Your Guide to Buying and Protecting Outdoor Bench Cushions

outdoor bench cushions

Outdoor benches are great for hanging out and hosting friends, especially during the spring and summer months. But without some comfy cushions to sit on, benches can quickly get uncomfortable! You don’t want your friends and family to leave your gathering with an aching back, do you? 

Great outdoor bench cushions will help keep your friends and family happy and comfortable, so you can socialize for longer periods of time and enjoy more quality time in your beautiful backyard. Plus, they look stylish and will make your backyard more cozy and appealing. 

Of course, any kind of cushion that lives outside will be subject to wear and tear from the elements over time. And there’s nothing less inviting than having to sit on a moldy, faded bench cushion! 

You surely don’t want to have to replace your outdoor bench cushions every season. That’s expensive, wasteful, and harmful to the environment. That’s why, if you’re investing in new outdoor bench cushions, you should do your due diligence and choose cushion covers that are comfortable, good-looking, durable, and easy to maintain. 

Fortunately, in addition to choosing the right kind of bench cushions or cushion covers, there are many things you can do to keep them looking their best. With our tips below, choosing long-lasting outdoor cushions and protecting them from the elements will be quick and simple. Let’s get started!

#1 Tip: Invest in Quality Bench Cushion Covers!

The most obvious and easy way to prolong the lifespan of your outdoor bench cushions is to cover them with removable cushion covers. Cushion covers come in many different colors, styles, and patterns to suit almost any piece of outdoor furniture, from benches to couches and everything in between. 

Not all outdoor cushion covers are created equal though! You should look for outdoor cushion covers that are machine washable, fade-resistant, mildew resistant, and weather resistant, like ours here at Fig Leaf.

patio bench cushions

Correctly Measure Your Outdoor Bench Seat Cushions

If you’re looking for new bench cushions or cushion covers, you’ll have to carefully measure 


your outdoor bench and refer to a cushion size chart

Sizing your cushions correctly makes a big difference. And not just for the aesthetics or comfort of you and your guests. Making sure your bench cushions are appropriately sized will help keep them securely in place and prevent unnecessary damage. 

To get your bench cushion dimensions, simply measure the width of the cushion (side to side), the length of the cushion (front to back), and the depth of the cushion (thickness). 

Keep in mind, there are two main types of outdoor cushions: box edge cushions (flatter and easier to sit on) and knife-edge cushions (similar to pillows).  

We can make custom cushion covers to fit any kind of cushion or outdoor furniture here at Fig Leaf. If you have specialty size cushions (cushions that are not square or rectangle) or have any questions about sizing, we’d be happy to help – just send the dimensions and a picture of your cushions our way!

Keeping Your Outdoor Bench Cushion Covers in Place


If you invest in bench cushion covers, you will usually get two types of covers: a seat cushion cover and a back cushion cover. 

Our seat cushion covers are made to cover the top and sides and stay firmly in place. They have an elastic cord and a cord stop for quick and easy adjustments, resulting in a smooth, taut look and corner pleats that allow for the thickness of the cushion. This means that your bench cushion cover will remain in place, even after long periods of use. 

Our cushion covers for back cushions are made like envelopes; they completely cover the cush


ion and have an overlapping flap on the back. This makes them perfect for furniture styles where the back of the cushions is visible, like many outdoor benches. The back cushion covers have side seams that run the length of the cushions and small seams at the corners to accommodate the thickness of the cushions while still creating a smooth fit.

After putting on your new cushion covers, you can tie them down with velcro to ensure that they stay in place.

Get Fade Resistant Cushion Covers for Benches


Unfortunately, almost all outdoor cushions will start to fade at some point, even ones made with fade-resistant fabric. All cushions will spend time outside, and most materials will fade in time. 

We recommend looking for cushion covers made from a poly knit blend, as this is one of the most fade-resistant fabrics available. It’s also very easy to clean and maintain. Our Fig Leaf cushion covers are made from a stretchy poly spandex knit fabric. 

In addition to buying fade-resistant cushion covers, there are a few other things you can do to prevent fading over time. First of all, you can choose light colors rather than dark colors for your cushion covers, because dark colors absorb more UV rays and therefore fade more quickly. You can also try to position your outdoor cushions in shady areas of your backyard, or places without direct sunlight.

outdoor bench cushions


Get Sunblock for Your Cushions

Yes, you read that correctly. There is also a special type of sunblock for couch cushions that can help prevent fading. The sun is capable of damaging your cushions due to light degradation. The “sunblocks” often double as water sealers and are easy to find online or at places like Home Depot.

