How to choose the best fabric for your sofa

A key piece of furniture in any home, buying a sofa can take a lot of time and consideration. You want to choose a sofa that will last and look good for years to come. 

Comfort and style are key when buying a new sofa, and the fabric you choose plays a big part. There’s a wide range of fabrics available, and the look and feel can differ significantly, so it’s worth looking at the different sofa fabrics, and considering which will work best in your home. 

Types of fabric

There’s a wide range of different sofa fabrics to choose from, and they each differ in appearance and durability. 

The choices for sofa fabrics are natural or synthetic fabrics. Popular natural fabrics used to upholster sofas include cotton, leather, and wool, while common synthetic sofa fabrics include polyester and nylon. 

There can be various benefits to each type of fabric. For example, cotton is very durable, while leather can be easier to wipe down to remove spills, and often ages very well. Some fabrics are more stain resistant than others, and some synthetic materials, such as polyester can be quite long-wearing. There are also the characteristics of the fibres to consider. Synthetic fibres are often used in combination with natural fibres to improve durability while retaining texture and appearance. Then there are also indoor/outdoor fabrics that offer good durability. 

Fabric weave indicates the durability of a fabric. The tighter the weave, the more durable the fabric. Fabrics with a higher thread count are a more tightly woven fabric and generally will wear better. Tightly woven, smooth textured fabrics can be better suited for high-traffic areas, as they are easier to clean and maintain. Fabrics with a loose weave may be better suited for quieter areas in the home where they won’t receive as much wear and tear. 

Something you may find with certain fabrics is that some may pill more easily than others. Pilling is when tiny loose strands or balls of fibre appear on the surface of the fabric. It is not a reflection of durability or fabric quality and can be easily removed with a fabric brush. 

Another factor to consider when looking at different types of fabrics is the shape of your sofa. Certain fabrics will work better than others depending on the shape of the sofa. 

Interior style

Your desired interior aesthetic is an important factor to consider when choosing the fabric of your sofa. Different fabrics provide different looks, and some will work better in particular home styles. 

As a big piece of furniture, your sofa has a big impact on the overall look and feel of the room. Look at colours and patterns that will complement the existing furniture and decor and your overall interior style. If you’re a confessed maximalist, you may want a fabric that is bright and bold, while those who prefer a minimal style, may choose a fabric in softer neutral tones. It’s important to choose a fabric that you will happily live with for years and not get sick of. 

Consider if your home style is more casual or formal. Velvet fabric in a rich colour can look and feel luxurious, perfect for a formal space, whereas tan leather can work well in a casual, bohemian-style home. You also want to think about the colour palette of the room and whether you want your sofa to be one of the primary colours that draw the eye and make a statement or a complimentary one that helps tie all the various colours and design elements together. 

It’s also good to remember that patterns and darker colours can work well to hide stains and signs of wear and can be more forgiving than lighter-coloured fabrics. If a light-coloured sofa suits your interior style better, just keep in mind when looking at fabrics that you may need to clean it more regularly. 


Sofas need to hold up against a good amount of wear and tear, and certain lifestyles can have more impact than others on the lifespan of your sofa. 

Consider who will be using the sofa and where it will go. Is it the main sofa in a busy living room, or will it be placed in a quieter area of the home, such as a home office, where it will receive less use? Durability is important for furniture that receives a lot of daily use. 

Pets are a big factor when choosing sofa fabric. If pets sit, lay, and jump on your sofa, they will leave hair and fur, and you may have to deal with dirty paws or scratching. If you have pets, it’s best to avoid delicate fabrics and hard-to-clean lighter-coloured fabrics and choose a more pet-friendly fabric. 

If you have kids, you may also want to choose fabrics that are easy to clean or stain resistant, and that won’t show up marks as easily. For homes with kids or pets, durability is a crucial consideration when buying furniture. 

Consider the fade resistance of the fabric. A light-coloured sofa may work better when positioned in front of a window, as it won’t show evidence of fading as easily as a darker-coloured sofa might. 

If you have allergies, you may want to consider what fabrics might be better for certain allergies, as some fabrics do not attract as much dust. 

With an abundant choice of fabric sofas available, there is a wide range of appearances and textures to suit any home style and lifestyle considerations. If you’re on the hunt for a new sofa, shop our stylish collection available at Berkowitz Furniture. 

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