Furniture Stuffing 101: What You Need to Know
Upholstery projects have the ability to transform tired, worn-looking spaces, especially when care is given to the selection of colors, fabric patterns, and the style you’re trying to achieve. However, the most important part of any upholstered item is what you don’t see.
Hidden beneath the fabric exterior are the “guts” of your furniture, including:
The type of stuffing material will depend on how the upholstered furniture is to be used and the comfort level you are seeking.
In cushions and other upholstery, batting is applied over the foam to prevent slippage and provide a smooth appearance. The thickness (loft) of batting can range from very thin up to 1/4″ thick. Batting is available in cotton, wool, polyester or a blend.
Cotton batting is made from 100% cotton that has been layered. There are two weights available:
- 26.5 oz. (thin)
- 42.3 oz. (thick)
The weight is determined by the type of project you are working on, but both weights are suitable for upholstery.
Cotton is a natural fiber that can poke through the fabric covering, making the furniture uncomfortable to sit on. If you are upholstering a headboard, this may not be a concern; but it may cause problems on seating for sofas and chairs. If so, a combination poly/cotton batting may be the answer. It’s durable and will give your
furniture a smooth look and feel.
Wool batting is made from wool waste that has been woven together and is available as:
- Needled Wool Batting: Strong and durable and most commonly used to cover springs in upholstery, though it can be used for stuffing as well.
- Layered Wool Batting: Not recommended for upholstery, as it falls apart easily, which can affect the appearance of the furniture over time.
Animal Hair and Feathers
The use of animal hair is one of the oldest types of upholstery stuffing. The hair used is most often from the manes and tails of horses and is often found in antique furniture. When re-upholstering antiques, the existing horse hair can be combined with wool or cotton to add additional loft to the piece.
While not actually “hair”, feather and down is often used in upscale furniture to provide the ultimate in comfort.
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