I recently shared our screened porch. We use it a ton so it is important for it to not just be pretty, but also be comfortable. Which is why there are lots of quilts for people to wrap up in on those cool evenings or early mornings.
When I first found this vintage set, I knew it would be great after some old fashioned hard work, but my concern from the beginning was finding cushions that would fit.
As a matter of fact the guy who sold it to me wanted to keep it for himself but couldn’t figure out how to make the cushions work.
I originally priced out custom and semi-custom cushions and found the prices ridiculous.
So, I began shopping the big box stores to see if we could find something to work.
So here are my tips on finding store bought cushions to work with vintage furniture;
1. Have your furniture measurements with you and look at
several locations to find all your possible options.
At this point in the season, there are not a ton of cushions still out there, but the ones that are should be on sale. There are also lots of online resources to research as well. You may have to even bring home a few options to figure out what really works best. I realize this is not ideal, but the goal is avoiding the cost of custom cushions.
2. It doesn’t have to be a perfect fit to work.
Slightly larger probably works better than slightly smaller though. Take for example, this chair.
From a distance, there is nothing that stands out as not a good fit.
But when looking for it, you can see that the base cushions are wider than the chair. Because the sides are open, it works out just fine. Even if the sides were closed, “smushing” a little could possible work as well.
3. Don’t be afraid to add elements to make it work.
Pool noodles, egg crate pads and plywood are all ways to customize store bought cushions to work with your furniture.
For example, our sofa.
The cushions I tried to make work last year were terribly uncomfortable. I even tried doubling them up, but in the end, I had to admit that they didn’t work.
So, I headed back out to the big box stores this year to see if I could find another solution that was affordable.
What we have now are 6 chair base cushions. Three are used as based cushions, and three are used as back cushions.
When I tried them out, I realized that using the cushions for the back was just slightly too short to be comfortable. I thought about using foam to build it up a little higher. We all know how surprisingly expensive foam can be so I decided to go another route.
One and half dollar store pool noodles. They are waterproof, which is important in this space, and built up the back cushions just the right amount.
The other decision we made was to add a piece of plywood under the base cushions to keep them from sagging. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I am sitting in one of the blue striped chairs and I realize the chairs too could benefit from some plywood.
4. Colors and patterns don’t have to be perfect.
If you are a seamstress or willing to spend the money on custom cushions, then you will probably find exactly the patterns and colors you want – otherwise be flexible and pull in other elements to make your cushions work.
Since these cushions are not designed to be used in a back and base format, the patterns do not line up – and that is okay by me.
I just added even more stripes and patterns with the throw pillows so that you don’t even notice the non matching stripes.
So, if you come across vintage outdoor furniture that you love, don’t be afraid to figure out the cushions.
And if you want some ideas, visit my post on summer decorating ideas.
How about you, do you have any tips for making store bought cushions work with vintage furniture?
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