Fabric vs Leather: How to Choose the Right Material for Your Sofa

Buying a sofa comes with many considerations, from length and width to colour and shape. But the material of your couch plays perhaps the most important role, keeping you comfortable for many years down the line. The choice between leather and fabric can be tough, so we have broken it down to make things easier for you. Here’s what you should consider before making your choice.


Comfort is the most important aspect of any couch. If your sofa is uncomfortable, you’re not going to use it, making it a particularly wasteful purchase. While it depends on personal preference, leather is generally considered less comfortable, often feeling sticky against bare arms and legs. It’s crucial that you test out a variety of couches to get a good idea of which material you prefer before taking your pick. You can do this by simply visiting a showroom!

squarerooms king living beige cream fabric couch sofa with storage

Image courtesy of King Living


While comfort is important, you will want to make sure that you love the look of your couch. After all, it’s one of the biggest items in your home and the first thing to draw the eye in any living room. Leather sofas tend to look sleek and luxurious with a semi-glossy finish. Fabric couches come in a variety of styles, but generally don’t look as high-end as their leather counterparts. One thing to keep in mind? Leather will develop wrinkles over time, losing its modern appearance, while fabric tends to retain the same look over the years.

squarerooms born in colour orange leather sofa couch

Image courtesy of Born in Colour


Generally speaking, the durability of your couch depends more on its production quality than the material. However, if your couch is going to experience some heavy wear and tear from kids or pets, things get a bit more complicated. In this case, you need to consider what kind of damage your sofa is most likely to suffer. Leather is more resistant to stains as the material doesn’t absorb them, while fabric stands stronger against scratches. Hence, a leather couch is a good idea if your kids tend to spill drinks and food, but a fabric couch is a much better choice if your dog likes to scratch furniture.

squarerooms castlery grey sofa couch

Image courtesy of Castlery


If cleaning your home already takes up a lot of your time, maintenance should be a major consideration when choosing between leather and fabric. Leather is notoriously easy to clean, needing just the occasional wipe-down. Fabric, on the other hand, can be bothersome to clean, particularly if stained. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that leather needs to be conditioned in order to avoid tearing, while fabric only needs to be cleaned. If you tend to keep your furnishings stain-free without much effort, a fabric couch will serve you well. If you like to have dinner on the couch, however, you might want to opt for leather.

squarerooms bed and basics blue chesterfield leather sofa couch living room

Image courtesy of BedandBasics


Once you’ve considered all of your needs and requirements, it’s down to the determining factor—cost. Generally speaking, you will always pay more for leather than for fabric. King Living, for instance, allows you to customise your sofa cover, and the leather option always takes the final price up a notch. The Opera Sofa, one of their most affordable options, costs $2,314 with a fabric cover and $3,558 with a leather finish. Castlery’s Adams Sofa follows the same pattern, retailing at $749 with the fabric option and $1,599 with the leather equivalent. If cost is your biggest concern when picking your next couch, fabric is your best bet.

squarerooms king living sofa grey living room woman reading

Image courtesy of King Living