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A Comprehensive Guide to Sofa Materials

A Comprehensive Guide to Sofa Materials

A sofa is a comfortable piece of living room furniture used for sitting, lounging, movie watching, entertaining, lying down, and more. When choosing a new sofa for your space, it's crucial to look for the fabric that does not only look good but is also durable enough for your everyday use.

With every home enjoying the beauty and comfort of a sofa, it's no surprise furniture manufacturers continuously develop ways to make this piece of furniture cosier and more accessible. With so many options online and in-store, it can be very challenging to choose the best fabric that suits your needs and preferences the most. How many people will use your sofa? Do you have kids? Pets? What's your interior style? How much maintenance do you think your sofa will require? All these factors will determine the materials and upholstery fabrics you will need.

Welcome to our extensive guide to sofa materials. We will talk about the different types of sofa framework and upholstery fabrics used in constructing your favourite living room centrepiece, along with their pros and cons, to help you with your furniture shopping decision.

Upholstery Materials

Upholstery Materials

Upholstery refers to the materials, mainly fabric, cushions, and springs, that make up a sofa. Upholstery materials can be natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Here are some common types of sofa fabrics on the market:

Natural Fabrics

Natural Fabrics

Fabric sofas made from natural fibers are favoured by many furniture shoppers because of their soft feel and ease of maintenance. Since they are made from natural materials, they are more sustainable and durable.

Linen

Linen

Linen is an affordable sofa fabric derived from flax. Linen sofas are temperature-regulating and extremely comfortable. This means sitting and lying on a linen sofa is guaranteed conducive for both warm and colder seasons.

The Pros

  • Linen is derived from sustainable and biodegradable flax plant material.

  • High-quality linen sofas are trusted for their longevity. When looking for a sofa fabric, note that denser materials are more durable than loosely woven pieces.

  • Linen sofas are easy to clean and maintain. In fact, they can be cleaned by handwashing or vacuuming.

  • A linen sofa features natural fabric wrinkles that add to its appeal.

  • Natural linen fabric is more skin-friendly than its synthetic counterpart.

  • Linen is a highly versatile sofa fabric that comes in various styles and colours.

  • This natural fibre is mildew, dust mite, and termite resistant.

  • This material is affordable since it is made from materials that are easy to collect.

The Cons

  • Bleaching is not recommended for linen fabrics.

  • Although can be spot-cleaned, linen is not the most reliable fabric in terms of stain resistance.

  • Linen may shrink when exposed to extreme heat. 

Cotton

Cotton

From clothes, to bedding accessories, to furniture upholstery, when you think about cotton, the first thing that may come to your mind is its soft surface.

Cotton is extremely comfortable. Like linen, cotton is easy to collect, weave, and dye. This means you can find a vast variety of cotton sofas in different colours. Combining cotton material with other materials can create a more durable cotton sofa that still bears the comfort of the cotton component.

The Pros

  • 100% cotton is hypoallergenic.

  • This material can easily absorb dyes, thus, is available in your colour choice.

  • A cotton sofa is breathable.

  • Cotton is durable.

  • When treated with chemicals, cotton can be stain resistant.

The Cons

  • Pure cotton can easily be stained and wrinkled.

  • Cotton is a porous material, which means it can absorb spills and stains easily.

  • Cotton may absorb wet dyes from clothes and other materials that come into contact with the fabric.

Silk

Silk

Silk is a high-end sofa fabric, mainly used for luxury sofas. Silk comes from natural fibres produced by silk worms. This luxe material is notably stylish. However, you will need extra care when using a silk sofa.

The Pros

  • Silk is smooth and wrinkle resistant.

  • Silk is shiny and aesthetically appealing.

  • Silk is a natural material that is delicate on the skin.

The Cons

  • Silk requires professional cleaning.

  • Silk shows wear and tear faster than other upholstery fabrics. It is not recommended for households with children and pets.

  • Silk is the most expensive sofa fabric among other natural fibres.

