Choosing the best cushion pad


Any interior designer will tell you that there’s no such thing as too many cushions in your home. Whether used for scattering on a sofa, dressing up a bed or adding an accent to a dining chair, they’re an accessorising staple in every room. When choosing a cushion, we usually focus on the aesthetics first, such as design, shape, size, colour and fabric, rather than thinking about the cushion pad itself. And let’s face it, this is the fun part – so much so, we made a cushion arranging tool for creating your ideal cushion arrangement.

However, this often means that the comfort of your cushion is an afterthought, but what’s on the inside is just as important. Many cushion covers are sold without pads to give you the opportunity to choose the softness of your filling, but how do you know which type is the right one? We talk you through the various cushion pad sizes and shapes, as well as the best cushion pad filling for your space.

What size cushion pads should I buy?

The size of cushion pad you need depends on your cushion cover size, but you should also take into account where and how you plan to use the cushion. Will it be decorative or practical? The classic square cushion is most commonly used for both, and usually comes in 46cmSq, 51cmSq and 56/57cmSq sizes. One square cushion makes a great accent cushion on an armchair, offering that little bit of extra comfort whilst adding a dose of colour or pattern. For decorative cushions, try a rectangular cushion instead, such as a small rectangular (60x35cm) and a longer bolster cushion (90x35cm). Small rectangular cushions are ideal for layering in front of square cushions to add depth and contrast in your scheme, whereas bolster cushions are good for laying across benches and beds.

What’s the best cushion pad filling?

OKA cushion covers are supplied without pads, giving you the flexibility to choose your own level of comfort. Our standard duck feather cushion pad is made from shredded duck feathers to give you a deliciously squashy pad, making it a comfortable but relatively economical choice. For the ultimate in softness, our luxurious duck down and feather mix pad is filled with a sublimely soft blend of 70% duck down and 30% duck feathers. All feather and down used is ethically sourced in France from the Muscovy duck. The feathers are washed with filtered water to remove oils, then dried, cooled and de-dusted to make them clean and fluffy. It’s definitely worth investing in a luxury pad for cushions you use day in, day out.

For outdoor use, a fibre-filled pad is a good choice. It won’t retain moisture, dries easily and won’t mould (just remember to store them somewhere dry when not in use). Hollow fibre cushion pads are much sturdier than feather-filled ones but they’re still very comfortable. They’re a great alternative for indoor cushions if you’re allergic to feathers, and they’re also machine washable, so the best cushion pads for your pets to curl up on.

How do I measure a cushion cover?

To measure a cushion cover, remove the cushion pad inside, lay the cover flat, then, in the case of a square or rectangular cushion, measure along the length and width of the cover. For round cushion covers, measure across from one side to the other to find the diameter. Expert tip: always choose a cushion pad that’s the same size or one size bigger than your cushion cover to ensure extra plumpness and comfort. Never go for a cushion pad smaller than your cover as you’ll end up with empty corners where there’s no filling – overstuffed looks and feels much better.

How many cushions should I use on my sofa?

Sofas are a great blank canvas to play around with a variety of cushion pad sizes and arrangements, but you first need to consider the size of your sofa. For a small 2-seater sofa, perhaps stick to 3 cushions maximum, either 46cmSq or 51cmSq – you don’t want your cushions to encroach on the seat too much and leave you with nowhere to sit! For large 3-seater sofas, why not try a mix of square cushions and rectangular cushions? Remember, asymmetry is always more interesting, so if you do opt for the same size cushion, use an odd number. For corner sofas, anything goes. You can create smaller cushion groupings in the corner and at each of the ends or go all the way along both sides of the sofa – the choice is yours.

Price certainly plays a factor in choosing the right cushion pad – the bigger the cushion and the softer the filling, the more expensive it will be. Feather-filled cushion pads are a great ‘all-rounder’, but if you’re looking for that extra softness, you won’t regret indulging in a luxury cushion pad. Don’t just stick to square cushions either; there are so many different shapes and styles to choose from. We’re always introducing new cushions every season and now have over 200 designs, ready and waiting to accessorise your home; take a look at our guide to adding colour with cushions to get your started.

Topics: cushions

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