Asked on Dec 30, 2014

How to fix too-firm couch cushions?

by NanaPam
I have a new Pottery Barn Cameron sectional, white denim slipcover. Love the way it looks, but it's way-beyond-firm to sit on. (Dumb mistake disclaimer: Yes, I know I should have been more careful when I was sit-testing in the store, asked more questions, etc.)
The seat cushion inserts are 4" of green foam in the middle with 1" of softer white foam on the top and bottom, with a layer of poly batting about 3/4" to 1" thick as the final outside layer on top and bottom. (This is a large sectional, so there are five cushions 30" wide x 26" deep, plus a corner wedge.)
The cushions feel overstuffed and taut. I'd like sink-in-and-relax comfort - but I don't want to have to fluff up the cushion each time it's sat upon. Is there a way to achieve this? Could I replace some of the existing layers with down or something else for more comfort?
The seat back cushions are also stiff and unyielding. They are stuffed with poly, with an inner bag that is also poly stuffed. What could I do to make them so they are more comfortable, yet able to maintain their shape without constant fluffing?
Thanks for your advice!
  7 answers
  • Shira Shira on Jan 01, 2015
    @PnnyG do you have any advice for @NanaPam?
  • PnnyG PnnyG on Jan 01, 2015
    Stop kicking yourself for not paying attention to comfort before purchasing sectional. Even if the floor model was p e effect, usually the units delivered are different feeling. Now to solve your problem. This is what I would suggest- the green foam in the middle of your cushion is necessary for sHape, however it can be cut in half so that it is only 2 inches thick. You can do this by using an electric carving knife to cut 2 inches of the foam out of the middle. Use some foam glue and glue the two middle sections together again. I would then wrap the remaining foam in Dacron. Then I would buy a big bag of prima loft polyester or a polyester down alternative. Make 2 packets out of muslin in the same shape as the original cushion. Each should be 1 1/2 niche thick. Fill the packets with the prima loft until they feel like the cushiness you are looking for. Using the foam glue attach the packets to the middle unit. Wrap in Dacron again and reinsert into cushion cover. This may sound l like a lot of work, but it is not hard a nd would fix the. Comfort for you. Your back cushions are probably just rolled up sheets of Dacron. I would remove all of the wads of Dacron and re pack it with prima loft. You will have to pack it fimly, but it will be much more comfortable. Repeat this process for each cushion. If this was my cushion this would d be my line o f attack. If you are not a DIY'er, find a good upholsterer in your area and they can fix up your cushion f or you.
  • NanaPam NanaPam on Jan 01, 2015
    PnnyG, thanks so much for all this! I'm a skilled DIY'er, so I can confidently handle this, my decades of sewing I've missed prima loft polyester. Where do you buy it, and will it fluff as well as down? I wouldn't mind buying down if it will perform better than prima loft over time. When you say dacron, I'm assuming you mean ordinary polyester quilt batting or sold-in-a-bag polyester stuffing - correct? Would you help me clarify the layers? Right now I have: batting (dacron?) 1" white foam 4" green foam 1" white foam batting You suggest (Am I interpreting this correctly?): dacron 1-1/2" bag of prima loft dacron (no white foam) 2" green foam (cut down from 4") (no white foam) dacron 1-1/2" bag of prima loft dacron Is there an advantage to keeping the cushions reversible top and bottom - can I take the shortcut of improving the top half and leaving the part below the green foam the same? Thanks for your time! I appreciate your expertise.
  • NanaPam NanaPam on Jan 02, 2015
    I've asked PnnyG questions to clarify her response.
  • PnnyG PnnyG on Jan 02, 2015
    Hi NanaPam, Sorry I have not responded before this-just got notification of your response. So I like to use down alternative vs. down whenever I can. It is easier to work with and is so much less in price. You would have to spend a fortune to add down to this project. Another name for what is called primaloft is Fiberloft. It is a tiny encapsulated polyester bit. They are easy to stuff with and you can add or subtract until you get the feel that you want. They fluff very easily. I would make the 1 1/2 inch bags that you are going to make with either a zipper or velcro closure so that it is easy to add and subtract from. Amazon carries Fiberloft. I think you can get it at Joanns. You are going to need a bunch of it - I imagine you can find it in bigger quantities on the internet. I personally like the primaloft brand better. It seems to stand up better. The last place I purchased Primaloft from was Downlite. They are on the internet and their sales people are very helpful Dacron is just a brand name of polyester. You will want to use polyester that is in one big sheet to wrap these cushions -not the broken up polyester. The main reason for doing both sides of the cushion is so that they can be flipped. this helps to keep one side from wearing out too fast. You can just do one side but then you will have to make the "bag" a 3" bag instead of 1 1/2" on each side. A 3 inch bag on one side will not give you the control that the smaller bag would. As far as your layers are concerned, you have it correct except you leave the 1" white foam. Do not remove that. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask. My direct email is
  • Lisa Lisa on Jan 22, 2015
    Hi NanaPam....I have done a lot of cushions and cushion remakes for myself and others. If your seat cushions are too firm, replace the 4" green foam with the lightest density foam you can find, rather than just stuffing the cushions with loose polyfil or down type fill. Your cushions still need some structure, so some kind of foam must be present to help keep the shape. Other wise, it is like sitting on a bed pillow. Eventually it is gonna flatten like a pancake. Plus every time you are finished sitting, you are going to have to poof up and reshapen the cushion. So, if you go with a general purpose foam or a light density foam, you will "sink" when you sit, but the foam will bounce back when you are off it. The green foam is probably a very high density foam that is giving you such stiffness. Hope that helps.
  • NanaPam NanaPam on Jan 22, 2015
    Thanks, Lisa! I'll try this first on a cushion to see how it feels. That would be a lot less work, too. I wonder where I can find light density. I have some 4" foam from JoAnn but it is pretty firm.