Wool

Wool

Wool is collected from sheep's fur. This is known for its durability and temperature regulation. It is relatively heavier than other materials and is great for places in cold climates.

The Pros

  • Wool is a sustainable sofa material.

  • This material is obtained through a non-harmful process.

  • Wool is water and fade resistant.

The Cons

  • Wool is easily stained.

  • Since it is a heavy material, wool may not be the best choice if you move your furniture often.

  • This material is expensive.

Synthetic Fabrics

Synthetic Fabrics

Many synthetic fabric sofas can be manufactured with pure synthetic fabrics or a blend of natural materials and other fibers. They are versatile, durable, and generally less expensive than their natural counterparts.

Polyester

Polyester

Polyester is a microfibre fabric used in creating many furniture and bedding products. It is wrinkle-resistant, stain-resistant and easy to clean. It comes in many colours and is notably more affordable than many similar materials.

The Pros

  • A polyester sofa is a superb material and stain-resistant.

  • It is a versatile material that comes in many colours and styles.

  • Like natural fabrics, polyester is also soft and comfy.

  • Polyester is ideal for pet owners as it does not trap dust and pet hair like other sofa fabrics.

The Cons

  • Polyester stretches easily. This means it can lose its shape over time.

  • Polyester is flammable.

  • Although it is cheaper than other fabrics, polyester's surface can lose its quality faster.

Acrylic

Acrylic

Acrylic is another flexible material that somehow provides the feel of wool, except it is made from synthetic fibers.

The Pros

  • Acrylic is an easy to clean fabric.

  • It is wrinkle and fade resistant, even when exposed to sunlight.

  • It comes in many colour varieties that are great for contemporary and outdoor use.

The Cons

  • Like plastic, acrylic can melt when exposed to extreme heat.

  • This synthetic material is not hypoallergenic.

Nylon

Nylon

Looking for a highly durable fabric for your sofa? Nylon is a great choice. Nylon fabric is excellent at resisting stains and wrinkles. It's also available in lots of colours, like other fabric sofas.

The Pros

  • Nylon fabric is extremely durable.

  • Nylon can be mixed with many materials to make a durable fabric for upholstered sofas.

  • Nylon is an affordable fabric.

  • Unlike polyester, nylon does not stretch too much and lose its shape. 

The Cons

  • Nylon can easily catch pet hairs.

  • Nylon is less breathable compared to many sofa materials.

  • Nylon is not environmental friendly.

Leather

Leather

Genuine leather sofas are among the most sought-after furniture pieces on this list. There's no doubt many sofa shoppers choose this material because of its luxurious feel and durability. You can find many leather sofas in different colours and styles, from minimalist to ultra modern to tufted.

When choosing the perfect leather for your new sofa, remember that there are different leather grades that offer varied looks and characteristics. Note that the higher the leather quality is, the better your sofa covers will serve their purpose. Here are some grades you can splurge on when shopping for a sofa:

  • Full grain leather is the highest quality leather with a soft and raw-looking surface. Because it doesn't undergo sanding and polishing, the grain of leather lends an authentic feel and character to the space.

  • The top grain leather is more polished and have a more even look compared to the distressed leather. This thinner layer is a more affordable alternative to full grain leather.

  • Bonded leather is made of leather scraps bonded with latex or polyurethane material. Unlike other leather types, bonded leather comes in a wider variety of colours and styles.

The Pros

  • A high quality leather sofa is comfortable and luxurious.

  • Genuine leather sofas are durable and can last longer than other types of sofas.

  • Leather sofas do not require too much maintenance. When spilled, the surface can be cleaned by wiping.

  • Leather does not absorb spills and smells compared to other delicate fabrics.

The Cons

  • Leather sofas are great investments if you are willing to pay an extra price for the quality, because they can be significantly pricier than other fabrics.

  • Leather furniture pieces are more limited in terms of colour choices.

