Leather vs. Fabric Sofa: Choosing the Perfect Upholstery

Leather vs. Fabric Sofa: Choosing the Perfect Upholstery

Upholstery is a critical factor to consider when selecting a sofa. Different types of upholstery have different features tailored to specific customers. Comparing leather vs fabric sofas and understanding their advantages and disadvantages is essential to make the right choice. This will lead to long-term satisfaction regarding comfort and style. 

Whether it is a contemporary or a mid-century modern sofa, they offer the same features; however, styles may differ. This article examines two of the most popular types of upholstery, the letter and fabric, analyzing their quality, aesthetics, maintenance, and cleaning.

Leather Sofa

Understanding Leather Sofas

Here are 4 basic features that will help you understand their properties.

1. Durability and Longevity

Leather sofas provide durability, high quality, and a stunning look even after years of use. You can expect more than 20 years of durability from a Mid-Century modern lounge chair. As long as you don't expose a leather sofa to pets or toddlers, your leather sofa will continue to look good for years to come.

2. Aesthetic Appeal

With leather upholstery, you can have a classic, timeless look and modern feel. Leather sofas are best known for their simplicity and functionality. For over two centuries, their elegant charm and luxurious appearance have attracted customers the most. 

3. Comfort and Temperature Regulation

As a natural material, leather conducts heat very well. So, it transfers heat away from your body as soon as you touch it, making it a good choice in hot climates. However, the leather feels cold when temperatures fall. 

4. Maintenance and Cleaning

Both leather and fabric upholstery require different cleaning techniques as they have different properties. For daily use, leather upholstery is easy to maintain and clean, but deep cleaning may require professional assistance. When cleaning them, no chemicals should be used to clean leather upholstery. You need to use a leather conditioner for the stains on the leather. 

Fabric Sofa

Exploring Fabric Sofas

Depending on the interior, fabric upholstery is available in various styles. The market offers thousands of choices, from mid-century modern Sectional Sofas to chick designs. You can find a variety of colors, including vibrant hues such as pink, green, and yellow, as well as more muted shades like black, brown, and gray.

Variety and Customization

Among the most significant advantages of fabric sofas are their wide product range and customization options. Whatever style you prefer, you can find one that suits your taste. Additionally, multiple options are available that offer the comfort you desire.  

Comfort and Coziness

Unlike leather upholstery, fabric upholstery lacks heat-conducive properties. However, it does have padding under the fabric, making it more comfortable to sit on. You feel less cold in colder places because they absorb the cold heat. Consider fabric upholstery if you plan to use your sofa in a cold environment.

Maintenance and Cleaning

It may take more effort to clean fabric upholstery regularly than leather ones. You need to clean them with a vacuum cleaner at least once a week. Also, certain stains on fabric upholstery should be treated immediately. 


A fabric sofa is more resistant to scratching and daily wear than a leather sofa. You can expect fabric upholstery to last about 15 years. It might be a good idea to consider fabric upholstery if you have pets in your home.  

Which One Should You Choose?

The characteristics of these two upholstery types for different conditions are outlined below to help you find your best.

Lifestyle and Usage

In addition to its numerous benefits, here are the top 4 benefits of leather upholstery:

  1. Those who prefer a classic but luxurious look.
  2. Those looking for durable, long-lasting upholstery
  3. For those who are sensitive to allergens. As leather doesn't pile up dirt and thus contaminants, microbes can be easily removed from it, providing a clean environment for those who are allergic. 
  4. In hot climates, leather keeps you cooler and offers a more comfortable sitting experience. 

On the other hand, the upholstery fabric comes in different textures, such as silky, plush, and nubby. In addition, it provides a warm environment as it is not conducive.

Style and Aesthetic

You can have a luxurious look with leather upholstery; however, there aren't too many options for certain vivid colors. When it comes to fabric materials, you can find a style that fits your style and decor.


Fabric upholstery is a more affordable option but requires more cleaning effort, which may result in less durability. Thus, it may cost more in the long run because of cleaning costs. Investing in high-quality leather upholstery pays off in the long run due to its durability and craftsmanship.


Individual preferences determine how comfortable an upholstery is. The softness and smoothness of leather upholstery are its most notable characteristics.  On the other hand, fabric upholstery is breathable and provides comfort in cooler environments.     


Both types have different maintenance requirements and professional care. Fabric upholstery must be cleaned regularly with a vacuum cleaner and cleaned professionally at least once a year. 

Leather seats require less daily maintenance but need conditioning for certain stains and damages. A professional should also inspect it once a year.


The following are some frequently asked questions about fabric and leather upholstery.

Can I place a leather sofa in a sunny room?

Yes, you can place them in a sunny room. However, direct sun exposure damages leather upholstery and causes cracks, so it is important to take precautions when placing them in a sunny room. A window treatment such as curtains or blinds is recommended first and foremost. If you cannot avoid direct sunlight exposure to your belongings, it is advisable to rotate them regularly. You can also use coverings and leather conditioners to protect them from cracking. Keeping a cool temperature is important to protect your mid-century modern lounge chair.

Are fabric sofas pet-friendly?

Usually, fabric sofas are made of pet-friendly materials, but not all fabric upholstery have the same characteristics. If you have pets, microfiber is an ideal choice for your home. You could also consider Microsuede and Crypton as good choices for your pets.

Which sofa type is more environmentally friendly?

Consider using recycled polyester or organic materials like cotton or linen for a more environmentally friendly upholstery option. If you want to enjoy the smooth feel of leather without compromising on environmental impact, consider vegetable-tanned leather. This type of leather is produced using a less toxic process.

Can I reupholster a fabric sofa if I want to change its appearance?

Yes, of course you can. Reupholstering old furniture can give it new life while being an eco-friendly option that can save you money. You can change your mid-century modern dining table chair upholstery to leather or any other type of fabric instead of replacing its high-quality base. 

Are leather sofas suitable for humid climates?

Leather sofas can withstand humidity levels below 60%, but they may develop fungus in extremely humid environments. Humid environments can also affect the chemical structure of leather, weakening it. In addition, a moderate level of humidity can contribute to the softness and comfort of the leather sofa. 


It is up to your personal taste, budget, home decor, and living style about which to choose. Both can provide any quality and comfort expectations whether you are classic savvy or like a modern look. To find the perfect one, viewing them in person is important. You can visit our local shop to experience different upholstery options or contact our customer representatives for more detailed information regarding your situation.

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