The most important thing to look for is that they keep out all the excess UV rays from the sun. 

These rays do a lot of damage over time and can cause your cushions to fade very quickly. These are especially useful in places like Florida, where it’s not only constantly sunny, but also humid.

Fortunately, though, there are numerous UV protective fabric sprays on the market that can decrease fading by 200-300%! 

You can read more about how to protect outdoor cushions from the sun on our blog.  

As previously mentioned, you can avoid having to worry about sun protection for your outdoor bench cushions with fade-resistant cushion covers, like ours at Fig Leaf, that are designed to stay vibrant for longer. 

Clean Your Bench Cushions Regularly

No matter what cushions or cushion covers you get, you’ll certainly need to clean them in time. If you have removable, machine-washable cushion covers, this step is a breeze. 

If your cushions or covers aren’t machine washable, cleaning them is still a relatively simple task. All you really need is a soft brush or a dry white towel. Just brush the dirt off your cushion covers, and use a damp rag with detergent to scrub it.

You can also use a handheld vacuum to get rid of any dust hanging around your cushions. This works exceptionally well for suede cushions.

If all else fails, you can always use a carpet beater to clean your cushions. Whatever you do, just make sure you read the labels on your cushions and follow any instructions to clean them properly! 

You can read our full guide on how to clean outdoor cushions to learn more and keep things looking as fresh as possible. 

Use a Waterproof Sealant for Outdoor Bench Cushions

Moisture can wreak havoc on your cushions and cause them to develop mildew. Cleaning mildew out of cushions can be tedious, and it’s usually better to just prevent the problem altogether.

Waterproof sealants are excellent at keeping moisture out of your bench cushions. They’re also especially useful if you live in a humid area where outside cushions are regularly exposed to moisture. You should re-apply sealants periodically though, as the effects aren’t permanent.

You can also prevent the problem of mold and mildew with mildew-resistant and weather-resistant cushion covers to help protect your outdoor bench cushions from the elements.

Cover Up Your Bench Cushions

Another good way to preserve your deck cushions is to simply cover them up when they are not in use. Plastic covers are especially great at keeping out moisture, which goes a long way in the fight against mold and mildew.

If you have a prolonged period of non-use, perhaps during the peak of winter, it’s a good idea to take the cushion covers off or bring your cushions inside to prevent unnecessary wear.

outdoor bench seat cushions

Protect & Store Your Patio Bench Cushions

Depending on the weather, outside cushions can take a lot of punishment. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, couch cushions can be subjected to rain, snow, and scorching heat.

In cases like these, it can be a lot better to put your deck cushions away when they aren’t in use. It’s unlikely you or any visitors will want to spend too much time outside anyway.

Your best bet is to spray them with sealant, then put them in plastic slipcovers. Once you’ve done that, cover them with a blanket to avoid sun damage. Then just store them in a dry area, like your garage.

Keep Things Fresh, Fun, & Festive 

It’s a good idea to invest in at least two different sets of cushion covers for your outdoor benches and other patio furniture. That way, you can swap them out when you need to clean them and keep things as fresh as possible. 

Practicality aside, it’s also FUN to have a few different colors or patterns for your outdoor cushion covers that you can rotate between. With removable covers, you can give your backyard an exciting new look in just a matter of minutes. 

Personally, we love to get festive and seasonal with our outdoor cushions, with bright red cushion covers for the holidays and floral pattern cushion covers for spring. 

outdoor bench seat cushions

The Best Bench Cushions, Indoor or Outdoor!

All in all, bench cushions will make your backyard much more inviting and comfortable, but it can be hard to keep them looking their best. Harsh sunlight, moisture, and spills can really damage your cushions over time. Even indoor cushion covers will be subject to stains and fading through regular use. 

In our opinion, the very best way to protect and extend the lifespan of your bench cushions, whether indoor or outdoor, is to invest in some removable, washable, and durable cushion covers. These covers will make maintaining your bench cushions so much easier! 

If you have any questions about dimensions, fabrics, or any other tips in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll help take your benches from boring to beautiful!