Cushion Fill: a Simple Guide

It’s what’s inside that counts, according to the old adage. As true as this is of people, it is also true of cushions. A cushion could be made with the best fabric on the line, but if the stuffing is low-grade, the cushion will not last. At Northern Patio, we use high quality materials to ensure that our cushions hold up for years to come. That being said, it can still be daunting to choose what seat or back fill you want.

Today, we’ll walk through the different types of cushion fill. We will then discuss what to consider when picking your cushion fill.

Seat Cushion Fill

High-Density Foam

The standard foam used at Northern patio is high density polyurethane. This foam is classified as medium soft and is excellent for indoor and outdoor use.

This is a closed cell foam, and the cells are very close together. This foam uses a lot of material, so it weighs 1.9 lbs per cubic foot. It takes 27lbs of downward force to compress it 25% of its original thickness.

Foam this dense will last for a long time with regular use and proper care. Cushions with this foam should be brought inside in inclement weather. However, if they do get wet, they can be dried by opening the zipper panel and standing the cushion upright in a warm place. The foam will drain and dry in a couple hours.

High Density Foam cushion fill
Quick Dry Foam, cushion fill

Quick Dry Foam

Quick Dry foam is a specialty open cell foam. The cells are very large and wide apart, which allows water to run freely through the cushion. If the cushion gets wet, it should dry in an hour after being placed upright with the zipper open to drain. This foam has a fungicide added during manufacturing, for extra peace of mind.

Quick Dry foam is slightly lighter than standard foam, due to the large cells. In order to have large cells but avoid compressing down to nothing, it is made of firmer material. However, the foam is still comfortable for sitting.

Due to the specialized nature of this foam, it is more expensive than standard foam. It is recommended for cushions near pools, or that will frequently be getting wet.

Back Cushion Fill

Back cushions are just as important as seats. A back cushion can change the look of your patio set depending on the fill, so it’s important to know what you are getting.

Foam-filled Backs

High density foam (left) and quick dry foam (right)

High density foam (left) and quick dry foam (right) side by side.

High-density foam and Quick Dry foam can both be used as back cushion fill. Foam-filled backs provide a more boxy look and can be good for shallow seats.

Comfort Fill

The traditional fill for a back cushion is comfort, or loose, fill. This fill is made from polyester and is sometimes called polyfill. This fill is either in a pillow form or loose inside a compressed fibre shell.

Polyfill creates a full, pillow-y back cushion. The backs are comfortable and look soft and full.

This fill is not water resistant and it is highly recommended to bring these cushions in from the rain.

Comfort back cushion fill

Choosing a Cushion Fill

Now that you are familiar with all the fill options for custom cushions, it’s time to decide which work for you! Based on the location, desired look, and cost constraints on your cushions, you can narrow down the choices to find the perfect cushion fill.

Desired Style

The most noticeable fill will be whatever is in your back cushions. With this in mind, a great place to start when choosing fill is the final look of the cushions. If you want a more classic look, comfort fill is for you. If you’d prefer something more structured with clean lines, foam-fill may be the right choice.

Plushness Level

Everyone has different preferences for the softness of their seats. If you prefer something firm, you may want Quick Dry foam in the seats, and even the backs.

Standard foam can also make back cushions firmer than comfort fill. If you don’t want to sink into your back cushions, foam-filled is a good choice.

Furniture Location

For most applications, standard foam is an excellent choice. It can handle occasional moisture and lasts a long time.

If your furniture is somewhere that will be exposed to a lot of moisture, you may want to invest in Quick Dry foam. The antifungal treatment during manufacturing will be a lifesaver in especially damp environments, like a poolside or a rainy cottage.

Budget Considerations

Foam and fabric selection are the two things you can control that drive up the price. If cost is a constraint on your project, choosing a different fill can help.

Quick Dry foam is the most expensive option. Choosing standard foam for your seats will give you the lowest price point.

For backs, comfort fill is the most affordable option.

Additionally, be advised that reducing the thickness of your cushions by one inch can decrease the price significantly.

Choosing fill for your cushions may seem confusing. However, armed with the proper knowledge, you’ll have no problems navigating through the ordering process.

If you have any questions about fill, please reach out to our sales team!