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Deciding the right kind of fabric for your sofa

Shopping for a sofa is an arduous mission. While design styles(wooden vs metal, contemporary vs traditional, low seating vs high seating) and costing are important criteria, there is also one other crucial question that must be answered - “What kind of upholstery should I go in for - Leather, Leather-like or cloth like fabrics such as cotton, linen or velvet?”

Today, we are going to answer some of these questions for you! Also, did you know you have a third and a fourth option, which is leatherette and leathaire? We will deep dive into these topics, after which you can make an assessment for yourself.

Cloth based fabrics

Fabric Sofa by Quratory

Fabric sofas offer a warm and inviting environment. They are available in a wide selection of colours and fabrications, making it simple to find one that matches your home design.

When choosing a fabric sofa, think about how much time you want to spend cleaning and maintaining it. It's also a good idea to consider the sofa's long-term durability.

Why go for a fabric sofa?

  1. Fabric couches have a wide range of feel based on the fabric and the sofa's support system (i.e. the cushions and frame). Fabric couches, also, are often far more comfortable than leather sofas for a variety of reasons.
  2. To begin with, cloth is a softer, warmer material than leather. Leather couches can feel hot and sticky in the summer and cold in the winter, and leather sofas are harder than fabric sofas.
  3. 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.
  4. Fabrics, unlike leather, have nearly endless pattern, texture, and colour options, so they have a much better chance of complementing existing decor and giving you the aesthetic you want.
  5. If you choose a fabric sofa, you will be getting value for the money(usually). Quality fabric and framing are pricey, but a leather sofa will always be more expensive.

Fabric couches' wear and tear are generally determined by the fabric's grade. Hiigh-quality fabrics (like high-quality leathers) will last longer. Because most fabric sofas have a stain-resistant surface, spills can be readily cleaned with specialist solutions or a portable steam cleaner. Fabric also doesn't scratch as easily as leather, so it can withstand pets and children’s handiwork better than leather.

Why not a fabric sofa?

There are enough reasons why to go in for a fabric sofa, but again, depending on your lifestyle and affordability, there may be reasons to stay away from fabric sofas

  1. Fabric couches have the disadvantage of staining more easily than leather sofas, even when protected with specific coatings. 
  2. Fabric is less durable than leather, which means you'll have to reupholster more frequently than you'd want. 
  3. Fabric will always be more frail than leather in terms of durability.

Leather sofas

Leather sofas are more robust than fabric sofas and can last for years. A high-quality leather sofa will retain its shape and appearance for many years.

With a fast wipe and a little dusting, leather may be cleaned quickly and you won’t need to worry about your messy teenager or husband.

 Why go for a leather sofa?

  1. Leather sofas are frequently preferable to fabric sofas for people who sufferer from allergies since leather does not harbour dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens.
  2. A leather sofa can add an element of refinement to a room that is difficult to achieve with fabric. Although Chesterfield-style leather sofas are fairly classic, leather sofas are generally more fashionable than fabric sofas.
  3. 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.

Why should you refrain from a leather sofa?

  1. When it comes to thermal comfort, leather is notorious for absorbing heat; this occurs most often when the interior room temperature climbs to uncomfortably high levels. 
  2. The cost of changing upholstery can be prohibitively expensive when significant sections are involved.

Faux leather sofas:

Leathaire sofa by Quratory

Faux leather is one of the many names for artificial or synthetic leather. Faux leather (sofa, chair, and headboard upholstery), leatherette (auto upholstery, clothes), technology leather or leathaire and koskin (car upholstery, clothing) are all terms that are frequently used to designate specific end uses of synthetic leather materials (consumer goods). Polyurethane (“PU”) and polyvinyl chloride (“PVC”) are the two most common types of imitation leather construction.

Why go for a leatherette sofa?

