Buying a sofa is an investment – not only financially but also for the feel of your house. Most times when we purchase a piece of furniture that’s on the bigger side, we’re entering a long-term relationship that’s both incredibly exciting and not for the commitment-weary. With that in mind, there are loads of resources out there for how to pick the style of your sofa soul mate, but what about the fabric? The feel, durability and cleanability of a sofa’s fabric are just as important as the style.
If you’re in the market for a new sofa, here’s a quick guide to choosing the fabric that’s right for you.
Linen is a notoriously attractive on sofas and adds a little dash of elegance to more formal seating areas. Though it’s resistant to fading and pilling, it does stain and wrinkle easily and must be professionally cleaned to avoid any shrinkage.
Best for: Adults-only areas or houses without children or pets. While it makes for a handsome addition to a living room, its low stain-resistance makes it potentially hazardous for areas frequented by kids or any kind of mess.
Leather sofas are the picture of resilience, as their slick surfaces are strong and incredibly easy to clean. Like a fine wine, they only get softer with age and gain that lovely worn-in look over time – though the surface can be easy to puncture with sharp objects. On top of this, leather has the potential to get sticky in hotter months.
Best for: Allergy sufferers. Leather sofas come in a huge range of designs such as these classic styles from Arlo & Jacob, and are wipeable, vacuumable and treatable, which means they’re highly pet-proof.
Cotton is a natural fibre that’s especially great at withstanding fading, routine wear and pilling. It’s soft to the touch and can be pretty competitively priced. It isn’t as good when it comes to wrinkling and stains, however, and can be a magnet for fibres and pet hair, especially in the crevices.
Best for: Quieter areas where potential spillage is at a minimum. Tightly-woven cotton, printed cotton or darker colours like on this two-seater from Wayfair can help to reduce the appearance of spills if an accident happens.
Microfiber is most traditionally a blend of polyester and nylon. Together, they make an affordable sofa fabric that’s both soft and strong, not to mention easy to clean. Its tightly-knit fibres also make it highly wipeable and brushable.
Best for: Houses with children and pets. The wipeable fabric means pet hair, dirt and crumbs will wipe away easily, while the soft surface makes it comfortable for little bodies that need a rest.
While an increasingly uncommon sofa fabric, wool is strong and durable, resistant to pilling, wrinkling, fading and stains. It’s generally blended with other fibres like in this olive-coloured sofa from Made, making it even easier to clean. However, wool can be on the pricier side as far as sofa fabrics go.
Best for: Families. Wool sofas are resistant to just about anything a child can throw at it. Its long life also means it’ll hang around as the little ones grow up, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck.
Silk is an opulent sofa fabric that instantly adds an air of elegance to a room. If you think back to a room you were forbidden from playing in as a child, it was probably due to the silk sofa in the corner. Silk is especially soft and delicate, which means it’s very fragile. If silk sofas do need a clean, this should only be done professionally.
Best for: Formal, child-free living rooms. Silk’s delicacy makes it prone to even the slightest wear and tear, so it’s best kept out of reach from children and pets.
Choosing the right sofa fabric is an important task, especially if you’re making a substantial investment on your new furniture. With so many choices however, finding something that suits your lifestyle has never been easier.