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Selecting Outdoor Patio Furniture Cushions


Next to frame material and construction, the type of cushions on your outdoor patio furniture is the next most important consideration.  What’s inside the cushion is equally as important as what covers it.


Some patio furniture is designed to not require a cushion at all.  There are many sling and padded sling dining chairs, lounge chairs, and chaise lounges that do not need an additional cushion.  Many pieces in the composite outdoor furniture or the recycled patio furniture categories are designed to be comfortable without cushions.  Part of the allure behind these categories is the easy to clean and low maintenance lifestyle they afford.


All quality outdoor patio furniture manufacturers will provide cushions with their pieces.  Sometimes they are included in the price of the furniture and sometimes they are sold separately.  Whether included or not, they are made exactly to fit.  Cushions may be sold separately because there are options to choose from.  You may be choosing from a fabric book where some fabrics cost more than others.  You may have the option to have a seat cushion only, or a full seat and back cushion.

Patio furniture cushions being sold separately can be a big advantage.  You can get exactly what you want.  You also know that in the future, you can order replacement cushions that will again be made by the manufacturer exactly to your furniture’s specifications.


When you see patio furniture cushions sold in a store, don’t assume they will fit your furniture.  It is highly unlikely.  Furniture dimensions are not uniform at all, as every piece is designed and made as a unique piece.  Aside from size, most cushions need to attach to your furniture by either a set of ties, a set of hook and loop (Velcro) tabs, or an envelope that slips over the frame.  The likelihood of this attachment mechanism being located in the right place or being the right length is very low.


To further complicate the selection of replacement patio furniture cushions, the dimensions are usually misleading.  If you go to any store and look at throw pillows for example, you will find some marked as 20” x 20” or 22” x 22.”  If you measured the pillow, it would be hard to conclude that it is the size as marked.  The size of the insert was that size when it was pressed flat.  Then it was filled with a polyester material and covered with an exterior fabric.  The resulting pillow appears to be much smaller than the size indicated.  You can apply similar logic to outdoor patio furniture cushions. 


Quality patio furniture stores rarely bother stocking replacement cushions because there is no telling if anyone will ever have a piece of furniture that would truly fit them.  Consider the cushions at the big box stores to be temporary.  They are made with a low grade fill, a low quality fabric, and they are not likely to fit.  Many people purchase them because they are inexpensive and they will be “good enough” for the season.  Ask yourself what is good enough for you, and how many times you want to replace cushions before making your purchase.


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  • Christopher Amos
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