Finding the right seat cushions
A seat cushion buying guide
New seat cushions are a fun and inexpensive way to freshen the look and feel of any room in your house. Seat cushions for chairs are also great for accenting and updating your patio and outdoor decor, and they can be stored along with your patio and garden supplies during rainy weather or when the cushions are not in use.
The best seat cushion combines the two basics: style and comfort. When you're ready to buy cool new seat cushions, be sure to take into account the setting where the cushions will be used and any existing color arrangements or design schemes they need to blend with.
>> For what type of surface do you need a cushion?
Different chairs, benches and seats will require seat cushions of different sizes, materials and styles, so you need to know what type of seat cushion will work best with your particular piece(s) of furniture.
You can find seat cushions for any number of seating options:
>> Take measurements
The best seat cushions should be comfortable, and they should match the style and proportions of your furniture for a clean, even look. Before buying a seat cushion, it is important to take exact measurements so that the new seat cushion will fit correctly. Once you've determined what type of seat cushion you need, take into account its shape while you measure the chair so that you get the exact seat cushion shape and size that you want.
When determining the ideal size for your new seat cushions, you'll want to take three basic measurements:
- Length or depth of the chair seat
- Thickness or height
Purchasing cushions for a chair with arm rests takes special consideration, as the arm rests lock you in to an exact cushion size because they are permanently adhered to the chair. If you buy a seat cushion that is too big, it won't fit properly. If you buy a cushion that's too small, it may slide around on the seat's surface. Cushion thickness is also an important consideration. To ensure maximum comfort, you want to get the right thickness and cushion balance in relation to the the height of the chair.
>> Choose your preferred type of cushion
Some cushions come as individual seat and back units. This division of cushions is a good option to allow you and your guests to choose one, the other or both when adjusting the seat for comfort. It will also provide the most flexibility in finding the best seat cushion arrangement for you.
Another type of seat cushion features a connected seat and back cushion. This is a common type of seat cushion, particularly for lounge chairs. The choice is yours, so take time to think about what style of cushion would best suit your home and your own personal style.
>> Choose the material
When it comes to new seat cushions, you have several different options to choose from in terms of materials, including the following:
- Polyester/olefin blend
Each material has a different look and feel, and each provides different degrees of sun protection to guard against the fading of fabric when exposed to sunlight. Sun protection is of particular importance when you're shopping for new seat cushions for outdoor furniture.
Nanotex is also often applied to fabrics used on outdoor furniture, as it protects cushions from water and spills by blocking moisture. Even with an application of Nanotex, the fabric can still breathe, so the cushion will still dry faster when damp.
>> Choose a type of filling
Different seating situations require different cushioning. When it comes to basic cushion filling, polyester is one of the more popular choices as it has the ability to keep cushions looking plush longer. When it comes to wheelchair cushions, there are a few other options.
A foam cushion, for example, is lightweight and simple to maintain. The softness of the cushioning is determined by the number of layers of foam, with each layer working together to adjust and assist your body's ability to position itself and manage pressure for the most comfortable seating arrangement.
Gel cushions are the best seat cushion for pressure management, as each of your body's pressure points can ease into the gel, which will then contour to your body and reduce pressure. Gel cushioning is also low maintenance.
Air cushions are lightweight and low maintenance, and they allow you to adjust the air pressure within the cushions to achieve your ideal level of firmness. While they are great for pressure relief, air cushions can be less stable than foam or gel cushions.
>> Choose edging
Different types of edging will serve as accents to your seat cushion design, so finding the right type of seat cushion for your piece of furniture means finding one that has a style that appeals to you. There are basically four types of edging:
- Box edge: Smooth edging on all sides and corners with no cords
- Double cord box: Smooth box sides and corners with a cord around the top and bottom edges
- Knife edge: Sharp, folded points at the corners with a seam across the middle
- Single cord knife: Sharper folded points at the corners with a cord across the middle
The type of edging you choose will depend on your style preferences as well as the type of seat cushion you're purchasing.
Choosing the best seat cushion for your chair, bench or seat is a simple process, once you understand your options and narrow down the style that will best complement your furniture, your home and your own sense of style.