Running Low on Beans? How to Refill Big Bean Bag Chairs

5 March 2019

big bean bag chairs

You love your bean bag chair so much that you sit in it every day. Big bean bag chairs are fantastic! They provide great seating for lots of situations. If you use your bean bag as extra seating, a desk chair, or dog bed, it can go flat. All bean bags start to compress after a lot of use. You don't want to throw out your bean bag. Don’t worry -- there’s a fix for that. You don’t have to toss your favourite chair and buy a new one. Instead, you can refill it. The type and style of bean bag determine how much filling you need. We're going to go all of that in the article below. We'll give you instructions on refilling big bean bag chairs and take a look at why they go flat. Let's dive in!

Why Do Bean Bag Chairs Go Flat?

Most bean bag chairs contain dried beans, PVC pellets, polystyrene or polypropylene. Inflatable bean bags are full of air. There are many reasons why a bean bag goes flat. An inflatable chair may have a hole that causes the air to leak out. But what about the chairs filled with beans? Here are five reasons a bean bag chair goes flat.

1. The Shape of the Bean Bag

Yes, the shape of your bean bag chair matters. If the chair is an irregular shape, it can be tough to position the inner liner. If the inner liner doesn’t match the form of the outer cover, it can cause problems. An inner liner that doesn’t move with the chair may become stuck in one place. The beans can’t flow within the chair, so they get stuck in certain spots. The use of an inner liner may lead to the chair not being as comfortable as it should be. Sometimes, the beans don’t move inside the liner, so you're sitting on the same part over and over. Over time, they compress and go flat. If your bean bag isn’t round, make sure the inner liner is in the proper position. It should align with the shape of the outer cover to avoid premature flattening.

2. Product Quality

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is like styrofoam. Most bean bag chairs contain EPS beans. When you buy a bean bag chair, you want the filling to be brand new, not recycled. The beans should be specifically for use in bean bag chairs. Polystyrene is available in all sorts of forms; however, using the right filling will give you the best fluff and cushion for your chair. EPS beans have air pockets in them, and as you sit on the chair over and over, the beads compress. The air pockets get squished, reducing the size of the pellets. The compressed filling makes the bean bag look flat.

3. Recycled Beans

If you use recycled polystyrene in your chair, they won’t be as fluffy as new beads. Recycled beans are cheaper, and they're eco-friendly. Cut or ground up polystyrene makes smaller pieces. The problem is most of the beans are small, irregular sizes. They aren’t round any more; they’re just odd chunks of styrofoam. And recycled polystyrene was never intended as bean bag filler. Recycled beans don’t have much cushion because they don’t have air pockets. These beans go flat faster than other types of beans. The repurposed filling is often very noisy. When you sit in your chair or adjust your position, the odd-sized pieces rub together. Another consideration with recycled bits is they can get stuck in the zipper and damage it.

4. Size of the Bean Bag and the User

Bean bags come in many different sizes. Each one needs a certain amount of beans to fill it. Something you might not consider is matching the size of the person to the size of the chair. A larger person using a chair for a while cause it to flatten. Big bean bag chairs are best for full-size adults. New models for grownups include loungers and oversized chairs. The same is true for dog beds, too. If you don’t want to refill often, don’t buy a small bean bag bed for a large dog.

5. Extended Use

Some new bean bag chair owners don’t expect their chairs to go flat. But, after extended use, it happens. The air leaves the beans, and that’s that. The same thing happens with shredded foam. The fact is, applying pressure to the lightweight filling compresses it. A big fluffy bean bag chair that sees lots of use will go flat in time. That’s why it’s important to know how to refill it.

Types of Bean Bag Filler

You can go online or into a retail store and find bean bag filling. But how do you know if it's the best choice for your chair? No worries! Here's a quick rundown on four common types of bean bag filling. Using the correct filler is essential because the kind you choose affects the cost and comfort of your chair.

Compressed Foam

Compressed foam is memory foam shredded into small pieces. It's a recent addition to bean bag filling.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Beads

EPS beads are tiny polystyrene balls. They feel like styrofoam. EPS is good for bean bag filling because it's lightweight. The beans are almost all air. They're small — 3 or 4 mm around.

Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) Beads

These beans are a type of polymer. The problem with EPP beads is they're very flammable. But, they're resilient and durable; when squished EPP beads bounce back and don't compress as fast as EPS beans.


Microbeads are small pellets made from polyethene plastic. They're banned in most parts of the world because they are hazardous to the environment. There are some types of microbeads made from other materials. This size bean works best in small chairs.

How to Refill Your Bean Bag Chair

It's possible to do the job alone. But, it's easier to refill your chair with help. Four hands are better than two in this case. Bean bag filling is available at most online or retail stores. Buy new virgin beans for the best results.

Step One: Prepare Your Work Area

Pick a room that doesn’t have a breeze. Because bean bag filling is lightweight, if there’s a fan or wind, it can blow all over the place. Work on a clean, dry floor rather than a carpet. Doing this makes the cleanup time easier. Make or buy a large funnel to reduce spills. You’ll need a large safety pin to unzip the bean bag chair. It’s wise to have a vacuum nearby in case an of the filling escapes.

Step Two: Get a Friend to Help You

If you have help, the refilling process is quick and easy. Your helper holds the bean bag cover open while you refill it.

Step Three: Unzip the Zipper

Remove the outer cover. Look at the zipper on the inner lining if you have one. A safety feature on bean bag chairs is a zipper without a tab. A locked zipper prevents little ones from opening the bag. You'll need a large safety pin to unzip the zipper. Put the safety pin through the zipper hole and fasten it. The safety pin becomes the zipper pull. Now you can pull the zipper open. Unzip the bean bag with the zipper side facing up. The filling inside the chair should sink to the bottom without spilling. That's what you want to happen. Don't throw away the old fill. Instead, build on it with the new filling.

Step Four: Refill Your Bean Bag

Ask your friend to hold the bean bag open. Keep the unzipped opening facing up. Your helper's job is to maintain the opening of the bean bag in this position while you refill it. Place the funnel you made or bought inside the zipper opening. Place the narrow side inside the bag. Hold the funnel with one hand and use your other hand to pour the EPS filler into the chute. Don't rush this part. Take your time. If you go slowly, you won't have a mess to clean up later. Let the filling flow into the chair until it's as firm as you want.

Step Five: Close the Zipper and Remove the Safety Pin

Close the zipper when the bag is full. Remove your safety pin or paper-clip that was the zipper pull hack -- You don't want the zipper to open by accident! If there's a protective cover, put it back in place. Sit in the chair. It may feel like quicksand at first. Get the extra air out, then decide if you like how it feels. Fluff the chair to distribute the beans. In the event, your beanbag requires more filling, go back to step 4 and repeat. Congratulations, you refilled your bean bag chair! Now, have a seat.

Ready to Refill Your Big Bean Bag Chairs?

That's it! Now you know how to refill big bean bag chairs. Feel free to share this info with any friends who have a bean bag chair or bean bag sofa. If you need detailed information on how much filling you need, visit our bean bag filling guide.

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