Guide | Outdoor Seating & Patio Chairs

How to Choose Patio Furniture Cushions

Patio furniture transforms outdoor spaces into perfect entertainment areas. Whether your patio is designed for partying or relaxing, having the right patio furniture cushions can keep your space stylish and comfortable.

Patio furniture cushions can complement the rest of your outdoor décor but must be functional and durable as well. Here's what to look for when choosing cushions for outdoor chairs, sofas, and chaises.

What Size Patio Furniture Cushions Do I Need?

The right size for your chairs will depend on their width, depth, and height. Measure the seat width between the armrests and depth carefully to make sure you get a cushion that is as large as or slightly smaller than your seat. Most seat cushions will be 18-24" wide and deep. For backrest cushions, get one that is at least 18" high or almost as tall as the backrest.

For long one-piece cushions for reclining patio chaises or loungers, make sure to get cushions that can fold in the right spot. Most chaise cushions have two or three segments of equal length, but make sure your furniture has joints in approximately the same two or three places.

What Fabric is Best for Patio Furniture Cushions?

  • Vinyl is durable and stain-resistant but gets hot in the sun and can fade easily. It is inexpensive and a good choice for patio furniture that will be in the shade.

  • Cotton canvas is tough and inexpensive. However, it is not water-resistant or colorfast unless it is treated with a special coating.

  • Solution-dyed acrylic is durable, colorfast, and soft. It's a little more expensive than other materials, but it will hold up longer.

  • Polyester has high stain resistance and makes a good outdoor fabric when it is covered with PVC. However, this PVC material makes it noticeably less soft.

Plac Vinyl Barstool Cushion Set
Indoor Outdoor Dining Chair Cushion
Indoor Outdoor Weather Resistant Polyester Cushion
Indoor Outdoor Acrylic Fabric Bench Cushion
Indoor Outdoor Cushion Covers Set
Indoor Outdoor Polyester Weather Resistant Chair Cushion Set

What Foam or Padding is Best for Patio Furniture Cushions?

Reticulated foam and polyester fiber are both excellent for outdoor furniture cushions. They are quick-drying and durable. Reticulated foam is slightly more expensive, but offers better microbial and moisture resistance, while polyester fiberfill is better suited to throw pillows as it has high-visual appeal but quickly compresses reducing support.

Dacron is another durable option and is exceptional for outdoor cushions as it does not flatten like other fill materials. Dacron cushions offer a more supportive and firmer seat, making them a great choice for patio sofas and loungers. The tight structure gives them a sleek, streamlined appearance ideal for modern and contemporary homes.

Also, consider the thickness of the seat cushion foam because this can impact the comfort of your furniture. Remember that the fill will compress when you are seated, so choose a cushion with a thickness of at least 4" deep. Padding should be around 2" thick for chaises and sun loungers. But remember, much thicker padding may not dry as quickly, potentially leading to mildew.

100% Polyester Fabric Lounge Chair Cushion
Water Resistant Chaise Lounge Cushion
Weather Resistant Polyester Blend Dining Chair Cushion
Outdoor Foam Fill Seat Back Cushion
Handmade Dining Chair Cushion Set
Lounge Indoor Outdoor Chair Foam Fill Cushion

What Color Cushions Should I Choose?

The color of your cushions can help set the mood for the entire patio.

  • If you have a pool, look for tropical colors like pink, coral, and bright blue in bold patterns.

  • You can also mix and match cushion colors, as long as the colors still coordinate with the rest of the patio's theme.

  • If you don't know which color theme to choose, take inspiration from your garden. Create a neutral base and select throw cushions that match the shades of the flowers in your garden to add pops of color.

  • Patios with a more mature atmosphere for dining or bonfires could stick to neutral or gentle floral cushions.

  • Gray or brown cushions hide dirt well and can match stone tiles or a fire pit.

  • Florals go well with white wicker or wood chairs.

Coral Indoor Outdoor Chaise Lounge Cushion
Medium Blue Chaise Lounge Cushion
White Floral Patterns Dining Chair Cushion
Durable Polyester Blend Leafs Pattern Seat Cushion
Indoor Outdoor Brown Dining Chair Cushion
Polyester Weather Resistant Navy Blue Chaise Lounge Cushion

Do I Need a Backrest Cushion?

Some homeowners prefer to use seat cushions and use throw pillows for additional comfort. This can be a great option for patios with stylish chairs that add to the atmosphere.

However, using backrest cushions can prevent them from slipping or shifting while you sit because they are designed to fit and secure to your outdoor chairs. Two-piece cushion sets are an excellent option for these situations. Or look for patio furniture cushions that have the back and seat cushions attached. Either way, pick out throw pillows that accent your furniture and comfortable enough for long-term use.

Fade Resistant Dining Chair Cushion
Indoor Outdoor Floral Pattern Lounge Chair Cushion
Geometric Pattern Seat Cushion Set
Linen Deep Seating Chair Cushion
Indoor Outdoor Dining Chair Cushion
100% Acrylic Polyester Fill Weather Resistant Lounge Cushion

Can I Get Slipcovers for My Outdoor Furniture Cushions?

Although you can theoretically make or find slipcovers to protect new cushions, older cushions should be replaced instead of covered.

Patio furniture cushions usually start to wear out after a few years because they are made from a material that prioritizes moisture resistance instead of durability. While some of this wear and tear is cosmetic, the internal foam starts to grow thin as well.

The best way to protect your patio furniture cushions and prolong their life is to store them indoors when not in use and use a cover the protect your outdoor furniture from the elements.

Quick Tips

  • Measure your patio furniture carefully to find the perfect size outdoor cushion.
  • Measure both the depth of the seat and the width between the armrests.
  • Furniture with T-cushions or curved shapes should be measured from the widest points.
  • Cushion fabric needs to be durable, water-resistant, and stylish. There are many options to choose from, including vinyl, canvas, acrylic, and polyester.
  • Slipcovers are unnecessary for outdoor cushions. It is recommended you replace cushions rather than cover them. However, you can prolong the life of your outdoor cushions by storing them when not in use.
  • The interior padding of your cushions determines the level of comfort and support they offer. Choose between polyester fiberfill, high-density foam, or Dacron. Seat cushions should be at least 4" thick to account for compression.
  • Backrest cushions enhance the comfort and style of your furniture. You can choose between a two-piece set or an attached back and seat cushions. However, throw pillows can be an alternative way to personalize your space.

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