Choosing the Best Sofa Fabric for
Your Living Room
Buying a sofa is a big decision. After all, it’s not the sort of thing you want to replace every couple of years. And because you want your sofa to last, you want to make sure that the sofa fabrics you choose are the ones best suited to your home and lifestyle.
This isn’t as straight forward as choosing a fabric which matches your colour scheme – as important as that is from an aesthetic point of view. This is also about durability, how your sofas will be used and how on-trend they will be in the years to come.
Here we’ve put together a handy guide on choosing sofa fabrics, to help you decide which type of material is best suited to your new, bespoke sofas.
Cotton is one of the most popular sofa fabrics, and with good reason. Cotton takes patterns and colours exceptionally well, which means the choice of design is practically endless. Whether you’re looking for something plain or want to go all out with a bold print, you’ll find no shortage of options if you want your sofa upholstered in cotton.
Cotton is also less likely to bleach, which is a big plus if your sofa is positioned close to a window and is likely to get direct sunlight during the day. On the downside, cotton does stain easily and should be professionally cleaned, meaning it may not be ideal for a home with small children or pets.
As with cotton, linen does stain easily but it does have plenty of advantages. For one thing, linen is a looser weave than cotton and can range in texture from comfortingly chunky to elegantly smooth. If you were to choose linen, then we’d definitely recommend going for a durable performance linen that can stand up to heavy use, especially if there are children and animals around.
Performance linen is far more durable than standard linen, and it holds its shape well, ensuring that your sofas remain feeling comfortable and soft to the touch. If you choose linen for slipcovers, the good news is that they’re machine washable – which is ideal if there are any accidents.
Chenille is a very luxurious choice of fabric for your bespoke sofas as it’s incredibly soft to the touch. The closed loops make it chunkier than velvet, but just as comfortable when you sink into it after a long day. Again, we’d recommend a performance fabric if you choose this for your upholstery as it’s more stain-resistant and easier to maintain.
One note of caution to pet owners – this fabric isn’t particularly well suited to households with clawing cats and dogs. Unfortunately, it can become snagged and could end up looking plucked in a short space of time.
Velvet is the more delicate cousin of chenille, with an open nap rather than closed loops. Velvet is surely the epitome of luxury, which is why it’s been one of the biggest sofa trends of recent years and continues to grow in popularity. Velvet takes colour very well and you’ll find a wide variety of deep, rich shades to match your existing décor.
You could opt for a tight-weave performance velvet made from cleanable, high-grade polyester, which is easier to spot clean and can stand up to heavy use. These materials have the same wonderful texture as standard velvet, but they’re also crease-resistant and less likely to fade.
Leather is one of the biggest sofa trends out there and never seems to go out of fashion. Leather has to be the ideal choice for homes with children and pets because it’s the most durable sofa fabric and is easily wiped clean after any accidents. It’s also resistant to allergens, so great if you or a family member is a sufferer. All this makes leather the perfect blend of style and practicality, and as an added bonus it ages beautifully, becoming softer and more supple over time.
Another advantage to leather is its versatility from a style perspective. It’s suited to both modern family homes and those which are decorated in a period style – think sleek, contemporary corner sofa like our colosseum bespoke sofa collection or traditional wing-backed armchair. The only major downside is that leather is only available in a more limited range of shades, so you have less choice when it comes to colour.
Microfiber has the wonderful texture of suede, but at a fraction of the cost. It’s also highly stain-resistant, so it can be a good option if you have young children and will most likely need to spot-clean it on a fairly regular basis.
The major downside of this fabric is that microfiber attracts fur and hair, so if you have pets then you might need to keep the lint roller to hand or choose a different fabric.
Making your choice
When you’re choosing sofa fabrics, it’s always worth taking a look at a few swatches to see how they look and feel in-person. The fabric you choose needs to fit in with your lifestyle and how your sofa will be used on a daily basis. If your bespoke sofas or armchairs are more for show than for lounging around, you can get away with less durable and more delicate fabrics. If your sofas is going to be in daily use, then more hard-wearing leathers and serviceable velvets are probably the way to go.
Keeping your new sofa fabrics clean is one of the biggest things you need to consider, which is why it’s important to weigh up your options and decide which is best suited to your lifestyle. If you need more advice on making the right choice, you can always ask the professionals for their advice to help you make up your mind.
Now you’ve decided on your fabric, check out our Guide to Choosing Your Sofa Shape.