What is the Best Foam to Use for Sofa Cushions?

blue sofa

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.

Wrapping Foam with Dacron

Dacron wrapped around foam

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 here at Foamonline.com. For custom cut furniture and boat foam cushions, head to our Square & Rectangular-Shaped Foam page. To order trapezoid cushions for bay window seats, head over to our Trapezoid Shaped Foam page. If you need circular cushions, visit our Cylinder-Shaped Foam page.

29 replies
  1. Luna
    Luna says:

    Hi There-
    I love DIY projects and was wondering what type of foam would you recommend for a pouf ottoman? I want it to be more rounded than square if that makes any difference. Thanks!

    Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Luna. Poof ottomans are actually stuffed with cotton batting. The zippers are small so there is no room to fit a chunk of foam inside. Also, the foam would not be able to provide the hard packing that cotton would give to have a firm and stable seat. The poof becomes firmer as the cotton packs overtime, and may require additional cotton be added.

      Reply
  2. Sharon Brewer
    Sharon Brewer says:

    I’m looking to replace my cushions 3 sofa. The ends are T-cushions. It’s a C R Lane sofa.
    What’s your recommendation for the T-cushion,?

    Reply
  3. Tamara Plihal
    Tamara Plihal says:

    I have a sofa that I got at RTG about 5 years ago. The maker HM Richards replaced the foam cushions. I rarely sit on it because it has never been comfortable. It has 2 cushions. It’s a slipcover sofa and I love the look I just want to sit on it. Would it be costly to replace the foam?

    Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Foam cushion replacement is not typically expensive. However, the price is based on the foam type chosen and your dimensions. Lux foam is more expensive than High-Density foam but less expensive than High Resilience foam. It is an affordable good quality foam available in medium-firm firmness only and longevity of 6 years.

      The sofa you bought from RTG may have come in an industrial-grade High-Density foam that is used in most average furniture, with a longevity of 4 years. Most cushions become softer as the foam wears out and the HM Richards replacement is firmer than the original cushions for this reason.

      Reply
  4. Cff
    Cff says:

    I want to replace the foam in my broyhill. I am on it all the time. I’ve had it for about 10 years. And it’s been great. I want to replace it with the same kind of foam. What do you think the type of foam they used in it.

    Reply
  5. Michael Mcbryar
    Michael Mcbryar says:

    Looking to replace the foam in my office chair. Looking for something with longevity. Office chair gets used 12-16 hours a day. Not sure what firmness or thickness.

    Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Michael. In the office chairs that we reupholster, we normally use foam anywhere from 2-4 inches in thickness. The foam type to use is High Resilience for its longevity and comfort in a firm.

      Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Those types of couch cushions have a couple of possibilities. The material could be polyester fiber, either 100% or in some cases mixed with feathers. The second possibility would be feather cushions themselves, either solid feather or what is called a down (feather) envelope, in which there is foam in the center and feathers on the outside. This design is meant to keep the feather cushion from losing its shape.

      Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Dave. The Lazy Boy brand uses a medium quality industrial grade foam, known as High Density, in a firmness of medium firm to suit the average user. You could use this same foam. It is the most popular and economical foam purchased and used in the furniture industry.

      However, this could be your chance to upgrade to a higher quality foam. There is Lux foam, a good quality foam that is also available in the medium-firm firmness. However, we would suggest High Resilience foam, an excellent quality foam that is also available in medium-firm firmness.

      Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Lisa. Mayo uses a 2.0 lbs. high-density foam in their sofas. We also sell High-Density foam at 1.9 lbs density. If you are looking for a replacement, we would recommend upgrading to Lux foam, at 2.2 lbs. density, which would increase the quality.

      Reply
  6. Belinda
    Belinda says:

    I have a linen slip cover sofa, it has foam wrapped with feathers. It is the most uncomfortable couch my husband won’t even sit on it. Help they were expensive sofas.

    Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Belinda, sorry to hear that! There are three types of cushions: solid down feather cushions that do not have foam, down feather envelopes that contain foam in the center core with feathers, and solid foam cushions. You have down feather envelopes.

      In our upholstery store, we’ve changed from down feather envelopes to solid foam cushions and we’ve found that what works best is High Resilience foam in a firmness of medium for the average person and medium-firm for those who are 175 lbs and more. Lastly, the foam should be wrapped in dacron to create a “puffy” look. As a feather cushion is naturally puffy, the dacron should be doubled up and used in two layers.

      Reply
  7. Amber
    Amber says:

    Hi there: I just inherited a lovely Bernhardt sofa from a friend who rarely used it. But these sofa cushions sink immediately and are already compressed and I have only had the sofa a week! Are you familiar with what type of foam Bernhardt uses so that I can seriously upgrade it? I appreciate any assistance you can give!

    Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Amber. Bernhardt sofas use a 1.8 lb. commercial-grade, high-density, foam wrapped in dacron. You could upgrade to Lux foam in medium-firm or even a higher quality High Resilience foam, also in medium-firm. Should you need additional dacron, it is available on our supplies page.

      Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Jennifer. Lux is a good foam at 2.2 lbs per cubic foot and is available in a firmness of medium-firm only with an ILD number of 36. Lux foam is used primarily in foam cushions and foam mattresses and has a longevity of approximately 6 years.

      Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Peggy. High Resilience foam is an excellent quality foam type for a chair cushion that is used all day by a larger person. If the cushion is 2 to 4 inches thick, an extra firm would provide support without bottoming out. In the 5 inches plus range, I would switch to a firm because as the foam gets thicker, it becomes harder. Extra-firm would begin to feel too stiff for a chair cushion.

      Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Caroline. The Crate and Barrel furniture company use a polyfoam seat cushion wrapped in polyester fiber. The replacement foam type intended for this scale of furniture is High Density in a medium-firm. This particular brand requires a puffy look. Therefore, the foam should be double wrapped with Dacron.

      Reply
  8. KULDEEP KUMAR
    KULDEEP KUMAR says:

    I am foam developers ; I developed recipes for different types of foam used in mattress and sofa cushion..Very nice information given on HR foam for sofa. What would be comfort level if we mix HR 3.5LBS 3″ + latex HD 1.5″. Memory foam 1.5″ to make a cushion for sofa ans cover it with leather fabric.

    Reply
    • FoamOnline
      FoamOnline says:

      Hi Kuldeep. This would produce a High Resilience spring feel with a Latex bounce feel, topped off with a slow return action recovery from the Memory foam. The comfort level would be that the High Resilience foam would not be felt other than its supportive nature as a base. The Memory foam would be the primary comfort layer, creating a molding action to contour to the shape of the body in the initial contact. This is followed by the rubbery bouncy feel of the Latex. The quality would be considered excellent and the comfort level would be determined by the foam firmness.

      Reply

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