How to replace worn-out cushions | Anyclean

updated: 03/03/2024

Worn-out cushions are uncomfortable and unattractive. There was a time when keeping old, flat cushions around was par for the course, but now in this day and age of home renovation and redecoration on a dime, it is not only very simple to replace cushions, it is necessary! Replacing the foam in a worn-out cushion is one of the easiest ways to breathe new life into old furniture. This guide will take you through the steps to revitalize your living room seating.

Step 1: Measuring the cushion

Ordering foam the correct size is the most important aspect of replacing a cushion. It’s easy to get foam that is too big and difficult to wrestle into the cover. It’s equally easy to order foam that will leave the cover looking baggy and dilapidated. Following a few simple rules will ensure proper fit. Old foam should never be measured for replacement; because it is worn it will not measure properly. Instead, measure the cover; since the new foam should fit the cover, not the old foam. Always measure from seam to seam so the edges line up properly. When dealing with shapes any more complicated than rectangles it is best to make a template to clarify exactly what is needed. Once the measurements have been taken it is time to shop for foam.

Step 2: Selecting the foam

A wide variety of foams are available. They vary greatly in density, feel, and firmness. It is important to note that firmness and density are not the same thing. Firmness is rated by the indentation load deflection (ILD), which is a compression measurement; the higher the ILD, the firmer the foam. Density is a weight rating by the cubic foot and influences the feel and longevity of the foam. Denser foams are higher quality and are priced accordingly. High traffic cushions should not be replaced with low density foam. They will wear out much quicker than high density foams and need replacing again much sooner. The firmness of the foam depends on personal preference, but there are a few things that are good to keep in mind when deciding on the foam. The average seat cushion has an ILD rating between 30 and 35. A thin piece of foam will feel firmer than a thick piece of foam. Back cushions should be quite a bit softer than seat cushions because they bear a lot less weight. It is always a good idea to talk to a sales person about what foam would be best suited for your cushion needs.

Step 3: Ordering the foam

There is no standard cushion size. Due to this fact you will be hard pressed to find replacement cushions in a hurry. It just isn’t possible for retailers to stock everything for everyone. Therefore cushions are a special order item which means that they are generally none returnable (measure twice!). Depending on which foam you decide to order you will want to slightly alter your cushion measurements. If your foam of choice is on the softer side (less than 35 ILD) order the foam slightly larger than your measurements. This will give the cushion a well filled-out look. If, on the other hand, you prefer a firm cushion it is best to order the foam a little bit smaller than the cover and add a Dacron wrap. This will fill-out the cushion without making it impossible to get the foam in the cover. Again, a salesperson’s advice should be helpful. It usually takes about a week for the foam to get in to the retailer, and should be available to be picked up shortly after that, depending on any other alterations that need to be done. All that remains is to put the foam in the covers and your cushion is complete.

About the author:

Ben Hermsen, a latex mattress and foam cushion engineer, is a manager for where he champions the benefits of latex mattresses, toppers and pillows for both individual health and also the preservation of our natural environment. For more information on ordering custom cushions, visit

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.