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Ashley Furniture: How to Choose Sofa Fabric

Select the best sofa for your home and learn to choose sofa fabric like a professional. Here we share all the insider info you need to make the right choice…

Since each type of sofa fabric has different characteristics, it’s important to closely examine your lifestyle. For example, if you have a household with pets and plan to place your sofa where it will receive direct sunlight, you might prioritize durability and fade resistance that can be found in microfiber sofas. However, if you plan to place your sofa in a formal room of an adult-only household, then a linen sofa might be preferred.

To identify your needs, you may want to ask yourself who will be using the sofa and how often. Also consider the amount of people that will use it and where the sofa will be located. Here’s a guide to help you choose the ideal type of sofa fabric:

This is a very popular choice for sofas. There are different grades of leather to choose from, with genuine leather being the highest quality at a more expensive price point. If it fits in your budget, it can be a great investment piece. Good quality leather is incredibly durable, easy to clean and develops character over time. The only things you’ll need to watch out for is fading in direct sunlight and damage with sharp objects or pets’ claws.

This natural fiber will provide good resistance to fading, but is less resistant to soiling, wrinkling and fire. The durability of cotton upholsteries will depend on the weave count. A tighter weave is a stronger, higher quality fabric choice. Canvas and damask weaves look nice, but tend to wear down faster and aren’t as easy to clean.

This sofa fabric is best for formal spaces or for households without children or pets. Linen is a delicate fabric that soils and wrinkles easily. If soiled, it’s normally recommended that the upholstery be professionally cleaned to avoid shrinking. While caring for linen is a bit more particular, it happens to resist fading well.


This synthetic fabric is a popular choice for those who want the durability and look of leather at a less expensive price point.

This sofa fabric is a great choice for pet owners. Microfiber is a very fine polyester that is soft, durable and easy to clean. Since the fabric weave is extremely tight, pet hair, dust and lint do not stick or stay trapped in the sofa fabric—making upkeep incredibly simple.

This is one of the most common synthetic fabrics used for sofas. It’s an affordable option that touts many benefits. It is wrinkle resistant, durable and easy to clean—making it a great upholstery choice for families with children. While the material may not sound exotic or glamorous, polyester sofas can be very stylish.

Chenille is a soft and elegant fabric that is surprisingly durable. Tufted threads (from natural or synthetic fibers) give the fabric a soft, almost fuzzy texture that is very comforting. Even though this sofa fabric is durable and can last with heavy use, it is a high-maintenance choice. Chenille fabric sofas should be regularly vacuumed to remove dust, and any liquid spills may need professional cleaning. Since the threads are tufted, the fabric can be snagged by claws of cats or dogs.

Understanding the quality of your sofa cushions will help you determine which sofa is right for you. Foam is a common sofa cushion material, but not all foam cushions are alike. The quality of foam is determined by weight and density. A higher weight and density, like Ashley’s UltraPlush cushions, means more support and a longer lasting cushion with minimal maintenance. If you plan to keep your new sofa for a while, it will be worth the extra money to choose a sofa with high-density cushions.

Feather-filled or down-filled sofa cushions are two other options that offer a soft, “sinking in” feeling. Down, which comes from the soft underbellies of geese, is the pricier option of the two. While these cushions are incredibly soft, they do not offer much support and require more maintenance. They may need to be plumped once a week or more to continue looking and feeling good.

For exceptional support, comfort and durability, sofa cushions with pocketed coils are the way to go. These coils provide a difference you can immediately feel with a comfortable buoyancy. Plus, pocketed coil constructions are typically very long-lasting.

From cushion cores to upholstery, you now have inside-out knowledge of sofa design and can officially impress friends and family with your decor savvy. Oh, and about that pronunciation question we mentioned at the beginning: “chaise longue” (shez-lawng) is French, and in American English it’s pronounced “shayz-lounge”. Now go out and style on, design expert.

Find a range of sofas in a variety of finishes at Ashley Furniture.


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