4 Secrets to Finding Cheap Upholstery 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 cushions 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!

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

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Four Secrets to Finding 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 cushions 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:

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

Which, after I took off the old fabric and recovered the upholstery foam, soon became this:

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

I hope these four 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 in the meantime, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it next time you're in the market for upholstery foam!

Buying upholstery foam new is so expensive. Check out this guide for finding cheap upholstery foam for your DIY projects. #Sewing

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