July 28, 2022 6 min read

Sofas, loveseats, and even armchairs all have a wide range of quality levels designed to appeal to both the budget-minded consumer and the stickler for high-quality manufacturing. With multiple quality options available, anyone can find a couch within their price range.

However, there are a few differences in the seating of upholstery furniture based on quality. Here at Furniture Fair, we like to keep people in Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky, Southern Indiana, and Louisville informed on all things furniture.

We want to discuss how living room seating manufacturers use specific techniques to either increase comfort and support or create more budget-friendly options for your living room seating.

Throughout this article, you will learn about how the cushions of upholstery furniture are made and how types of cushions in furniture and different cushion construction methods can affect your comfort levels.

If you want to find the best cushion for furniture in your home, this article is for you. Read on to get cushion quality ranked from good to best and determine whether a good, better, or best cushion would suit your needs with your upholstered furniture.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

What Are Cushions Made From?

Cushions have been around since Egyptian times and have been made from a wide variety of materials over the centuries. The industrial revolution and the space race helped bring about many modern innovations that have become industry standards for cushions and mattresses.

Earlier cushions were made from soft materials like cotton, horse hair, and other animal fiber-based cushioning. Modern chair cushions primarily use foam, gels, polyester fibers, and other materials. Some newer cushions use soy-based foam or recycled fibers, but most modern seating uses upholstered foam cushions.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, but these exceptions are usually limited to higher-end luxury brands such as Stickley. The older cushion fill is typically tied to the brand's legacy or type of upholstered furniture and often costs more due to the less common material.

Four primary cushion materials are consistently used in modern upholstered furniture seating. We will go over them below so that you will know what you are sitting on the next time you are at a furniture store.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

Conventional Foam Cushions

Conventional foams are petroleum-based products that are measured by density. The density level determines how much air fill goes into the cushion's foam. Cushions with less density will be thicker, more supportive, and more resistant to the touch, while cushions with more thickness will feel lighter and sit deeper.

Two common types of foam are Qualex foam and conventional foam. Traditional foam uses circular cells in its manufacturing process, which adds softness but lacks stability. Qualex foam uses octagonal cells in its foam construction, adding more resilience.

The level of foam density does not matter as much as the quality of the manufacturer. When shopping for cushions, check the brand's quality, the manufacturer's reputation, and whether or not they offer cushion warranties.

The most important way to test a cushion is to sit on it yourself. In many cases, the quality of the foam and support system will be evident. However, ensure that you are paying for quality, as cheap foams can wear out faster, leading to sagging, unsupportive cushions.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture
How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

Gel Foam Cushions

Now let’s talk about how foam cushions are a little bit different. Almost all cushions have a core and can have multiple layers of varying densities. Like mattresses, cushions can have many layers, and the more layers you have, the more complicated your cushion will be.

For example, most cushions have a foam core. Some manufacturers will use a gel foam on the top of the cushion for an added layer of support and comfort. The types of foam used and the quality of the foam will depend on the manufacturer’s design.

Manufacturers that use gel foams on top of their foam core cushions are generally better quality cushions since they incorporate more thought and design around the comfort and support of the user. If your cushion is foam with a gel topper, you should feel a slightly better seating experience.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

Springdown Cushions

The next cushion core we will talk about is the Springdown cushion system. With a Springdown system, your cushion will have a foam core center, similar to the previous listing, but with the added ride support of coil springs.

Like the cartoons of your childhood dramatically emphasized, couch springs are designed to give you a firmer, bouncier ride than a standard foam cushion. The bouncier ride is excellent for people who want to sit on their furniture rather than in it.

Springdown cushions also add a layer of down feathers to the top of their cushion system, which adds an additional layer of comfort on top of the support. Down feathers are not there for support; instead, they are there to provide a more relaxing seating experience.

Springdown cushions are designed to be sat on with firm spring-balanced support on top of a traditional foam core, with a touch of luxury, thanks to the down feathers. This type of cushion is one that you should feel for yourself to notice the difference.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture
How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

Down-filled Cushions

Remember when we said most cushions don’t use organic materials? This cushion is the exception. Rather than using a foam core, down-filled cushions are precisely what the name implies, down feathers in cushion form.

If you grew up with a down pillow, a down comforter, or a duvet cover and are in love with the feeling of that soft natural feeling, then a down-filled cushion may be right for you.

Down-filled cushions do require a bit more maintenance than other cushion types. A down cushion needs to be fluffed regularly to help keep the cushion from developing divots and losing support. However, with some upkeep, you can get the same downy-soft comfort you love on your couch.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

How Do The Cushion Types Rank Under Good, Better, Best?

Now that we’ve discussed the most common cushion types let's find out where they rank on the Good, Better, Best ranking scale. Conventional foam cushions rank on the good level in the GBB ranking system and are the standard cushion option.

On the end of good and moving into better is the foam cushion with a gel foam top. Because this type of cushion uses more advanced memory foam technologies, this cushion is a bit more supportive and made to a higher quality standard.

Into the best category sits the Springdown cushion and the down-filled cushion. Both of these are premium quality cushions made with materials that cost a bit more. However, for the price, your cushion quality will be dramatically better.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture
How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

How Do I Maintain My Couch Cushions?

There are a few reasons your cushions could fail or stop supporting you properly. If your couch has cushions that can be flipped, failing to do so could create uneven wear on the cushion, creating a divot.

If your cushions are flippable, flip them on occasion so they will wear evenly. Some cushions, however, are not designed to be flipped. Gel topped cushions, for example, are not meant to be flipped and are more like modern mattresses with a series of layers designed in one direction.

Another enemy of your cushions is dirt and dust. Regular light vacuuming of your sofa cushions will help keep your furniture clean and germ-free while also causing your cushion from aging quicker. Vacuum regularly, and consider using an upholstery cleaner from time to time to keep your cushions neat and sanitary.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

Ready To Find The Right Cushion For Your Living Room?

Now that you are an expert on all things cushion, you can find the right cushions for your seating preference. Keep in mind that not all cushions are made the same, and a good manufacturer will provide a warranty on their cushions.

Remember that foam cushions are the industry standard and rank under good in the GBB scale ranking system. Don’t forget that cushions with gel memory foam rank higher due to their added support.

Keep in mind that Springdown cushions use foam core, couch springs, and a down top for a best-quality seating experience. Finally, don’t forget that if you want the ultimate in soft, luxury comfort, down cushions are the way to go.

If you have any questions about cushion construction or want to try a few cushion types for yourself, feel free to drop by one of our convenient locations in Cincinnati, Dayton, Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Southern Indiana.

If you want a furniture expert to help you find the couch and cushions of your dreams, schedule an appointment with one of our furniture experts and have them help you discover which cushion is suitable for your needs.

How Good, Better, & Best Quality Cushions Affect Upholstery Furniture

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