4 Tips for Finding Cushions for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

finding home screend porch 2

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.

Finding Cushion for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

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.

Finding Cushion for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

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.

  Finding Cushion for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

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.

 Finding Cushion for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

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.

 Finding Cushion for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

I just added even more stripes and patterns with the throw pillows so that you don’t even notice the non matching stripes.

Finding Cushion for Vintage Outdoor Furniture

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?

Sharing over at

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13 thoughts on “4 Tips for Finding Cushions for Vintage Outdoor Furniture”


  1. Great ideas! I am still kicking myself for not picking up a set of furniture very much like yours last year at our local flea market type store. I like your mix of color. Very inviting space!

  2. Great tips. Love the pool noodle idea. The plywood idea has been used on my sons hand-me-down sofa at grad school.

    I would love to spend time on your porch…it looks so inviting!

  3. Thanks for the tips Laura, you did an awesome job! Can you tell me where you purchased the umbrella with the scalloped edges? Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. I latched onto a vintage patio set for free a couple of years ago. They also had no cushions, but I went and bought foam at Joann’s on coupon and fabric from fabric.com and made my cushions. I wish now that I had shelled out for the outdoor fabric and not just canvas as it has faded dramatically but they are still very comfortable. I made a few pillows to go with it too. I was fun since I got the pretty furniture for free. Love your blog.

  5. I have this same set of iron furniture! I also have the table and chairs that go with it. Bought everything for $300. So excited to see your’s. I still haven’t decided on a paint color. Decisions, Decisions 🙂

    Tona Haggermaker
    Athens, Alabama

  6. Thank you for this post! I have the *exact* same vintage wrought iron sofa and it’s gone through numerous cushion arrangements that always were smushed or fell short and basically just plain uncomfortable and weird looking. And yes, the custom cushions are SO expensive and I’m really not handy in the sewing dept. I just love the pool noodle idea and your cushions look perfect! Our frame is still the original white but I had toyed around with the idea of adding color–your red frame is really festive and fun! Thanks again–you ideas have helped saved our patio! I’m off to search for supplies!

  7. Found your post through an online search looking for ideas on how to fit cushions for a vintage rattan settee and a few other secondhand patio pieces. Thank you so much for the pool noodle suggestion! It has made all the difference!

  8. Thank you for posting the cushion article. Very useful I was about my wits end looking for vintage chair coverings. I do have what I assume are the original cushions. However, the cushions are old Vivek which is cracked and also being old I am afraid the cushions most likely are not fireproof material. Thanks again

  9. Thanks for the inspiration! We have that very same set! I dug it out of my mom’s basement. Original cushions and all, but they all need to be replaced. I’m going to get the pieces media blasted and powder coated and then start looking for cushions! What’s old is new again! Thank you!

  10. Custom foam cushions at reasonable prices can be found on eBay. I ordered a 67 inch sofa cushion on eBay for under $100 compared to a similar one that was almost $200 at Jo-Ann Fabrics. @hudsonrowhouse