Salon Seating – Longevity, Aesthetics, and Comfort

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You are looking at the original great room seating upholstery on Wind Horse at the end of 2011–that is six years after launching with more than 50,000 miles of intensive use. Aside from a little fabric fading, there is little to differentiate  this from the original appearance. Read on to learn the secret to longevity.

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We will start at the beginning, back in 2004 with Linda testing the proposed foam for the cushions. We know from experience that unless firm foam is used for the seat bottom, the cushions will quickly lose their shape and begin to look tired. Firm is not as comfortable at first, if you are used to land-based sofa type cushions.

Another factor in longevity is making the upholsterers’ job easier by allowing for plywood backs and bottoms, to which the foam is glued, and then the fabric stapled.

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Now a few photos taken right after launching.

FPB Saloon 8

Intersecting corners are always a challenge. Here we have a right angle vertical cushion, in one piece. Easier  on fabrication, but a pain to remove.

FPB Saloon 6A

The shape of these cushions, with their lengthwise stitching, helps to stabilize the fabric to foam interface.

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And then six years later.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Use the highest density, best quality foam you can obtain. The firmer the foam, the longer it will last.
  • Use plywood cushion bottom and backs to help the cushions maintain shape.
  • Consult with your upholsterer as to the functionality of the fabric for the cushion style for which you are shooting. Some fabrics are suited to formal lines, as shown in these photos, while others are better used for softer, wrinkled, and less structured looks.
  • Allow sufficient gap between cushion foam so you don’t have to fight them in or out. Most cushions are made too tight, ours included. We like to have an 1/8″/3mm gap when new as a minimum.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (April 11, 2013)

4 Responses to “Salon Seating – Longevity, Aesthetics, and Comfort”

  1. Warren Cottis Says:

    Hi Steve

    Is ‘using plywood cushion bottom and backs to help the cushions maintain shape’ your recommendation for yacht owners too?


  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Our recommendation for that is a good rowing dinghy, a sailboat without electric winches, and maybe a few elastic bands on the boat (with which one can do wonders).

  3. Robert Wilkins Says:

    Hi Steve. Just in the building stages of a Kadey Krogen 44-AE. And would LOVE to have seating areas as beautiful as yours and last as long. Is that “Ultrasuede” as a fabric. I keep going back and forth on using Ultra suede and Ultra leather and would like to have your thoughts on this.

    Thanks so much for this WONDERFUL site full of so many dreams and functional information.

    Bob Wilkins
    KKY 44-28
    “Sweet Ride”

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    The salon seating fabric is Ultra Suede. We have also used Ultra Leather with good results.