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Leather Sofas or Fabric Sofas: Which is Best?

Leather Sofas or Fabric Sofas: Which is Best?

Image: Alexander & James Blake 3 Seater Sofa

So, you need a stylish new sofa for your lovely living room but you’re stuck asking yourself the age old question - what’s better, a fabric sofa or a leather sofa?

The best way to unpack this question is to first ask another question – what do we look for in a sofa? The aspects of a great sofa can be broken down into four main pieces of criteria; comfort, style, durability and value. By using these four markers, we’ll help you pick the perfect sofa for your home. Are you ready? Let’s get into it…

ercol cosenza sofa
Image: Ercol Cosenza Large Fabric Sofa

Which type of sofa is more comfortable?

There are a whole host of factors that play an important role in the comfiness of a sofa, including frames, springs and cushioning to name a few. However in this instance, let’s assume everything is equal except the for the upholstery covering the outside. 

Generally speaking, fabric is thought to be more comfortable than leather. To illustrate this point, think about leather car seats when you’re driving around in the sun – they can get really hot and sticky. The same is true for leather sofas as leather tends to absorb heat quicker, which makes it sticky to sit on. And when it’s cold the opposite is true, as leather sofas will feel a lot more chilly than fabric sofas.

Obviously there’s always the option to accessorise your leather sofa with fabric throws or blankets but you’ll inevitably lose out on that prestigious leather look.

stressless stella sofa collection
Image: Stressless Aurora 3 Seater Leather Sofa

Which type of sofa is more stylish?

Deciding which type of sofa is more stylish ultimately comes down to your personal preference. However, there’s a lot of great things to be said for both leather and fabric sofas when it comes to visual appearance.

If you want to make a statement, leather is usually your best bet. Leather sofas tend to look more sophisticated and boast a certain level of prestige, which can really elevate your living room.

On the other hand, fabric sofas come in a much larger collection of colours and designs, which means they typically work well with a much wider mix of colour schemes, decor and overall style. 

At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide which type of sofa is more stylish for your space. If you want a sofa that will really make a statement, go for a leather sofa. If you're looking for something a little more relaxed, a fabric sofa might be a better option.

duresta coco sofa
Image: Duresta Coco Fabric Sofa

Which type of sofa is more durable?

Buying a new sofa for your living room can be quite a large investment, so you want to make sure you’re going to get as much enjoyment and longevity out of it as possible. In an ideal world, your new sofa will be hard wearing and easy to clean, so it keeps that fabulous look you fell in love with for years to come.

Generally speaking, leather is more durable than fabric. On average, a leather sofa will last at least five years longer than a fabric sofa. Leather’s also really easy to clean – a quick wipe with a cloth will usually do the trick, which makes it a sensible choice if you have young children or clumsy adults in the house.

However, depending on the type of leather sofa you get, it might actually be more prone to marks and scratches from kids or pets. It might also be more susceptible to fading and staining too.

On the other hand, fabric sofas can often come with a stain repellent treatment, which might make fabric a more appealing choice if you have kids or pets. However, something to bear in mind with fabric sofas is allergies – without regular cleaning and vacuuming, they can become a haven for dust mites and pet fur.

stressless windsor sofa collection
Image: Stressless Windsor 3 Seater Leather Sofa

Which type of sofa is better value for money?

Just like everything else in life – you get what you pay for! And this is undoubtedly true here. The price of your sofa ultimately reflects the quality of the materials used to make it.

Typically, leather sofas are thought to be more expensive. However, if you compare a low to mid range leather sofa with a premium fabric sofa, that’s not always the case.

It’s important to remember when buying a new sofa you’re making a valuable investment in your home. So when deciding what sofa is better value for money, you need to consider the things we’ve talked about in this post – comfort, style and durability. The sofa that chalks up the most points in each category is the winner.

parker knoll colorado sofa
Image: Parker Knoll Colorado Collection

So which is the best type of sofa? Leather or fabric?

It's tough to say which one is better, it all comes down to what you're looking for and what you personally prefer. If you need a sofa that's going to make a statement and last a long time, then leather is probably the way to go. But if you want something that's cosy and comfortable, then fabric is probably your best bet.

Why choose a leather sofa?

A leather sofa is a timeless classic, will often age beautifully and get even better looking over time. You also needn’t worry about staining as much as you would with a fabric sofa, and can simply mop up any spills. Undeniably, the sophisticated feel of a leather sofa cannot be imitated, and is great for styling with thick throws and cushions for a little more cosiness in the winter. Leather is the more hypoallergenic choice, too.

Why choose a fabric sofa?

A fabric sofa gives you more choice in style, with lots of bold colour options and pretty patterned upholstery. So if a plain look just isn’t for you, then this is probably a better option. In terms of feel, a fabric sofa will usually be more comfortable than a leather sofa, especially if your home gets really cold or really hot.

Can’t decide between a leather or fabric sofa?  

If you're undecided about which sofa to choose, you could always mix and match. For example, you could have a leather two-seater sofa with a traditionally styled four seat fabric sofa. Or you could break things up by adding in a fabric snuggler or statement leather chair.

Another option is to get a leather and fabric sofa, so you get the best of both worlds.

If you're still unsure about which sofa is best for your home, visit us in-store today where you can browse over 100 beautiful room settings in our unique three-storey showroom.

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