Shopping for a chair or sofa is perplexing to say the least. In your search for the ideal sofa, you’ll come across a plethora of options. Among the factors to examine are: Is it better to be modern or classic? Is it better to have a high or low back? In terms of style and appearance, these are all critical considerations. Before you start narrowing down your sofa and chair options, you’ll need to make a basic cover decision. Are you looking for fabric or leather furniture?

General Considerations

As you might assume, there is no single right answer, as both fabric and leather chair or sofas offer advantages and disadvantages. Instead of relying on personal preferences, recommendations, or experiences, consider the advantages of each material to choose which sofa finish is best for you, your family, and your home. The most important considerations are durability, care requirements, appearance, comfort, and cost.

Consider your family’s needs and routines, and then give yourself some time to choose the perfect piece. Take your time with this decision because you will most likely use your sofa every day for many years.

Fabric for Chair or Sofa


Fabric is often regarded to be more comfortable than leather. When you think about leather seats in a car, you can imagine how hot they can get when the sun is shining. Indoors, it might be the same story. Leather absorbs heat more quickly than other materials and can be a touch sticky to sit on. It can also be uncomfortably cold when it’s cold.  Fabric material, on the whole, tends to be much more comfortable than leather for several reasons.

Image: Fabric Chair – Jean Armchair, Source: Theory of Living
Image: Fabric Sofa – Oscar Sofa, Source: Theory of Living

To begin with, cloth is a softer, warmer material than leather; similar to your leather car seats, leather couches can feel hot and sticky in the summer and cold in the winter, and leather sofas are harder than fabric sofas.

Second, because fabric is softer than leather, a fabric couch is already “broken in” when you buy it. Of course, proceed with caution. When you get up, you want a fabric that is soft but not too soft; it should hold its shape and not wrinkle or sag.

Color and Pattern Options

Fabrics, unlike leather, have nearly endless pattern, texture, and color options, so they have a much better chance of complementing existing decor and giving you the aesthetic you want. This is a fantastic opportunity to show off your family’s personality. Choose a sofa with a vibrant, vivid fabric to draw attention or a tranquil neutral to anchor a space full of art or decorative elements.


Fabric couches’ wear and tear are generally determined by the fabric’s grade. As you may think, high-quality fabrics (like high-quality leathers) will last longer. Furthermore, both fabric and leather seats can come with cleaning solutions, ensuring maintenance becomes easier. Similarly, most spills can be cleaned out of a fabric product with proper care and attention, but a stubborn mark can be difficult to remove on occasion. Another benefit of fabric is that they don’t scratch as easily as leather, so it can withstand the claws of pets and the binders of children’s homework better than leather.

Leather Chair or Sofa

If you’re considering a leather sofa, you’re probably attracted to the look, feel, durability, and possibly cleanliness of genuine leather.


Leather sofas are frequently preferable for allergy sufferers than fabric sofas since leather does not harbor dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens as easily as fabric does.


A leather chair or sofa can add an element of refinement to a room that is difficult to achieve with fabric material. Leather really makes a statement and in general sets a more sophisticated tone to a room.

Image: Leather Chair – Sienna Chair, Source: Theory of Living
Image: Leather Chair – Caroline Chair Source: Theory of Living

Leather appears sleeker and more high-end than most fabric sofas if you choose a contemporary or modern style. So it all depends on what you’re looking for. For that typical snug and slightly clubby vibe, nothing surpasses a leather Chesterfield.


Leather is relatively easy to clean, requiring just a little dusting or rub down a few times a year, whereas fabric requires vacuuming and cleaning on a regular basis. Leather is a long-lasting material that can last for decades if properly cared for. While leather does not necessitate continual attention, it should be conditioned on a regular basis to avoid cracks and splits.


You want to get the most enjoyment out of your chair and sofa because it is a significant investment in your home’s interior design. It should be durable and easy to maintain in order to maintain the wonderful looks you fell in love with in the first place.

Leather is more durable than cotton by nature, and will last at least five years longer on average. While stain repellent treatments are available for fabric chair and sofa, leather is simple to clean with just a quick wipe. Which makes it a good choice if you have small children (or clumsy adults) around. Also, as any parent will testify, children love to play on sofas and fabrics can easily start to look a little worn under the strain, whereas leather is less yielding.

Summary: Fabric or Leather?

After weighing the benefits and drawbacks of both fabric and leather chairs, which one should you choose? In the end, a mix of circumstances will determine the outcome. For some, comfort will be the most important factor, while for others, style and upkeep will be crucial. If you’ve got young children or pets that make longevity your main concern, then it looks as though a leather chair or sofa could be your match made in heaven. However, if the cosy, comfortable and warm effect of a fabric feels like home to you, then that’s where your heart resides. 

If you’re still on the fence about which sofa to go for, then you can always do a bit of mixing and matching. You could even go for a leather and fabric sofa so you get the best of both worlds. Whatever your preference, the Theory of Living collection has plenty of leather and fabric chairs to select from. You’ll be delighted with any option because there’s something to suit every area and taste. 

Image: Mix Leather and Fabric Chair – Tiago Chair, Source: Theory of Living
Image: Mix Leather and Fabric Chair – Justin Armchair, Source: Theory of Living

If you’re interested and looking for a furniture, Theory of Living is here to help you with furniture picks and consultations. We also provide custom chairs where you can choose custom leather or fabric material. Contact us at sales@theoryofliving.com or WhatsApp (click here) for more information.

Source: thespruce.com, barkerandstonehouse.co.uk, hslchairs.com

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