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Types Of Cushions (Styles & Materials)

Here we share our types of cushions guide including the kinds of foam, cushion styles, foam materials for sofas, and important details
Gray sofa with cushions coffee table windowCushions fascinatingly have their history date back to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. The use of cushions in the past is a symbol of royalty and high status. 

Romans are well-known for using cushions in their marbled benches, whether they are installed at home or in the colosseum. It is also popular in 14th century England, where cushions are used in the coronation ceremonies of kings and queens.  

Since cushions were integrated into our way of life, they seem something simple and unimportant. That is unless you take it out of the equation. Let’s face it, less comfort and less convenience.

Foam Cushions

Foam inside sofa cushionFrom prominence and royalty to comfort, foam cushions have come a long way to become part of today’s everyday. They come in all sizes and are made from different materials. They even have different cushion fillings and one of the most popular is foam. 

Foam cushions are among the most popular primarily because they are the most in-demand in the market. You can sink into them and enjoy the day indoors. 

But if you’re planning to do just that, make sure you’re buying the ideal foam cushion for you. Here are the different types of cushions made of foam:  

Polyurethane Foam

Gray polyurethane foamPolyurethane is part of the polymers (plastic) family. It can be very flexible or very rigid, depending on how the manufacturers make them. 

Polyurethane Foam is the most flexible type of foam, capable of delivering the best support and comfort for you. It has a wide range of applications, including but not limited to the following:

Sponge

Car Seats

• Soundproofing Systems

• Mattresses

• Large Filters

• Upholstered Furniture

• Large Filters

• Thermal Insulation

Medium Density Polyurethane Foam

Medium density foam for upholsteryMedium Density Polyurethane Foam is the classic type of polyurethane foam. It is the traditional choice if you want just the right middle of firmness and softness when it comes to seating and bedding. 

The Medium Density Polyurethane Foam has a treatment in it that avoids mold and mildew as it dries out. But it should be protected with a waterproof layer before being inserted into a cover. This foam is ideal for the following:

• Patio Cushions

• Boat Seating

• Indoor Seating

High-Density Polyurethane Foam

Inspecting high quality foam inside sofaHigh-Density Polyurethane Foam is the same as Medium Density Polyurethane Foam, only with a higher density. This means that it is far more resilient and can take constant use compared to its medium-density version. It can also be antimicrobial, this type of foam can last up to 12 years. It also has different levels of firmness, from medium to firm and then extra firm. 

If you want to buy a High-Density Polyurethane Foam, you can use it for the following:

• Interior Settee

• Sofa Cushions

• Berth Cushions 

Polyester Fiberfill

Polyester fiberfill foam for upholstery sofas types of cushionPolyester Fiberfill is the one you are looking for if you are tight with your budget. There’s a bit of a warning in choosing this filling though as it flattens out too quickly and easily. 

They also come in different densities and types, including the following:

• Soft Polyester (Smooth, bouncy, and durable)

• Ply-a Soft Polyester (Limp and far less bouncy)

• Faux-down Polyester (Safe for people allergic to feathers and less expensive)

• Cluster Polyester (Durable and long-lasting)

Considered as polyester fibers rather than foam, Polyester Fiberfill is affordable, mildew-resistant, non-allergenic, and machine washable. You can use it for the following:

• Deep seating back cushions

Pillows stuffing

• Cushion/pillow fabric support

Closed Cell Foam

Closed cell foam blackAmazon – See this Closed Cell Foam at Amazon [sponsored link]

Made from PVN, Closed Cell Foam is considered firm, buoyant, and an expensive choice. Thrice firmer than Polyurethane Foam, it does not absorb moisture, which means you can use any type of fabric to cover it with. 

Closed Cell Foam is also used as additional support for cushions, acting as a spring in a mattress. This is accomplished by gluing the foam to another foam. 

More than just additional support though, it is also great for the following:

• Life Vests

• Floating Cockpit Cushions

• Commercial Boat Seating

Fabric Backed Sew Foam

Fabric backed sew foamAmazon – See this Fabric Backed Sew Foam at Amazon [sponsored link]

Another type of cushion is the Fabric Backed Sew Foam. This foam is also known as “sew foam”, “scrim foam”, or polyurethane foam with fabric backing. It is a thin polyurethane foam sheet you can use for upholstery applications. 

