Types of Couch Fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

When choosing fabric for a couch, think about where you will use it and how you would like it to look. Often the first thing that gets noticed about a couch, the fabric choice will make a difference in your enjoyment of the piece. If the couch looks attractive for a short time then shows wear, it will cut the useful life of the couch short. First factor in quality and price, then move on to style and colour. Before the final decision, ensure you can live with the cleaning requirements and upkeep.

Cotton and Cotton Blends

Cotton and cotton blends have several benefits, including good resistance to wear and sunlight. The weave gives a hint of the durability with lighter weight fabrics more delicate and heavier fabrics like canvas a good choice for children and pets. Alone, cotton does not provide resistance to flame, and most fabrics are treated to provide some fire safety. Cotton takes dye well and comes in a large variety of colours and patterns.


Leather offers high durability with a good feel and nice looks. Often it gets better looking with age. Leather comes in a variety of colours and finish choices. Use care when purchasing a leather couch; because the quality varies, top notch leather can cost much more. Lower cost couches may have leather pieced together. Leather may not be the best choice for households with pets since claws can make punctures.


Wool wears nicely and has an appealing feel. Don't place a wool couch in front of a window as sunlight will fade and damage it. Wool offers flame resistance but must be dry cleaned, and moths will happily attack it. Overall, wool offers good value with low upkeep.

Synthetic Fibers

Couches covered with synthetic fabric like nylon, polyester and olefin offer resilience. They burn slowly but will melt and don't require time-consuming care. Polyester often gets included in blends. Acrylic will wear more easily but resembles wool. Acrylic will resist damage from sunlight. Rayon is inexpensive and resembles silk but wrinkles easily and requires dry cleaning. Don't put a rayon-covered couch in a high-use area. Microfiber refers to a polyester fabric with a suede-like finish. It resists stains and wears well; overall microfiber provides good value.


Resembling leather, vinyl is lower in cost and very durable and easy to clean. Vinyl does not have the luxurious feel of leather but would be a good choice for a couch in a family room or children's play room.

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About the Author

Kimberly Wilson has been a freelancer since 2009. She also works as a marketing and sales professional. Wilson specializes in mental heath and wellness articles for various websites. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Syracuse University.