More homeowners today are seeing the true value of their outdoor spaces as much as the inner confines of their home. In fact, real estate brokers note that outdoor spaces are very important selling features for a home. This is why they recommend fixing up these spaces with pieces of furniture and other attractive features to make them more integral areas of a home.
Furniture fit for outdoor spaces are specifically designed to withstand a fierce battering by the elements. This is why they are built with extra durability and an all-weather factor. However, while the emphasis is on durability, a compromise on beauty and comfort oftentimes occurs.
To brighten up these outdoor fixtures, one accessory comes in highly recommended by many interior designers for their ability to combine form and function – cushions.
These cushions should mirror the staying power of their outdoor furniture while adding color and interest.
Let us explore the various cushions that best suit your outdoor furniture:
The fabric, Sunbrella, was first known as a viable alternative to cotton as an awning because dyes on the cloth did not fade despite long exposure to the sun. It was eventually used as a reliable fabric for boats requiring sails. Having been tested for its durability against the elements, it was eventually used as upholstery for outdoor furniture, especially cushions.
There have been other brands coming out, trying to imitate the technology of the fabric used in Sunbrella cushions. However, no one else has been able to successfully replicate the amazing ultraviolet ray (UV) resistance and water-repelling action of this particular brand of cushions. That is why Sunbrella pillows rank high in the durability index for cushions of outdoor furniture.
Porch Swing Cushions
Nothing is more romantic and more relaxing than lounging on a porch swing. With porch swing cushions to complement it, you’ve got a more colorful and comfortable experience sitting on your swing.
You can go wild with prints or conservative with solid bold colors for this particular type of cushions. There are many color palettes to choose from to give your porch swing an up-to-date look. HouseBeautiful.com recommends shades of olive green for the warm, organic look. Or perhaps a touch of neutral gray can cool down a blustery afternoon in the heat of the sun.
You can also go seater cushion only or go all the way with both a seater cushion and a backrest cushion. Any which way, you achieve a new level of comfort with these babies. Plus, they are created to withstand anything the weather can unleash on them so you can be assured of their reliability as an accessory to your outdoor furniture.
Known brands of these cushions are – to name a few – Blazing Needles, Arden Outdoor, Coral Coast, and Garden Treasures. Ask your dealer of outdoor furniture about them.
Outdoor Glider Cushions
Another interesting piece of garden or outdoor furniture is the outdoor glider. It is what may be considered as an alternative take to the rocking chair because it moves like a swing seat. Wikipedia further states that the glider frame has a seat that is attached to the base by a double-rocker four-bar linkage. It is those suspension arms of the linkage that make the chair move in a swinging back-and-forth motion.
The more conventional outdoor gliders are bulkier, with two long benches with backrests facing a table moving in harmony with each other. In recent time though, gliders have become more specialized and streamlined. A single armchair can now move on its own set of rollers. Also, from all-wood gliders, we now have the sleek metal gliders.
With the streamlining of outdoor gliders also comes the overall addition of aesthete and comfort through custom-made outdoor glider cushions. There is a specific cushion style for any kind of taste from Blazing Needles’ paisleys, flower prints, stripes, and geometric styles to Hampton Bay’s solid colored cushions. One can also choose from simple no-nonsense cushions to the fluffy tufted ones encased in colorful Blazing Needles’ fabric. Whatever you choose, you are sure to give an added dimension to the splendor and fluidity of your outdoor glider with these cushions.
There are several variations of the outdoor glider, as well as corresponding cushions to give them a new and more customized look. Here are several examples:
- Patio Glider Cushions. The patio of a home gives all the awesome richness of an experience in the outdoors while in the security of an enclosed yard.
Considering the open space of a patio, furniture for this area should be sturdy and ready for any kind of punishment that the weather could bring. If you have patio gliders, this rule also applies to them. However, this doesn’t mean that beauty should be compromised for practicality.
To strike that balance between aesthetics and durability in your patio gliders, a set of cushions will do the trick. Patio glider cushions should be made of fabric that will remain sturdy and colorful notwithstanding changes in the weather. Plus, it will definitely add color to your patio.
- Porch Glider Cushions. The roofed shelter of a porch provides a modicum of protection against the sun, wind, and rain. However, it is still open enough for you to view and enjoy what the majestic Great Outdoors can bring.
That being said, porch furniture could be rugged but more exquisite in design. And what could make a piece of porch furniture more exquisite? A coordinated set of cushions and quilts, that’s what!
This extends to porch gliders. Visitors and residents alike are sure to have an eyeful of your gliders dressed with the latest designs in porch glider cushions. Frilly, colorful, bold, eye-catching – these cushions will give your gliders an aesthetic upgrade.
