How to bulk out sofa cushions

Updated February 21, 2017

Soft and squashy sofa cushions can evoke memories of lazy nights in, cuddling up and snoozing on the welcoming softness of the sofa, but when a couch gets too squashy, then it is time for a replacement, reupholster or a simple restuff. One benefit of stuffing sofa cushions at home is that you can opt for the precise amount of firmness that you personally prefer. As long as the structural components of the sofa are intact, newly stuffed cushions can give a favorite couch another lease of life.

Open up the zip on the side of the cushion, but do not remove the interior stuffing. If the cushion has no zip on the cover, then use the scissors to cut open a few stitches.

Check what type of material the stuffing inside the cushion is. Often, the interior of a seat cushion is a block of foam, but it can also be feathers or artificial fibres.

Measure the depth, width and length of the internal cushion if it is made of foam, and measure the potential depth of the top of the outer cover to the bottom of the cover. You will need cushion material that is the width and length of the first measurement, and a cushion height of more than the existing cushion depth, up to the potential depth that the cover can contain. Alternatively, you could place a thin layer of foam on top of the existing foam. This depends on your personal preference for an overstuffed, or understuffed cushion. Often, internal cushion measurements are larger than the cushion cover dimensions, as the foam has the ability to squash up.

Obtain the necessary stuffing materials. Foam blocks, fibres and feathers are available in upholstery shops. Potential recycling sources include old memory foam mattress coverings or the stuffing from old pillows.

Cut the foam to size if necessary using a butcher knife.

Open up one side of stitches on the pillow if necessary for foam cushions. Slide in a flat layer of foam on top of the existing foam, or if you prefer, remove the old foam and replace it with a new foam cushion. With feathers and fibre, simply stuff the new material in with the old fibre, ensuring the stuffing reaches into all the corners. Stop stuffing when you have the necessary firmness.

Stitch up the side of the cushion if necessary with a thread that matches the original thread color.


The sofa manufacturer may sell replacement cushions for the couch that fit perfectly and restore the original comfort of the couch. The manufacturer's details are typically on a label inside the cushion.


Some couch cushions may appear flattened when in fact it is the underlying springs or support material that is worn. This may require a professional upholsterer's attention.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Thread (to match the sofa thread color)
  • Needle
  • Measuring tape
  • Foam, feathers or fibre
  • Butcher knife
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About the Author

Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.