The choice between leather or fabric upholstery can be a hard one! Trying to create a pros and cons list in your head can just create a headache! Plus, the decision between leather and fabric upholstery can occur in so many purchases! Between buying new chairs or recliners, loveseats, sofas, sectionals, and more! Which begs the question, how do you tell which option is right for you?


The dreaded answer… it depends! We know that is the least definitive answer ever given, but it depends on you! Obviously, your needs should be the first priority when it comes to YOUR furniture shopping. It is important to take into account the lifestyle you live, your furniture budget, who is using the furniture, and more!

Let’s break it down first! (There is a condensed pros and cons list at the end for you!)


Pros of Leather Furniture:


Leather is more resistant than fabric options when it comes to stains. Fabric options allow the liquid to seep into the material, causing stains in the fabric. Leather has more resistance to soaking in the stain. (But beware, light-colored leather can still stain!)


This same rationale makes leather an easier option to clean! Instead of having to remove the fabric covering and wash it, leather can easily be wiped down with the proper cleaning agent! 


Instead of attracting and gathering dust mites, pet hair, pet dander, and other common household allergens, leather actually repels them. This makes leather a great option if you are looking for hypoallergenic furniture options! 


Leather can add a touch of formality and elegance! Furniture can be a big investment, and leather is a durable and timeless option that can be enjoyed for years to come. In addition, leather gains character and marbling as it ages, which some people find even more beautiful than when first purchased! (While some people consider leather less comfortable, others prefer the sleek look! It is important to decide which is more of a priority in your life!)


Cons of Leather Furniture:


Leather furniture tends to be more expensive than their fabric counterparts. While this does mean there is a larger initial investment; leather furniture also tends to have a longer “life expectancy.” You should always evaluate the cost and quality of the piece to determine which is the best for your current budget! 


While it may be less resistant to soaking in stains, leather furniture is no stranger to some scratches! Leather furniture may not be the best option if you have pets that get on your furniture. Sharp pet nails can scratch into the fabric, revealing the lighter fabric underneath. 


Leather retains the temperature around it, which can be a con in certain areas. Think about a car with a leather interior, the seats are always scorching in the summer! While luckily inside furniture does not get that hot, it does feel hot and sticky when in a warmer environment. During the chilly seasons, the leather will absorb the cold too. 


Leather in general comes in less style selections than fabric upholstery. This can reduce the selection of colors and styles of leather furniture pieces. This also makes it less likely to be able to pick from a variety of customizable leathers. 


Pros of Fabric Upholstery: 


Furniture with fabric upholstery typically costs less than leather furniture. This attracts people with different budgets, and can be a great way to spend money on furniture! 


There are so many different types of fabric to choose from when looking at furniture! Then those fabric varieties have color varieties. Options, options, options, oh my! Fabric furniture options include velvet, silk, linen, canvas and more! These fabrics are also considered more comfortable!


All of these varieties allow you to customize the furniture to your exact preference! You may want a certain fabric, in a different color than and depending on the furniture manufacturer, so may have the option to customize it! 


Remember above when we said, “Leather is more resistant than fabric options when it comes to stains.” Well, UNO reverse! Fabric, unlike leather, is much more resistant to scratches from cats, dogs, children roughhousing, and just general wear and tear. 


Cons of Fabric Upholstery:


Fabric requires more maintenance than leather furniture. Well, not necessarily more, but the maintenance required can be more work. Fabric furniture should be regularly vacuumed and cleaned to prevent household allergens from collecting!


No shocker here, since we talked about leather's ability to resist stains in comparison to fabric. Fabric upholstery does absorb stains more, so keep that in mind while making your decision! 


Fabric upholstery has more texture, and texture holds in more allergens. This means that without proper maintenance and cleaning, it can hold and collect things like dust mites and hair. 


This is more specific to buyer preference, but since there is so much variety in fabric options, they can often follow specific trends. If you are one to keep up with trends in your home decor, this is great! If you want a piece that will age well you may want leather or a more simple, timeless fabric option! 


Neutral Differences:


Leather furniture is seen as more sleek and elegant. Fabric upholstery furniture is seen as more comfortable. This can lead to several differences in the way rooms with these pieces look. Rooms with leather furniture can feel like more of a conversation area, versus the warmth and comfort of fabric furniture. 


After looking at some of the pros and cons, the most important thing is to remember that all of these opinions are subjective! The best way to choose furniture is to come on in and take a seat! You may find an extremely comfortable leather piece that is affordable! You may find a timeless fabric piece that would be perfect for your kids and pets!