Fabric or Leather: Which sofa is better?

fabric or leather
February 15, 2017 Furniture

One of the most important things in every house is the sofa. It is the central piece of furniture in a living room and the one that your guests’ first see after coming into the room. An issue that all customers face when choosing a perfect sofa for the house is whether to buy a leather or fabric sofa. While personal preference is often the determining factor, there are plenty of other criteria you can use to compare each material’s abilities before you buy.

Here’s how the leather sofa and the fabric sofa go head to head

When comparing both types of sofas, there are a few parameters to consider, as shown below. Both the couch types have their strong points, but also have weak points that you need to consider.


Leather sofas will cost you more than their fabric counterparts when at purchase. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that leather products have always been branded as luxury products and are, as such, expensive. A good leather couch can cost up to twice the price of an equally good fabric couch.

You can blame that on the difference in materials used to manufacture them. That’s why leather products are associated with high quality and classic style. Fabric sofas are, on the other hand, priced to be more affordable for the everyday buyer.


Fabric and leather are two different materials, both in physical appearance and in durability. When compared, leather has always been found to be more durable than fabric and to last longer when subjected to the similar forms of use. That also means that you needn’t worry about replacements for a long time when you choose leather.

The durability of fabric largely depends on the quality of the sofa in question. Even then it is still affected more adversely by factors such as sun and wear, making it require replacing sooner. Leather sofas also keep their colour for longer in comparison to their fabric counterparts, which fade fast especially when placed in a sunny place.

Cleaning and maintenance

Leather sofas are way easier to clean than fabric sofas, mainly because leather doesn’t absorb the liquids spill on it like fabric does. Leather sofas can easily be wiped with a cloth to dry them while fabric sofas require extra cleaning to prevent the bad odours that result from absorbed liquids. But, while cleaning leather sofas is easy, maintaining them isn’t.

Cleaning them by yourself can be a very bad idea, mainly because they require special (and expensive) cleaning products without which damage is highly possible. In most homes, a professional cleaning service is hired to clean leather sofas. In contrast, fabric sofas are easier to manage. You don’t need to shop for unique and expensive treatments because they can easily be cleaned with DIY products, or by professional cleaning services.

Appearance and aesthetics

When it comes to appearance, both materials are beautiful and improve your home’s aesthetics when managed well. That’s essentially why both types are commonly sought after today. The fabric sofa’s strongest point is its wide range of colours. It is possible to find one in any colour you want as long as the colour exists.

While their colour options may be limited, leather sofas take the upper hand in giving off a classier look that is not only luxurious but also aesthetically beautiful. It can also fit seamlessly into almost any type of interior, whether classical or modern.


The quality of any material can be variable, it depends on in each case on factors such as the materials used to make it and the duration of past usage. Comparing both sofa materials for their quality, leather leads again, but with fabric not far behind. Advantages such as leather being able to ‘breathe’ and not accumulating warmth from the people that sit or lie on it are some of the reasons it is ranked higher. Its durability is also much higher, compared to fabrics.

Compatibility with the type of home

Do you have kids or pets in your house? Are the sofas being placed in a living room or a bedroom? These are some of the questions you must ask yourself when determining which sofa type will be more compatible with your home and way of life.

If there are no children or pets in your house, you can take your pick of both sofas. But with either of them present, some other factors have to be put into consideration. It is not a good idea to buy leather sofas for a child’s bedroom. They may not take good care of it and hence lower its lifespan. And although children may prefer fabric sofas to leather ones because of their comfort, you will have to clean up any spills. 

If you have animals such as cats and dogs in a home, you may have to rethink the decision of buying a fabric sofa. The latter are good play areas for the animals, who may scratch them so badly that they leave marks on time. You can always take certain preventive measures, but you might find a leather sofa the better option in the end.


The fabric is naturally very soft and pleasant to sit on. If you have children, they will like the fabric sofa very much. This makes it better than leather, and especially so when it comes to sofas. Leather sofas tend to grow very cold during colder hours, making sleeping on them impossible. Fabric sofas are totally the opposite; that’s why many people sleep on them in homes today.

Well, there you are! You can use the reasons above to make informed choices when buying a sofa, such that you don’t regret or find it incompatible with your way of life.

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