How to refill leather cushions

Written by gryphon adams
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Leather cushions add to the comfort and luxuriousness of sofas and chairs. Over time, the filling breaks down, compressed by weight and deteriorating from use and age. When the filling no longer provides support, comfort declines. Compacted fill damages the cushion's appearance as well, showing in unevenness and dents. To restore the cushion's support and attractiveness, follow some expert guidelines to ensure that you achieve refilled leather cushions that look and feel like new.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Large cardboard box
  • Garbage bag for old cushion filling
  • Measuring tape
  • Yardstick or dowel
  • Notepad
  • Pen

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  1. 1

    Determine whether the sofa or chair is under warranty, if the leather cushion came with the furniture. Some manufacturers refill the cushions.

  2. 2

    Open the leather cushion, and remove the filling. If the zipper sticks, rub it with wax (such as the end of a taper candle). If the cushion is a toss pillow rather than a seat or back cushion, it may have loose filling. Open the cushion over a box to avoid a mess.

  3. 3

    Measure the cushion foam. Put it on a table and look at the centre. Place the tip of the measuring tape on the table and extend the tape. Balance a yardstick, dowel or other straight object across the cushion foam to determine the height of the centre. Add 1 to 2 inches to the measurement of the foam's centre based on your observation of how the filling used to fit the leather cushion. Measure the length and width of the cushion. Bag the old cushion foam.

  4. 4

    Shop for the refill cushion. Urban areas have shops specialising in foam that will cut the foam to order. Bring the original filling and leather cover along, in addition to the measurements to assure the best fit. Foam varies in density--this affects how firm it is. Getting a match matters if it's for a sofa or favourite chair; the seating won't feel the same if it's much harder or softer than the original--though a new cushion will feel different from a broken-down one.

    Fabric and craft shops carry loose cushion fill, and you can shop online if there's no foam supplier convenient to you.

  5. 5

    Put the new foam in the leather cover. Push the corners all the way into the cushion cover's corners. Press down on the foam to compress it to make it easier to zip the leather cover. Press down and zip a few inches at a time. Now the leather cushion looks and feels new again.

Tips and warnings

  • Check with the garbage or recycling service on the best way to dispose of the used cushion filling.
  • Keep loose fill and plastic bags out of reach of children because of the hazard of choking and suffocation.

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