Ekornes Recliner Chemicals

Due to new regulations, Ekornes started phasing out Melamine as an added flame retardant in all standard Stressless® furniture as of January 2019. All products made for the USA have been melamine-free since January 2nd 2019. The new foam for Stressless® products is called HR foam (High Resilience foam).

All products that Ekornes delivers to the UK and Ireland will still be delivered with Melamine (CMHR quality: combustion modified high resilience foam). 

In the last few years, Ekornes has experienced a greater focus with insight from customers regarding the use of chemicals in furniture, with a special focus on the use of flame retardants. In the U.S., several states have already banned the use of all flame retardants. The new regulations do not only cover specific flame retardants, but any substance that can be added as a flame retardant. We expect that other parts of the world might follow the U.S. regulations.

Based on this, Ekornes has stopped adding Melamine to their standard Stressless® foam. Even though Melamine cannot evaporate from the foam and is classified as a non-hazardous substance, it is still considered to be a flame retardant per the new U.S. regulations.

However, adding Melamine or other flame retardants is necessary in order to pass the toughest open flame fire test for foams (BS5852 crib 5).  This is required by UK/Ireland and the Hotel/ Offshore-industry (Contract market), so these markets will still receive foam with added flame retardants. 

Customers who need to order furniture containing flame retardants (i.e. public buildings such as hotels, airports, prisons and ships) can order furniture from the UK collection, which is now more limited than the collection sold elsewhere in the world. 

In Autumn of 2018, the Ekornes foam factory was adapted for production of both foam qualities, and all test production was successful. As of January 2
nd 2019, the Stressless® foam factory can produce both block foam and molded foam parts in HR and CMHR qualities as needed. 

Since January 2, Ekornes has performed a gradual transition towards producing foam with flame retardants only to the United Kingdom and Ireland. As of the end of March, all other markets have flame retardant free foam in all Stressless® products.

In the period from January 2 to the end of March, all products delivered to the USA have been without flame retardants, and all products delivered to the UK/Ireland have been with flame retardants. In this transition period products delivered to all other markets than the U.S., UK and Ireland could be both with and without Melamine.

Ekornes adds colors to the foam to be able to separate the different qualities and determine if the furniture is delivered with HR or CMHR foam.

Foam colors
Molded foam: 

  • Pink molded foam is foam with Melamine. 
  • White molded foam is flame retardant free foam.

Block foam:

  • Pink, brown and orange foam have Melamine added (UK collection)
  • Yellow, White, Blue and Purple foam are without flame retardants.

Rebond foam:

  • Main color pink in rebond foam is with Melamine added
  • Main color yellow in rebond foam is flame retardant free foam


HR foam is generally of a better quality than the CMHR foam with Melamine. The new foam for Stressless® chairs and furniture will last longer and is more comfortable.

  • Resilience: HR foam is highly elastic and more responsive than CMHR foam, which makes it feel softer and more comfortable with hard compression of the cushion. Due to the responsiveness, HR foam might feel a bit harder when the pressure is light. 
  • Durability: HR foam is more durable than CMHR foam. Ekornes measures durability by performing wet compression set tests to simulate aging, and tests the foam in specially adapted climate chambers.
  • Comfort: The characteristics of HR foam is somewhat different from the CMHR foam, which generally makes it feel more comfortable.
  • Softness: HR foam is in principle softer than CMHR foam. Ekornes has however, adjusted their recipes to make a softness in the HR foam that is similar to the softness known from the CMHR foam in existing products.
  • Tear strength: HR foam has a higher tear strength than CMHR foam

Fire test results
CMHR foam is in compliance with BS5852 crib 5 (open flame)
HR foam is in compliance with EN1021-1 and TB117-2013 (cigarette test) and EN1021-2 (match flame)

We hope this information is helpful in your product research and selection of your new Ekornes recliner or sofa from!