Cheap and Easy Outdoor Chair Cushions

Outdoor Chair Cushions
Make outside chair cushions on the cheap with economy pillows and a fabric shower curtain!

Spring is for planting and gardening, but summer is for kicking back and appreciating the beauty I’ve created around me. Which is why I’ve spent the past couple of weeks on deck projects. I spend a lot of time sitting out there, so I wanted to spruce things up a bit. I really wanted to add some outdoor chair cushions this year.

Outdoor chair cushions have always been a bit of a dilemma for me. My deck is not covered, so anything out there gets exposed to the weather. Along with weather comes bird and spider poop. Plus if I even remembered to bring them indoors, I’ve really got no place to put them.

Practicality aside, I still wanted them and a couple of weeks ago I even had two outdoor chair cushions in my cart, but decided that 2 for $30 wasn’t enough of a bargain for me. My choices were limited because everything was already picked over. I needed two that matched and would look good with my chairs which limited my choices even more.

Why finally splurge only to ‘settle’ when I knew I could make my own?

What I used instead:

Chair Cushion Pillows

In the bedding department I found these pillows for $3.47. They might be way too soft for sleeping, but they’re perfect for my patio chairs and I could choose my fabric for the cover. If they’re still usable when summer is over, I can swap out the cover and use them on my couch so storing them isn’t a problem. If they end up being garbage at the end of the summer, even my cheap little heart won’t cry over the seven bucks they cost.

Chair Cushions Fabric Contendors

I had these fabrics at home that would have worked, but the only one I had enough of to really use was the bright green. Bright green and aqua wasn’t the look I wanted to go for. The other two fabrics were really too expensive to use on outdoor projects.

Chair Cushions Fabric

Wal-mart only carries pre-cut quilting fabric and anything that I liked, wasn’t enough fabric for two pillows. So I used plan B and headed for the bedding department again to look at sheets and curtains, anything that would yield a big enough piece of fabric. I found this fabric shower curtain on the clearance rack for $15 and the colors were a perfect match for my chairs.

Making the Covers

Making a pillow cover is one of those simple easy jobs I kind of enjoy. It’s just measure, cut, and sew. There aren’t any any intricate cuts or high precision sewing to worry about. The only part of making these I didn’t enjoy, was the piles of mending my boys tried to foist on me when they saw the sewing machine come out.

Chair Cushion Fabric Pieces (2)

I went for a straight-forward envelope back with a 2″ overlap and no buttons or fastenings. I also left off any cording. It gives cushions and upholstery a more defined look, but it is an extra step plus the messing around to get nice corners. I also used the existing hems at the top and bottom of the shower curtain to simplify these covers even more.

My pillows measured 20 x 26″, so for each pillow I cut a 21 x 27″ front (1/2″ seam allowances times 2), and for each back I used two pieces, one 16.5 x 27″ and one 12.5 x 27″, adding in 2″ of overlap and 1/2″ seam allowances. Remember my pieces were already hemmed, if I were to hem them, the length for each with a 1″ hem plus a 1/2″ turn under, would have been 18 and 14 instead.

Chair Cushion wrong side

Then I just stacked my pieces right sides together and sewed around the four sides using 1/2″ seam allowances.

Chair Cushions clipping corners

I clipped the seam allowance close to my stitching at the corners and then turned them right-side out. The fabric is synthetic and I didn’t iron it, mainly because I am positive it would melt before it held a crease.

My finished outdoor chair cushions


Outdoor Chair Cushion on Chair

So there you have it, two outdoor chair cushions for around $11 each. That $15 shower curtain could have easily covered a third pillow, and with some finesse maybe even a fourth.

Chair Cushions on Deck

The fabric goes so nicely with the chairs. By happy accident, the design placement on the fabric is nearly identical on each cushion.

Cushions just seem to make the space friendlier don’t they?

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Author: The Shade Gardener

Hi there! I'm Vanessa, the Shade Gardener. I live in a tiny little house in Ontario with my 2 grown boys, 2 dogs and a cat, where I do my best to grow plants in a heavily shaded yard and soil like cement. I am passionate about my family, my pets, MCM furniture and cheese. When I'm not in the garden I do a bit of crafting and sewing. Sometimes I build topiary animals from chicken wire for fun.

4 thoughts on “Cheap and Easy Outdoor Chair Cushions”

  1. June priest says:

    Love the idea! Tip…don’t throw pillows away. Your local animal shelter will always welcome pillows, rugs, old bedding. Even old outdoor cushions….anything to keep the animals off the cold Cement floors.

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Good point! I see our local animal shelter looking for these items from time to time.

  2. This is creative! Love using a shower curtain for the fabric, so smart! I had the same problem, by the time I went to look for outdoor pillows they were all gone:( I’m heading over to the shower curtain dept next time!

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      I’ve often scored large enough pieces of fabric for projects that way, thrift stores are another favorite for fabric, or items that can be used as fabric. Locally the only store that sells fabric specializes in quilting (pricey!) or I have to drive 45 minutes each way for the other fabric store. Finding supplies for projects is usually one of my biggest frustrations.

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