Technically not an entire foam, it is only a portion of a foam that you can use to soften and pad hard edges, and add texture to seating covering fabric. 

The Fabric Backed Sew Foam uses adhesive to make it easy to glue and hold stitches when needed. The backing is where the stitches and pleats are made. And the upholstery work using this foam is ideal for the following:

• Coaming Pads

• Motorcycle

• Golf Cart Backrests

• Pontoon

• Powerboat Seats

Dry Fast Open Cell Foam

Dry fast open cell foam

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Dry Fast Open Cell Foam is an open-cell foam with higher quality. With open pores, open-cell foam has excellent water absorption and airflow, making it comfortable to use. 

This goes the same way with Dry Fast Open Cell Foam but with higher quality! User-friendly and popular, the Dry Fast Open Cell Foam is also mildew and mold-resistant. 

It can even turn into a maintenance-free cushion when combines with an outdoor cushion fabric. This is the reason why this foam is perfect for a boat’s cockpit cushions. 

Tip: Knockoff versions are sold on the market because of the foam’s popularity. Pour a cup of water on the foam, if it runs straight and drains through the bottom, it’s authentic. If it runs off the sides, it is a knockoff. 

Types Of Cushion Shapes

Round cushion seats foam upholsteryBesides the different types of fillers used in the cushions, there are also a variety of cushion shapes you can see offered in the market. 

And this is a good thing when it comes to designing your home! In fact, when you buy a cushion, besides its softness and color, its shape is also a consideration. 

The shape of the cushions will affect the general feel and sofa style you plan to use in the room. This means that it will also affect the look and ambiance that your home or office is going for. 

To help you decide, here are the standard cushions shapes on the market:

• Box-shaped

• Triangular

• Round

• Rectangular

• Tubular

There are more quirky shapes of cushions out there if you want a more unique-looking one. Just make sure it fits the design and vibe of the room where they will be used. Read more about different pillow dimensions on this page.

Types of Cushion Styles

Bright living room with shelves curtain sofa pillows coffee tableMore than just the shape and the filler, the cushion styles are necessary to consider. The style of the cushions will decide the general vibe that it will contribute to the room. 

One style can look minimalistic while one may look unique and quirky. Here are some cushion styles you can expect:

Straight 

Classic sofa window curtains pillowsA straight cushion is the simplest style for sofa cushions. This refers to rectangular or square cushions with no additional parts wrapping over the sofa’s arms. Both interior and end seat cushions can be in straight style. 

Boxed

Living room with window shutters sofa pillows lamp rugFor boxed cushions, they have their clear panels running from the bottom to the top, and on both sides of the cushions. The piping trim gives it a more formal and sturdy boxy look among all the other types of cushions. 

Loose

Sofa with loose cushion colorful pillows window curtainLoose cushions are named as such because they are not attached to the sofa in the first place. They can easily be removed and reattached if you want to clean a sofa

Waterfall 

Modern living room design black sofa hanging light lampsWaterfall-style cushions have fabric wraps. For seat cushions, the fabric runs from the top to the underside. 

For back cushions, it runs from the front towards the backside. These sofa fabrics are closed off with side panels and without any interruption. 

Fixed

Gray sofa with fixed cushion pillowsFixed cushions are literally stitched onto the sofa so that they cannot be removed and misplaced. Cleaning is impossible without including the entire sofa they are installed in. 

Bench

Bench sofa wood floor indoor plant stoolA bench seat cushion is a combination of two to three cushions made like a long bench. The cushion is not divided and runs one long smooth length on the entire sofa. This look offers a more contemporary and minimalist appeal. 

J, L, and T

Brown L shaped sofa wood floorJ, L, and T style cushions are named as such based on their shapes. L cushions wrap on the right sofa arm while J cushions wrap on the left. T cushions on the other hand are loose and wrap on both ends of the sofa’s arms. 

Types Of Foam For Sofa Cushions

Concrete wall living room sofa with cushions indoor plantSofa cushions are all about comfort and style. One cannot go without the other. But other factors must also be taken into account, including lifespan and how it sags as it ages. 

All these factors contribute to a cushion’s quality. To give you options on sofa cushions, here are the different types of foams to choose from. 

