Not everyone has room for a dedicated home office but many of us are stuck working from home anyway. If you can’t quite fit an ergonomic office chair in your dining room, you should at least do all you can to make the chairs you have more comfortable. Enter standalone seat cushions, relatively affordable upgrades to any chair that offer you a softer sit without the need for a new, bulky chair.
How seat cushions work, and their limitations
Let’s make one thing clear: A seat cushion isn’t going to turn your dining room chair into an ergonomic powerhouse. If you’re working from home for the foreseeable future, a true adjustable office chair is going to be best for your body. But those are expensive, bulky and pretty ugly if you don’t have a dedicated office to keep them in.
If you’re stuck at the dining room table, a seat cushion can at least put less pressure on your posterior. It’s also useful if your old office chair has worn down to nothing (those cushions don’t last forever) and you can’t afford to buy a new one. But you’ll still need to do your best to maintain good posture — seat cushion or no seat cushion — and you might find a lumbar cushion makes for a nice complement to the seat cushion. We won’t talk about those in this guide but most of the companies below make lumbar supports that you can bundle with the seat cushion, if you so choose.
Best seat cushions in 2021
As you shop, you’ll want to consider two main things: the size and type of cushion. Some cushions may be much smaller than the photos make them look so measure your seat and make sure your cushion of choice will fit before you buy.
You’ll also want to think about what type of cushion you prefer: Would you rather plush or are you a fan of the firmer memory foam? Think about the types of chairs you already have in your house, too — and the mattress you sleep on — because different cushions can produce radically different results, even if they’re both high quality.
Best seat cushion overall: Purple
If you haven’t heard of Purple, they’re one of those new direct-to-consumer mattress companies that’s caught on in recent years. They also produce a number of seat cushions for different scenarios, from cars to sporting events and even airplanes. Their Double Seat Cushion is the best for most people working at home thanks to its extra thickness and double-sided build: one side is more plush and one side is a bit firmer so you can find the perfect balance for your bottom. Testing it myself, I found it to be a huge upgrade over just about every chair in my house — and I prefer the plush side.
Best affordable gel cushion: FOMI
If you like the idea of a gel cushion like the Purple but want something a bit more affordable, this cushion from FOMI offers up a similar style, albeit thinner and not quite as plush as Purple’s Double Seat Cushion. It’ll definitely be an upgrade if you’re sitting on a hard dining room chair, though, even if it isn’t quite as cloud-like as pricier options.
Best memory foam cushion: Tempur-Pedic
Not everyone finds plush cushions comfortable. If you prefer something a bit firmer with more support, you’ll want to consider a memory foam cushion. And when it comes to memory foam, Tempur-Pedic is the best in the business. Their seat cushion is a bit more contoured to fit your legs. As you sit down, the memory foam will contour to your body while providing firm support where you need it most.
Pair it with their lumbar cushion for the full package.
Best affordable memory foam cushion: Milliard
If you prefer the feeling of memory foam but don’t have as much to spend, Milliard’s memory foam seat cushion is one of the most popular options on Amazon and goes for a relatively unbeatable price. Reviewers say it isn’t quite as firm as some other memory foam cushions so it may not be best for hard chairs with zero cushioning but it’s also hard to beat the cost. Like the other cushions on this list, it comes with a washable cover that zips right off.
Best memory foam cushion with a coccyx cutout: Everlasting Comfort
If your tailbone is a specific source of pain, you may want to look into a seat cushion with a coccyx cutout like this one from Everlasting Comfort. Its memory foam construction contours to your body as you’d expect but the U-shaped cutout relieves pressure on your tailbone. It also comes in five different colors and for a reasonable price, which is a nice bonus. If you want a back cushion to go with it, you can grab the two packaged together for not much more.