The 10 Best Outdoor Cushions
This wiki has been updated 39 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Patio furniture can give you a place to relax in the fresh air, but is often made of hard materials, like metal or wood. These outdoor cushions will add some comfort to your poolside lounges and porch loveseats, and are made to resist fading due to sun exposure and to dry quickly after getting wet. We've included a variety of styles and designs to complement most decor. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 11, 2021:
We're highly confident that our lineup has something for just about everyone, and for that reason, we haven't made any changes this time around. One thing worth mentioning is that indoor/outdoor cushions can, at first glance, seem pretty expensive, but we've dug deep to make sure that all our recommendations are highly durable and resistant to weather, mold, tears, and long-term compression. Models like the Comfort Classics Channeled Chaise and Greendale Home Fashions Chaise are perfect for replacing the padding on your outdoor chaise lounge, while the RSH Decor Tufted Settee and Quality Outdoor Living Loveseat are specially designed for one- and two-person seating.
March 27, 2020:
In selecting our outdoor cushions, we wanted to make sure our picks have features that make them easy to integrate into an outdoor space, and that hold up well even if you forget to store them away when not in use. For that reason, the Home & Kitchen Plush Pads, which are too small for most standard seats and aren't durable, lost their spot and in their place, the Bossima Seasonal Replacement Set won out. This latter choice, thanks to it being two separate pieces, is quite versatile and easily fits many seating arrangements.
UV-resistance was very important, too, since these cushions will see plenty of sun exposure. That's why the Comfort Classics Channeled Chaise, with its notoriously colorfast Sunbrella fabric got a high spot, and the Quality Outdoor Living Loveseat, with its fade-resistant Olefin fabric also ranked well.
We understand that some consumers are looking to add a pop of color and personality to their outdoor space, so we liked that the Pillow Perfect Chaise Lounge, the Greendale Home Fashions Bench, and the RSH Decor Tufted Sette come in a wide variety of colorful designs. We removed the Coral Coast Classic because it is only available in a bright striped option that looks a bit outdated.
Popular types of outdoor furniture were a consideration, too, and because the relaxing chaise lounge often tops that list, the Greendale Home Fashions Chaise and the Pillow Perfect Chaise Lounge further solidified their places on this list. Benches are also commonly found on patios and porches, so the 1101Design Bristol Decorative and the Classic Accessories Montlake also earned spots. The Greendale Home Fashions Rectangle lost their place, as we felt that throw pillows are not that practical for outdoor spaces, and sturdier backrests, like the one found in the Bossima Seasonal Replacement Set, are more useful.
Design Within Reach Block Island Lounge Chair Cushion This cushion is meant to go with the brand's Block Island Lounge Chair, which is made of solid teak wood. The pillow itself has long-lasting fade- and mildew-resistant Sunbrella fabric and is stuffed with resilient polyester fill. It offers back and seat support, comes in classic white or bright red, and is nearly 20 inches deep and 22 inches wide. dwr.com
Caring For Outdoor Furniture
When it comes to fabric — either some sewn into furniture or the cushions you put on top of chairs and couches — beware of sun damage.
You've probably taken a lot of time picking out your outdoor furniture and creating that ideal oasis. Maybe you've heard that, for people living in urban areas, having access to green spaces can reduce negative thinking and boost happiness. So, to encourage yourself to enjoy your patio or yard, you've adorned it with relaxing chaise lounges, chairs, and couches. Of course, your outdoor furniture requires very different upkeep than your indoor pieces. Let's take a look at the maintenance that goes into that lovely veranda.
While your outdoor furniture might be victim to rough conditions, when it comes to caring for it, being gentle is key. For starters, brush off debris with a soft bristle brush. Once that's complete, combine about 1/4th a cup of a natural, gentle liquid soap with about one gallon of water — avoid harsh cleaning products like bleach since regular use of these is very bad for you. Dip a sponge into this solution, scrub it over your furniture, and rinse it off. Here, again, you want to go easy. Do not power wash your furniture as the pressure can be too harsh on it. If you notice some mold growth, you can either scrub this away or sand it away, depending on the material.
