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Outdoor Cushions Buying Guide

Cushions are an easy way to bring an extra touch of comfort to outdoor seating arrangements. Learn more about cushion construction, sizes, and care.

 

Comfort is the most important element when outfitting your outdoor space. Outdoor cushions enhance the look of your patio and backyard, adding style and warmth that makes outdoor living feel as cozy as an indoor setting. Outdoor cushions come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors, and patterns to bring aesthetic value that complements any style. While it is recommended to match your cushions by the options offered by your seating’s manufacturer, this guide outlines the basic construction, general sizes, features, and care for most outdoor cushions available on the market.

 

Outdoor Cushion Construction

Outdoor cushions are constructed to withstand harsh outdoor elements. Quality outdoor cushions are weather and moisture resistant, so that they are quick-drying, and are resistant to mold, mildew, and fading. Filling and upholstery fabric will determine the durability and quality of your outdoor cushions.

Filling

Batting (Foam and Dacron)

Batting is used in combination with foam cushions to bring a smooth, streamlined appearance to cushions. Foam and Dacron cushions consist of a foam core with Dacron batting wrapped around. It is an economical option that carries a medium to firm density.

Foam

The most common filling material is foam which comes in a variety of densities whose attributes are important to different applications. There are 4 important factors that determine the quality of foam used for cushions:

 

Type of Foam

Qualities

Compressed Polyester
  • Densified polyester batting (effective foam alternative)
  • Will not degrade/age like traditional foam, but will compress over time
  • Inexpensive option best used for cushions

Polyester Fiberfill
  • Blown polyester fibers (foam alternative)
  • Non-allergenic and resistant to mildew
  • Machine-washable (fiber can bunch during laundering, use hand to smooth out)
  • Common stuffing deep seating back cushions
Polyurethane Foam
  • Traditional foam option that often contains biocide treatment
  • Medium firmness well-suited for seating and mattress applications
  • Avoid environments where polyurethane foam gets wet as cells will soak up water

Open Cell Foam
  • Open cell reticulated foam has open pores that allow water and air to flow easily
  • Comfortable, extremely easy maintenance
  • Dry Fast is a high-quality open cell foam formulated with an antimicrobial agent to prevent mold and mildew
Closed Cell
  • Open cell reticulated foam has open pores that allow water and air to flow easily
  • Comfortable, extremely easy maintenance
  • Dry Fast is a high-quality open cell foam formulated with an antimicrobial agent to prevent mold and mildew

 

 

Upholstery Fabric

The outer material of your outdoor cushions protects the filling from outdoor elements such as moisture, wind, and changes in temperature. Look for upholstery fabric that is both waterproof and fade-resistant so that sun and rain don’t damage your cushions. The following outlines the most common types of fabrics that are best-suited for outdoor use:

 

Type of Fabric

Qualities

Sunbrella
  • Designer fabric developed in the 1960s
  • Engineered with robust performance characteristics: water-resistant, fade-resistant, quick-dry, highly breathable, great textural appearance and feel, easy maintenance
Cotton Canvas
  • Plain woven, heavy duty fabric
  • Durable, comfortable, dyes easily, available in many colors and prints
Duck Cloth
  • Similar to canvas, tighter weave
  • Smoother than cotton canvas
Textilene Fabric
  • Woven polyester with a PVC coating
  • Waterproof, fade resistant, mold-resistant, flame retardant
  • Used for sling seating and sun shades
Olefin Fiber
  • Synthetic fiber also known as polypropylene, often considered a plastic fabric
  • Extremely hardy, durable against mold, heat, sun, and moisture
  • Ideal for cushion inserts
Vinyl
  • Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, was first used during the 1920s and is the second most popular plastic in production
  • Durable, easy to clean, recyclable 


Outdoor Cushion Sizes

LuxeDecor recommends purchasing the corresponding cushions specially designed to complement the manufacturer’s seating. This ensures the perfect fit for your cushions, especially with designs that feature rounded backs or frames that aren’t square or rectangular. However, general measurements and sizes can help determine the correct size cushions for any outdoor seating.

Measuring

Width: Measures left-to-right distance across seating surface. Use the widest measurement when measuring left-to-right, or arm-to-arm to find the correct width.

Depth: Measures front-to-back distance across seating surface. Measure from the front edge of seat to the rear from the center of the seat.

Back: Measures from the base of the seat to the top of the back.

Height: Height refers to the cushion’s thickness. You can estimate the height of ideal cushion by measuring the the base of the seat to the ideal height of where you’d like the cushion to land.

 

 

Outdoor Cushion Features

Ties

Some outdoor cushions feature ties that fasten directly on the frame and keep cushions in place.

Slip Cover

Some outdoor cushions are tailored with a matching slip cover which eliminates exposed frames. Instead of exposed straps or ties, the cushion is held in place to the slip cover with industrial grade Velcro and with a pocket flap to conceal the frame.

Foldable

Some outdoor cushions are constructed as a single piece with seams separating the back and seat cushions. This is a convenient option that makes storing cushions easy.

Reversible

Reversible cushions allow you to quickly change the look of your outdoor furniture with different options for colors and patterns.

 

Outdoor Cushion Care

  • Regularly brush off dirt and debris to maintain your outdoor cushions.
  • Vacuuming outdoor cushions is recommended to remove dirt and debris, especially in hard to reach places along seams and corners.
  • Blot, never rub, when spot cleaning or removing stains for liquid spills.
  • Oil-based stains from lotions and sunscreens must be removed as quickly as possible as they become more difficult to remove with time. For oil-based spills, apply an absorbent such as cornstarch to soak up the oil. Use a straight edge to remove the debris. Spray a mild cleaning solution and rinse fabric thoroughly. Air dry.
  • To remove mildew from cushions upholstered in solution dyed acrylic fabrics (like Sunbrella), use a mix of 1 gallon distilled water + 1 cup chlorine bleach + ¼ cup gentle liquid soap. Spray entire surface Rinse, and air dry.
  • Limit exposure of cushions that have not been specifically treated with UV protection from the sun by placing them in the shade to retain their vibrancy.
  • Saturated cushions should be placed seam side down to allow them to drain. Features such as zippers allow you to remove the cushion filling from the upholstery fabric so that you can allow the water from both filling and fabric to drain.
  • When not in use, store cushions out of the water. Thoroughly clean and dry thoroughly before storing.

 

 

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