Upholstery Sponge: What you need to know


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What is an upholstery sponge?

Upholstery sponge is a type of material used in soft furnishings such as sofas, arm chairs, footstools, ottomans and dining chairs. It is most commonly known as upholstery foam and is available in many different thicknesses, densities, shapes and sizes. Upholstery sponge offers various levels of support and comfort depending on its type, and different thicknesses and densities are used depending on the intended application. 

Upholstery foam vs upholstery sponge

There isn’t a defined difference between upholstery foam and upholstery sponge – for the most part, it’s simply a variation in the name. However, some retailers use the term ‘upholstery sponge’ for very soft, low density foam that is used to pad out the armrest on a sofa, for example. Upholstery sponge can be used to describe foam that is very soft and malleable – almost ‘sponge’ like.

Upholstery foam and upholstery sponge are terms used interchangeably and you should look at the specific density, thickness and firmness when selecting your chosen material.

Different uses of upholstery sponge

Upholstery foam sponge is used in lots of sofas and armchairs as it offers unparalleled comfort and support. It is incredibly durable and offers longevity to furniture products that undergo heavy usage. Medium to high density upholstery sponge is commonly used in sofas and armchairs for this very reason.

High density upholstery foam is also found in soft ottoman seats and storage units as it offers an appropriate level of comfort via only a thin sheet. The same goes for dining chairs, whereby any seat padding needs to be both thin yet comfortable. Footstools also use high density foam topper pieces to offer appropriate support that is also soft and pleasant to use.

You should use an upholstery sponge in any type of furniture or upholstery project as it is specifically designed for this purpose. Regular foam can be used in the correct thickness and density, but it is unlikely to be as comfortable or have the longevity needed to endure heavy usage in seating applications.

Types of upholstery sponge

Depending on the intended application, there are many different types of upholstery foam sponge available. For most upholstery projects, standard polyurethane upholstery foam is great as it is available custom cut to size and in a range of firmnesses, ranging from soft to very high firm. Soft, light density foam is excellent for headboards whereas medium to high-firm sheets are good for seating applications.

Other types of upholstery sponge include reflex foam, which is a superior grade of upholstery foam that offers instant recovery, making it suitable for seating applications. Likewise, reconstituted upholstery foam is a low-cost option for bar and pub seating that uses compacted chips of foam. Alternatively, cot safe upholstery foam is available which is of a specialist nursery grade.

Where to buy an upholstery sponge?

Upholstery sponge foam is available cut to size directly from any reputable manufacturer. You can simply use online foam cut to size tools and enter your required dimensions to complete your order.


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