When your outdoor furniture isn't in use, store it away. You can put a tarp and other covers over the items if you don't have room for them in your garage or other indoor storage areas. If you live in a place that sees a lot of rain, even during the months when you hang out outdoors regularly and don't want to tuck your furniture inside, turn chairs upside down during downpours. This will keep water from pooling in the seat area, which can cause damage, bacteria buildup, and more. When it comes to fabric — either some sewn into furniture or the cushions you put on top of chairs and couches — beware of sun damage. If the tag doesn't explicitly say that the item has been coated with some UV-resistant coating, then do not leave it out in the harsh sun when you aren't using it.
Why Your Outdoor Furniture Needs Cushions
After spending a decent amount of money on the furniture itself, between the lovely bistro set where you take your morning coffee and the daybeds where you and your family kick back on Sundays, you may not want to dedicate one more cent to your outdoor space. But if you fail to top off your purchases with cushions, you and all of your guests will pay for it. Let's think, first, when we like to recline outdoors: on bright, sunny days. If you happen to have metal benches without cushions, they can heat up very fast. Since it only takes temperatures as low as 111°F to burn someone, these cushion-less metal benches can become safety hazards.
Again, people tend to lounge outdoors when it's hot which means they're rarely in full-length pants.
In addition to being painful, sitting for prolonged periods of time on exposed outdoor furniture can also be embarrassing. Almost everyone has had the experience of standing up after napping on a lounge chair for hours, only to find unsightly marks all over the backs of their legs. Again, people tend to lounge outdoors when it's hot which means they're rarely in full-length pants. Those marks can take hours to disappear from the flesh. Even if furniture doesn't leave a mark, wicker and wood furniture can cause splinters, which can ruin one's day. A soft, thick cushion could prevent all of these issues.
Sitting on hard furniture without a cushion is rough on the human skeleton, too. All of our weight pulls our body down, pushing our joints up against the hard, unforgiving slats of the furniture. This isn't good for people with sciatica or lower back issues, and simply isn't pleasant for everyone else. Relaxing on cushion-free outdoor furniture for a long time — which, typically, is the time frame for sunbathing or enjoying a meal al fresco with friends — can result in stiff joints and muscle pain. When you think of all of these points, skipping the cost of the cushions really isn't worth what you'll pay in discomfort later.
How To Choose Your Cushions
When picking out your particular outdoor cushions, you have to consider several things, like how you'll use them, the local climate, and your personal taste. That being said, anyone will benefit from models that are UV-resistant, so their colors don't fade in the sun. It's also important that the materials are mildew and mold-resistant. While we don't generally think about mold outside of our humid bathrooms and hot indoor areas, it isn't something we should take lightly since prolonged exposure may cause upper respiratory issues and other health problems. You don't want a loved one to nap, face down, on a moldy cushion for hours, so make sure your model resists that nasty stuff.
Ease of putting cushions on and taking them off furniture should be considered, too.
Ease of putting cushions on and taking them off furniture should be considered, too. If you and your family love to eat outdoors during the summer, but your kiddos have a hard time staying still, you may want cushions that tie onto the furniture. This way, your rowdy munchkin won't continuously slide off his seat. Meanwhile, if you need some versatile cushions to just add a touch of comfort to various benches and lounge chairs, some simpler throw pillows — that can be easily leaned against or hugged — are a great option. And as for cleaning, some have removable zippered covers you can toss right in the wash after spills.
Think about style, too. If your garden is your masterpiece where you've spent countless hours manicuring, landscaping, and tending to plants, you may not want cushions that detract from its natural beauty. So, designs with simple patterns and muted colors will let your yard stand out. Meanwhile, if you think your outdoor recreation areas could use some visual sprucing up, you could add cushions in vibrant hues and unique patterns. No matter your personal style or habits, every piece of outdoor furniture can benefit from a cozy cushion.