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Outdoor Replacement Cushions

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If you have been contemplating purchasing an outdoor replacement cushion online for your patio furniture, then you are not alone.  Cushions eventually will wear out and become unsightly or no longer provide the comfort they once had.  If your furniture cushions fall in that scenario, you are also in line to shop for and buy new outdoor replacement cushions.

This article will help you understand what you need to know about shopping, ordering, and buying patio cushions that are high-end or economical, custom-made, and will hopefully feel and look good for a long time.

Taking Inventory of Your Cushions

Taking an inventory of your furniture and cushions is an important first step in ensuring that you properly account for all the cushions you need to replace or obtain new ones if you don’t have one. 

Organizing what you plan to do is crucial to ending up with all the cushions you need and having them fit and feel the way you expect them to.  So, start by getting a tablet and a clean sheet of paper to begin your plan.

Start by outlining the pieces of furniture you have and leave plenty of space to write notes.  You may find yourself using a few sheets of paper.  But don’t worry; you will use up the space quickly and then consolidate everything at the end into one sheet.

Your outline lists all of your furniture pieces.  Start with your first furniture item listed and write down the quantity of how many pieces of furniture you have.  For example, if you have two deep seating chairs, write down the number 2 next to Deep Seating Chairs.  This will help ensure you order the correct number of cushions you need once you put everything together. Under the name of each piece of furniture, you will list the details you will identify as we step through the process so you don’t miss any important details.

Next, for each piece of furniture, you will identify all the specifics needed to ensure you include all the particulars related to the furniture and the desired cushions.

Identifying Outdoor Replacement Cushion Shape

Outdoor furniture sets tend to have similarly shaped cushions.  Sets may have rectangular-shaped seats and back cushions, all with square corners.  Others may use seat cushions with squared-off front corners and rounded-off back corners.

Not everyone has furniture that matches.  Many people mix and match styles.  In addition, not all collections have the same style.  Surprisingly enough, you can forget everything you ever knew about your outdoor patio cushions during the walk from your patio to your computer.

So, under each furniture type, write down the shape of your cushions.  Sketch an accurate drawing of the shape of the cushions. Please take pictures of your old cushions and furniture with your cell phone so that you have them to reference easily.

Replacement Cushion Type

Generalizing slightly, cushions are made in two different ways.  The first and usually the most economical way is to make tufted or filled cushions.  These types of cushions have outer fabric panels that are filled with polyester fiber or similar filler.   These types of cushions are also known as forgiving cushions because they are not expected to match the shape of the furniture perfectly.  The tufted style provides the unique curves that set it apart from the more formal foam cushions.

The second and probably the most expensive type of cushion are foam filled cushions.  Foam cushions are firmer and, therefore, more rigid in nature than filled cushions.  Their more distinctive outline gives them a more elegant and formal appeal.

Most furnitures, such as deep seating styles that use thick seat and back cushion sets, will use foam seat cushions and filled back cushions.  Less formal sets that use only seat cushions will typically lend themselves to using tufted seat cushions.  Although, people who prefer a more firm and luxurious feel will opt for foam seat cushions instead of tufted cushions.

Here you need to identify the cushions you want to use for each piece of furniture.

Measuring Cushions For Size

The old cliché that size matters also applies to outdoor furniture cushions.  Just like you would not want the ring on your figure or the shoe on your foot to be too big or too small, neither would you like to have cushions for your patio furniture to be too loose or too bound up.  No one wants lousy-looking cushions and you sure don’t want them to be uncomfortable.  So measure to get the size right. 

Most cushions are rectangular in nature, with certain adjustments in shape made to conform to the shape you identified above.  As such, your cushions will have one width and one depth measurement unless you have something special, which you must adjust for in your documentation.

It’s acceptable to measure the old cushions to get your measurements for a new outdoor replacement cushion, provided you think the old cushions already fit properly.   If you don’t have existing cushions that are in good enough shape to be measured, such as if your cushions are too badly deformed from use,  or you are ordering new ones for the first time, you will need to measure the furniture to determine the right size.

If you are measuring the cushion, measure width-wise from center to center, left to right, then depth-wise from center to center, front to back.  Log the dimensions for the width and depth.

For rectangular-shaped cushions with square corners, you measure the frame width from left to right, center to center, and the depth from front to back from center to center.

For rectangular-shaped seat cushions, if you are not measuring cushions and are measuring the furniture, you will want to measure the width of the seat frames from left to right, center to center, and the seat depth from the center point of the seat from front to back.

For seat cushions with rounded back corners, if you are not measuring cushions and are measuring the furniture, you will want to measure the width of the seat frames from between the point where the armrests meets the seat and the depth from the center point of the seat from front to back.

The above measurements apply strictly for tufted cushions or single solid foam chair-type cushions.  However, if you are measuring a loveseat or sofa for foam cushions, you will need to divide the overall width by two or three, respectively, to obtain the width of each individual foam seat cushion, loveseat, or sofa.  Most cushion makers do not like to make foam seat cushions wider than one seating position because the seat cushions should work independently for each person sitting. 

Sharing a foam seat cushion with more than one seating position can cause issues with the unused position lifting off the frame or undesirable movement with the adjacent party.

