Choosing Between Cotton and Foam as Upholstery Inserts: Pros and Cons

13 December 2018

When it comes to upholstery, one now has a wide array of selections to choose from, compared to the exceedingly limited options available in the past. Nowadays, there is an ongoing debate over two very popular upholstery insert options – cotton and foam.

Cotton and foam have their own distinctive pros and cons, and if you are someone who wishes to revamp some old furniture, or are looking for new furniture to incorporate into your preexisting set, it pays to know which of the two makes for a better choice.

Cotton Upholstery Inserts

Older by far than foam, and the ideal choice of upholstery insert by restorers and old-school householders, cotton is known for its capacity to provide a plush surface that provides equal amounts of cushioning with just the right amount of give. Once the go-to option for almost all upholstery applications, it has become a specialty niche today due to the following reasons:

  • Price – cotton can be far costlier than foam, although it does make up for it with regards to its unique feel and texture, which no synthetic material can imitate.
  • Non-hypoallergenic – cotton is non-hypoallergenic, and may in fact house dust particles that can cause some minor allergies. This, however, can be avoided with proper maintenance and aeration.
  • High-maintenance – cotton upholstery inserts are prone to mould, mildew and dampness and must be aerated every so often, especially in humid environments. They are also prone to deforming, but are always easily plumped back up, or otherwise re-filled to restore its original buoyancy.

Foam Upholstery Inserts

Foam is considered by many upholsterers as something of a ‘cheap’ option. While earlier types of foam may have been inferior to cotton, that isn’t the case today. Modern foams are by and large superior to both cotton and down, for the following reasons:

  • Hypoallergenic – foam is 100% hypoallergenic. While it will still gather dust like cotton does, it does not possess any natural allergens that may trigger sneezing and coughing fits or rashes.
  • Varied price-range – foam isn’t exactly far more affordable than cotton. Low quality foam will always be cheap, but high-quality varieties like memory foam cost even more than cotton, but are well worth the investment.
  • Low-maintenance – foam will still require aeration and the occasional deep cleaning, but unlike cotton, it does not necessitate constant maintenance and will not run the risk of deforming, especially in the case of memory foam, or collecting off smells that cannot so easily be eliminated.

If you’re having a hard time deciding which of the two options to pick, always consider what is most viable for your budget and for your intended purpose. For more information on this and other custom-furniture related needs, consult Absolute Upholstery.

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