How to choose the perfect piano bench cushion
Posted by Sarah Czarnecki on
Choosing the right bench cushion can make you feel a bit like The Princess and the Pea. There are tons of piano seating options to choose from, but if you don't know what you're looking for, they can all seem too large, too thin, too fancy, too.. orange.
But that's what makes bench cushion shopping great. There are enough options out there, that there's the perfect pad for everyone. And once you have found the ideal seat, you'll want to spend more time actually playing your piano!
Because the right piano bench pad makes all the difference. We're not just talking about aesthetics -- the right choice will be more comfortable, more ergonomic, and longer-lasting than a poorly-fitted, incorrect, or ugly seat.
Sounds like a tall order, we know. Not to worry. We've demystified what you need to know in order to pick the perfect pad for your piano bench -- and your bum.
Top 5 things to consider when buying a piano bench cushion
Do your wallet a favor: measure before you purchase your bench cushion.
Yes, that means you'll have to get out the tape measure. Run it along both the length and width of the seat, because you'll need both measurements to get a great fit.
If your piano bench is already upholstered and you plan to place a new pad right on top, make sure to factor in the existing padding with your measurements.
Because the benches themselves can vary in size, the cushion may be just a hair bigger or smaller than the seat. You may prefer one that's just a little larger (by up to one inch), but try to stick as close to the actual measurement as possible.
14" x 30" is the most popular size, but you can find cushions ranging from the small 12-3/4" x 25" to the extra large 15-1/2" x 32". You'll have to do a little exploration to find the right match between the sizes available and your preferred style.
Ergonomics are important! This is your derriere we're talking about, here. If you have back problems, sciatica, or just plain old bad posture, you really need to consider the most comfortable thickness of your bench cushion.
Good posture can improve your range of motion, support your back for extended periods of play, and reduce injury. Too thick or too thin, the wrong cushion can encourage poor posture. You'll have to find the thickness that's juuuust right.
Measure the depth of your existing upholstery or cushion and assess its comfort. Do you feel like it's too thin and you need a much softer seat? Or is it over-thick and has gone lumpy from being sat on over and over?
Another thing to consider is the density of the foam. Kind of like mattresses, bench cushions could be soft or firm. Some people like soft 1" foam because they're using the cushion to protect the bench from scratches or are looking for a way to redecorate. Others like firm because they've buying cushions meant for long-lasting support. If you're not sure how firm the cushion you're eyeing will be, just ask us!
Bench cushions are generally available in thicknesses ranging from 1"-3". You may wish to opt for an extra-thick pad if your wood bench has no upholstery in place.
Now it's time to consider how you plan to use your cushion.
Tufted bench cushions are a perennial favorite. These pads are reversible, so measuring isn't quite *as* important. You'll still want to be as close as possible to accurate sizing, but if you're off by about an inch, your cushion will still look great.
Tufting, by the way, is an upholstery term referring to the stitching that goes all the way through the cushion. It's meant to keep the stuffing evenly distributed, but it's mostly aesthetic.
Booster seats are great for children and other pianists who don't sit high enough for comfort. These pads are usually around 2" -3" thick.
Box edge cushions need to be measured as accurately as possible because of their rigid structure. This style is on the thick side (up to 3" deep) and the piping along the edges keeps the box bench cushion looking nice and neat.
Travel cushions are ideal for pianists who, well, travel. They're not meant for permanent installation, so if you're playing piano on the go and can't be sure how comfortable the benches are, travel cushions are just the ticket. Smaller and more portable than regular cushions, this style makes swapping seats a cinch.
It's not always about comfort and functionality, though, is it?
You'll want to choose the right color or pattern that works with your decor. After all, your piano is the focal point of the room, and a beautiful bench cushion can be just the thing that makes it look inviting.
We offer solid neutral or jewel-tone colors in almost every style, but tapestry piano benches introduce an element of whimsy.
Tapestry piano benches have designs woven in and are a great way to show off your passions. You can get crazy with intricate designs and scenes, or go for a slightly more subdued pattern. Music-note print is always a favorite, as are holiday themes.
We're partial to the subtler contrast piping, like in this holiday tufted cushion.
The cushion itself consists of foam padding, and the shell is made from quality fabric. These materials hold up well and are generally easy to clean.
The specific materials used are dependent on the brand and style. Some cushions are made with suede fabric and a polyurethane foam padding. Others are Kashmere fabric, which is a super-soft cotton poly blend. Tapestry cushions are made up of stain-proof manmade materials. There are loads of options and styles in the shop, so look closely at the images. And when in doubt, just ask!
Most cushions in our shop are reversible, making it easy to refresh your style anytime. Ties on the bottom of the cushion make installation a piece of cake, no matter your style.
Still haven't found your perfect bench cushion? Well, Princess and the Pea, you're in luck! If you have your own fabric you'd love to see turned into a cushion, contact us today for a custom seat that'll please even the pickiest pianist.