm maintenance.

The footrest might work, but the arm is so loose that it feels like it might fall off. If not attended to, it will fail completely. Tightening the arm on almost any reclining sofa is simple, and you can do it in minutes.


If the arm is at a slight angle after you've tightened it and still works fine, don't worry about it. If it bothers you, loosen the arm, reposition it and retighten it. This tightening technique works on reclining chairs, too.


If the arm is loose, there's a possibility other screws or bolts may be loose. Raise the footrest, examine the metal linkage, and tighten any or all of the screws or bolts.

  1. Pull the lever, if possible, to raise the footrest all the way. Place an object under the footrest to prevent it from moving up or down. If you can't get the footrest up because the arm is too loose, turn the sofa upside down.

  2. Pry off one or two wood or metal caps located around the perimeter of the arm where it attaches to the side of the sofa. There is one cap on each side of the arm. Use the tip of a screwdriver to pop the caps off to reveal screws or bolts. If there are no caps, locate a single hole in the bottom of the arm; it does not have a cap.

  3. Tighten the screws securely using a screwdriver. If there are no screws, use a 3/8-inch socket and ratchet to tighten bolts inside the holes. Insert the caps back in the holes. Tap them down tight with the back of the screwdriver.

  4. Remove the objects from under the footrest or tip the sofa upright.