Patio Furniture Cushions, Sling Backs, and Straps

Patio Furniture Cushions, Sling Backs, and Straps Summary
  • The newest patio furniture cushions use "densified" polyester fiber fill which does not hold water like foam. No more wet seats. Look for these cushions in the newest deep seating patio furniture lines.
  • Open sling back fabrics breathe and they let water fall right through them. They are practical and beautiful.
  • Strap chairs are very functional, but they don't have to be ugly. See our picture of Tropitone's beautiful St. Ives strap patio furniture set.

Colorful and Comfortable Patio Furniture Cushions

When you think of patio furniture you don't usually think of upholstery, but there are several patio furniture upholstery options, namely cushions, slings and straps. Let's start with patio furniture cushions. Patio furniture cushions make your chairs and chaises much more comfortable. They come in a variety of fabrics, sizes and thicknesses, designed to suit the particular situation. Some of the newest "deep seating" cushions approach the plush comfort of your living room sofa.

Tuscan Cushions

Cushions are usually filled with polyester fiber-fill, weather-resistant foam, or a sandwich of both materials. Foam tends to retain water from rain and sprinklers, so chairs with foam cushions should be covered with a waterproof chair cover when not in use. Newer "densified" polyester fiber-fill cushions do not retain water at all, but they feel like foam in the way they cradle your body. Look for densified polyester cushions in the new types of deep seating patio furniture.

Outdoor chair cushions are wrapped in fabric, which can be anything from cotton canvas to manmade materials like polyester and acrylic fabric. The best known brand name in patio furniture fabric is the acrylic Sunbrella fabric, which is non-fading and will last for years even with a full sun exposure. Other materials, like cotton canvas, will not last as long but they are cheaper and their short lifespan means you can change the look of your furniture more often, which can be a plus.

Patio Cushion Varieties
All types of cushions can be removed for cleaning and storage or replaced when you want to change the look of your patio furniture, making them a very practical accessory.

Sling Back Chairs and Chaises

Sling back patio chairs and chaises have open-meshed fabric pulled taut across the the frame of the chair and connected to a special channel in the chair frame. The sling fabric is almost always made from strong, vinyl-coated polyester yarn. Acrylic fabric, which is great for patio umbrellas and cushions, is prone to sagging in a sling application.

Sling Back Patio Furniture

Slings have a great look and are always cool to the touch. They are wonderfully geometric, sleek and handsome, following the lines and curves of the chair frame. Water and rain drip right through the open mesh, making them self cleaning. For many, slings offer the best of both worlds - the simplicity of strap seating and the upscale look of fabric. Usually, slings are more expensive than straps, but less expensive than cushioned patio furniture.

Patio Furniture with Straps

Patio chairs and chaise with strap webbing are particularly popular in high use areas. They are usually the seating of choice by hotel and country club pools, and equally good around a home pool. Straps are the least expensive seating option. Typically made of UV-stabilized vinyl, straps produce a clean, handsome image, require the least amount of care, and are extremely durable. If a strap ever breaks - and it rarely does on quality furniture - you can usually replace it yourself for a few dollars.

Strap Patio Furniture

Straps come in a wide variety of configurations - wide or narrow, wrapped horizontally or woven in a crisscross pattern or diagonally. You can choose a strap that matches the same color of your furniture frame, a contrasting color, or a color scheme that includes accent stripes. Be aware that straps on some lower-priced furniture may be made of lower grade vinyl. They lack the durability and resiliency of top-quality strapping.


Use your imagination when you choose your patio furniture upholstery. You can choose strap seating or slings for around the pool, and have plusher cushions for the deck, porch or patio. Coordinating colors and fabric designs can be used to unify your outdoor decorating theme, while distinct patterns and colors can be used to add definition to different outdoor areas like the informal poolside or the more formal deck. There is no limit to what you can do with the wide variety of durable outdoor fabrics available for today's patio furniture.