What’s the most important thing you look for in a couch? Do you want it to anchor the décor of your entire room, or do you want a cushy piece of comfort, regardless of how it fits (or doesn’t fit)? Do you want a statement of your personality or a visual symbol of elegance and style? Do you want a private space to lounge or canoodling room for two?
All these and more are factors that go into your selection of a couch. Depending on your needs, you might go for a loveseat, a bucket lounger, a Roman recliner, or an L-shaped sofa. Then comes the big decision. Do you go with fabric or leather? The general consensus is that fabric sofas are more comfortable while leather Lounges are more stylish, so your first vote is probably based on which of these matters more to you.
Genuine leather Lounges are usually more expensive than fabric couches, though you can get a good deal if you’re lucky. The leather Lounge might be second-hand, or it might belong to an expatriate that’s leaving the country and is looking for a quick, inconsequential sale. This kind of seller is likely to give you a throwaway price because they’re not as concerned about cash. You can also get a discount on a leather Lounge if it has blemishes, though you’d have to decide whether you’re willing to live with those flaws.
A leather jacket is not only stylish, but it’s also really warm, because it absorbs and retains heat. This makes leather great or riding motorcycles but makes it a lot less accommodating for furniture. Your leather Lounge will quickly pick up body heat, then it can be quite uncomfortable to sit on. If you have any skin exposed, it will soon get sweaty as it rubs against the leather, so if you’re lounging on a leather couch, you will probably need a sheet or fluffy bedspread between your skin and the couch.
Fabric couches, on the other hand, will retain your shape as you sink into them, and after a while, they will feel pleasantly warm on your skin rather than the slippery, oppressive heat of leather. By the same token, fabric sofas are soft and pliable, while leather seats are often firm and solid. Of course, the advantage here is that leather lounges will retain their firm shape longer, while fabric will soon need its cushion replaced, even if you’re using a high-density variety.
If colour is more your thing, leather is available in many hues. But usually, the colour is plain. Textured leather can be found, but multicoloured leather is a taller order to fill unless you’d like a patchwork leather quilt. Fabric offers a wider variety of colours and patterns since you can get it in print, stripe, check, and a whole lot more. Leather lounges will retain their colour indefinitely, while the patterns on fabric will probably fade with time.
When it comes to cleaning, leather definitely wins. All you have to do is wipe it with a damp cloth. If you’re going to be away for a while, you might polish it. Leather won’t stain, though if it’s a light colour, you might want to put away the sharpies and ballpoint pens.
Fabric sofas, on the other hand, are stain magnets. From food spills to sweat and ink, pretty much anything can stain a fabric couch, and it takes a lot of scrubbing to get the dirt out. You might even have to call in a professional cleaner.
The final decision might rest with your roommates. If you share a house with small children, you’re probably safer with a dark-coloured leather couch. Kids can be quite creative on how they soil furniture, so your life will be much easier with a couch you can wipe down.
Similarly, pets are less likely to damage leather by shedding or dander, since you can simply wipe or vacuum it off. Scratches aren’t as easy to get rid of, but they’re better than trying to get clumps of fur off your pretty fabric. If you live alone, let taste and comfort define the style of your couch, but if you have a family with children and animals, practicality wins the day.