Patio Cushions

How Patio Cushions Have Changed

Shopping for patio cushions is a totally new experience now, if you haven’t been in the market for a while. Your old cushions will never be the same. The reasons to use them haven’t changed, but the styles and other applications have. You can find cushions for any number of outdoor patio furniture seating types – patio swing cushions, bench cushions, even for metal and wicker furniture.

Is That All That Has Changed With Patio Cushions?

The trend is that every few years, there is a new invention or big breakthrough with respect to cushion materials or designs. More specifically, the functionality of the basic designs is what I mean. Obviously, the function is to be comfortable while sitting on your outdoor furniture. This is exactly why these new innovations allow for better wear and the life-span of not only your chair cushions, but patio furniture is lengthened.

The new types of material innovations over the last decade or so has made considerable steps in helping outdoor cushions to remain in tact and looking good. The elements still take their toll, like anything left outside. This is why it is still important to care for and maintain the quality of them through regular cleaning. Depending upon usage, this may be more often than when not in season.

This is even more pronounced in the harsh climates of the southwest. If you are shopping for a southwest patio cushion, consider the dust and intense heat or sun exposure. This will affect your color choices as well. Certain brand names like Sunbrella™ and other manufacturers have made great improvements and lead some of this innovation in cushion material fabrics. What their fabrics are especially known for, if you aren’t familiar is the resistance to the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just like with your skin, UV rays will cause your patio cushions to deteriorate over time. This acts somewhat like sunblock for your cushions.

Patio Cushions Have Made Use Of Other Fabrics As Well

Because the materials that are used for outdoor chair cushions is similar to that used for outdoor awnings, you know they can withstand the weather. No need to worry, your patio furniture will not end up looking like you cut up drapes to cover them. Outdoor awnings are usually much thicker and are made to protect from the sun. Awning and cushion fabrics have come a long way and will not limit you to those retro 50s and 60s style prints – unless, of course you are into that time period.

The patterns to choose from is almost endless as well. You can go with a floral or basic print. Bright neons and animal skin prints can also be found. You want that African looking patio design, just add some zebra print cushions. Most are easily cleaned with a hose and some mild soap. If you use your patio furniture often, then this is important as it will help keep stains from natural body oils or sunblock, lotion, etc. from staining your fabrics. If you are only an occasional user, you can and should store them to avoid any unnecessary damage from the elements. Patio benches are made with storage so you can take them out before your big party and avoid those cracked or faded patio cushions from rearing their ugly heads.

Like all good things, if you wait, they will eventually make it back into style. This is true with outdoor patios and entertaining as well. The whole era of barbequing with the neighbors, sitting around the picnic table and enjoying some good clean fun is never going to go out of style. The 1950s and 60s style has been popular for outdoor entertaining furniture for years now.

One point about your cushions that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that they actually protect your patio furniture as well. While they might not be as good as formal patio furniture covers, they do at least block the sun and heavy water elements that can lead to deteriorating benches and even wrought iron patio furniture. There are patio cushions that can be designed for any piece of outdoor furniture that you own.

Save Money: Just Get The Chair Cushions

Kick up your feet and get ready for summer.
Kick up your feet and get ready for summer.

Summer Is Coming Soon: Got Your Cushions?

Well, it's about that time of year again. You know, when you go outside to sit out by the pool. You've got your drink in your hand, towel over your shoulder, you put on the sunblock and you are ready to kick up your feet and read that summer blockbuster and...

Oh, what's that you see?! A worn out, ripped up, faded and overall sad looking chair cushion waiting for you. You forgot to get your new patio cushions before the lounging season began this year and now you are left with nothing but either a hard chair without a cushion OR a scratchy old, deteriorating pad underneath you. It's barely better than the hard chair itself! This is not the way to start off your summer.

It's one thing if you forget to sweep off the deck covered in dirt or grime, pick up the leaves or clean out the gutters. I mean, those chores can wait. But forgetting the essentials like the patio furniture repairs, fixing the hammock and getting replacement patio cushions - there is simply no excuse! Chores can wait, relaxing cannot. You work all week for your measly two days off. Don't you want to just stroll out there and forget about how you just traded 5 days of your life away for 2 outside on your patio? Wow, I'm actually getting sort of sad just thinking about that. Never really hit me that way before.

There is a remedy, but it ain't too quick. Go online and order the dang patio cushions you've been putting off all winter and spring. It's about time. You finally have a minute to do it. If you don't get to it soon, you'll probably just forget and then next week will come. You'll end up doing this a few times until you finally just get some cheap cushions at the local store and go through the whole process next season. Don't worry, you're not alone. That is what most people have done for quite some time. But, if you really want to be among the 'patio elite', here is what you will do. First, go online and look at the various types of cushions that exist these days for outdoor patio furniture. If you haven't shopped in a while, you will be surprised. There are many different kinds of styles, patterns and fabrics. Then, after you've taken careful measurements of yours, you can order the style you like. You can probably even have them shipped to you before next weekend. Now, that is what will make you enjoy those next 2 measly days off!

Bench cushions with pillows are a great way to add a splash of color to your patio furniture.
Bench cushions with pillows are a great way to add a splash of color to your patio furniture.

What Style of Patio Cushion Is Right For Your Furniture?

Since there are many different styles of patio furniture, it wouldn't be possible to give exact advice help to everyone's particular needs. So, what I'll do is cover a couple of the most popular styles of patio cushions. There are sites dedicated to selling patio cushions, but few are for informational purposes only.

