How To Choose Outdoor Cushions? (Top Things To Look For!)

Are you wondering which outdoor cushions to choose for your elegant patio furniture? 

You’ve just landed on the right page! In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to look for while buying new patio cushions for the best outdoor decor.

  • Outdoor cushions differ from indoor cushions in terms of material, filling, and size.
  • Unlike indoor cushions, outdoor ones have to withstand much more onslaughts of weather and human use.

This means the cushions that we place on our outdoor furniture need to be studier and longer-lasting than normal. 

Quick Tips For Outdoor Cushions

Choose a Color Scheme: When choosing outdoor cushions, consider the color scheme of your existing outdoor furniture and how your new accessories will look.

Prioritize comfort: Prioritize comfort and functionality to get the most out of your cushions. Even if your cushions look good, they are only helpful for decoration if they are hard to sit on or do not stay in place.

Choose durable materials: Make sure you choose durable and water-resistant materials that will last a long time. Durability is a key feature of all outdoor products, from seating to cushions to outdoor rugs.

Choose stain-resistant, easy-to-clean materials: With outdoor cushions, stains are unavoidable. But removing stains can be a tricky business. When purchasing new outdoor cushion covers, ensure the fabric is for outdoor use.

Measure the furniture: Measure the seat’s depth and width carefully to find the right size cushion. Curved furniture should be measured from the widest point.

Consider recyclable outdoor cushions: You can do your part for the planet and help to reduce our carbon footprint by purchasing sustainable materials.

Here is everything you need to look for while buying the best outdoor cushions.

Things To Look For While Choosing Outdoor Cushions For Patio Furniture

If you wish to place nice, comfy cushions on your furniture on the deck, balcony, or patio, these are the things you must look at:

1. How Thick Should Outdoor Cushions Be?

Generally, cushions thicker than 2 – 2.5 inches will make for a comfortable seating pad.

Patio chair cushions usually have a thickness of 2.5 – 4 inches. Some cushions have a thickness of up to 5.5 inches.

The thickness of lounge cushions, daybed cushions, and deep-seating cushions should be 4 – 6 inches.

A seat cushion should be thick enough to be comfortable without slipping over the edge.

2. What Is The Best Outdoor Cushion Material?

Outdoor cushions should be durable, UV-resistant, moisture-resistant, and easy-to-clean fabrics. Polyester, vinyl, olefin/polypropylene, cotton, and acrylic are some available fabrics.

But not all outdoor fabrics are the same!

These fabrics have one or more characteristics you want in outdoor fabric.

The best material will differ depending on where you live since certain regions get more or less sun and have different moisture levels.

The materials used in outdoor cushions are generally water-resistant. This avoids the growth of mold, mildew, or algae. 

The cover fabric should also be more lasting to prevent wear and tear from weather and use.

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics:


The pros of vinyl (also called PVC) are that it is affordable, easily accessible, durable, and stain-resistant. That’s why it is quite popular as the material for outdoor cushion covers.

However, there are several cons of this material as well. It gets extremely hot in sunlight and hence fades away quickly. Besides, it is a form of plastic and thus, not eco-friendly.

Cotton Canvas

This fabric feels wonderful on the skin and can be dyed in variegated patterns for a stunning look for your patio.

But, without a water-resistant coating, this fabric is also prone to the growth of mold, mildew, and algae in extremely humid and wet conditions.

Solution-Dyed Acrylics

You’d want your cushions to be fade resistant as they are going to sit outdoors most of the time. Solution-dyed acrylic fabric to the rescue! There’s a patented “sunbrella” fabric that uses this formula.

But the cost of being waterproof, water, fade, mildew-resistant, and chlorine-safe is quite high for some budgets. It’s best to use this material for poolside environments.


This polyester fabric (especially when coated with PVC) becomes highly resistant to stains and is also waterproof. This particular material is also called Textilene.

However, again, due to the PVC coating, it gets hotter than ever in the sun, which is not so ideal for outdoor cushions.

3. Outdoor Cushion Fill

The fill or core of the cushion makes it what it is. The softer, plumper, and more durable the filling, the better it is!

Compressed Polyester

Trust us, if your outdoor cushion filling is washable and quick-drying, cleaning your patio furniture and cushions will be a breeze.

This is exactly the case with compressed polyester filling. Plus, it won’t rupture and crumble.

But there are cons to it as well. This thick batting might compress with usage. However, it is also non-allergenic and mildew-resistant.


The types of foams differ in their density. Each type of foam has its pros and cons and lends a different level of support. Keep the following in mind:

  1. Open Cell Foam: Porous, comfy, and quick-drying but steep in price.
  2. Closed Cell Foam: Water-proof, floats on water, doesn’t flatten with time but, again, is quite expensive.

And there are other varieties of foams for choosing outdoor or seat cushions. You must look for foams that prevent mold and mildew growth as well.


Dacron is the modern name for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material. This sturdy and lasting foam padding is popular for staying firm across the years.

Since the material is also firm and tight, dacron cushions are wonderful support for patio furniture and give a sleeker, well-kept look.

EPS Beads

Also known as the beanbag fills, these beads are more than 97% air. This makes them light and comfy to sit and move around. They are especially great for throw cushions. 

These beads are quite economical as well because you can refill them as needed. Just make sure that the cushion cover in this case is water-proof.

4. Premium Cushion Features For Outdoor Furniture

Now, here are some additional aesthetic and comfort features that you must look for in your cushion to ensure the best looks, support, and longevity:


This totally depends on your personality and style. You can go for a themed patio and pick the outdoor cushion color according to that (think cotton canvas covers for more color options).

Often, people prefer bold foliage printed cushions for garden areas.

Thickness & Durability

The materials and their thickness will directly determine how durable your patio cushions are. Throw pillows or cushions are usually thinner than seat cushions. 

As a general rule of thumb, a seat cushion for chairs and sofas can range around 3.5” to 6” in depth. And its size varies from 18”x18” to a luxe 24”x24” and beyond.


Thin piping that runs along the perimeter of the cushion can also add an aesthetic touch to your patio area.

Cushion Ties

Tired of outdoor cushions falling everywhere? Cashion ties will come in handy for you. You can keep your patio or outdoor space well organized with these ties that keep cushions in place.

Foldability & Covers

You don’t typically need a slipcover for an outdoor cushion. But foldable cushions wrapped inside luxurious non-slip covers can be a great addition.

These little things make our time on the patio or deck more enjoyable and hassle-free.

The Bottom Line

Several things constitute making a comfy, beautiful, lasting, and pleasant outdoor cushion for our chairs and sofas on patios, decks, balconies, or swimming pool areas (or any other outdoor seating area).

They should avoid mold and mildew. They should look good. And they should also be comfy.

Outdoor cushions are kept outside for a significant amount of time. Even if you choose weather-resistant and enduring fabrics, you might wonder can you leave outdoor cushions outside overnight? Sadly, the short answer is no, but it depends on the climate.

To summarize the things that help us select the ideal cushion set for our needs, have a look at these features:

  • Price
  • Comfort
  • Thickness
  • Durability
  • Waterproofing and stain-resistance
  • Color & size
  • Fabric & materials

After studying these factors while buying your cushions, we’re sure you’ll be able to select the best ones for your patio setup.

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