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Deep Seating Furniture Cushions Part 2

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Deep Seating Furniture
Deep Seating Chaise Lounge

This article continues last week’s discussion on deep-seating furniture cushions.

Deep Seat Cushions Defined

Deep seating cushions can be generally defined as a thick, comfortable back and seat cushion set consisting of at least a 4-inch thick non-tufted seat cushion and 4in. thick back cushion with or without tufts.  This type of cushion set provides the utmost in-seat and back support.  Most sets sold today are at least 5 inches thick or more.  Deep seating furniture requires this type of cushion for you to use the furniture.  Unlike standard furniture frames that only use tufted cushions and you can use it without cushions, deep seating furniture requires cushions so you can use it. 

Cushion Materials

Though they may look similar, deep seating cushions are not all constructed the same.  Different materials can be used to construct the seat cushion but have it look the same as other materials.  For example, you can use indoor cushion fabric rather than all-weather or premium Sunbrella® fabric.  You can use inexpensive layers of Dacron rather than medium or high-density foam to simulate a foam in a cushion.  Too much Dacron wrap can be used to wrap around foam to lower the cost.

If It’s Too Good To Be True

Watch out for imported cushions that look like quality brand cushions.  You need to look inside and read the tags to make sure what you are getting.  Far too many times, customers call and say “The cushions I got with my wicker set from the Big Box Store are all lumpy and disfigured.  Can you make me replacement cushions for my furniture?” 

This area is where importers get deals by buying cheap imported cushions that don’t match US-made cushions.  Make sure you are getting foam seat cushions and not some inferior product.  By the way, when buying from box stores, you will likely find that you cannot find replacement cushions without having to special order them.  See our comments below on special orders.

Box stores buy furniture by the container and never expect to service you with replacement cushions or accessories.  When you buy from a furniture dealer specializing in furniture and cushions, they will almost always be able to sell you replacement cushions for furniture they sell at a better price.  This is especially true with deep seating furniture cushions because they already have the templates.

Cushion Construction

Seat cushions for deep seating furniture are generally constructed differently than the back cushions.

Seat Cushions

Seat cushions are generally constructed of medium or high-density foam because they give the user a pleasant sitting experience.  Its feel and comfort are superior to a filled seat cushion for most.  A thin layer of Dacron is typically added to add softness to the cushion surfaces.  This softens the firm cushion feel and looks under the fabric.  Cheap spin-offs of this type of cushion use more Dacron than foam; this type of cushion will look the same but feel significantly different initially and become less comfortable, lumpy, or flattened much sooner than their filled foam counterparts.  

A single bead of welting is typically used unless you have boxed cushions where you would use double welting.

Back Cushions

Back Cushions for this type of furniture are generally filled with polyester fiber.  Polyester-filled fusions are excellent for comfort and keeping shape.  These cushions are generally made without tufts, but getting them tufted is an option if you like.  A single bead of welting is typically used unless you have boxed back cushions where you would use double welting.  If you like to clean your covers, they can be made with removable coves and inner casings.  You won’t find much deviation between cushion makers in back cushions except that one may offer the ancillaries as options and others may include them as part of their standard package. 

Cushion Types

For this conversation, we will discuss two common deep seating cushion types, which will properly convey the necessary information because these will be similar to all other furniture types, such as teak and metal.  In fact, since these types of cushions are very general descriptions, other ancillary options can be included to define the style.

Cushion Style

What we mean here by cushion style is the basic shape of how the cushion is constructed.  Cushions can take on one of two basic styles: boxed or waterfall.

Boxed Cushions

Boxed cushions are premium-style and are the easiest to comprehend from the written word.  The cushion is constructed of panels then when sewn together and filled with foam, the cushion represents the shape of a box, four sides, a top and bottom.

Waterfall Edge Cushions

Waterfall edge cushions are generally cushions where a foam cushion’s top and bottom panels are sewn together on the front edge rather than boxed.  The seam that runs along this seam typically has welting running along it.  The sides and back of this type of cushion can be boxed or waterfall.

Cushion Size

Cushion makers attempt to use fabric economically.  However, to meet certain size specifications and patterns, additional fabric must be used to continue the pattern design or match the pattern design at a seam.  Typical deep seating seat cushions range from about 22 inches wide and deep to about 26 inches wide and 29 inches deep.

Cushions with more than 26 inches depth may require fabric piecing to continue the pattern.  This may primarily be due to whether the fabric pattern is up the roll or selvage to selvage and the pattern’s repeat.  Therefore, if your cushions exceed 26 inches in any direction, there may be an extra charge to seam or match the fabric pattern.

Fabrication Time

Depending on your cushion maker and the time of year you place your order, expect between 2 and 16 weeks before your cushions are completed.  Add another few days for shipping if they are shipped to your home.  The busiest time of year for cushion makers is between March and July.  If you have a time crunch to have your cushions completed,  you should interview your cushion makers for expected delivery times. 

Ancillary Options

  • Some typical options you may have the choice of when talking to your cushion maker, are:
  • Standard Size, Type, and Style Cushions
  • Special Order Size, Type, and Style
  • Fabric Choice
  • Seat Fill Material
  • Seat Firmness
  • Seat Thickness
  • Back Fill Material
  • Back Fill Firmness
  • Removable Zippered Back Cushion Cover
  • Removable Inner Casing in Back Cushion
  • Welting (AKA: Piping or Cording)
  • Tufted or Non-Tufted Back Cushion
  • Indoor or outdoor quality for any of the above

Cost

Don’t think you’ll get away with a small price tag for deep seating cushions.  The truth is, they are not inexpensive. Instead, they are moderate to expensive.  Think of it this way, the lowest retail price you will find for one cushion set for one seating position (one seat and one back cushion) is, depending on many factors, about $190 up to an order of twice that depending on the materials used, whether a pattern needs to be designed and the labor to design and craft the cushions. 

Special Orders

You can get the biggest bang for your buck by choosing standard template cushions.  That means that the cushion maker has a ready-made template for a particular cushion design and can efficiently and economically make that particular cushion design at a reduced cost, except for the choice of fabric and fillers, which influences the cost.  When you need special treatment because you don’t have a standard designed cushion set that the cushion maker handles, don’t be surprised that the cost of fabricating a special size and shape cushion set exceeds the standard template cost by 15%-25% or more.

The Economics

If you’re ok with the price you get from your cushion maker, that’s great, because you will probably get a fantastic set of cushions that will wear well, last, and look good for a long time.  To be economical and still get a very acceptable set of Cushions, consider this:

  • Go with a waterfall design with a single bead of welting rather than boxed seat cushions with double piping
  • Instead of six-inch thick go with 5 inch thick
  • Eliminate welting if you can
  • Don’t order removable back cushion covers and inner casings.  Go with sewn-shut or tufted back cushions
  • Don’t use buttons on tufted cushions; use standard sewn circle tufts.
  • Select a lower-grade fabric rather than a premium fabric

Summary

As much as these suggestions can save you between 5% and 50% depending on the materials and labor needed, you must ultimately be 100% satisfied with your decision.  So don’t go cheap with the qualities you consider important, only those that are not musts.

For example, if welting is a must-have, make sure you get welting.  Do some planning, determine what you need, and then look for someone who can provide it at a cost you can accept.  Remember, you’re never going to like the price.   If your cushions will be in the Florida Sun for the entire season, you should consider using Sunbrella fabric.  Don’t scrimp on a must-have.  Once you get your cushions, take care of them so they continue to look good and last a long time.

You can check back for our next article to learn how to measure your furniture for replacement cushions.

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