Fabric Sofas vs. Leather Sofas - Which one to choose?

Fabric Sofas VS. Leather Sofas

The right sofas can instantly embellish a room while adding an undeniable flair, regardless of your other accents and furnishing. An undeniable focal point in just about any living room, sofas can also be found in other parts of the house, such as the study, bedroom or even in dining room corners. Sofas also make up permanent fixtures in businesses, offering comfortable seating in hotel lobbies, waiting rooms, break rooms, offices and the likes.

Because they immediately catch the eye, it is important to consider several factors when shopping for a sofa. From the size to the fabric, don’t hesitate to assess these issues instead of indulging in an impulsive purchase. Do remember that this is a long-term investment, so it does pay off to take your time when shopping for a sofa. A sofa should be both comfortable and stylish, which is why it’s crucial to carefully select the materials. Most homeowners tend to favor fabric or leather sofas.

Scroll down for a general overview of fabric and leather sofas to help you make the very best choice.

Assess your Needs

Before buying a sofa, the first thing you should do as a home or business owner is to assess your needs. This will help you derive the maximum use from the correct fabric. For example, if you’re planning on installing a set of sofas in your waiting room, remember that leather always brings allure and a touch of class to just about any setting. Sofas placed in public settings are certainly exposed to plenty of wear and tear, which again reinforces your need for a durable material.

When buying a sofa, home-owners do have more choices. Whether you want to buy a new sofa or upholster an existing one, don’t hesitate to shop around to ensure that you make an educated choice based on your personal needs, budget and expectations. For instance, if you’re planning on redecorating after a few years, you can always go for a lower-quality fabric or leather- if not faux leather.

Leather Sofas

Classic and timeless, leather sofas will undoubtedly add some extra charm to just about any room. For a more homogenous look, do ensure that your choice of material is in line with the type of sofa you’re buying. For example, reddish black or reddish brown leather works extremely well with antique sofa styles. When shopping for a leather sofa, pay particular attention to the type of leather you’re getting: indeed, it is easy to get ripped off if you’re not familiar with the various grades of leather on the market. Materials such as faux leather and bi-cast leather, for instance may look identical to the real thing but they only contain scraps of real leather or none at all. This is why faux-leather or bi-cast leather sofas rarely last more than five years. These leather sofas are also quite susceptible to general signs of wear and tear such as scruff marks, crease sand the likes.

leather sofas

If you want to buy a leather sofa, you should also ensure that it matches with your general décor. For example, if you have a shabby-chic or vintage-like interior, a leather sofa might stand out- and not necessarily in a good way. Favor leather sofas only if you plan on following a more muted decorating scheme with emphasis on soft browns, pastels, beiges and gold, as well as glass fixtures. Matching leather furnishing or the occasional leather sideboard will also beautifully complement your sofa. Genuine leather sofas are undeniably more expensive than their fabric counterparts, but on the plus side, they can easily last for several decades with hardly any sign of use.

As far as maintenance is concerned, leather sofas are far easier to clean: a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth will easily take care of any light spill. If you have a leather sofa, take care to avoid regular cleaning supplies such as solvents, detergents and soaps. Leather sofas should be kept away from windows because they can fade with time.

While leather lends itself well to sofas, this material is not recommended for futons or pull-outs since they can be uncomfortable to lie on for extended periods of time.

Fabric Sofas

Fabric sofas, on the other hand, may not be as durable as leather but they are still more versatile and available in an extensive variety of prints and colors. Shopping for a fabric sofa is easier since you get to choose between numerous prints and types of fabrics that lend themselves beautifully to just about any type of home interior. In fact, if you have an old battered sofa, the easiest and cheapest way to infuse new life in it is to have it upholstered with fabric.

fabric sofas

On the flip side, fabric sofas are far less resistant to stains because, unlike leather, fabric easily absorbs any liquid. Cleaning fabric sofas can be quite tedious and requires an assortment of cleaning products and plenty of scrubbing. In some cases, it might be impossible to remove the stain so you might need to completely upholster your fabric sofa.

Still, it should be known that fabric sofas remain comfortable in just about any type of weather. This is in stark contrast to their leather counterparts which can become hot and rather sticky in hotter climates since they tend to absorb body temperature.

There is a dizzying range of materials to choose from if you choose a fabric sofa for your home interior. The most popular ones are as follows:

  • Polyester/Cotton blend: Among the most common fabric choices for sofas, the blend of polyester and cotton is the ideal choice for heavy-duty use. These sofas also tend to be on the less expensive side. Polyester blends smoothly with cotton and strengthens it, which makes the sofa resistant to wrinkles. Cotton is also quite comfortable and maintains a neutral temperature in just about any type of climate.
  • Linen: If you want to add a classy touch to your living room without necessarily investing in an expensive leather sofa, you can go for a linen fabric sofa that will immediately spruce up any room. Still, bear in mind that these work best in adult areas or households with no small children since they are not at all easy to clean and soil quite easily. The only way to get light stains out of linen sofas is to have them professionally cleaned in order to minimize shrinkage.
  • Nylon: The first thing you ought to know when investing in a nylon sofa is that it’s quite flammable and should be kept away from fireplaces, candles and the likes. On a more positive note, nylon sofas often contain a blend of other fibers as well. It is also quite resilient and can withstand its share of wear and tear. While it is very resistant to creases, it does fade with time.

Making an educated choice

All things considered, your choice of material ultimately depends on different factors, namely your budget as well as environmental factors and your living room color palette. While both leather and fabric have their own sets of pros and cons, it is recommended not to rush into any impulsive buys and carefully assess your needs before you buy the best sofa for your home interior.