If you are reading this article, there is a good chance you are sitting on a seat right now. If you aren’t sitting, there is likely a sofa or chair in close proximity. Sitting is something we often do, but don’t think much of it. That is unless the seat you are sitting on is uncomfortable. Then you will notice it. Old sofa cushions sag and lose their ability to return to form, making for an uncomfortable experience when sitting. Yet sitting is an integral part of our day, so it is important to ensure that along with good posture, the seat you are sitting on is comfortable. The good news is that if the foam in your cushion has deteriorated, it can be replaced. We are here to tell you what is the best foam for sofa cushions.
The foam used in a cushion is one of the most important factors in determining the comfort and lifespan of your sofa. The lifespan of a foam cushion is primarily dependent on the quality of the foam. This quality is often measured by the weight (density) of the foam. Each foam has a weight to it, and typically, the higher the weight the better. If you have read our “Which Foam Should I Use for my Mattress?” article, you will know that there are quite a few possibilities when it comes to foam in mattresses. Sofa cushions follow the same pattern. We will talk about four types of foam that are used in sofa cushions: High Resilience foam, Lux foam, High-Density Foam, and Polyurethane foam.
Best Foam Cushion – High Resilience Foam
Overview: High Resilience foam is the best foam to use for cushions and is the leading foam type if you are looking for high responsiveness for extra bounce and quick return action.
When it comes to what is the best foam for sofa cushions, High Resilience foam provides the most comfortable seat cushion and offers the highest longevity. It is an excellent quality foam that is used in many different types of expensive furniture and yacht cushions. High Resilience foam is the heaviest foam on our list, at 3.0 lbs. per cubic foot, exceeding the minimum qualifying weight of 2.5 lbs. per cubic foot. It is very buoyant and resilient, giving it high responsiveness. That means that it will return to its original shape quickly after compression. This is ideal for those that want more bounce in their cushions. With an open-cell structure, High Resilience foam is very springy but still offers sturdy support. It will also last a long time, between eight to ten years, as it begins to deteriorate and soften.
Good Quality Foam Cushion – Lux Foam
Overview: Lux foam is a good choice for those seeking a firmer foam cushion that will last around six years.
Lux foam is a good quality foam for those looking to upgrade from High-Density Foam, the foam normally found in average foam cushions. It is ideal for those wanting a firmer foam. It is also a heavier foam, weighing 2.2 lbs. per cubic foot. Similar to High Resilience foam, Lux foam has a quick return action, so it will return to its original shape quickly after compression. It is also a durable foam and able to support various everyday applications. Lux foam can also be used in bench cushions and camping pads. It is cheaper than High Resilience foam but is of better quality than High Density and Polyurethane foam. Lux foam is a good choice for quality and is a long-lasting foam cushion for approximately six years.
Most Common Foam Cushion – High-Density Foam
Overview: High-Density foam is the most widely used foam for furniture because it is economical. It will provide support and comfort, but to a lesser degree than Lux or High Resilience foam.
High-Density foam is a medium quality industrial grade foam used in most average furniture because of its economic price structure. It weighs 1.9 lbs. per cubic foot, and lasts approximately four years. High-Density foam will return to its original shape after compression at a medium pace. High-Density foam will get softer over time as it deteriorates. When you sit on an old seat at a restaurant or bar that goes straight to the seat’s wooden platform, you are likely sitting on an old High-Density foam cushion that deteriorated and has lost its cell structure. High-Density foam offers a more consistent level of support and comfort than Polyurethane foam but is less expensive than Lux and High Resilience foam.
Cheap Foam Cushion – Polyurethane Foam
Overview: Polyurethane foam is the cheapest foam and will not be as comfortable or last as long as other foam types.
If you buy furniture from a home furnishings store like IKEA, chances are you are purchasing low-quality furniture for a low price. That means that lower quality foam is being used, and it is more than likely Polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is inexpensive, low-quality foam. Over a short period of time, it will deteriorate and develop sink areas. When it does, it will not return to its original form. This foam lasts between one to two years. It is also the lightest foam type, at 1.2 lbs. per cubic foot. It has a slower return action than other foam. Polyurethane foam is ideal for display furniture.
Is Memory Foam Good for Sofa Cushions?
