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Leather or Fabric?

August 03 2018

Its not quite the $64,000 question, but not far off, and possibly the most frequently asked question from our lovely customers. What's best? Which lasts longer? Isn't fabric hard to clean? To try and help you we've got some top tips and pointers which may just help. 

# 1: Practicality

Lets face it, we've all got busy lives and so our furniture has to try and help us out a bit by not being too difficult to clean or maintain. Leather tends to have a better reputation for being wipe clean, although spillages still need to be treated quickly! More natural leathers, such as our beautiful waxed aniline have been treated to allow the surface to still breathe which means they can absorb certain liquids or grease very easily. The benefits are that a natural aniline leather as featured on our Hawker range is one of the best qualities of hide you can buy. Only the top 5% of all leathers make this grade, because of the thickness and finish. So, whilst you will find that the surface develops a natural wear (and be careful not to spill your Friday night glass of vino on it), its durability is second to none. 

Fabrics vary hugely in terms of material composition these days, so its important to know exactly whats in yours and the best way to clean it. One of our favourites at the moment is the gorgeous velvet on our Valentino range, which is super soft but being 100% polyester and with a Stainguard treatement is quite possibly the easiest to look after so if you've got kids or dogs that like lounging on the sofa this one is definitely for you. We also do a selection of machine washable fabrics on certain sofas, perfect for chucking in the machine for a freshen up. 

 #2 - Durability 

As a general rule, if its a quality hide and well looked after (you've got to treat it as your would your own skin), leather will have a longer life than the average fabric. It needs to be cleansed and moisturised on a regular basis, not spend any time in the sun or in too much heat, and it will repay you with years of youthful service. Don't discount all fabrics however. A good test to go by is what we in the trade call the "Martindale Rub Test" - Google it so we don't bore you with the details, but the higher the rub count the more hard-wearing the fabric. 

 # 3 - Style 

Which looks best? We can't side with one or the other I'm afraid, especially as you've also got the option of mixing the two together! Everyone loves our Valegro chair, and as you can see here whether its in a spotty coloured fabric, a sumptuous chocolate leather or a stunning combination of Harris Tweed and tan leather it looks gorgeous no matter what! 

#4 - Value 

The old adage "you get what you pay for" definitely applies here. Bad quality leather costs less than top quality fabric for good reason. Whichever you go for make sure you've got details about the thickness, grade and finish if its leather, and the rub test, lightfastness and treatment if its fabric. 

Whatever you decide to go for, as long as you've done your homework and make sure you look after your furniture you can't go wrong with either material.