- Vintage Glider Cushions. There are many homes out there with gliders that have spanned generations, and yet, have remained to be wonderful conversation pieces in well-kept gardens. Even with the passage of time, these pieces of outdoor furniture have maintained their Old World charm due to painstaking care and innate durability.
Now, with a fresh coat of paint and an eye-catching set of vintage glider cushions, you can upgrade your old gliders and make them look as spiffy as the first time you bought them.
- Metal Glider Cushions. If you are looking for strong material to use for outdoor furniture, then metal is the best option compared to wood. When used for outdoor gliders, maintenance is much easier to do. Plus, the usual chunkiness of wood is replaced by the sleek curves of metal, making your glider more pleasing to the eyes.
To further complement your gliders, colorful metal glider cushions will make them even more exquisite. Whether custom-made or over-the-shelf, they not only add more interest to your metal glider; they also can give your metal glider a wonderful look that can stay for many years to come.
We also have to add this, since we all know that cushions are just as effective inside the home as they are outside it.
When it comes to the sleeping quarters, there is no such thing as having too many pillows. In fact, the presence of pillows and cushions will only add fuel to your love affair with your bed, making it more difficult to get up for work in the mornings. With one big pillow on your head and a bed cushion (or two, or three, or…you get the point) to snuggle with or to drown in, your bed can turn into Relaxation Nirvana.
Even sleep experts note that there are no straight rules on how many pillows and cushions should be on a bed for a more comfortable sleep. SleepComfortably.org notes that for a healthy sleep, there should be enough pillows/cushions to remove the angle between the shoulder and the head. However, at the end of the day, only the bed-user can determine how many pillows and cushions to sleep with to achieve the highest level of comfort. Some people can be content with only one pillow to support the head; others may need as much as six pillows and cushions for maximum comfort.
There is a virtual deluge of bed cushion varieties to choose from. There are the standard square cushions that you can stack either on your bed or on your bedside armchair, and then there are bed pillows or cushions that come in many shapes and textures. There even is a specialized bed cushion that protects your lower lumbar region while you’re sitting in bed – complete with armrests.
Bed cushions rest on a benchmark level that includes all the other good stuff like chocolate, a thorough spa experience, and kisses. Not only do these bed accessories provide the ultimate in comfort; they also give personality to your room with their fancy shapes and brilliant colors. Man simply cannot live with just one bed cushion.
How to Style Your Cushions
Before buying any cushion, it’s important that you know what kind of style you want and how you want your room or space to look. Temple and Webster offer great, simple ways to style your pillow placements:
- Choose cushions in colors that are present in the room. Consider the color of a painting, an accent or even a lamp or decoration as your peg color. This ties the whole room together even if your cushions do not match the color of your couch or patio.
- You can also match the accents or room decorations to your cushions instead. Go for two-color combinations so the effect of your cushions is interesting to the eye and pleasing to people who want more color.
- When choosing patterns, most people would just go with one. While this works, try experimenting with different patterns.
- Choose patterns that have the same size. If you have miniscule figures in the print, all your other patterns must be of the same size. For larger prints, make sure that you have the same size of shapes, even if you have triangles, squares and circles.
- Your prints must have similar colors. If you’re using a two-color combination for your cushions, make sure that you have the same shades for the cushions with the same color.
- Break up the pattern and make everything easy on the eye by spacing the patterned pillows in between plain colored ones. This way, the eye is drawn to interesting prints and gets a rest through the ones in the middle.
- Even the way your cushions are arranged on your couch or patio must have some style.
- If you put them haphazardly, they design looks messy has no style.
- Too many cushions can actually be uncomfortable for people on the couch or patio. Make sure that you have just enough. If you find that no one can sit without pulling away a pillow, then you have too many of them.
- Start layering with the biggest cushion at the back and in the center.
- Add more cushions based on size. The smallest ones should be in the front and the biggest ones towards the back and center.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match the cushions on your furniture. The rule usually is that if someone cannot sit on a chair or couch without removing a pillow then you’ve put too many or something that’s too big for the chair.
Cushions are big business
As of November 2013, Freedoniagroup.com took note of industry leaders’ predictions that the US demand for outdoor furniture and grills (including accessories like cushions) will rise by four percent annually to $7.5 billion in 2017. With the US now inching toward economic recovery and Americans deciding to invest anew in enlarging their living spaces, we are sure to see more outdoor space enhancement until that 2017 figure is achieved, or even surpassed.
Thanks to e-commerce, entrepreneurship and Web 2.0, selling cushions is no longer the domain of big furniture and lifestyle stores. Anyone with a good eye for design and some sewing skills can definitely get in on the cushion business.