Overview: Memory foam would be too squishy, floppy, and slow to return to its original form if used as a solid foam piece for a seat cushion. It would work best as a 1-2 inch thick topper layer.
Memory foam is an excellent quality foam when it comes to mattresses, so it would make sense to translate this into sofa cushions. If you were to lay on your sofa with Memory foam cushions, it would be very comfortable. However, there are some problems. When you get up after lying or sitting on it, your sofa will be covered in wrinkles for several minutes as the Memory foam slowly recovers to its original height. There is also the price. Memory foam is more expensive than many other foam types and is not used in the production of seat cushions by furniture manufacturers. As such, furniture cushions will only contain memory foam if they are custom build.
The cushion itself can not be constructed by solid Memory foam, as it would be too squishy, floppy, and slow to return to its original form. Therefore, Memory foam is often used in 1 to 2-inch thickness as a topper and glued to conventional foam, preferably High Resilience foam, due to its excellent quality and compatibility with Memory foam. If the cushion is flipped over and both sides are used, then Memory foam should be placed on the top and bottom. The conventional foam would be in the center, preferably in the firmness of medium-firm to firm. The center foam will perform the expansion necessary to keep the cushion cover tight. The center foam core also has the stability to keep the cushion from being floppy.
Is Latex Foam Good for Sofa Cushions?
Overview: Latex foam is an excellent foam to use for sofa cushions. It will last over a decade and will provide extra bounce and air filtration.
Latex foam is also an excellent quality foam for mattresses that can be used in sofa cushions as well. Latex foam is one of the highest quality foam seat cushions that can be purchased, with an unparalleled feel from the foams rubber construction. This will provide cushions with a bouncy spring. Additionally, unlike other foams, Latex foam contains air filtration through its pincore holes to keep the foam cool. One thing to note is that Latex rubber, like all rubber, gets harder as it ages. This is in contrast to conventional seating cushions that get softer over time. Towards the end of its life cycle of approximately fifteen years, it will begin to crack and as it deteriorates over time. Latex foam makes for an excellent seat cushion but is used mostly in high-end mattresses.
The main problem with Latex foam cushions is their cost, as they are the most expensive option for foam cushions. Additionally, they last too long, and in some cases, outlast the fabric. Lastly, they are heavy, and as such hard to pick up and maneuver.
Down and Feather for Sofa Cushions
Overview: Down and feather sofa cushions are a good option when combined with an inner foam core and do not contain polyester fiber.
Down and feather seat cushions are comfortable. However, most furniture manufacturers have devised a way to cut costs by adding polyester fiber to feather cushions. Then, over time the polyester fiber clumps and creates lumps and bumps within the downproof casing. This is one of the lower quality feather cushions that a consumer can buy. Down and feather cushions become comfortable and have a degree of quality when they are without polyester fiber. There are two types of feathers: duck and goose.
Duck is firmer and contains a combination of a 10% down and 90% feather on our website, but other combinations are available. Goose down is a more expensive feather, and is softer than the duck feather, producing a higher quality and more comfortable seat cushions. It is also in a 10% down and 90% feather combination. Solid feather cushions like these tend to pack over time and need to be fluffed periodically. The solution to this problem is to use a down envelope that encases an inner foam core. This is one of the higher-end cushions. With the inner foam core, the feather can not pack over time, as the foam keeps the cushion resilient in both shape and form, eliminating the need for periodic fluffing.
Wrapping Foam with Dacron
Foam can be wrapped in Dacron polyester fiber, usually between 0.5” – 1.5” thick. This is done by gluing the Dacron wrap to the top and bottom of the foam with spray adhesive. Dacron will make the cushion look puffy and feel softer. Oftentimes store furniture will insert several inches of Dacron wrapped around the foam to give the illusion that there is a thick amount of foam inside. It also will make the sofa look extra comfortable and puffy. However, if the Dacron is too thick it will compress over time and make the cushion lose its shape and will not return to form. That is why we recommend not going beyond adding 0.5”–1.5” of Dacron wrapping for foam cushions. You can find Dacron and spray adhesive here on our supplies page.
If you found this article helpful and now know what is the best foam for your sofa cushions, you can order foam cushions cut to size for different kinds of furniture on our Seats and Cushions page.