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Upholstery stuffing materials: what are the different types?

If your living room sofa is looking a little tired, reupholstery could give it a new lease of life. Particularly if you have some sagging cushions in need of replacement inners. But what are the right materials to use for comfort and durability? In this article, we’ll take you through the most popular types of upholstery stuffing materials and the best ways to use them. 

Upholstery Fillings

When you’re deciding on upholstery fillings, you need to bear three things in mind: 

  • The level of support.
  • The filling power (sometimes known as loft).
  • Whether you can use one or more stuffing types in combination. For example, foam and feathers are both popular choices for upholstery filling and can be used together for the best of both worlds.

Upholstery foam

This is one of the most popular upholstery fillings, combining comfort and durability. High-density foam gives shape and structure to your sofa, while memory foam adds luxury and comfort. 

At South West Upholstery, we use a range of foam densities to produce different levels of comfort, from soft to firm. The use of multiple foams gives bespoke support, but not all foam is created equal. Foam manufactured in the UK and Europe must conform to strict safety standards and is highly resilient.

These are the most common types of upholstery foam:

High-density foam is typically blue and provides support and structure for your sofa.

Medium-density foam is usually pink and forms the core of the sofa or chair back and seat cushions.

Low-density foam is white. Layered with other types of foam, it provides comfort and softness.

High-resiliency foam is a robust choice for a family sofa that sees plenty of wear and tear, as it takes far longer to deteriorate.

Latex foam is natural rubber, making it a sustainable choice. It’s incredibly responsive and bouncy but can break down if exposed to light and air.

Memory foam is a low-resiliency foam that moulds to the body at room temperature, making for high comfort levels.

Be sure to check out our Foam Cut to Size page.

Feather and Down

Feather and down-filled cushions offer pure luxury. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to their unparalleled comfort. Feathers and down tend to compact over time, and your cushions may require endless plumping to get rid of the lumps and bumps. 

However, you can combine feather and down fillings with foam to provide additional structure and support.

Cotton wadding 

Also known as cotton batting, wadding has plenty of uses in upholstery:

  1. It rounds out the edges of a cushion and creates a distinctive crown shape.
  2. It can prevent friction between the upholstery fabric and the foam core.
  3. It can help to compensate for the slackness in the fabric that develops over time.

Cotton batting comes in various weights and is naturally soft and breathable. It’s made of layers of cotton fibres and has fantastic loft height, making it a great option for your living room sofa. 

However, it’s not moistureproof and won’t stand up to spills and humid climates. If cotton batting isn’t for you, you could also try wool or polyester wadding. 

Hollow Fill Fibre

Hollow fill fibre is a polyester filling that’s a budget-friendly alternative to pricier feathers. Better yet, it’s anti-allergy and mould resistant, so if you can’t tolerate feather cushions, you can still sit on your sofa in comfort.

The microscopic hollow tubes trap air, giving them — and your cushions — plenty of loft appeal. It’s also suitable for outdoor furniture so you can sunbathe in comfort.

Professional upholstery

Now you have a bit more of an idea of what sort of upholstery stuffing material you’d like, you may wish to consider hiring a professional upholsterer to get the job done. Our Bristol-based SWU team can help! 

We have the skills and experience to make sure you get the upholstery filling, fabric, and aesthetic you’re looking for. Why not give your old furniture a refresh and get in touch today?

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