High Resilience Foam

Sheets of foam for upholsteryHigh Resilience Foam is considered the best foam cushion because of its bouncy quality. The foam normally weighs around 2.5 to 3 lb. per cubic ft. Its lifespan is 8 to 10 years, which is when it is just starting to soften.  

High Resilience Foam is highly springy, buoyant, and resilient. When a high resilience foam is partnered with an open-cell, it becomes even sturdier and lasts longer. This foam is used in yacht cushions and expensive furniture upholstery. 

Lux Foam

Sheets of foam for upholsteryLux Foam is a good quality foam cushion that weighs 2.2 lb per cubic ft. It is known for being a firmer foam but also springy like the High Resilience Foam. 

And it is one level higher than the Industrial Grade High Density, which is the average foam available in the market. 

It is a good middle between the High Resilience Foam and Industrial Grade High Density, cheaper from the former and with better quality than the latter. Lux Foam can last for around six years and can be used for camping pads and bench cushions. 

Industrial Grade High-Density Foam

Closeup of sofa foamThe Industrial Grade High-Density Foam, weighing 1.9 lb per cubic ft., is the most common foam cushion available in the market. 

Widely used in most pieces of furniture, this foam is economical and comfortable at the same time. But it is also known to be a bit lower in quality compared to High Resilience Foam and Lux Foam. 

Can I Replace The Foam In My Couch Cushions?

Hand on sofa cushion foamThe straight answer is, yes you can! You don’t have to throw away a good sofa frame just because the cushions are already lumpy, saggy, or have holes in them. 

If your cushions have zippers, good on you! This only makes your job a lot easier. You can just take out the fillers and replace them with new ones. But there are still several steps to accomplish this. 

1. Determine the foam size (length, width, and thickness), what foam filler to use, and how much filler you will need for all cushions (Tip: Use high-density foam for higher quality!)

2. Take your cushions out from the sofa, remove the fillers, and turn the fabric inside out (For fixed cushions: just pull out the fillers carefully)

3. Take out the cushion foam you’ve just purchased and cut them down based on the foam size (You can draw a pattern for each foam that your cushions need- just make sure that it is always 1 inch bigger) 

4. Put the new foam inside the fabric or cushion where you removed the old filler from. Insert each from in their appropriate cover and then zip it up!

These are the simple steps you can follow to successfully replace the foam in your cushions!

What Kind Of Foam Do You Use For Chair Cushions?

Cushion of sofa chair indoor plant rugThere are different types of foam to choose from but you can’t just pinpoint one and use it. Some foam fillings are more compatible with specific cushion uses. 

For chair cushions, you want a foam that’s comfortable to sit on but springs right back after. 

Polyurethane foam is the choice you might want to consider for chair cushions. Medium Density and High-Density foams are both okay. 

If it’s indoor seating, go for Medium Density Polyurethane Foam. If it’s more of a sofa-like chair, High-Density Polyurethane Foam is more ideal.  

Which Types Of Cushions Are Best?

Gray sofa with pillowsSome would immediately say that High Resilience Foam is always the right answer when asked for the best, especially for cushions. Its bouncy factor helps in this choice since it springs right back after use. 

While that may be a good element to consider, you should also take note of what and how they will be used.

Will you use the cushion for a sofa at home? Or do you need a cushion for your boat seating? These cases will have different answers when considering a cushion, so will that be the best? 

Of course not. The best types of cushions will be what’s ideal based on your need. When it comes to quality though, high density is considered to be at the top. 

Quality, in this case, comes in the form of a long lifespan and soft cushions. This would mean though that it is more expensive than medium density cushions and others below that.  

What Is The Best Density For Sofa Cushions?

Outdoor furniture sofa cushionWhen considering the best density for your sofa cushions, the answer is High-Density cushions. High-Density cushions are soft yet firm at the same time. It is also a good investment since this type of foam can last up to 12 years. You won’t have to replace your cushions again in the next 12 years. 

Is High-Density Foam Good For Cushions?

Cushion of sofa curtain pillowsHigh-density foam is definitely good for your cushions. This is among the types of cushions that are firm yet incredibly comfortable at the same time. This is what makes it good for sofa cushions. 

Though foam density is not really a topic that people talk about in the market today despite its importance. This is probably the sign that the market needs to start taking it seriously when shopping for cushions.

See more related content at our article about sofa dimensions on this page.

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