Special care should be taken when ordering back cushions.  If you are measuring an old cushion, you are probably in good shape providing the cushion fits properly with the seat cushion already in place.  The back cushions sit on top of the seat cushion. Therefore, if you are measuring for a back cushion, and you are measuring the frame and not the old cushion, you need to take the thickness of the seat cushion into account so that your back cushion is not too tall.  In other words, if you are measuring the back frame of the furniture, deduct the thickness of the seat cushion that it will sit on to come up with the height of the back cushion.

For the most part, most back cushions conform to the width of the seat cushions, so you will most likely want a back cushion that is the same as the seat cushion.  You don’t have to; you can always make it any size you want.

Document the sizes you have identified for each cushion used on each type of furniture.

Read more about measuring standard wicker cushions and measuring deep seating wicker cushions.

Identify If Ties Are Needed

Ties keep cushions from moving too much from where they are to be used.  Ties conveniently keep back cushions from falling over and seat cushions from falling off the seat when you get up or when the wind blows a little too hard outside and nobody is sitting on the cushion holding it in place.

Oddly enough, you should not depend on ties to hold the seat cushions while sitting on them.  If you find that you and the cushion are sliding off the seat of the chair frame, it’s better to adjust how you are sitting on the chair than depend on the ties to keep you and the seat cushion from slipping off.  Ties are neither made of iron nor the cushion fabric they are attached to.  The constant stretching and pulling can quickly cause the areas where the ties are attached to the cushion to become weak and rip.

Many people with chaise lounge chairs like to use ties on the seat cushion because gravity makes you and the cushion slide down.  The only concern is that there might be a lot of stress on the ties, and you should be mindful of that and the risk of damage that may prevail.

Seating with arms such as chairs, love seats, and sofas generally don’t need ties for seat cushions.  However, if you have an armless chair or bench, it’s a good practice to use ties if you leave your cushions on the furniture while not using them for long periods.  If you don’t, you will likely find them on the ground or blown around the property.

If you want ties, identify the best place to put them.  Most seat cushions don’t need more than two ties in the back two corners and maybe a third tie in the back center if the loveseat or sofa are long.  This is always up to you, so don’t feel you have to go with the convention.  It is a good idea to have the ties put on the cushion as close as possible to where you have a place to tie them to.

Choosing Fabric for Replacement Cushions

Probably much harder than documenting all of the above in an outline, finding and deciding on a final outdoor replacement cushion fabric or set of fabrics is probably the hardest thing to do in the whole process.  Outdoor replacement cushions for patio furniture should always be made using the best outdoor materials you can afford.  The reason is simple, the better the material, the longer it will last, look and feel good.

When choosing fabrics, your patio furniture finish colors and outdoor décor must be considered.  Whether you use patterns, solids, stripes, or a combination, you can offer a glorious accent to your décor or make your furniture the focal point you want people to notice.

Wide selections of all-weather spun polyester fabric make it easy to find floral prints that will go with just about any décor.  These are great fabrics to consider but they have only one downfall, over time, they will begin to fade after long exposure to the sun.  If taken care of properly, you can extend their useful life by limiting the sunlight they are exposed to.  It’s the sun’s ultraviolet rays that degrade the colors over time.  So, taking them in or covering them up with furniture covers when not being used for long periods can help extend their life.

If you can’t be bothered with taking cushions inside or covering them up all the time, then an acrylic-like Sunbrella® fabric is for you.  Sunbrella is a state-of-the-art solution died fabric that hold its fastness longer than most other fabrics.  Like all-weather fabrics, its soft cotton-like feel makes it a perfect choice for outdoor replacement cushions.  Although you might not find the floral selection you can in all-weather fabrics, it’s worth considering, especially if you like quality material.

Look through the fabric galleries and open the images to see the full-scale pattern and colors.  The smaller thumbnail pictures should not be used to determine your choices. 

This video shows you how to browse and maneuver through our fabric galleries.

Select the fabrics you want to use.  Document the name of the fabric, if available, and/or the fabric number for each type of furniture cushion you will have made.  It’s important not to screw this up because it’s an expensive mistake not to be careful that you have the exact fabric you want to use for the specific cushion you want to use it for.

Note: Don’t hesitate to contact the vendor to help you color match.  They do it all the time.  You can’t be expected to match colors perfectly by viewing them online.  Most places offer a swatch program where you can call or order swatches online and send them to your home.  This is a great way to review the fabrics you most want to consider for your project in the décor you will be using.  If you are skeptical, you should consider ordering swatches and reviewing them before ordering cushions.

Final Review and Documentation

After completing your review and investigation of fabrics, it’s time to tie it all together and summarize what you need.  On a clean sheet of paper, list the cushions and attributes you need so that it is clean and clear.  Contact your cushion maker or go to your online store that offers outdoor replacement cushions and place your order.  Don’t hesitate to contact someone first if you have any questions.  Believe me; they would rather you call and ask a question than deal with a cushion mistake or problem. 

The idea is to get it right first because the fabric is cut in the cushion business, and you have bought it.  It’s not worth the effort to try to fix major mistakes.  So when in doubt, don’t make the contact and review your order with the vendor.  They should be very happy to assist you.  If not, then you should seek out another vendor.

Placing Order

Once you have convinced yourself you have everything ready to go, place your replacement cushion order and get ready for an exciting change to your outdoor area.

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