Leather Furniture vs. Fabric Furniture

Our thoughts on the trade-offs of choosing leather furniture

You love leather furniture:  leather sofas, leather sectionals and chairs, leather recliners.  Heck, you love leather ottomans!  And you’re right to love them.  Leather is a superb choice for your furniture in Des Moines and Iowa.  Here are the issues and our take on them:

  • Cost — Yes, leather furniture is more expensive than fabric furniture.  Of course, anyone who compares cheesy promotional furniture to fabric furniture may not see this.  However, if you’re reading this, we can safely assume that you won’t fall for this con game.  The real question is whether the advantages of leather make the additional cost worthwhile.
  • Style — The days of only traditional furniture being available in leather are thankfully behind us.  Neither leather nor fabric holds a style advantage.  Good craftsmen and skilled tailors can apply leather beautifully to any frame.
  • Lifespan — Leather has a great advantage here.  Quality leather furniture can last longer than most people want it to!  The difficulty is often getting the cushions and padding to last as long as the leather.
  • Clean-ability — Leather furniture often is easier to clean.  The leather used in upholstered furniture has a protective finish applied.  These surfaces vary from lightly waxed finishes to heavily embossed, stained and layered finished similar to wood furniture.  Dust, hair, spills and stains will sit on this surface, making leather easier to clean.  This can also work to your advantage if you have pets or allergies.
  • Comfort Part 1— Much of fabrics’ reputation for an advantage in comfort over leather comes from the fact that fabric is a better insulator than leather.  A cool, breathable fabric will feel cooler than body temperature.  However, not all fabrics breathe the same.  Many have little if any advantage over leather in this regard.  It is important to know that leather doesn’t add heat — it only warms to body temperature.
  • Comfort Part 2 — Another comfort factor to consider is the thickness of the leather.  This will have a great impact on cushion softness.  Leather cushions will generally feel stiffer than fabric over identical cushions.
  • Wear and Tear — The days when leather furniture couldn’t be repaired are long gone.  Experts can repair punctures, rips and stains as well as re-staining sun-faded sections of your furniture.  However, is certainly isn’t cheap.  But, the fear of damage should no longer hold you back from making an investment in leather furniture.
  • Patterns – Okay. Fabric wins this one hands down.

Of course, it isn’t simply a matter of adding up the check-marks. You must consider the cost trade-off — though even that point is moderated by leather’s longer life. Maybe it comes down to style in the end. Do you want the pattern or color or texture that fabric offers or do you want the solid color and feel of leather? We love them both.

Check out:
The Comfort Innovations Collection featuring American Leather
Our Living Room Collection Gallery

Leather and fabric