Your Guide to Buying Cushion Covers for Outdoor Furniture

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Your Guide to Buying Cushion Covers for Outdoor Furniture
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Your Guide to Buying Cushion Covers for Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture is a vital component of the garden. Beautiful furniture such as tables and chairs, loungers, benches, and swings provide inviting spaces for dining, entertaining and relaxing. Outdoor furniture frequently incorporates cushions,, which provide an added level of comfort and style. These cushions need to be functional as well as pleasing to the eye, and there is a wide range of styles from which to select the perfect covers..

Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, as people have started to view the garden as an extension of the home and a separate place in which activities such as entertaining and dining can be carried out. People are no longer content to drag items such as tables and chairs from the house to use in the garden, but increasingly require furniture that is built to purpose and remains in the garden. Early items of garden furniture dating from the 19th century include wrought iron tables and chairs, hammocks and canvas chairs. Wicker and wood furniture followed. Gardens began to exhibit patios, defined outdoor areas that were more practical for entertaining purposes. Wrought iron had been used for centuries, but the Industrial Revolution meant that affordable cast iron furniture could be made more available. Cast iron furniture frequently displayed leaf and floral motifs to complement the garden environment. By the middle of the 20th century, it was common to have matching tables and chairs in various materials. Advances in outdoor furniture manufacture resulted in innovations such as pierced metal surfaces and slatted backs and seats to drain water. Today, outdoor furniture is frequently made from plastic and aluminium as well as the materials already described. Teak is one of the preferred woods to use for its resistance to decay. The different materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. As well as being stylish and comfortable, large items of outdoor furniture also need to be able to withstand the elements.

Cushions for Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture needs to be comfortable, and while this can be achieved to a certain extent by clever design, cushions provide a layer of padding that turns chairs with hard surfaces into relaxing and restful objects. The various types of cushions available for outdoor furniture include cushions for chairs, chaise lounges, benches and window seats.

Seat cushion

Cushions that sit on the chair surface

Chair back cushion

Cushions that rest against the back of the chair

Chair cushion

Cushions that sit on the chair surface and also the back of the chair

Chaise lounge cushion

Cushions that fit the length of a chaise lounger

Bench cushion

Cushions that sit on the surface of a bench

Window seat cushion

Cushions that sit on the surface of a window seat

Wicker chair cushion

Cushions that fit a wicker chair, may be more unusual curved shapes

Like outdoor furniture, cushions for outdoor furniture ideally have some protection against the natural outdoor environment. They may be stored in garden chests or brought inside when not in use, but some resistance to factors such as water damage from the rain and fading from the sun, as well as resistance to everyday stains, will ensure a longer life. Cushions designed for outdoor use often utilise specialist fabrics that provide this extra protection.

Choosing Cushion Covers for Outdoor Furniture

When searching for outdoor cushion covers, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind.

Type and Size

Consider what type of cushion is required, for example, for chairs is a seat cushion sufficient, are individual seat and back cushions required, or a cushion that combines both seat and back padding? When choosing a cushion cover for outdoor furniture, it will be necessary to measure the cushion pad. If also purchasing a cushion pad, it will be necessary to measure the item of furniture to ensure a correct fit. The table below gives instructions for measuring outdoor furniture for cushions. For all cushions the thickness also needs to be decided.

Seat cushion cover

Measure width and depth of chair seat

Chair back cushion cover

Measure width and height of chair back. If also purchasing seat cushion and cover, subtract thickness of seat cushion from height of chair back/cushion

Chair cushion cover

Measure width and depth of chair seat. Decide upon desired thickness. Measure width and height of chair back. Subtract thickness of seat cushion from height of chair back/cushion

Chaise lounge cushion cover

Measure width of chaise lounge inside frame between arms. Measure lengths of chaise lounge seat and back

Bench cushion cover

Measure width and length of bench

Window seat cushion cover

Measure width and length of window seat

Wicker chair cushion cover

Measure dimensions of chair, taking into account unusual shapes

When purchasing a cushion cover for an existing cushion, bear in mind that the cushion needs to fill the cover completely for it to look plump and inviting. Too large a cushion cover and the cushion will become lost inside it, looking baggy and out of shape. Too small a cushion cover and the cushion will be distorted and uncomfortable. Ideally the cushion cover will be a perfect fit. The seller may also specify what size cushion the cushion cover is suitable for.

Material

When purchasing cushion covers for outdoor furniture, look for materials that offer some resistance to factors such as water damage, fading and stains. Outdoor cushion covers are subject to more stresses than indoor cushion covers and manufacturers often utilise fabrics that can withstand the elements more than fabrics commonly used for indoor cushion covers. These commonly include high quality polyester and acrylic fabrics.

Polyester

Water resistant, dries quickly, good resistance to mould. Good for cushion covers that may get wet occasionally. Not suitable for cushions outdoors permanently as not completely waterproof. Retains softness. Can be washed on a warm wash.

Acrylic

Resistant to water, fading and stains. Antimicrobial properties protect against mould and mildew. Can withstand some chlorine exposure. Easier to clean than several vinyl fabrics. Not completely waterproof. Retains softness. Solution dyed acrylic means the acrylic is dyed before being woven and results in a thicker, robust fabric more suitable for seating upholstery. Can be washed on a cold wash.

Marine fabrics

Solution dyed acrylics with completely waterproof backing. Can be left outdoors permanently. Comfortable but tougher, more canvas like texture. Easy to clean by hosing or cleaning with gentle detergent.

Nylon, silk, and cotton are not generally suitable for use in cushion covers designed for outdoor use. Nylon and silk are both subject to sun rot which causes shredding, and cotton rapidly degrades when subject to outdoor stresses for long periods. Outdoor cushion covers usually come with guarantees against factors such as fading. These may stipulate the number of hours the cushion cover may be left outside. The seller may also offer to send samples for a nominal fee and should provide information on correct maintenance.

Style and Colour

The style and colour of the cushion cover will depend largely on personal preference. Bear in mind existing items of furniture and whether the garden design is more traditional or contemporary. Cushion covers for chaise lounges on contemporary decking may be blocks of bold, dark or light colours to create a simple yet effective style. Seat covers for cast iron chairs on a stone patio, on the other hand, may have a more traditional design.

Find Cushion Covers for Outdoor Furniture on eBay

Cushion covers for outdoor furniture can be searched for on eBay by beginning at the eBay home page. From the left hand side tabs select Home & Garden and click on the Home & Garden link that appears. From the left hand side tabs select Garden and click on the Garden Furniture link that appears. In the search tab at the top of the page type in “cushion cover” and modify the adjacent tab from Other Garden Furniture to Garden & Patio Furniture.. Alternatively, cushion covers for outdoor furniture can be searched for directly in the search tab. Try typing “outdoor cushion cover” while keeping the adjacent tab set at All Categories, or type “cushion cover” while changing the adjacent tab from All Categories to Garden & Patio.

Conclusion

Cushion covers are available for various types of outdoor furniture, such as table and chairs, chaise lounges, benches and window seats. When purchasing cushion covers for outdoor furniture, factors such as type and size, material and style should be considered. Type and size should match the furniture, while materials should be suitable for outdoor use. Style may take into account existing garden furniture and garden design, for example, whether both are more traditional or contemporary. The perfect cushion cover will match seamlessly with the item for which it is purchased and with other elements of the garden.

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