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While a chair provides the basic support that we need when sitting, they are more often than not designed with practicality rather than comfort in mind. The addition of a cushion can make all the difference.
Not only are chair and seat cushions functional, but they can look great too, adding a nice touch of color and blending in with the décor. Here are some tips for choosing the best ones to meet your needs.
Where should I use chair and seat cushions?
For comfort reasons, you would use a chair cushion on every kind of chair that doesn’t already have its own padding.
Chair and seat cushions are commonly used on dining chairs that otherwise tend to be just bare wood or metal frames, garden chairs, or even office chairs.
Each one of these would likely be selected based on different considerations.
- With dining chairs, the focus would be on style, given that these chairs are not often used for long periods and ease of cleaning because of the chance that something might be spilled on them.
- For outdoor chairs, you would need to select materials that are suitable for an outdoor, possibly damp, and humid environment. They should be hardier and more durable.
- In an office, you are going to want to choose a cushion with an ergonomic design that will correctly support your posture and reduce the chance of any back pain.
What size should I go for?
The best way to determine the size of the cushion is to measure the chair it is intended for.
- Measure the width and depth of the seat.
- If you are using a back cushion, don’t forget to deduct the thickness of the seat cushion from the measurement of the height of the back cushion.
If your seat is any other shape other than a square or rectangle, then you are likely going to need to order custom made cushions based on a homemade template. To do this, you should:
- Place a sheet of paper on the chair and smooth it down flat all along the bottom of the seat. Ensure you press the paper down firmly along the outside edges.
- Draw around the shape of the seat where you would like the side of the cushion to sit and cut out the template.
- Test that your pattern fits as you would want your cushion to.
What is the best foam for chair cushions?
Key considerations for the filling of the cushions are comfort and durability, but the type of foam suitable for one kind of chair may well not be the best option for others.
Indoor Chair Cushions
Polyurethane foam is the most suitable for indoor use. As well as being an affordable option, it comes in a range of densities that allow you to select the one most comfortable for you. Higher density ones are more durable for chairs that get a lot of use.
Outdoor Chair Cushions
Polyurethane is not a good option for outdoor use, though. It quickly soaks up any water, and this can result in mold and mildew. Closed-cell foam is a better bet here as it resists water absorption, although it is a pricier option.
How thick should my seat and chair cushions be?
Seat and chair cushions are generally available from 3 to 8 inches thick. Anything less than this would be considered a seat pad.
While the thickness of the cushion is usually down to personal taste, there are a few things to consider before automatically opting for the thickest and softest option.
- If you are selecting cushions for dining chairs, you need to think about the dimensions of the chair. A cushion that is too thick will not look as good and, more than that, may make the chair too high for you to be able to fit your legs under the table comfortably.
- Cushions used for outdoor seating are usually much thicker than those for indoor. This is generally because it is needed. Outdoor furniture tends to be less comfortable depending on the individual design and the material used.
- The thicker the cushion, the more material involved, and so the higher the overall cost. So, if you are buying cushions for multiple chairs that are used little, a thinner and so cheaper insert would likely be your best bet.
- Thinner cushions are also easier to maintain. This makes them better for places and households where the cushions are likely to need frequent cleaning.
Can you wash a seat cushion?
Seat cushions may seem a little more complicated to clean than regular cushions, but how you care for them will affect their longevity as well as their appearance.
Depending on the type of cushion and the materials involved, there may be a particular method for cleaning. You should always follow guidance provided on the label. If there is no information provided then you can clean your cushions like this:
- Remove the cushion cover, if possible. This can often be placed directly into the washing machine.
- If you are not sure whether the cushion or cover can be washed, try washing a very small and hidden section of the cushion first to see if washing does damage it.
- If it is just the cover or surface of the foam that requires a wash, then use an upholstery shampoo. Rub the cleaner into the surface and wipe the excess away.
- If the whole cushion needs washing, then fill a sink or the bathtub (depending on the size of the cushion), with enough warm water to allow the cushion to be fully submerged, add some detergent and then agitate the water to ensure proper distribution.
- Repeatedly put pressure on the surface of the cushion and then release it. This will draw the water and detergent into the center of the cushion, cleaning it. If the water becomes dirty, then replace it with clean.
- Empty out the soapy water and fill the tub with fresh water to rinse out the soap. Repeat the process above a few times. A showerhead can be used for a final rinse.
- Squeeze the cushion between towels to dry up any excess water before putting the cushion is a bright and warm place to dry.