There are some questions in life which are eternal. Such as, what was the best thing before sliced bread? Why is there a light in the fridge and not the freezer? And how come abbreviated is such a long word?
Perhaps the best way to decide between leather or fabric is to first ask another question: what do we all look for in any sofa? Comfort. Tick. Style. Tick. Durability. Tick. Value. Tick. So using these universal categories, let’s get ready to rumble as fabric takes on leather in the sofa showdown…
Comfort: which sofa claims the comfy crown?
Whilst factors such as frames, springs and cushioning all play an important role in how comfy a sofa is, in this case, let’s assume everything is standard except the material on the outside.
As a rule of thumb, fabric is generally thought to be comfier than leather. When you think about leather seats in a car, they can become really hot when the sun’s out. It can be the same story indoors. Leather tends to absorb heat quicker and can be a little sticky to sit on. And when it’s cold, it can be uncomfortably chilly too.
Of course, you can accessorise your leather sofa with fabric throws, but you lose out on that lustrous leather look.
Round 1: Fabric 1 Leather 0
Style: who is the fairest sofa of them all?
Whilst this one comes down to personal taste, there’s a lot to be said for both leather and fabric. On the one hand, leather really makes a statement and in general sets a more sophisticated tone to a room. On the other, fabric comes in a much bigger array of colours and patterns, so can work with a wider array of colour schemes and décor.
So it really depends on what you’re after. Nothing really beats a leather Chesterfield for that traditional cosy and slightly clubby feel. Whereas if you want to get a bit more fresh and funky then fabric can take you wherever you want to go.
Round 2: Fabric 1 Leather 1
Durability: does fabric or leather last longest?
A sofa is quite an investment in your home’s interior styling, so you want to get as much enjoyment out of it as possible. Ideally, it needs to be hard wearing and easy to maintain so it keeps the good looks you fell in love with in the first place.
By its very nature, leather is more durable than fabric and so will last on average last at least five years longer. And whilst fabric sofas can come with a stain repellent treatment, leather is easy to clean with just a quick wipe. Which makes it a sensible choice if you have little ones (or clumsy adults) around the place. 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.
Something else to bear in mind is allergies – without a regular clean and vac, fabric sofas can be a trap for dust mites and pet fur, whereas leather tends to be hypoallergenic.
Round 3: Fabric 0 Leather 1
Value: which sofa gives you most for your money?
As with anything, the price you pay for your sofa reflects the quality of the material used. And whilst leather sofas are perceived to be more expensive, that’s not always the case when lined up alongside a premium fabric sofa.
When it comes to value, you need to take into account the other criteria we’ve used here and factor in things like comfort, cleaning and even allergies. The sofa that ticks most boxes for you is the one which offers the best investment.
Round 4: Fabric 1 Leather 1
Can’t decide between a leather or fabric sofa?
If you’re still on the fence about which sofa to go for, then you can always do a bit of mixing and matching. A leather two seater could sit alongside a traditionally styled four seat fabric model to create an eclectic look. Or why not throw in a fabric snuggler or statement leather chair to break things up a bit?
You could even go for both fabric and leather together in the same sofa.
So, what will you choose? Fabric, leather or both?
Whatever your choice, there are plenty of leather and fabric sofas to choose from in the Barker and Stonehouse collection. With something to suit every space and taste, you could soon be sitting pretty…