Replacement Foam for Sofa and Patio Cushions
Updated: Jun 17
Keep your sofa comfortable, and your budget intact - choose the best cushion to fit your needs.
Sagging sofa cushions make the whole sofa look old and tired. Replacing the cushions can breathe new life into the piece, giving you many more years of service before giving it away. When choosing a replacement sofa cushion, know what your alternatives are and how to pick the right foam.
Cushion Life Expectancy
The foam or filling in your cushions has a direct effect on how long the cushions will maintain their support (seat cushions) or their comfort (back cushions). Choosing the right filler starts with determining what you want from your cushions and a general lifespan you expect from them. The typical seat cushion on a sofa has a foam is medium-firm and bounces back easily. Back cushions are quite a bit softer than the seat and rebound fairly quickly. Loose filler such as polyester or foam chips is usually not suitable for sofa cushions as it loosed it's firmness fairly quickly as a result of the weight / pressure from sitting on it.
Seat foam with a life expectancy of 5 years can be at least three times as expensive as foam with a one- or two-year life expectancy. Off-the-shelf cushion fillers, with no suggested life expectancy, can be less than half the price of high-quality foam with a written guarantee. If you choose high density / 5-year cushions, consider the life expectancy of your sofa. If your sofa is not expected to last 5 years, choose cushion replacements more in line with the expected life of your sofa. Unless your furniture is of optimum quality, you may want to consider less expensive cushions. Generally, the longer you want the cushions to last, the more you should expect to pay for the foam.
Sofa Style and Design
Your sofa style and design should determine the type of cushion suitable for the piece. For example, an overstuffed, rolled-arm, classic upholstered sofa will typically have soft, cushy down cushions. A firm, thick foam is not in keeping with the style of this sofa. A modern geometric sofa suits a thick, sharp-edged cushion of firm high density foam. That soft, down-filled cushion does not fit that design style.
Understanding Foam Density
95% of Sofa or any seat cushion for that matter is made with solid (polyethylene) foam. There are 2 basic components that classify solid foam. The 1st and most important is the density. The higher the density, the longer the cushions will last. Here is where is gets confusing though - the density has nothing to do with the firmness - which is the 2nd factor. You can get a very dense foam which is super soft. Of course the other way around is also possible - a low density foam which is firm. Most of the inferior furniture that reach our shores from "east" has foam like that - low density but firm. You think it's good quality foam because it's hard, only to find out that your new sofa's seat foam collapsed after just 3 months.
The best option for seat cushions is always high density foam with a medium firmness. If you struggle with back pain then a high density firm foam would be the better option. As mentioned earlier in this post - the denser the foam the heavier the price tag. Make sure your foam doesn't outlast your sofa!