First of all, you most likely have deck chairs, a garden bench, a patio swing or some combination of all three. There are also specific types of cushions for chaise loungers that are often used poolside. So, for your chair cushions, you are looking at both the seat pad and chair back aspect to the cushion. Get both and don't quibble over the decision. It is well worth having the support and comfort in both areas. You can also find cushions that vary in depth that allow for a 'deeper' chair to be padded the whole way.

Your bench is also in need of covering and several styles exist for these as well. The most common type of bench is a rectangular form, so you can find these shaped cushions most easily. A curved or semi-circular shaped garden bench is also a popular style but a bit more difficult to find. Searching online is definitely a time saver in this regard. Finally, you can even find patio swing cushions to make that special romantic time last a little longer. The more comfortable you and your partner are in that swing, the longer you can pretend like your high school sweethearts all over again!

Look how many fabric choices there are for your patio cushions!
Look how many fabric choices there are for your patio cushions!

Patio Cushion Fabrics

You would think that with all the technological advances over the past few decades, that outdoor fabrics for seat cushions would have made some significant advances. Well, you'd be right. What was once a cheap plastic woven cover over a wafer thin foam pad is now a super comfortable and longer lasting plush patio cushion.

These have made most advances in the materials as they relate to ultraviolet (UV) resistance. Meaning, they resist the effects the suns rays have on turning your comfortable chair cushions into dust. Literally, you know they should make southwest patio cushions if you live in that part of the country. The sun and drier climates are killers on outdoor furniture and fabrics. Apart from this, fabrics are easier to clean with mild soap and water and dry much more quickly, resisting mold growth. The times are definitely a changin' for patio furniture. The timing couldn't be more perfect too as more and more people are enjoying outdoor rooms as additions to their homes.

Here's what a replacement patio cushion might look like - in your choice of color of course.
Here's what a replacement patio cushion might look like - in your choice of color of course.

Replacement Patio Cushions

This is one of those inevitabilities of life. At some point, you will need to either get an entirely new set of chair cushions or you will need to replace just one or several. Sometimes, replacing the whole set is an easier (albeit more costly) way to go. In addition to being a better match because of a lack of fading and wear, the cushion itself will feel more comfortable and supportive.

It isn't always easy to just order replacement patio cushions, especially if you have some vintage patio furniture or are trying to get a match with an old set that was well taken care of. Since most cushions will develop some natural wear and tear, as well as weather related fading, the notion of having to replace some should just be taken for granted. The when is the only factor. The better care you take of them, the longer they will last. Cleaning with mild soap and water and storing properly (possibly indoors) when not in use will go a long way to preserving their function and adding to their longevity.

Modern Patio Furniture Cushions
Modern Patio Furniture Cushions

When Are Patio Furniture Cushions Not Necessary?

This is a very subjective question, mind you, but one that I will try to address. Patio furniture cushions are never necessary in some sense. If you think about it, it is totally up to you whether you want be as comfortable as possible when you lay down on those expensive chairs. It's kind of like asking how often you have to change the oil in your vehicle. I guess you don't ever have to - only if you WANT it to last.

It's the same deal here with the comfort you - and by extension to your guests - wish to experience lounging outdoors. I want to emphasize that lounging part. You must realize that the very nature of the patio experience is to just hang out. If you are constantly fidgeting to get comfortable or moving around to get that wrought iron patio furniture post out of your rib cage, then you really aren't enjoying yourself out there.

Think of your patio furniture cushions as a way that you can extend your hospitality to your guests. For that matter, give yourself a break. The investment you make on a good set will be well worth it. You can find them in any number of colors, styles and fabrics. The types that exist today have little to no resemblance to the chair cushions of the past.

Wrought Iron Chair Cushions like this one will ease your pains.
Wrought Iron Chair Cushions like this one will ease your pains.

Patio Cushions For The Beginner

When you enter the world of the patio dwellers, you are becoming a member of a dedicated group of lifestyle enthusiasts. You may have heard that there is an increasingly larger group of people who are adding or modifying outdoor rooms to their homes. This is no surprise. As you add more space out there, you need some extra seating. Your patio furniture may be old or just uncomfortable.

So, whether you buy new furniture that comes with patio cushions or you will be buying them separately, don't make the mistake of thinking that they are non-essential. If you try to get by with that wrought iron patio set, without cushions, you will soon see why you haven't been out there in a while. Those things will kill your rear end without a cushion. Same thing goes for your deck chairs or chaise lounger. As comfortable as they are, they could always benefit from the proper fitting chair cushion.

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Comments 4 comments

Kathy Shepherd 6 years ago

Patio cushions can really brighten up your patio furniture. I bought my cedar patio furniture from PremiereAdirondackChairs.com and added a bunch of color by buying some great cushions from discount stores. Beautiful hub.


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patioman 6 years ago from USA, Arizona Author

Thanks Kathy. I checked out the site you mentioned - very nice! You can't go wrong with the classic Adirondack and a nice cushion for some long, relaxing time outdoors. Thanks for stopping by to share!


Tracy Monroy 6 years ago

If you have the time, it is a fun project to make your own cushions. I like how you mentioned Sunbrella here! Great outdoor fabric! You can get samples and fabric from FabricMaven.com. Thank you Patioman!


patioman profile image

patioman 6 years ago from USA, Arizona Author

Thank you Tracy for that suggestion. Yep, many people we've talked with do try their hand at making their own patio cushions. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not. But, the good news is, at least it gets them out on the patio more often! Thanks for stopping by, best wishes!

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