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Leather Vs Fabric Sofas: Which Will You Choose? 

Although not quite as serious as the red or white wine debate, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is whether to buy a leather or fabric sofa. We get it, making an investment in a piece of furniture you hope will last 10+ years is not to be taken lightly. We also know that walking into any store or viewing a catalogue online can initially feel overwhelming. With so much choice, comes a lot of decision-making! At The 1933 Furniture Company, we believe that picking out your new sofa should be a positive experience and why shouldn’t it be?! With a little bit of know-how, you can pick the right sofa for you. 

There is no right or wrong answer in the leather vs fabric sofa debate. Ultimately you should look beyond the material and consider aspects such as comfort, style and durability so without further ado, we’re taking leather and fabric head to head to help you make up your mind. 


Leather Vs Fabric Sofa Round # 1: Comfort

If you walked into our store and asked our team, “what is the most comfortable sofa”, you’d probably get a different answer from each of us! Comfort is truly a subjective thing! Some people like a soft sofa you can lie on and sink into, while others might prefer a firmer sit, so it’s personal preference. Keeping that in mind, there are definitely some factors that will contribute to comfort, such as height, weight, lounge position and most importantly, how much couch potato-ing you plan on doing! To help you make the ultimate decision, here are some notable features of both. So, which will win the comfort point for you? 

Leather Sofas: Leather sofas have a hardwood frame which means they’re structurally very sound. They have a foam layer with dacron wrap that creates an interior dome-like shape, so leather is definitely the way to go if you prefer something firmer to sit on. While you won’t get that squishy sinking feeling you get on a fabric sofa, it’s important to be aware that leather material will stretch and soften over time. That’s not to say that you can’t create that cosy feeling with a leather sofa, why not add some plush throws or cushions in different textures to give you the same effect?


Alexander & James - Tod corner sofa
Alexander & James – Tod corner sofa

Fabric Sofas: Like a leather sofa, fabric sofas also have a hardwood frame. They’re really comfortable, warm and cosy — perfect for curling up on, especially in winter! Fabric, inevitably, is soft by nature and offers more filling options like foam with fibre or feather wraps. All these options will give you different levels of comfort, depending on your preference!


Alexander & James - Haven collection
Alexander & James – Haven collection

Leather Vs Fabric Sofa Round # 2: Design 

While everyone has their preference over design – it’s not what it used to be. Sometimes, there can be a preconceived notion that fabric is seen as a more classic choice, and leather is more contemporary. However, this has changed in recent years with innovative manufacturing techniques. You can find all sorts of styles in either fabric or leather that incorporate classic and contemporary elements, so we’re seeing customers looking at both styles! We see this is a wonderful thing, as your options have expanded. 

Leather: We only sell real leather which has such a luxurious and elegant feel but at the same time “lived-in”. If your interior style leans toward clean and modern, then leather may be the route to go. They generally only come in one all-over colour, making it easier to coordinate into the room’s colour scheme. And if you feel like you might get tired of a colour choice, remember you can refresh the room’s look by simply changing pillows and throws.


Natuzzi Editions - C142 sofa
Natuzzi Editions – C142 sofa

Fabric: From a design perspective, the sky is really no limit with fabric sofas. Classically offering pillow back and fixed covers in addition to loose-cover options (and more recently, adjustable headrests), there’s an endless variety of patterns, textures and colours available for your choosing! Many of our manufacturers now also offer plain fabric materials on their leather models, so we see far more cross-over in Italian design-driven styles. If you’re looking for something more contemporary with the added comfort of a soft and cosy feel, fabric sofas are an option.


Natuzzi Editions - C141 sofa
Natuzzi Editions – C141 sofa

Leather Vs Fabric Sofa Round # 3: Durability

Kids, family, friends, animals… your sofa will go through the day-to-day living of life. It is a big investment you’ll want to see last for years to come. It’s great that you love it, but is it practical? Arguably (one of) the most important factors to consider is how durable your sofa is. You need something that is family-friendly, easy to maintain and that will keep the look you loved in the first place. 

Leather Sofas: Protected leather is a durable material because of its strength and it can be easily maintained by wiping it down with a warm, clean damp cloth. If your living space is also the dining area, homework room, ice-cream parlour, and colouring station, spills are inevitable. So, a leather sofa might be your best bet. Overall, leather can just take that extra punishment and brings that peace of mind you don’t get from fabric sofas!


A&J - Bailey sofa
A&J – Bailey sofa

Fabric Sofas: Fabric’s durability will vary depending on the quality and type used. However, it’s important to remember that while both leather and fabric sofas should be dressed daily, fabric sofas generally need that little extra attention. A fabric sofa can be vulnerable to stains and might not suit a family with young children. However, thanks to upholstery technologies, many manufacturers now offer family-friendly fabric materials, which might be a solution for you. Also, as any parent will testify, children love to use the sofa as a trampoline, and fabrics can begin to look a little worse for wear over time.


Neptune - Shoreditch sofa
Neptune – Shoreditch sofa

Leather Vs Fabric Sofa Round # 4: Value

You want and deserve to get value for what you pay for. The cost of any sofa will depend on the grade of fabric and leather you go for. Characteristically, leather is a more expensive material, leaving fabric to be the known lower-cost option. Nonetheless, every single piece of furniture you see at our store or online is of fantastic quality. Your choice is ultimately going to come down to a range of considerations like your preferences when it comes to comfort, the design and how easy it will be to maintain within your lifestyle. Essentially the sofa that ticks everything you’re looking for should prove to be the best investment as it will last you many years.


Natuzzi Editions - B908 brown leather sofa
Natuzzi Editions – B908 brown leather sofa

What Do We Think

We think this is a decision you must make solo (or with your family/friends). The best thing is, there’s no right or wrong answer. You can make the right choice based on what you value the most when it comes to your lifestyle, family and comfort needs. A politician’s answer…Maybe, but it’s the absolute truth! Living spaces these days need to be multi-functional, so knowing how your room will be used throughout the week will help determine whether leather or fabric will suit your day-to-day life. 

Our top tips for leather sofas: Check out Natuzzi Editions and Italia Living for an extensive range 

Our top tips for fabric sofas: Alexander & James and Neptune offer a variety of beautiful colours and fabrics to choose from

What Do You Do Now?

Hopefully, now you feel more equipped to make the best decision for you and your home. Even if we’ve helped you weigh up your options, it’s always good to get some extra advice from furniture experts. Costs of sofas can vary depending on the grades of fabrics and leathers you choose. Get in touch to help guide you make an informed decision on materials, protections and finishes — we’re always ready to offer advice on picking the perfect piece for your home.

Until next time, happy shopping and sofa trying!

Written by:

Fran is the managing director of The 1933 furniture Company. He's experience in the furniture industry spans decades, and he will never steer you wrong with his honest advice!

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