Standard patio furniture uses seat cushions and no back cushions. Determining what type of seat cushions you want to use for your patio furniture can be a daunting task, especially if your not familiar with the differences. This article will help you understand the most common types of seat cushions used on patio furniture and aid you in making a decision. We will discuss two basic types of cushions; tufted cushions and foam cushions
Tufted Seat Cushions
Tufted cushions are a standard good economical cushion choice to use on your outdoor furniture. Many people say tufted cushions are forgiving. Meaning, that the cushion does not have to fit perfect to look and feel good. Tufted cushions are easier to manufacture than foam cushions and use less expensive components. Tufting does not allow the cushion to be flat, its shape is best described as hilly.
To make tufted cushions, the crafter cuts fabric to size and shape for the top and bottom of the cushion. With the fabric placed together inside out, the edges of the fabric are sewn together except for about 4 inches in the back where the fill will be added later. The fabric is then turned right side out and circle tufts are sewn in certain locations of the cushion cover holding the top and bottom fabric layers together. As a result, tufted cushion covers are not removable. Typically polyester fiber fill is used to stuff the cushions. Once the right amount is inside the cushion, the fill opening of the cover is sewn closed.
Tufts are used to establish stability to the fiber fill inside. Tufts also provide a certain aesthetic value. Without tufts, seat cushions can get lumpy and bumpy because the fill can move around too much and bunch up through use. The more tufts, the more stability of the fiber fill. However, you give up puffy softness with more tufts
The more tufts also reduces the thickness of the cushion. A chair cushion with one tuft will be about 5 in. thick, puffy and soft. Whereas, a chair cushion with 4 tufts, will be about 3 to 4 in. thick and be more firm as compared to one with less tufts. If you like soft puffy cushions, then buy tufted cushions with fewer tufts. If you like a more firm cushion, buy one with more tufts.
Puffier cushions tend to flatten out sooner than tufted cushions with more tufts. Both are equally good, it’s a matter of taste and recognizing that the puffier one might not look as it did when you received it after long term use.
Foam Seat Cushions
By some people, foam seat cushions are considered more elegant than tufted cushions. Others claim the opposite. Typically, if you like the flat look, a little more firmness in a cushion, or your body requires significant cushion support, than foam seat cushions are for you.
In crafting foam seat cushions, two basic styles are popular, knife edge and boxed.
Knife edge are made so that there is one seam along the front of the cushion, and either one or two on the sides and back. When there is a single bead of welting on the single seam, that is referred to as a waterfall edge. A zipper is installed in the back so that once the cover is made, the foam can be inserted and the cover closed.
Boxed cushions are made so that there are two seams around all sides of the cushion boxing off the entire cushion. Unlike tufted cushions, welting (AKA: cording or piping) is popular to use with foam cushions. Welting is aesthetically pleasing showing the lines of the cushions. It also protects the seams from wearing out prematurely.
As compared to tufted seat cushions, foam seat cushions use foam inside rather than polyester fill. Foam ranges in softness. Too soft foam is not comfortable. Too hard foam feels like your sitting on a brick. Most cushion makers use a medium to high density foam. Both are good. Typical foam seat cushions range from 3 to 4 inches in thicknesses for standard furniture. If you think you need the extra support, you can go to 5 or 6 inch.
The combination of foam density and thickness depict the comfort level of the cushion. Recognize that you may not always have the choice of the type of foam you get from your cushion maker. To improve comfort and overall appearance of the cushion, a layer of Dacron wrap is typically glued to the top and bottom and face surfaces of the foam before it is inserted into the cover .
You need to choose thickness based on how comfortable you want to be. Most people will use 3 in foam. If you’re not sure, 4 in foam is a better choice.
There are a range of different fabric types used for outdoor furniture. Popular fabrics include but are not limited to All-Weather, Sunbrella and Olefin fabrics.