  • Faux leather is often substantially less expensive than genuine leather.
  • Faux leather is quite robust and will last for a long time. Genuine leather would be marred by scratches and scuffs, but this material can survive them. It does not crack or peel like leather does. It is stain resistant and does not fade as easily under ultra violet (UV) light.
  • Faux leather can typically be cleaned with a rag and warm water. Because synthetic leather does not absorb moisture like genuine leather does, it will not become distorted or broken. With just a dry cloth, several of the new performance imitation leathers can remove pen, liquid, and food stains.
  • Faux leather has been changed and refined to represent a visual appearance with a realistic leather quality, with variances in grain, colour, and textures.
  • Faux leather has a consistent appearance because all of the components are made from the same stock.
  • Faux leathers can also be printed, giving them a wide range of textures and designs. Faux leather can also be coloured a variety of hues because it is a synthetic substance. This fashion-forward approach gives you greater creative freedom when it comes to designing your home.
  • Faux leather is easier to work with than real leather since it is easier to cut and sew. Furthermore, needle marks are usually less obvious, and threads blend in better with the faux leather texture.

 Why should you refrain from leatherette?

  • Faux leather does not stretch, breathe, or wear the same way that real leather does. An exception to this is leathaire, which is a technological improvement over traditional leatherette. Air Leather or Leathaire has a number of tiny holes punched into the material, making it easier to breathe and also, makes it softer. It also makes it easier to break into.
  • Faux leather is quite durable, but it lacks the shine and patina that leather does with time. 
  • Faux leather is not as durable as real leather in terms of puncture and tear resistance.

 Now that we have covered all the aspects of different materials, let us compare based on aesthetics, durability and comfort.

 Fabric, leather, or faux leather? - In terms of comfort

 When it comes to a couch, comfort reigns supreme, since you will be physically using it. The overall stability of the structure, the form of the sofa, and the volume of foam utilised, among other factors, all influence comfort. The material chosen to upholster a sofa, on the other hand, is an important factor in determining its comfort level.

When you sit on leather/leatherette for lengthy periods of time, it heats up. It also reflects the room's temperature, so it is cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Fabric, on the other hand, provides a more comfortable couch.

 Fabric, leather, or leatherette? - In terms of aesthetics

Rating a couch based on its overall appearance and feel is difficult because it ultimately boils down to personal preference. There's nothing quite like a classic leather/leatherette sofa when it comes to elegance. Its ability to blend in with any type of decor, be it vintage, contemporary, or minimalistic, is unrivalled. Leather or faux leather, on the other hand, has a limited colour palette, although leathaire has expanded the possibilities.

Fabric, on the other hand, has no bounds in terms of what it can be used for. You can also choose from a variety of prints, patterns, and cushion accessories thanks to the material.

 Fabric, leather, or leatherette? - In terms of durability

 Leather/faux leather without a doubt, takes the cake in this category. This is because these are far more durable than cotton, as long as the quality is good.Their colour and gloss do not fade like fabric, and are also less prone to tears.

Fabric, leather, or leatherette? - In terms of maintenance

Fabric is not for you if spills give you the creeps. Although there are various fabric cleaning agents on the market, maintaining a fabric sofa is still a difficult task. Fabric absorbs dust, thus vacuuming is required on a regular basis.

Leather/leatherette sofas, on the other hand, may be wiped clean with a moist cloth. Cigarette ash droppings will singe fabric, thus a leather couch is more likely to put up a tough front.

Fabric, leather, or leatherette? - In terms of cost

Fabric is far less expensive than high-quality leather (exclude faux leather). Leather, on the other hand, lasts longer, justifying its higher price. The human proclivity for boredom works in the fabric's favour. If you notice that your living room is becoming monotonous, you can simply replace the fabric. 

Fabric, leather, or leatherette? - In terms of pet/child friendliness

For persons with sensitive skin or allergies, leather/faux leather is one of the best upholstery materials. This makes it ideal for families with small children and pets. Leather, especially, is hypoallergenic because it is organic. It also earns bonus points for not absorbing dust as quickly as fabric.

Aside from being child-friendly, leather/faux leather also works since animal hair does not attach itself to it, so you can just brush your couch when your dog/cat/furry buddy sheds. Given the shambles that children and pets can create together or even alone, leather couches are a godsend for pet owners.

So, now that we have taken you through the pros and cons of each material along with a comparison between the three, the task of selection has become easier for you hopefully.