A Guide to Upholstery Materials: Fabric Upholstery vs. Leather Upholstery

Have you ever wondered whether fabric or leather upholstery is better? When it comes to fabric, there are so many types and textures. You can choose from polyester, cotton, linen, velvet and more. Leather has a much longer life than fabric upholstery because the material does not wear out as quickly as fabric does. With leather furniture pieces like couches and chairs, the only concern with them is if they’re too hot in warmer climates.

We are Furniture Upholstery Experts, with many years of experience in the trade. Let’s discuss some advantages & disadvantages of leather & fabric for upholstery.

Let’s get to grips with Leather upholstery

If you’re considering buying leather furniture, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, remember that leather used for upholstery is sold as skin or hide (yes it was once an animal and its skin can only be so big). The average size of bovine hides at the suppliers’ warehouses is 3-4 square meters. When calculating how much leather your sofa will need we take into account that many offcuts from each individual piece cannot be utilized on any given project because they don’t fit with our desired measurements; this means measuring what panels we’ll require then determining which skins have been left over by other customers – if anything has burn marks or tick bites on them!

If we come to 20 square meters required, but the skins at that moment are 36 centimetres in average size, then we divide the 20 square meters by 3.6 and round them up. But because leather is only available as whole hides (not just individual pieces), you need to buy a larger hide than what’s needed for your project.

Why Fabric upholstery is different altogether.

Upholstery fabric is woven into a specific width, and available from rolls that span lengths of up to 50m. For instance, we use 140cm wide upholstery fabric for a medium – sized two – seater sofa. We calculate how much fabric is needed by calculating the size of each panel and then adding them together to produce our total length until we reach 40-50 meters. When considering patterns or stripes, it is important to take the repeat into account. But for those of us with plain fabrics and mixed-weave designs alike, you can easily get panels calculated next to each other in widths that match your old sofa. If we calculate 11 metres will be needed for reupholstering your couch, you should always round it up just in case there are any flaws or imperfections found along the way!

The benefits of upholstering with leather:

Leather upholstery material is cool in summer, warm in winter. It outlasts fabric and vinyl (pleather / leatherette) because it’s water repellent and resistant to most liquids! Easily managed in a busy household – quickly wiping up any yoghurt mess or sticky fingers with ease. Leather looks luxurious and lasts long enough for interior design purposes: complimenting the décor of that room beautifully without looking dated 20 years down the line.

Leather has been used as an industrial product since around 2200 BC when people discovered how useful hides were, but they had no way of tanning them into leather until chemicals called tannins were developed later in about 1200 AD. The first ever recorded use was found inside what would have been

The benefits of upholstering with fabric:

The options for fabrics are almost limitless and there is a fabric to suit every taste. The colours, patterns, weaves and prints available will make any room seem more warm or cosy in the winter months while providing cool comfort during the hot summer days. Enjoy easy stain removal with many of these machine – washable materials that can be easily taken care of even when one has little time on their hands due to busy schedules. Fabric upholstery always requires less material than leather as well, making it an economical choice for those looking to save money without sacrificing quality or luxury.

The disadvantages of upholstering with leather:

Leather is not an inexpensive option, yet it lasts longer and can be repaired. Leather comes in a limited range of colours and patterns; however, the colour will stay with you for years to come without fading or discolouring like other fabrics do over time. The texture of leather allows your hands to move freely on furniture while also standing up against scratches from everyday use. If there’s any one drawback about leather, is that it cannot be mended when torn as easily as fabric might. Although patches are available, they tend to not look aesthetically pleasing and often that section will need to be replaced.

The disadvantages of upholstering with fabric:

Fabric has a limited life span that varies greatly depending on how well it is taken care of, but for most people, fabric lasts between two and five years before requiring replacement due to wear or if you just want something new. Fabric can’t withstand stains as easily as leather because some fabrics are water-repellent while others absorb liquids which then causes permanent damage over time (these fabrics tend not to last so long!). If not cared for properly, fabric can fade and possibly become brittle. If the fabric becomes torn, there’s no way around having to replace that section entirely – unless you’re skilled enough in sewing repairs! But even then, patches may not look aesthetically pleasing. Whilst synthetic fibres (polyester/ polypropylene etc.) are sometimes warm in summer. 


With so many options available for upholstery, you may be wondering which is best for your needs. The decision to choose leather or fabric upholstery can be difficult, and we hope this article has helped you make the best choice. If your furniture is a big investment, then it may be worth considering both options before making a final decision. Take some time to see what might work better in your home or business before making an investment. The choice between leather or fabric depends largely on your budget – if you have enough money, go with leather because it’s worth every penny! Regardless of which type of upholstery textile you choose, make sure you take good care of them, so they’ll last as long as possible. What do you think? Have any questions about these different upholstered materials? Contact us or let us know below with a comment, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

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