CITY Furniture | Blog | How to Choose Your Sofa Fabric

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A guide to our favorite upholstery.

Learning how to choose your sofa fabric is sort of like finding your perfect mate. Sure, you want them to be attractive, but having the right substance matters too. And while we can’t speak for any possible suitors in your life, we definitely know all about substance when it comes to furniture—specifically fabrics.


So whether you’re single, taken, or it’s complicated, the least we can do is help find your sofa soulmate. Because really, what’s better than having a welcoming spot when you come home? Read on for a guide on how to choose your sofa fabric, so you can find the perfect match.





When it comes to leather, one of the most popular options is top grain leather. This is when the outermost layer of the hide is sanded away. This removes imperfections, resulting in a sleeker and more uniform look (versus the more patina look of full grain leather). That makes top grain leather an ideal choice for those who love a modern aesthetic.


As far as durability, leather is a long-lasting material, and the care level is moderate. You can clean it with by gently vacuuming and wiping with a damp cloth as needed. You’ll also want to apply a leather conditioner about twice a year, as this will prevent fading and cracking.


Performance Fabric



Speaking of tough fabrics, it doesn’t get tougher than performance fabric, which is a general term for extremely durable, cleanable upholstery. There are many different brands of performance fabrics around, and we carry two of the top-rated options.


The first one we added to our lineup was Revolution Fabric, found on many of our Kevin Charles brand upholstery. Made from recycled fibers of old milk cartons, it makes for an eco-friendly option too. Of course, what makes this fabric even more special is that it’s extremely cleanable. Any spill, from red wine to markers, can be cleaned using a diluted bleach solution. Plus, it’s free from PFC chemicals, making it even more family friendly.


The second performance fabric we started carrying is LiveSmart. Featuring a moisture-repellant barrier that encourages spills to bead up and roll off, you can go ahead and lift that no drinks on the couch rule. And like Revolution Fabric, it’s also extremely stain-resistant and soft.


Cotton Fabric



Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, and cotton is always a safe bet for upholstery. You can go for 100% cotton, which is a natural fiber that provides good resistance to wear, fading, and pilling. However, it can be prone to wrinkling, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something more low maintenance.


And if that is the case, you can always opt for a cotton blend. When cotton is woven together with another material, like linen or polyester, it’s very durable and resists wrinkles. Whatever you choose, both make great choices for everyday use.


As for cleaning, most cotton and cotton blends can be spot cleaned with soap and water. Additionally, most sofas come with removable cushion covers, which can be machine washed or dry cleaned (always check your care label).





This is one fabric that is making a serious comeback in furniture design. Typically a synthetic material, velvet is made from a special looming technique in which two fibers are woven together and then cut apart. This is what creates that plush, pile effect that makes velvet so fantastically soft and luxurious.


Velvet makes for one of the more fun choices too, with a striking appearance that comes in a variety of colors. One thing to consider is that it can be tricky to clean and may require brushing with a soft bristle brush to restore the pile after. For this reason, you might want to keep this in kid and pet-free zones.





Of course, we couldn’t talk about how to choose your sofa fabric without mentioning microfiber. The relative new kid on the block in the upholstery world, microfiber is a synthetic fiber that’s durable and affordable. It can actually mimic just about any other fabric, from leather to suede, making it a cost-effective alternative for many shoppers.


Another perk of microfiber is that it’s very easy to spot clean with a solvent-based cleaner, and you can use a lint roller to remove pet hair and debris. Just remember that if your microfiber resembles a more leather-like material, you should condition it regularly to prevent cracking or peeling.


Now that you know how to choose your sofa fabric, you’re ready to hit the stores (or the websites)! We predict the start of a beautiful relationship.