The Ups and Downs of Cushion Fills

by starfurniture on October 19, 2011

Some insight into the furniture industry’s most common seat cushion fills:

100% Down:

100% down is arguably the snuggliest cushion fill.

The most luxurious cushion fill, down is actually pretty hardy. It will last for many years when given proper care, but it is high maintenance. Down cushions need to be fluffed on an almost-daily basis to retain loft. Even pillows that don’t get used need a little punching up, because the smallest degree of humidity will flatten feathers. Fluffing rearranges the feathers so they can air out and puff back up.

With either 100% down and down blend, your furniture shouldn’t look like it’s home to a geese gaggle. For the most part, the protective ticking will keep the feathers inside the cushion. You can expect a feather or two to poke through the seams, but just occasionally.

The karate-chopped top means it’s a down pillow. Fiber-filled pillows won’t hold a shape like that. (Image courtesy of Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper.)

Down Blend:
A more affordable alternative to down cushions, down blend seats are stuffed with layers of down, feathers and polyester filling. Down blend doesn’t have to be fluffed every day, but don’t get too excited – it still needs routine fluffing. Typically, these cushions have baffles or channels to make sure the feathers and fibers stay put. And thanks to the layers of fiber fill inside blend cushions, quill pokes are not very common.

We didn’t know what a cushion baffle looked like either. Baffling, or channeling, keeps the stuffing from mish-mashing around inside.


Fiber Fill:

The upside to regular fiber-filled cushions is that they don’t need the constant fluffing, puffing and plumping required by down cushions. If pillow punching is your most dreaded chore, or if you just tend to be forgetful, you’ll be happier with fiber cushions.

How long your cushions last depend largely on the quality of your sofa. Premium fill is going to stay upright longer.

If you want low maintenance, you should pass on the feathers.

Some furniture manufacturers allow you to special order your seat cushions in varying degrees of firmness. It may cost a little extra upfront, but if you start out with the right cushion, you’ll be much happier with your sofa or chair in the long run.

Happy sitting!

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