Choosing the right material – leather or fabric? For some this will be an easy decision, for others, not so easy. Sofa shopping can become quite problematic if you are not entirely sure what it is that you are looking for. There are thousands of varieties and brands to choose from – plastic, fabric, leather, corner sofas, sofa-beds, three piece sofas and more.

However, for this post we will focus on only fabric and leather; if you need some inspiration or are just unsure, continue reading this guide and we will tell you the best features of having either a fabric or leather sofa.

Why Choose Leather

Leather is a great material; it’s easy to clean, it looks modern and luxurious and best of all, it gets better with age. All it takes is a damp cloth to wipe over leather in order to remove any build-up of dirt which can cause fabric wear and dulling of the colours. Maintaining your leather sofa is crucial to maximise its lifespan and increase the strength of the material.

There are several varieties of leather to choose from, each with their own unique points. For example, the most premium leather available is ‘Italian full grain’ or ‘top grain’. Top grain means that the layers of the hide are used to make the leather and this increases the lifespan and durability of it. Although this leather is the most expensive, it is also of the highest quality.

Another type of leather which is common in household furniture is called ‘aniline leather’ and this is the most natural looking out of all the leather types. Similarly, as the name suggests, ‘semi-aniline leather’ maintains its natural look, but has more durability. The durability of semi-aniline leather is due to a thin layer of pigment that is applied to the top of the leather which helps to ensure consistent colours and also brings with it some stain resistance.

Faux leather is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to natural leather; however, it can still look as natural as the real thing. This type of material tends to last longer and has improved durability.

Leather is quite versatile as it can be added to any room to instantly give a modern feel and there are a variety of types of leather, depending on your own personal circumstances and needs. Leather is often picked above fabric for households with pets and babies as they are much easier to clean. Of course, to prolong the life of your sofa, we recommend you use ScS recommended cleaning products.

 Why Choose Fabric

Just like with leather, there are a wide variety of fabric materials to choose from when it comes to your sofa. What type of fabric you choose will depend on your personal preferences and taste, as well as how you intend to use the furniture. Some fabrics are more durable than others and this might be more appropriate for a household with pets and small children where stains and accidents are likely, should leather not be an option for you.


Recently, microfibre has soared in popularity due to its very soft feel, almost velvety to the touch. The polyester fibres contained within this fabric promote durability, yet at the same time provide lots of comfort. Although this type of fabric is not as easy to clean as leather, it does allow for a quick response time, should anything be spilt.

Microfibre is a popular choice too for those who suffer with allergies. This is because the fibres are so closely woven that it does not allow much opportunity for the build of dust and allergens.

Blend of Polyester and Cotton

A mix or polyester and cotton as a sofa fabric are a popular choice for families and extended families. The synthetic polyester material is used as it strengthens and protects the fabric in order to minimise wrinkling and fading. This makes it an ideal choice for a high-traffic household. The cotton is added to the mix as it provides extra comfort and makes the sofa more visually pleasing.  This is a good choice all round for a sofa, due to its cost-effectiveness and high durability. It should be able to withstand time in a busy family household with limited wear and tear.

Cotton Fabric

Cotton is one of the most (if not the most) popular fabrics in the world. It is highly prevalent in a range of industries such as clothing and home design. The material comes from the seedpod of the cotton plant and it is popular because of its soft and comfortable touch.

Cotton is relatively easy to clean and the material breathes in hot weather, absorbing body perspiration which it later expels though evaporation. During colder months, cotton retains body heat adding to its comfortability.

Textured cotton sofas are as the name suggests. The cotton is textured, adding to the visual appeal of the sofa. Sofas of this variety are not ideal for heavy use because worn patches may show up more quickly on textured sofas. They are also more prone to attracting and retaining dust. Textured cotton sofas are used more as show-pieces, rather than everyday sofas as they are not suitable for heavy use.

Vinyl Sofas

Vinyl is a synthetic material and is similar in its appearance to leather. It is often used as a sofa covering because it is protective due to its durable nature. Wear of this fabric is very slow and barely noticeable and it is also very easy to clean. This makes vinyl sofas suitable for children’s bedrooms or any areas where they will experience lots of use.

ScS offer a fabric care kit for just £30.

Leather or Fabric – Which is Right for You?

Before going ahead and purchasing a sofa, it really is a good idea to think about the different types of fabric available and which of these will work best in your home. Each fabric has its own unique strengths and weaknesses; you just need to decide which one appeals to you the most.

All fabrics will experience wear over their lifetime which is why it is important that you make the right choice according to your circumstances, in order to get maximum use out of a specific sofa.

For a range of stunning sofas, both leather and fabric, visit