Should cushion inserts be bigger than the cushion cover?

Released On 17th Aug 2022

Should cushion inserts be bigger than the cushion cover?

A query we often help customers with is choosing the size of a cushion pad in relation to the cover. Should cushion inserts be the same size or bigger, and how much bigger, than the cover?

Speaking from personal experience, we have to say there is more than one answer to this question! The following information will explain the different factors to consider, and help you decide which size cushion pad will give you the best result.


As cushion inserts come in lots of different sizes, in this article we’ll refer to a size up as being 3cm, or 1 inch bigger than the cushion cover. So, two sizes up indicates an inner that is 6cm or 2 inches bigger than the cover, and so on. 

What is the cushion being used for? 

First, give some thought to what your cushion will be used for. For example, a decorative cushion that is more for display than for practical use can appear to best advantage with a nice plump look. Go for a cushion pad that is one or even two sizes up from the cover.

On the other hand, a very plump, firm cushion isn’t necessarily the most comfortable to rest against. If your cushion will get lots of use, choose an insert that is either the same size or just one size up from the cover, depending on your personal preference.

How delicate is the cushion cover fabric?

Our customers entrust to our care the finest quality fabrics and trims, some of which are very delicate, so great care must always be taken not to put too much strain on these with an over-plump cushion insert. 

Assess the strength of your fabric, and if it is very fine, we recommend going up by a maximum of one size for the cushion pad.

Measuring fabric for a cushion cover

What “effect” are you striving for?

We’re sometimes asked to make a bespoke cushion with a lived-in, “antique” look to it. An opulent, heavy fabric often works well for this effect. Such cushions are usually a little floppier than a brand-new cushion would be, so rather than going up a size for the pad, we might actually make the pad the same size as the cover. 

To achieve a much fuller look, however, we might go up by two sizes and even add extra fill to the pad. That wouldn’t be advisable with a delicate fabric, though, so if a very plump cushion is important to you, perhaps reconsider your fabric choice?

Most traditional guides simply tell you to go up in size when selecting a cushion pad, but take the time to weigh up a few other factors, and you’ll get a much more satisfying result.  

For expert help with hand-made cushion inners and made-to-measure covers, please get in touch. 

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