Cheap upholstery foam is hard to find… but through research and creative thinking I found four places to get affordable cushion foam!
Every single time I make cushioned furniture, I’m appalled at the price of upholstery foam. Even with a 50% off coupon at Joann’s, for comfy 3-inch foam you’re looking at $20 a yard. It’s ridiculous.
So when it came time to find cushions for my DIY Outdoor Sofa, I went on a mission to find cheap upholstery foam.
The stakes were high. I was already spending $150 on building materials for the couch; If I spent another $100 on the cushion foam and fabric, I’d be looking at a $250 couch. For that price, I might as well have just bought a new sofa instead.
Luckily, my very first and best idea worked out, and I’m super excited to share it with you below. But I also had three backup plans, so if your thrift stores aren’t quite as helpful as mine, you’ve still got some options!
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Four Secrets to Cheap Upholstery Foam
1: Buy Thrift Store Sofa Cushions
I love my local Habitat for Humanity Restore. I go all the time (and if you’ve got a moment, check out some of my favorite buys- my desk and coffee table,) and while I’ve always admired their vast couch collection, I’ve never actually purchased a sofa.
But I’ve looked at the prices, and I knew I could find a couch for $10 if I tried.
My original plan was to buy a couch, haul it home on the trailer, then put the frame out on the curb for pickup, while keeping the cushion foam for my sofa.
But for a small single girl, this was so much work. Dragging the trailer into town. Securing the couch to the trailer. Getting the couch off the trailer and down to the curb.
It was a lot of manual labor that would be time consuming and unpleasant for one person.
So instead, I asked the nice people at Habitat if I could pay the normal price for the sofa, but just take the cushions home, leaving the frame behind. To my surprise, they said yes!
So, $8.75 later, I had this:
Which, after I took off the old fabric and recovered the upholstery foam, soon became this:
Now, I recognize that not every thrift store is going to let you walk away with only the cushions, if they even have $10 couches to begin with. But it’s always worth a shot to check, which is why I put this tip first.
2: Use Extra Thick Mattress Pads
If 1-inch upholstery foam is thick enough for your project, take a look at some of the mattress pads on the market. Walmart’s Mainstays Twin Extra Thick Mattress Pad comes in around $14 for a 75″ length.
This is considerably cheaper than buying 1-inch upholstery foam by-the-yard elsewhere.
3: Check Out Ikea’s Seat Pads
Ikea has two different lines seat pads for around $5 a pad. The Malinda pad is a 3″ polyester fiber chair pad (aka, not foam.) My backup plan was to buy four of these, waterproof the fabric and just put them in a line on my sofa.
If you require actual foam, Ikea also has a 2″ Justina pad that is truly foam and around the same price as the Malinda pad.
Honestly, Ikea has a pretty large selection of cushions that could be useful to you, but these were the only two that were cheap enough for me to consider. Take a look around if you’re not quite as budget constrained as I am.
4: Home Depot Has a Cheap Upholstery Foam Option
Home Depot sells a 72″ length of 3″ thick upholstery foam for $25. They don’t have it in-stock at my local store, so it might be something you have to special order, but it does exist, and is truly a bargain!
They also have 2″ thick foam, 4″ thick foam, and 6″ thick foam for your cost comparison purposes. Check the dimensions before you buy, as they vary depending on the thickness.
Bonus: Go Scavenging
Ever since writing this post, every time I see a couch sitting on the curb, I feel pressured to grab the cushions. It’s not just cheap upholstery foam; it’s FREE upholstery foam!
And then I realized that I hadn’t even considered that option when I was searching for cheap upholstery foam. So I’m adding it now.
People throw away old couches all the time, and often, the upholstery foam inside is perfectly fine. If you’re not opposed to pulling things off the curb, this is a 100% free option! Be sure to check for bed bugs, and you’re good to go.
I hope these
four five ideas gave you some options for finding cheap upholstery foam. If you find an even better option, let me know in the comments below; I’d love to hear about it!
And if you’re on a budget, also check out our Bargain Shopping Guide, which will show you all the insider secrets for buying home goods on the cheap!
Finally, if you found this useful go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it next time you’re in the market for upholstery foam!
Monday 10th of August 2020
Every time I go out junking, I look for baby mattresses, baby playpen mattresses, stuff like that and buy what I can. People will even have odd cushions that they want to sell but sometimes don’t have them out with like an old chair or something like that. I will ask if they have a cushion for it and I will also just ask for old cushions they might want to get rid of. I have salvaged quite a few.
Bobbie Jo Jones
Sunday 5th of July 2020
Thank you so much for the ideas.. I'm giving my sailboats cabin a makeover and looked at upholstery foam on Amazon.. The prices are scary to say the least.
Thursday 9th of July 2020
I know. It's absolutely ridiculous.
Tuesday 16th of June 2020
These are nice ideas I never considered. Thank you. To save money I once used a foam mattress overlay from department store. Its not quite as dense as real cushion foam but its held up well. I cut into cushion sized squares and stacked two together. You can stack three for higher cushions. I then tacked (with heavy duty thread) them together just in two places to keep them lined up inside the cover I made.
Friday 19th of June 2020
This is a great idea!
Sunday 3rd of May 2020
Thank you for the advice about finding cheaper foam. I too, was appalled at the price of foam at Joann's, even with a 40% off coupon. It was going to cost me about 60 bucks for the foam alone besides the cost of batting which was about 30 dollars. Found mattress foam toppers online for $15! Can't thank you enough because I'm always on the lookout to shave cost of projects which makes them even more satisfying
Monday 4th of May 2020
Yes! Mattress toppers for the win! So glad you found it helpful!
Tuesday 21st of January 2020
Thank you in the middle of a project and this came just in time. Love the burlap in the living room. Wow is that a winner!!!
Tuesday 28th of January 2020
Thank you! So glad you found this helpful!!