Fabric Sofa Vs Leather Sofa - Which is better?


It’s a question that troubles most sofa buyers at some stage. Should you go for a leather sofa or a fabric one? There are loads of reasons why both leather and fabric sofas are an excellent choice. Unless you want to buy a sofa that incorporates both fabric and leather, there’s a decision to make here.

The good news is we’re here to help! Here’s a simple but comprehensive breakdown of leather sofas vs. fabric sofas.

Which looks best, fabric or leather?

Whether a leather sofa or fabric sofa looks best is purely a matter of personal taste, but here are some visual characteristics you will tend to find with each.

Leather sofa characteristics

  • Leather has a premium, luxury appearance
  • Can feature both modern and classic styling
  • A variety of beautiful natural colours
  • Unique textures

Fabric sofa characteristics

  • Warm and welcoming style
  • Huge variety of colours
  • Range of varied patterns
  • Wide range of shapes and styles

There has never been a greater variety of sofa designs to choose from, across both leather and fabric upholstery type.

Do fabric sofas have more design variety than leather?

There has never been a greater selection of designs on the market for both fabric and leather sofas. One of the advantages of fabric is the vast range of patterns and textures to choose from, including simple, unembellished block colours and abstract or vintage patterns.

Below are just a handful of the dynamic and beautiful patterns available for the Parker Knoll Burghley in fabric.

Our leather sofas, by comparison, are only manufactured from stunning natural materials. This limits the potential for more detailed or obscure designs in favour of pure leather in an assortment of gorgeous colours and textures. Below, for example, are some of the exciting and vibrant colours available for the La-Z-Boy Tara in leather:

Do leather sofas cost more than fabric sofas?

Leather sofas may cost more at the point of purchase than fabric sofas. If you have a strict budget and want to get the most sofa for your money, a fabric sofa may be the way to go, but it isn’t always as simple as that.

High quality leather sofas, if well looked after, last for a very long time, making them an outstanding long-term investment. When deciding on value for money, always look at the longer term where you can, as that is where the real value lies.

Are fabric sofas more comfortable?

Comfort is entirely subjective, but it is a common opinion that fabric sofas are more inviting than leather ones. This may not always be the case.

Leather sofas can be complimented with elegant throws and cushions to make them cosier on cold days, and more comfortable on hot days.

There are wildly varying levels of comfort to be found for different sofas of the same material too, including firmness, surface texture and lumbar support.

The comfiest sofa in the world for one person may not be right for the next. The best way to decide which is most comfortable will always be to head for our Frank Knighton furniture showrooms and try them out yourself.

Fabric Vs Leather – Which requires more work?

When shopping for a sofa, you should always think about how well it is going to fit in with your lifestyle. Are you a busy person who doesn’t have time for cleaning your sofa regularly? The material of your upholstery makes a big difference here.

Leather is more resistant to spillages and stains. If you have children or people prone to spilling food and drink in your household, leather may be the best choice.

Most leather sofa cleaning consists of a quick wipe down on a regular basis, with no need to remove and wash cushion covers.

Fabric or leather – Which is easier to repair?

A well-used and well-loved sofa is almost certain to experience some kind of wear and tear throughout its lifetime. Which sofa type is easiest to repair?

Small tears to a leather sofa are easily fixable and repairs can be done by trimming the damaged edges, inserting a sub-patch, applying glue and filler, and then using colourant to make the repair blend in.

Fabric sofa repairs are also nice and straightforward. The method will vary based on specific fabric type, but most tears can be fixed with a simple needle, thread and patch. 

Summary: Fabric vs leather sofas

There are many reasons to love both a fabric and leather sofa, and both are an outstanding investment for your home. In short, which you choose depends on what you are looking for.

Why choose a leather sofa?

  • Highly durable
  • Long lifespan
  • Spillage resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Premium, luxury style

Why choose a fabric sofa?

  • Budget friendly compared to leather
  • Warm and cosy
  • Huge range of colours and patterns

We hope this has been a helpful read. If you require any additional help in choosing the right sofa type, feel free to make a no-obligation enquiry about any sofa of your choice. Our dedicated team will be happy to help!

You can also check out our brand new sofa buying guide for more information.