Any Ideas? I'm Boo Hoo-ing over my 'Free' Sofa & Chair

amck2April 4, 2012

I posted recently about having been given a vintage wood (Ethan Allen)sofa & chair that I planned to revive for the in-law suite I'm working to complete. My post asked for sources where I might find cushion covers to replace the originals.

Picked up the set yesterday, and while the frame will be charming with a fair amount of work, but little expense, the old cushions are shot. So now I need a total of 8 new cushions (includes seats & backs for sofa plus chair).

They're deep seat cushions, and I've had no luck thusfar finding anything online that won't end up costing $600+. I love the set and it belonged to someone dear to me, so there's a sentimental attachment, as well. But I'm working on a tight budget and wonder if I should just give up on it.

I was trying to think out-of-the-box and the idea of using a futon mattress on the sofa frame instead of cushions even crossed my mind. I soon realized how desperate that was and how counter it is to the whole idea of bringing these pieces back to life.

But just wanted to put it out here in case any of you have any better "alternative" ideas for me to consider.

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If they are the loose pillow type that I have, I garbage picked my cushions. Keep on the lookout for "free" on CL or on freecycle. Don't worry if they are too large or you have to take just the bottom cushions, foam is easy to cut down with an electric knife. Wrap with batting, cover, and off you go. BTW, my son says that the couch is the most comfortable seat in the house with those gp cushions (I agree).

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Also, you would not be able to buy a new comparable sofa and chair for $600 so you are still ahead of the game even if you spend the money.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Have you taken the cushions to an upholster and checked their prices? Talk to at least 3 since I find prices vary in my area. Also ask their price for foam and sewing of the covers if you supply the fabric.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 5:29PM
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I used 3 outdoor chair cushions that are solid light green for my moms. Fit perfectly.
The ones that have the back and seat as one piece. From Home Depot.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:12PM
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I am seeing a lot of very nice looking outdoor cushions in the stores right now. They look like the right size to me and they run around $30 each. I doubt if either the filling or the covers are very high quality, but this would be your cheapest option.

This End Up cushions might fit. They use a very high quality foam. They are currently charging about $55 for each cushion, which includes a slipcover in their least expensive fabric option.

I have This End Up furniture. I bought my fabric at an outlet. It is a very high quality nylon which I think cost about $12 a yard. You need a yard for each cushion. My local upholsterer (I'm in Maryland) charged me $30 to make each cushion cover. So my covers came to $42 each. I liked using my own fabric because I bought a lot of extra, so that I won't have to replace all of the slipcovers if just one piece gets ruined. I hope this gives you some idea of your options.

But like Pal said, if you get new foam and nice slipcovers, you might spend $600 or so, but you will have some very high quality seating for a fraction of what it would cost to buy it new.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Would a twin sized mattress work for the seat? You could use Euro pillows for the back cushions.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:59PM
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Unfortunately, foam is a petroleum bi-product. Because of this, it's super-pricey and as I am sure you have found out, the thicker the foam the more $$. Jaysmom has a good idea about finding a sofa or Craig's list and using it for your cushion supply, but there is that pesking bed-bug issue... Can you wrap dacron (batting)or a thinner foam around your existing cushions to beef them up?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Thank you for all the responses and ideas. You've convinced me to stick with this project.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 8:21PM
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When you say the old cushions are shot, is the foam bad? or the covers?

Could you possibly salvage the foam, and wrap it with thinner (cheaper) foam and batting? Then order covers for the cushions?

A friend order from and hers came in fitting perfectly, (nothing fancy) and were very resonably priced.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cushions and slipcovers

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Pier One has 24x24" floor cushions that might work. They fit my futon perfectly.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:32PM
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All but 2 of the old cushions are really bad. When I opened the cover to see about possibly rewrapping & reshaping, the foam was in crumbled pieces. Some are quite worn down and have taken the shape of items they were sandwiched between while in storage.

These posts reminded me that I have an old set of Lloyd Flanders cushions from my wicker set in my attic. The fabric covers are worn and faded, but the innards are in great shape, which is why I kept them. I was told at the time that LF doesn't sell covers only, so I replaced the whole cushion set.

These didn't come to mind because the side cushions are curved, but now I'm thinking I can somehow "square off" those edges. Still pondering....

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 8:26AM
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An electric knife is great for cutting foam! I do it all of the time . Got one at GW just for that purpose.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Cooperbailey offered great advice--the electric knife cuts foam like butter!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 11:44AM
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I have an idea for you. A couple of years ago, our camping mattresses in our tent trailer needed to be replaced. We ordered king sized foam mattresses over the internet directly from a factory. They had free shipping for orders over $75. I'm thinking the king size was less than $200. You could get that size and just use the knife to cut it to the sizes you need. I checked out, which is the site I think we used (the pictures look familiar), and they also have seat cushions made to the right size if you would prefer, but I'm sure that's more expensive. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Ooo Oooo. I know!! (waving arms wildly)

Before you give up on the foam, try steaming it. Strip it out from the fabric and wrap, and work on a counter or somewhere that can get wet. Very very slowly run the steamer wand over the surface. You can actually see the foam expand and return to its original shape as you get the steam worked into the piece. One of the more astounding things I've seen is the refreshing of decrepit, flattened, creased foam with a steamer!

If you don't have steamer, you can try soaking the foam in a tub. Either way it will need to dry well. Then wrap with dacron and recover.

And yes, an electric knife does work great for cutting down foam if you go that route.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 10:18PM
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I was just at lowes, the couple ahead of me were buying some cushions for outdoor furniture. Those suckers were like 4 inches deep! Really plush and the color was a nice deep green like avocadoish with a little sheen like raw silk, the matching back cushions had the same raw silk look but maybe had a black light threaded design going through them..I was totally shocked to see fabric that looked so much like sofa fabric on these cushions. You should go take a look at some of them. Also Ballards has some beautiful fabrics for their cushions for their lawn furniture.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 11:54PM
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