Fabric versus Leather – Which Sofa Style Is Right for You?

A sofa is an investment of both money and style, with the biggest decision being the choice between fabric and leather. So which material suits your needs best?


Fabric versus Leather – Which Sofa Style Is Right for You?

This is not just a sofa. This is your sofa. It’s your sanctuary after a day on your feet, your bubble of self-pity when under the weather and your family muster point for Christmas movies. It’s also a seat for the company you keep. As such, it must be the perfect balance of comfortable and aesthetically lovely, enveloping passers-by between its welcoming cushions while reflecting your flawless taste in home design.

It’s a tall order, and one you’re committed to until the sofa falls apart or you redecorate again, with a fair few years in between. If you are riddled with indecision at important choices for your home, here’s a brief rundown of the pros and cons of leather versus fabric, for your pleasure.


Classically elegant or modern with a twist, leather does suit a variety of styles. Keeping it traditional with a buttoned, Chesterfield style or using a leather corner sofa to accent your living room, either gives a sophisticated, clean look while offering a real statement about your taste. From vintage to cosy, contemporary to arty, there is sure to be something to reflect your style.

Fabrics come in rainbows of colours and a variety of textures, affording you acres of choice when it comes to expressing yourself. Where leather is limited to a relatively small palette, the world is your oyster if you choose fabric. Now, just cope with the burden of choice and you’ll have earned a nice sit down.


All beautiful things need care but leather sofas are actually startlingly low maintenance. Requiring as little as a regular wipe with a damp cloth, the chances of your sofa looking pristine and presentable a decade after purchase are sturdy, even given the most basic care. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Fabric is not stain proof. Neither is it wipe-clean or easy-care. Plenty of fabric sofas come with removable cushion covers, to the delight of dry cleaners everywhere, but it can be pricey and time consuming to spruce up the sofa once a year. So, stain remover it is then.


Leather is a friend of parents and pet owners the world over. Harder to tear than fabric and resilient against the spills, leaks and dribbles of even the most formidable toddler, leather is robust as well as easy to care for.

By comparison, fabric does age and tire with consistent use. Fading fabric or general wear and tear can date a piece of furniture beyond its years, particularly if children use it for a food station, climbing frame, fort or anything else scamp-like or scallywag. Fabric can also tear more easily than leather, leading to upholstery bills or botched repairs, if your sewing is anything like mine.


Leather is often criticised for being cold to the touch in the Winter and sticky on skin in the Summer. But if your primary considerations are style over function, have a beautiful throw to hand for the colder months and cosy up. As for Summer, well, ask yourself if the Great British Summer really warrants a sacrifice in style…

Comfy, cosy, swallow-you-whole type sofas are what the weekends were made for, surely? Fabric will always have the edge, albeit a soft one, over leather in the comfort stakes. If you consider time spent sofa-surfing time well spent, let comfort be your guide.

Whatever your deciding factors, whether they be style, lifestyle or maintenance, there are many retail options available to suit your requirements. Well established retailers like G Plan offer a range of sofas from vintage to modern, expertly crafted and sinfully comfortable. Check out the latest trends in interior design for some inspiration!

What are your views on fabric versus leather? Share your sofa wisdom with us!

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