Measuring Standard Furniture for Replacement Cushions

Tufted Chair Cushion

Chair With Tufted Chair Cushion

Hundreds of thousands of people every spring decide to order replacement furniture cushions for their patio furniture.  Some find it relatively easy to do while others find it a daunting task.  It’s not that difficult to figure out what to do if you know a few things about your furniture.  Below are some helpful hints in identifying what you need to know to order replacement cushions for standard furniture.

Standard Furniture With Only Seat Cushions

Standard furniture is furniture that typically can be used without cushions such as a wicker chair or love seat.  Back cushions are not commonly used on this type of furniture because it is generally not necessary, but also because the seats are not deep enough to accommodate a back cushions without leaving your legs hanging over the front of the chair.  However, most of us would rather use a seat cushion to soften the blow a little, especially if we will be sitting for longer periods of time.  

So, in order to get the right seat cushion for standard furniture, you must consider the following:

  • Seat cushion shape
  • Seat cushion dimensions
  • How to measure
  • Seat cushion type

Seat Cushion Shape

Unless you have purchased some odd ball furniture, you are going to be very happy to know that some very standard cushion designs will already meet your need.  In particular, the shape of your cushion will be one of either rectangular or square with squared-off corners or, squared-off front corners and rounded-off back corners.  

Typically, seat cushions for chairs are square, but some have the widths wider than the depths.  Overall however, they are still either squared-off on all corners or have rounded back corners. Chairs with rounded corners in the back have both back corners rounded-off whereas, love seats and sofas with two or three seat pads will only have the two outer corners rounded off. One piece seat cushions of this type will have both back corners rounded-off.

Seat Cushion Dimensions

  • Seat cushions have three dimensions
  • Width (left to right measurement)
  • Depth (front to back measurement)
  • Thickness (top to bottom measurement).

For square or rectangular cushions, it’s pretty straight forward what the width and depth measurements are.  However, for designs that require rounded-off back corners, it seems that the width and depth measurements might be different.  Don’t over think this.  Typical chair pads, almost always square, have the width and depth measurements the same, even if they have rounded corners.  Now, for loveseats and sofas, the widths are obviously going to be wider than the depth.

Some typical cushion measurements for chairs, loveseats and sofas (in inches) are:

  • Chairs: 18×18, 19×19, 20×20, 22×22 and 24×24
  • Love Seats: 18×41 or 18×42, 19×42 or 19×43, 20×44, 22×46 and 24×48
  • Sofas: 19×60 and 20×62
  • Ottomans: 16×20, 17×21, 15×19 and 16.5×15.5
  • Custom designs are made to order

How To Measure

One would think that if you have an old set of cushions that you can just measure the old ones and that will give you the measurements you need.  That’s great if the cushions are still in good shape.  But, since you are buying new cushions, they probably are warn and flatted out and most likely will measure a little larger than the originals.  So, to make sure you get the right measurements, measure the furniture seat surface. 

For all seat cushions, measure the width across the front edge of the seat between the arm frames.  Measure the depth from the center front edge of the seat to the back rest.

This works for chairs, loveseats and sofas.

Tip – Cushions are better to be a little short than too long in depth.  Over time, tufted cushions for example, will flatten out a bit.  So, if they are too big to start with, they will hang over the front end of the chair and they won’t look good in the long term.  This is not so much of a problem with the width, because the sides of the furniture keep the cushion in place, even if it’s a lithe too big.  So don’t order too big of a cushion if you can get the right size by measuring properly.

Seat Cushion Type

Most people buy tufted replacement cushions for standard furniture.  They are inexpensive as compared to foam cushions and carry a style that is adorned by many.  On the other hand, if you are looking for more support and a flat level look, foam cushions are the way to go.  

Tufted cushions are filled with fiber.  Tufts are sewn between the top and bottom panels of the cushion that have three purposes:

  • Aesthetics
  • Hold the fiber in place
  • To control thickness

Foam Cushions are simply cushions that use solid foam rubber inside rather than fiber filling like tufted cushions.  These are more expensive cushions because the materials and labor cost more.  Foam cushions are flat and vary in thickness from two inches up to 6 inches thick for standard furniture.

Unconventional Shaped Cushions

If you’re not sure of the shape of your cushions or you have a cushion design that you won’t be able to get off the shelf design replacement cushions for, you will need to talk to a cushion maker.  You will need to provide a template drawn on paper of the shape you need your cushions made into. Provide all the information you can including a picture if you have one of the furniture. The image is not absolutely necessary, but any additional information will help ensure you get the product you want and need for your furniture.


This article covered identifying the cushion shape, dimensions, how to measure the furniture frame and the type of of cushion you need.  It was identified that measuring the old cushions are an acceptable way to go if you know the cushions are not flattened and out of shape.  To ensure you have accurate measurements, to measure your furniture frames and not to order too large of a cushion.  Tufted cushions are by far the most popular cushions for standard furniture because they are comfortable and inexpensive as compared to foam cushions. And finally, if you need a specially designed cushion, you will need to make a template of the shape and provide it to your cushion maker to ensure you get cushions that will fit and look great on your furniture.

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