We really don't get to appreciate well made dining room chairs until we sit in a really bad one. There is nothing worse than sitting down on a dining room chair that has no foam and knowing that your glutes are going to be aching for the rest of the day.
Well, there is actually one thing that is worse than that. Sitting down on a dining room chair that is made up of the completely wrong type of foam.
Perhaps it's too soft and it just might as well have not been there at all. Or it's too hard and you keep sliding off it. Or it's lumpy, full springs and an all round bad chair.
If you're looking for a new set of dining room chairs, or are just looking to reupholster an old set - then you will want to spend some time thinking about the type of foam you want to use for their seats.
That is what we are going to discuss today.
What kind of foam do you use for dining room chairs?
Before you decide on what type of foam you want to use in your dining room chairs you are going to have to ask yourself a few questions. The answers to these questions will give you a good idea of what you require from your dining room chairs.
Everyone will have a different set of answers to these questions. It's important to know what you want so that you find the right chair for you.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the size of your seats?
- What size seats do you need?
- How often will you use these seats?
- What kind of cover do you want on your seats?
- How much support do you need from your dining room chairs?
- How long do you want to keep using your seats for?
Once you have the answers to these questions, it's time to start thinking about what type of upholstery foam you are going to need.
The one foam that you should be avoiding for seating is memory foam. While this type of foam is perfect for mattresses, seats aren't big enough to take advantage of its benefits.
Memory foam is at its best when it can spread your weight evenly across a large surface area.
High density upholstery foam
Our top recommendation when it comes to upholstery foam is to go for a high density foam. These foams should come in at anything above 1.7 PCF. For more information about what PCF is and the foam density scale, head to the end of the article.
Both of these foams have a great density and hold their shape well when they're cut. They are also heavy enough to support a human's weight over time without flattening out. These are great options if you're looking for long term quality and support.
One of the major benefits of using high density (1.7+ PCF) foam is that it has a much longer lifespan than the other foam densities.
The lifespan of mid-density foam is around 3 years, for low density you'll be lucky if you get two years out of it. On the other hand, high density foam will last you for around 7 years.
The major downside to using high density foam for chairs is that it almost never comes in pre-cut chair shapes.
Meaning that if you want to reupholster your chairs by hand you will need a small hand saw to cut and shape the foam. It does hold its shape very well so you will have to be precise when cutting.
Pre-cut chair pads with midrange density
If you're looking for an easier (and saw free) option then you should look into pre-cut chair pads with a mid-density level.
If you want to get pre-cut pads then you will have to do some measurements before making any orders. It is also worth noting that they usually come in packs of 4, so if you are looking to upholster 6 chairs then you are going to have some spare.
Our top choice for pre-cut pads is the IZO Home Goods Upholstery Foam 2 inch. This set of 4 has a density of 1.6 PCF and will last you for up to 4 years.
The foam is a great multipurpose foam that doesn't have to be limited to use in chairs. We love the 2 inch thickness as it really is the optimal option for a mid-density foam pad.
How thick should dining room chair foam be?
The answer to this question will depend on what your personal preference is and how much support you require from your dining room chair seats.
Foam density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). This is worked out by dividing the weight of your foam by its area. For example, if a 30 foot foam piece weighed 120 pounds then it would have a PCF rating of 4.
What does the scale of density look like for seating foam (polyfoam)?
- Low density foam - less than 1.5 PCF
- Mid-density foam - 1.5-1.7 PCF
- High-density foam - more than 1.7 PCF
Note, the numbers on this scale are a lot higher for memory foam. However, as we mentioned above you will want to avoid memory foam for the seat.
Why is this important? Well, when it comes to picking out foam for furniture, density is just as, if not more, important than thickness. The density of the foam is what provides the support and comfort of the piece.
When looking at what density of foam you need for your dining room chairs you should consider looking at foam between 1.6-1.8 PCF. Depending on your personal preference.