Shopping for a new sofa is kind of a big deal. It can also be pretty confusing.

From genuine leather and leather-look sofas to linen sofas and everything in between, choosing the right material for your couch can be quite the headache.

Things to keep in mind when contemplating the perfect upholstery material include:

Sure, finding the perfect sofa can be overwhelming, but it can also be exciting (and even fun!) when you know what you’re looking for. Learn how to choose the right material for your sofa, armchair, dining chairs, and other upholstered items with this guide to different types of fabric.


Upholstery is the material covering a piece of furniture such as a sofa, chair, or ottoman. Common types of upholstery for furniture include:

Different types of upholstery have different looks, feels, lifespans and price-tags.

Genuine Leather

Beautiful, durable, and easy to clean, it's no wonder leather sofas have been a popular choice in homes for years.

Genuine leather couches bring a sense of sophistication to any room, and while they may cost more than some other options, they’re well worth the investment. With their timeless looks and long life expectancy, you’ll be able to enjoy your leather sofa for years, if not decades.



Genuine leather couches can be more expensive than other options, but they also have a longer life-expectancy if properly cared for.


If you love the look of leather but not the cost, a leather-look or faux leather sofa is a great alternative. These are generally made from manmade materials such as PVC, polyurethane, or polyamide microfiber.



Leather-look couches give you the look of leather without the price-tag, and they’re a great option for vegans.


Classic and classy, linen sofas are generally used in formal sitting rooms. This is thanks to their aesthetic appeal, but also because they can’t handle everyday usage as well as some other fabrics.



Faux Suede

This man-made material is made using polyester microfiber. Affordable and easy to maintain, faux suede sofas are soft, comfortable, and versatile.




Faux suede couches are affordable, comfortable, and animal-friendly, but can stain easily if water is rubbed into the fabric.

Once you’ve found the perfect material for your sofa, learn how to decorate it in our guide to styling to complement your sofa's upholstery.