Fabric or Leather?

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“The on-going debate, read some of the pro’s & con’s here”


Some people love leather, and after having a leather lounge they never to look back, others are firmly fabric, many after horrifying childhood experiences of a relatives pleather (imitation leather of leather with a plastic cover) sofa which you had to peel yourself off in melting hot summers.  Whichever way you go, both have their merits, read about the pro’s and con’s of each here, with a little bit of myth-busting thrown in!



– Available in an enormous range, including patterns, textures and prints, for those who like to introduce pattens or texture with their sofa, fabric is a good choice
– Many styles can easily be reupholstered in a few years, so you can completely change the look rather then buying a whole new sofa.
– The choice of fabric can completely alter the style of the sofa, simply by choosing a traditional print, or a modern graphic you can turn something old into something modern, meaning you can essentially create exactly what you are looking for.
– There is a wide choice of fabric qualities available, from difficult to care for like silks, right though to commercial grade fabrics suitable for high traffic use.
– Fabric has a lovely inviting & warm sense to it, although the style of sofa will impact this also.


– Despite the various grades of quality available, fabric does show the dirt more and due to this tends to look tired and worn out faster.
– It can be a tricky choice when presented with loads of options!
– Fabric can be harder to care for, it absorbs spills more readily and once certain spills soak in, very little can be done about them, leather is more resistant to liquid spills and easier to clean when one does occur.
– Fabric will fade, if the sofa receives uneven sunlight, it can fade in patches, use window treatments if this is the case.  If they receive equal sunlight they will also fade, although it will be even and less noticeable.

(This list refers to genuine cow-hide leather, but excludes some aniline options as they require different care)
– Genuine leather is hard wearing, durable and easy to care for; you can simply wipe spills off, and dust with a cloth.
– Leather has a timeless quality to it, and always remains current, as the leather gets older it ages and gains more unique characteristics (think old leather wingbacks)
– Leather is a popular choice for families with small children who are likely to deal with spills, and families with pets, as it is more resistant then fabric to chewing & clawing.
– Leather is low maintenance and has a long life span, an application of conditioner 1 to 3 times a year, depending on where you live will ensure the sofa remains in top condition and not dry out.
– Despite what many think, leather will reflect its surrounding room temperature, it will be warm in a very hot room (as will fabric) and cold in a very cold room, it normally does not reach such extremes, if your room is a comfortable temperature it will be too.  If you consider leather car interiors and desk chairs this will make sense.
– Leather comes in a range of qualities, and price points, look for a sofa that is upholstered entirely in top grade cow hide leather to get the full benefits of leather.
– Leather is now available in a full range of colours, and various detailing features and textures are being used to further stylise different models.
– Leather has the ability to look newer for longer.  Look for models with darted stitching or non removable pillows, they are designed to hold their shape.
– Not as much choice in terms of colours textures or prints.
– Most styles have a limited ability to be re-upholstered, or would be extremely expensive to do so (and not viable when compared to the price of a new sofa)
– Leather can be harder to dress up with cushions and soft furnishings
– Leather can fade, like fabric, use window treatments to avoid this.  Depending on the treatment of the leather, some leathers will fade faster (for example aniline options).
– It can be more expensive to buy a sofa in good quality leather.
– There is generally less options for sofa beds or ‘mix and match’ style modular options finished in leather.

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