Catalogues are fantastic, particularly when you’re on the hunt for gorgeous new cushions that will stand out, and create plenty of comfort and style. Unfortunately, though, the reality is that when you get your bright new cushion covers home and put them on your cushion inserts – they’re as flat as a tack, or you feel as though you’re floating on hard, hail filled clouds.
If you want the “perfect” cushion, like the ones you see as the finished product on the home renovation shows on TV, you need to start by choosing the right filling. This is just as important as choosing a good cushion cover – if not more.
So, which cushion filling is best? Let’s take a look.
Foam is by far the cheapest, it’s also the most common insert purchased. It comes in a variety of densities and there are generally two types – conventional and natural latex. Conventional is made from polyurethane that has been treated with fire retardant chemicals. You can get different firmness, but it’s known for out-gas toxins and it degrades fast. Natural latex foam is made from the sap of rubber trees and processed using mineral chemicals. It’s much better for you, and the environment than conventional foam, but it can get uncomfortable and doesn’t shape to your body as well as other types of insert.
Feather & Down
Feather and Down inserts are used in higher-end cushion designs and will make your cushion plump and soft. It moulds to your body as you lean on it, creating added comfort, and they’re easy to plump up – you just have to fluff them a little bit. Opt for a style that is made from 100% duck feather for optimal comfort or combine feather and down for an even softer feel. Keep in mind though, if you have too much down, it won’t sit as plump on your couch or bed.
Polyester inserts are easy to find and cheap – great if you’re on a budget. They are easy to wash in the machine, dry fast, and you can get them in various levels of firmness. Unfortunately though, the biggest problem with polyester inserts is the lumps! No one wants to sit down to relax and feel as though they’ve just jumped into a pit of golf balls, which can happen easily with this insert type. Being synthetic, they can get hot on a warm day, and they are a great home for dust mites. Yuck.
Our top choice: Feather & Down.
Now that you’ve got a filling sorted, how do you know what size insert to use? You need to ensure your cushion insert hits all the corners inside your cover – if it doesn’t fit properly, you risk the cushion looking cheap and flat. To do this, you need your insert to be bigger than the cover. For example, if you have a square cushion, you want the insert to be about two inches bigger than the cover – this helps it to plump up a bit. For rectangle, one inch is enough.
When it comes to washing them, you can wash all types of insert, but how it fares will depend on the materials. Feather and down inserts can be washed in your washing machine, but you don’t want to do this regularly. Once a year is generally sufficient. For other types of insert, you can wash them more regularly, but again, don’t overdo it. When you need to dry any type of insert, try to do so in fresh air. If you can’t do that, put them in the tumble dryer on low heat for 10-20 minutes only.
If you want to get the best cushion look, but you’re not sure where to start, get some advice from an interior stylist.