Leather vs Fabric

Shopping for a new sofa can be overwhelming, to say the least. There are just so many options out there, especially if you aren’t sure what style is your favorite. You might be asking yourself, do I want a Chesterfield sofa or a traditional sofa with classic details? Then there’s the big debate, what’s better, leather or fabric? When comparing leather sofas from fabric sofas, it really depends on how often you’ll be using your sofa and who will come in contact with it. Below, we are going to help you make your decision between leather and fabric by explaining the benefits, types of materials offered, and general care.

Since we will be going over the benefits of leather vs fabric, keep in mind that there is no right answer because in the end, you know your true decor style and what your home really needs.

Benefits of Leather Furniture

Here you’ll see a close-up of our Gian Marco Cream Leather Power Reclining Sofa with genuine leather everywhere the body touches.

Do you have allergies?

If you and your family do, you’re probably going to want a leather sofa as leather sofas are hypoallergenic. Leather doesn’t trap allergens such as dust mites or pet hair. We want you to be able to breathe and enjoy your sofa without suffering from allergies.

Do you have children that spill things often? Do you have a dog?

With a leather sofa, it’s easier to clean and can be stain resistant. You’re probably just going to have to wipe down that juice or hey, even your own red wine with a soft cloth. A leather sofa is also dog-friendly! Dog hair doesn’t stick to leather so you can take it off with a cloth and dogs aren’t attracted to the smell of leather so they won’t feel compelled to damage it. If you do have a dog that will be going up and down on a leather sofa constantly, make sure to keep their nails short as this action may cause small scratches. You could also get a distressed leather sofa that conceals this look. 

Leather breathes

Yes, you read that right. Leather naturally adjusts to the temperature of your body and its surroundings too. Leather even takes on the temperature of your body in just 12 seconds. If you’re running your AC when it’s hot in summer, then the leather will cool off for you so you’re comfortable after a hot day. The same can be said for when it’s cold in winter. If your room is heated or you have a fireplace, your leather sofa will keep you warm too.

Leather ages well

Of course, leather is comfortable when you first get it but it actually gets softer over time and stays strong.

Leather’s timeless look

The great thing about a leather sofa is that it remains timeless, giving a look of elegance to your living room. Most leather sofas are gray, white, black, brown, and so on, all neutral colors that make it easy to match to your traditional living room. Let’s say in the future, you want a clean, modern living room. The leather sofa you purchased in the past can still match! Or if you want something more contemporary, a leather sofa in red adds that perfect pop of color too.

Types of Leather

When it comes to types of leather, there are three different types that we think you should consider if you do decide to buy a leather couch.

Full Grain

Full grain is the highest quality leather you can get your hands on. Since it comes from the top layer of hide, it includes all of the natural grain, giving it the name “full grain” so it’s very strong and durable.

Top Grain

Top grain leather is the second highest grade of leather. The outermost layer of the hide is removed so it makes top grain leather a little bit thinner than full grain leather. It’s still durable, strong, and a high-quality leather.

Here’s our Austin Leather Power Reclining Sectional. This leather sectional sofa has genuine top grain leather everywhere the body touches so it’s great quality and extremely comfortable.

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather still gives your sofa a leather look and feel. This leather is split so there aren’t as many hides included as with full grain or top grain leather. Genuine leather is easy to maintain too and it is still good quality.

Benefits of Fabric Furniture

Check out this close-up of the gorgeous Karly Blue Power Reclining Sectional.

Fabric sofas have many styles

With a fabric sofa, there are plenty of styles to choose from. You’ll see that a fabric sofa offers virtually unlimited possibilities when it comes to color, patterns, and texture so you can find a fabric sofa that will fit in perfectly with your living room with a look that you really want. You can even combine different textures together too. So, you can choose between a solid-colored fabric sofa or a fabric sofa with a pattern that is sure to stand out!

They’re easy to maintain

Maintaining a fabric sofa so that it lasts is actually very easy. Vacuuming the fabric regularly takes away debris like dust, pet hair, and more, so you aren’t worried about allergies.

Plenty of fabrics to choose from

When you’re shopping for a fabric sofa, there are plenty of fabrics that you can shop for. Maybe you want a linen or polyester sofa. You might even prefer the look and feel of a microfiber or velvet sofa.

Some types of fabric are breathable

As we said, there are some types of fabric that are breathable, including Cupro (CU) which is soft to the touch with high absorbency in case you spill water for example.

Fabric sofas are comfortable

Because there are so many fabrics, it’s hard to pick just one that is comfortable but in general, fabric sofas are soft and cozy to the touch for instant comfort as you’re cuddled up with a book or binge-watching your favorite show.

Types of Fabric

We can’t mention every type of fabric but we would like to share our top options for upholstered sofas with you.


Microfiber is a popular choice for families because it’s a durable fabric that has easy cleaning options. A microfiber sofa also has a realistic leather look with pebble details at an inexpensive price point!


Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is strong, perfect for everyday use with your sofa. Polyester sofas also hold their shape well so they help prevent sagginess over time.


Velvet is not the easiest to clean but when you’re choosing a velvet sofa, you’re going along with the trends, adding a fashionable piece to your living room for a high-end look.

Spot Treated Performance Fabric

Spot treated performance fabric is a great choice for a home with children and pets. It’s easy to clean and can be more durable than something like polyester and velvet. This is because, with an option like the Nube II Gray Sectional Sofa below, the LiveSmart Performance Fiber is spill and stain resistant, allowing you to use just a paper towel to blot spills.

General Care


The great thing about leather is that it doesn’t absorb spills. When you do spill something, all you’ll need to use is a soft cloth to absorb it.

Also, a leather cleaner can be used regularly to maintain the look of your leather sofa and keep it moisturized to last longer. 


Spills with fabric is a bit trickier, as it depends on the type of fabric. Don’t wait too long as the spill can be absorbed into the fabric.

For general maintenance, lightly brushing the fabric with a soft brush or vacuuming it will uphold the fabric sofa’s appearance and remove dust too.

Now that we have had a breakdown of leather vs fabric, we hope you now have a better understanding of the benefits of each. Whether you decide on a leather sofa or fabric sofa, we would love to see how it looks in your living room. Feel free to share photos with us on Instagram with the hashtag #MyEDFHome !

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