Looking for a quick upgrade to your living room décor? The couch is the focal point in your living room, and if it looks tired and worn out then it’s time for a facelift!

Choosing the sofa upholstery is a decision that should not be made in a hurry. If you choose wrong, your décor will suffer; and redoing a bad decision can cost a pretty penny. If your choice is narrowed down to fabric or leather, check out our pointers below before you go shopping.

sofa design

What is Upholstery?

The term ‘upholstery’ encompasses all the materials, including the fabric, cushioned padding, kora cloth and springs; that make up the soft seat of your sofa. While the inner layers are not visible, you should always choose high-quality materials so that your sofa is comfortable and lasts long without sagging or sinking. While the most popular choice of material is still fabric, many people today opt for leather sofas.


Leather Upholstery

Homeowners often choose to upholster their sofas using leather or faux leather. You can choose from a large variety of leather materials that are available nowadays, in different finishes and colours to match your decor. Real leather comes in a few classic shades leaning towards darker tones, but faux leather can be dyed to any shade. To add pops of colour or brighten up the decor, you can use cushion covers in cheerful shades to match your design theme.

Leather sofa Pros and Cons


  • Leather is hypo-allergenic, meaning that it does not easily attract allergens, dust and pet dander.
  • It can be easily wiped clean with a soft cloth.
  • Worn out leather can be refurbished to bring back the original lustre and sheen.
  • Leather does not stain as easily as fabric.
  • Regular vacuuming may not be needed to keep it looking clean.
  • If taken care of well, leather lasts much longer than fabric.


  • Animal activists do not like the fact that real leather is made of the hide of animals. Choosing faux leather takes care of this concern.
  • Leather is a lot more expensive than most kinds of fabric.
  • In warm weather, the leather feels hot and sticky and is not very comfortable to sit on.
  • The range of availability is limited to a few colours only, notably black, beige and brown.

leather sofa pros and cons

Fabric Upholstery

The sheer variety of fabrics available for use as sofa upholstery is staggering. You can take your pick from natural and sustainable fabrics like jute, or synthetic materials like rayon. Make your choice based on the colours, textures and finishes available. However, do note: while fabrics come in a wider range of styles, this material choice itself tends to look rather more conservative than leather furniture.

Fabric Sofa upholstery Pros and Cons


  • Fabric upholstery stays cool during the summer and warm during the winter, making it a far more comfortable option than leather.
  • It is also cost-effective.
  • Available in almost unlimited colour, patterns and texture options.
  • Fabric is washable and durable.


  • Fabric readily absorbs stains, odours and accumulates pet dander and dust.
  • It requires regular vacuuming to keep it clean, so can be considered high maintenance
  • It is not as durable as leather and tends to fray, tear or look shabby with repeated use.

fabric sofa

Difference Between Leather and Fabric Sofa

This table encapsulates the differences between leather and fabric, so you can make your final choices easily:


Leather Sofa Upholstery

Fabric Sofa Upholstery

Durability Durable and lasts long Depends on the quality and care given, not as durable as leather
Availability Few shades only (natural leather), leaning toward dark tones A staggering variety of colours, textures, patterns and prints
Price Expensive Less expensive
Workmanship Needs expert craftsmen Does not need expert craftsmanship
Spills and stains Resistant to spills and stains, to a larger extent Gets stained easily
Maintenance Low maintenance, can be wiped clean High maintenance, needs regular vacuuming
Comfort Gets hot in summertime and cold during the winter Maintains even temperature, offers greater comfort

Whether you opt for a fabric sofa or leather sofa, the material you finally choose has to look fashionable as well as be practical. Remember, just going by the look and price isn’t enough because you are going to live with it for a long time. Any upholstery and material you choose must be an extension of yourself, a reflection of your personal taste and yet adaptable to the general decor of your home.

Looking for help with your choices and your home’s interiors? Call the HomeLane team today!


  1. Avatar

    Good knowledgeable post which speaks both fashionable as well as be practical. Loved it!

    • Avatar
      Usha Balasubramanyan Reply

      Thank you for your kind words Ahaan. Glad you liked it.

Write A Comment


Meet a designer online

Please enter your name.
Please enter your email address.
Please enter your phone number.
Please enter pincode.

By submitting this form, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of use