Faux Leather

Faux Leather

Many people seek the luxurious look of a genuine leather sofa but do not have the budget to get one. Because of this, many furniture shoppers opt for a faux leather sofa.

Faux leather sofas are made from PVC, polyurethane or polyamide microfibre. If you're short on budget or prefer a more ethical material for your sofa, faux leather can be a great choice.

The Pros

  • Faux leather made from polyurethane is more ethically sourced than leather from cow hide.

  • This leather variety comes in more colour choices than real leather.

  • It requires less maintenance than its pricier counterpart.

  • This synthetic leather material is generally UV-resistant, meaning it does not easily fade when placed in direct sunlight.

  • This faux material provides a cheaper alternative to other luxe fabrics.

The Cons

  • PVC leather is not as breathable as leather made from natural materials.

  • It does not age as beautifully as a genuine sofa.

  • Even though it kind of looks like real leather, this other material is not as durable as real leather.

Velvet

Velvet

Velvet offers a luxurious look and a plush feel to the space with its variety of colours and the unique texture it provides. While many prefer this fabric for its plush feel, many choose a velvet sofa for its design. It's all thanks to the double-woven construction of velvet sofas that create a unique aesthetic look that fits many styles.

The Pros

  • This upholstery fabric is highly comfortable.

  • A velvet sofa provides a luxurious feel to the space.

  • Thanks to its double-weave structure, velvet is more durable than many fabrics.

The Cons

  • The velvet's beauty and durability may come with a hefty price.

  • Velvet's quality does not include stain resistance.

Additional Sofa Materials

Performance Linen

Performance Linen

Performance linen mimics the natural look and soft touch of linen but is as durable as polyester. It presents an interesting luster and rich hues that make it an aesthetically pleasing choice for many shoppers.

Wood

Wood

Wood is a popular go to choice when it comes to any piece of furniture due to its versatility. From your spacious table, secured storage, to your lovely sofa, you will find high-quality wood varieties in different designs and prices.

Metal

Metal

Aside from the usual go to wood material, there are many sofas or hybrids of sofas that are made from metal. Our favourite daybeds, futons, and other contemporary pieces feature metal elements that are worth considering.

Note that metal beds absorb heat faster than other furniture materials, so considering Singapore's hot climate, a metal sofa might not always be your best choice.

Wicker

Wicker

Many wicker sofas are seen outdoors, but there are pieces that bring warmth and freshness to indoor settings. Rattan is one of the most popular wicker materials which is known for its natural charm and durability.

FAQs

Which is the Most Durable Sofa Material?

Which is the Most Durable Sofa Material?

When it comes to upholstery material, top grain leather is a great choice if you want a fabric choice that is both durable and stylish. Unlike other upholstered sofas that fade over time, leather sofas develop a natural patina that becomes richer as time passes by. This contributes to the longer lifespan of the sofa. On top of the long-lasting quality, leather upholstery becomes softer over the years and does not easily crack or lose its natural feel, unlike a faux piece that gets chipped or cracked easily.

How Do You Choose the Right Sofa Material?

How Do You Choose the Right Sofa Material?

The type of material is crucial for choosing the best sofa for your home. However, there is no one-size-fits-all in terms of sofa materials. So, how do you choose the one that fits your needs the most? Answer these questions to find out:

  • How many people will use the sofa?

  • Will you use your sofa to entertain guests regularly?

  • Do you have children or pets?

  • Do you have any allergies? How about your family members?

  • What is your budget?

  • Do you prefer sofas with removable covers?

  • How much maintenance and wear and tear are you willing to go through?

Takeaway

Takeaway

Your living room is among the high traffic areas in your home, together with he dining area. This is where you relax or welcome your guests. Due to its multiple function, it's just paramount to furnish your living room with the best sofa that will hold up to your everyday life.

 

Looking for the best sofa for your home? Explore Megafurniture's online collections of sofas and other home furniture pieces in Singapore to find the best pieces that fit your style!