Fabric grey calm sofa vs leather white calm sofa

Should I Buy a Fabric or Leather Sofa?

If you do not know whether you should pick a fabric or leather sofa, this article seeks to help you out.

Stylistic preference is more of a personal choice. We focus on the other crucial factors you should take into consideration.

How to choose between fabric and leather sofas, key contents we will go through:

Too Long, Don't Read


Quick overview of factors to consider for fabric or leather sofa

Allergy Considerations

If you are allergic to dust, dust mites, pet dander or other forms of allergens, a leather sofa is a better choice.

Dust mite fabric sofa penetration

Why are leather sofas more hypoallergenic?

Using dust mites as an example, they like warm, dark areas. They also absorb moisture from the air and feed on dust.

Fabric covered sofas have spaces between weaves. These pore spaces catch and hold dust. Besides, they also enable the dust mite to penetrate the surface to live within the sofa cushions. As a result, fabric sofas offer an environment for dust mites to thrive.

But, leather covered sofas do not have any pore spaces. This makes it harder for dust mites to get into the cushions. In addition, leather also repels dust. As a result, leather sofas provide an inhospitable environment for dust mites.

Greater maintenance required for fabric sofas if you are allergic

To remove dust and other allergens, you only need to wipe down a leather sofa from time to time. But, for fabric sofas, we need more frequent vacuuming or usage of cleaning agents.

Cost Considerations

If you are looking for sofas that can last for 5 years or more, a fabric sofa is generally cheaper. This is because the cost of fabric is 9 - 10 times cheaper compared to the cost of leather for similar durability.

Below, we list our budget and recommended sofa material to consider if you do not want any compromise on quality of materials used:

  • <S$1,500: fabric sofa
  • <S$2,000: half leather sofa
  • >S$2,000: full leather sofa

Cost breakdown of different types of sofa by material type

Fabric vs leather cost simulation for a 220cm 3 seater sofa:

Total area of upholstery required:

  • Fabric: 10m of fabric
  • Half leather: 5m of PU and 125in of leather
  • Full leather: 250in of leather

Approximate cost of fabric and leather that can last for 5 years:

  • Fabric: S$8 per meter
  • Half leather: S$8 per meter for PU, S$3 per inch for leather
  • Full leather: S$3 per inch

Total cost of upholstery material:

  • Fabric: 10 (meters of fabric required) x 8 (cost per meter of fabric) = S$80 (fabric cost for a 220cm sofa)
  • Half leather: 5 (meter of PU required) x 8 (cost per meter of PU) + 125 (inches of leather required) x 3 (cost per inch of leather) = $415
  • Full leather: 250 (inches of leather required) x 3 (cost per inch of leather) = S$750 (leather cost for a 220cm sofa)

Note that:

  • Fabrics and PU are sold at a per meter unit cost, 1m of fabric or PU have the following dimensions: 100cm x 140cm
  • Leathers are sold at a per inch unit cost (1in is equal to 2.54cm), 1in of leather have the following dimensions: 1in x 1in
  • To build up to the full cost of sofas, we need to add in additional costs such as logistics, wood, cushion and manpower

Maintenance Considerations

If you have young kids or pets, go with fabric options. If you are looking for a sofa that is easy to maintain on a regular basis, go with leather options.

Choose fabric sofa if you have kids or pets, choose leather sofa if you want ease of maintenance

What to choose if you have kids or pets?

Fabric does not get stretched as easily as leather. It also tends to handle pets’ claws and kids’ homework binders better than leather.

Leather sofa is light on regular maintenance but needs consistent conditioning

Leather is very easy to clean on a regular basis. Usually, you only need to do light dusting a couple of times a year. But, leather needs consistent conditioning to prevent cracks and splits.

If a leather is well taken care of and conditioned, it is able to last for decades.

Fabric sofa needs more regular maintenance but do not have conditioning needs

Unlike leather which repels dust, fabric catches and holds dust. As a result, more regular maintenance for the fabric sofa is required to keep it clean. But, unlike leather there are no conditioning requirements for fabric.

How long a fabric sofa lasts depends upon the grade of fabric used. For a fabric sofa that lasts over 5 years, choose fabrics that have rub counts >15,000 under the Martindale rub test.

Explore Our Sofa Collections

Do you know have a clearer idea about what type of sofas you hope to buy?

Why not explore our selection of sofas by material to get started:

Last update: 6th September 2023

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