While patio furniture is designed to be sturdy and stylish, it might not always be made with comfort in mind. This, however, should be an important consideration; after all, no one wants to spend long periods of time sitting in an uncomfortable chair.
Selecting the right kind of patio furniture cushions can be just as important as choosing the furniture itself, and there are several things you will need to consider when out shopping. Here we provide a little advice to help you make the best choice.
How do I choose the size of outdoor cushions?
It’s vital to ensure that you select the right size cushions for your outdoor furniture. If you are simply replacing your existing cushions with the same style ones, then you can measure the old ones to get the size.
However, if you are buying cushions for new furniture, you need to make sure that you measure the chairs correctly.
The most common options are outdoor chaise lounges and patio dining chairs and benches. Select the cushion that best matches the type of furniture that you have.
How to measure for chair, seat and back cushions
- Measure the length of the seat from the front to the back.
- Measure the width of the seat from one side to the other (keep in mind that seat cushions tend to flatten over time).
- Measure the length of the back of the chair from top to bottom (don’t forget to subtract the seat cushion thickness).
- Measure the width of the back of the chair from one edge to the other.
How to measure for chaise lounge cushions
- Measure the length of the back section from the top to the first fold.
- Measure the length of the seat section from the top fold to the bottom fold where the leg rest portion begins.
- Measure the length of the leg rest section from the fold to the end.
- Measure the width of the seat by measuring edge to edge.
How to measure for bench cushions
- Measure the length of the bench from end to end
- Measure the width of the bench from end to end
What material is best for patio furniture cushions?
Cheaper covers may look attractive and seem like a good option, yet it’s essential to think about the kind of things they will be exposed to, such as damp weather and direct sunlight. If you don’t make the right choice here, you will find yourself needing to replace your cushions sooner rather than later.
Materials used for patio furniture cushion covers might look quite similar; however, they vary drastically in their functionality. Here are a few of the more popular choices:
Otherwise known as PVC, vinyl covers are durable and water-resistant. They are easily cleaned and can look really good, not to mention they come at a reasonable price.
However, these kinds of covers don’t do very well with heat. Under direct sunlight, they can become incredibly hot to the touch, scorching any skin that comes into contact with them.
If you do want to go with this material, opt for a light color as it will retain less of the sun’s heat than a darker color would.
Cotton canvas is another economical choice, and the cushions can be dyed to suit both taste and décor. It is durable, sturdy, and heavy-duty.
The problem with this material, though, is that it is not naturally water-resistant. This means that there might be some issues with mold and mildew.
The cushions could, however, be regularly treated with a waterproof application, which would serve to increase their resistance to damp.
The synthetic material Texteline is constructed from polyester yarns coated with PVC. It can be used to make the cushions less likely to rip or tear when in use. In addition, the material is easy to clean and waterproof.
Yet, like vinyl, Texteline can become heated when in direct sunlight, and the colors also fade quite quickly as compared with other materials.
Overall, Texteline is a good, mid-range option for cushions, but they may do best when situated in the shade.
Sunbrella fabric has been hailed the best in outdoor cushion fabrics and for good reason. It has been specially manufactured to be fade-resistant, 100% waterproof, mold and mildew resistant, and chlorine safe.
Alongside that, it is easy to clean and maintain. All of this, however, does mean that, of all the options covered here, Sunbrella is by far the most expensive.
This would ensure though that your cushions would need replacing far less often.
What is the best type of fill for outdoor cushions?
As with the materials for the cushion covers, you want to ensure that the fill you select is durable and suitable for exposure to various types of weather. Common options include:
The benefits of this type of material are that it is cheap, soft, and airy. However, the downside is that it doesn’t really offer any kind of support, meaning that it is better for use in decorative rather than functional cushions.
This has many of the same advantages as the polyester fill, as well as the corresponding weaknesses – it is more likely to flatten over time. Yet, as the polyfill is wrapped into small bundles, it does offer slightly more support.
Foam is one of the most versatile options here as it is available in a range of different densities and firmnesses. This essentially allows you to decide how soft your cushions will be and how long they will last. The most common foam density by far for residential seating is 1.8.
This is a thermoplastic synthetic polymer resin that ensures a durable and economic cushion. Cushions using this type of filling do not flatten out as other types do. However, as can be expected, the cost is higher than that of the other varieties.
Dacron wrapping provides the compromise between the various options. This filling has much of the durability level of Dacron but at a lower price.
You will also need to think about how thick you want your cushions to be. Outdoor ones are often much thicker than indoor ones, as patio furniture can often be more uncomfortable. Most outdoor cushions are around 100mm to 150mm thick.
Should I use throw pillows on my patio furniture?
Throw pillows can be used to make an outdoor space even more stylish and comfortable. They are suitable for patio chairs and couches but may be less weather resistant than the actual cushions. For this reason, you may want to pack them away whenever they are not in use.
There are two different types of pillows you may opt for:
- Toss pillows are purely there for decoration. Pair brightly colored ones with neutrally hued furniture for a great effect.
- Bolster pillows have a more ergonomic design to provide additional back and neck support. You may want to have these if you are going to be spending a lot of time using your patio furniture.