Pros and Cons of Various Furniture Fabrics and Upholstery

29 August 2018
 Categories: Home & Garden, Blog

The fabric you choose for your furniture is as important as its colour and design, as some fabrics are easier to care for than others, and some upholstery is more comfortable and durable than other materials. To help you narrow down your options for furniture fabrics, note a few pros and cons of various choices.


Leather is soft and comfortable under the skin, and very durable. The material doesn't tear easily, so furniture like leather sofas can be good for homes with children and pets. It's also very easy to clean leather, so the fabric is good for dining chairs or family rooms, where it might suffer food spills and the like.


Linen fabrics are good for warmer climates, as linen upholstery won't hold much heat. A light linen fabric is also good for rooms with heavy timber floors or other dark materials and surfaces, where a heavier fabric might make the room feel like a cave! The downside to linen is that it's not the most durable fabric, so it might not be good for homes with kids and pets who might damage furniture upholstery.


The opposite of linen, wool is a very thick and heavy fabric, so it's good for colder climates or rooms that are often a bit draughty. Wool can add weight to a furniture piece, so it's good for smaller chairs and sofas that you want to appear larger and heavier. This fabric is also very durable and will withstand lots of wear and tear by children and pets.

However, wool might not always be very comfortable under your skin, and some people find it a bit scratchy. If you're sensitive to such fabrics, you might opt for a wool and cotton blend, so the nubby wool surface is toned down a bit.


Silk is very soft and comfortable, but also very delicate and difficult to clean. This fabric is a good choice for a bedroom lounging chair or piece meant for grownups only, but be cautious about silk fabrics where it might be exposed to active children, pets, and the like.

One caution about leather is that it can retain cold, so this fabric might not be good for basements or other colder and damp rooms of the home. Note, too, that you will need to conditioner leather furniture on a regular basis, but this task usually involves nothing more than wiping down a leather piece with a special leather conditioner and then also wiping it dry.