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Wool vs Leather: Which Fabric is Best for Upholstery?

Wool and leather sofa fabrics both fall in the luxury upholstery. But, there are a few differences that might make you pick either of them. Check our detailed analysis. Read more

Wool vs Leather: Which Fabric is Best for Upholstery?

If budget is not your issue when investing in upholstery, then you probably have the most expensive upholstery fabric on your list.

Wool and leather are among the finest and most expensive fabrics for upholstery. But, there still remains an issue, and that is which is better?

This can be the worst nightmare for anyone who wants the best but is unaware of the better one.

4 Things to do Before Choosing Wool or Leather Upholstery

It is not wise to randomly pick any of these. Being a responsible buyer, you must think of each option as per your condition. Here is a list of tips you should follow before selecting these two luxurious options.

Situational and need analysis; what do you want?

It is pretty obvious that every buyer’s situation will be quite different from the others. Therefore, we recommend a situational analysis. It will make the process easier for you. One should check the following things to do a situational analysis.

wool vs leather fabric: which one is better for upholstery

● Budget

The first thing that would describe what your situation is like, would be the amount you have in hand. Obviously, we all know that both leather and wool fabrics are expensive but leather is a bit more expensive.

So you cannot ignore the factor of price when choosing between these two fabrics. If your budget allows you to stick to the lesser expensive option, then that is what you call fate. On the other side, if money is the last thing on your mind, then move on to the next factor.

● Space

Where do you want an expensive upholstery fabric? Is it for the living room sofa? Or for the bedrooms? Is it for the meeting hall?

The place where either of these fabrics would be utilized is a critical deciding factor. If you need to cover your kid’s room then leather is a good option, as it is immune to various types of damage.

However, if there are only adults at your place and the risk level is pretty low, then wool can also work best.

● Frequency of Use

How much would that sofa be used for? If it’s an office, then it is evident that the frequency of use is very high. In that case, wool upholstery is better than leather. Otherwise, for a drawing room, a leather sofa is preferable.

● Fabric Requirement

Buying wool upholstery for ten sofas is more feasible, and easy to get, than buying the same leather fabric. If there are tens of sofas to be covered, then we will suggest you go for wool upholstery. In the case of limited sofa sets, leather is an option.

Comparison Between Leather and Wool Upholstery

Properties LeatherWool
 Durability Very highModerate
Ease of maintainingVery EasyDifficult to maintain
Ease of cleaning Very Easy to CleanHard to clean
Safety High safety indexCan cause skin allergies
Safety from microbesOnly when not cleanedHigh chances in a damp environment
AppearanceGives off a modern lookPreferable for a colorful look


The first thing all buyers should look for in any upholstery fabric is its durability. No one wishes to change the upholstery fabric every two years, thus making it an essential feature to look at.

If we compare the life of leather and wool, then it might become very hard for you to understand which one is better.

The real leather upholstery fabric comes with a lifetime of ten years or more, provided that it was used properly.

In terms of durability and the life of sofa fabric, leather is better. If the wool sofa cover can last for six years, then the leather sofa cover can stay for more than ten years.

As there are different types of wool and leather fabrics available so you cannot go for a straightforward rule.

For instance, if you choose top grain leather, then it might stay for up to 12 years, but for faux leather, this period will be shrunk to only six years.

Lastly, it also depends on the way the fabric was used, for a public space, where there is a high frequency of use, things would be entirely different.

Ease of Maintenance

If you have ever touched a leather jacket, then you probably know what is the answer to this. Without any doubt, leather sofa covers will always be easy to clean. Thanks to the structure of the leather fabric, and its smooth surface.

However, does it mean that wool sofa covers are hard to maintain? Not at all, you do not need to struggle much; as per reports, wool sofa covers can be easily cleaned. But as I have kids, I cannot give you a guarantee about it.

Kids don’t know if the wool fabric will absorb the juice spills, and cleaning wool sofa covers when wet is not an easy task, especially when we are comparing it with leather upholstery.

Imagine that you have two sofas, one covered with a leather sofa cover, and the other one with a wool sofa cover. Now someone has spilled some coffee on both of the sofas.

What will you do to clean the leather sofa? Of course, a simple wiping cloth, or tissue will be enough to clean the leather sofa cover.

On the other hand, for the wool sofa cover, you will first need to squeeze out the coffee, blotting papers might work in this regard. Then once the coffee is out, you will require to use a hair dryer or a vacuum to let that spot dry.

Now, it is pretty evident which sofa cover is easier to maintain.

Easy to Clean

No one wants to sit on dirty sofas, and every sofa set either in your office or home requires regular cleaning. It would be ideal to clean the entire sofa set twice a year. Some people call service providers to clean their sofas, while others prefer doing it themselves.

If the sofa covers are hard to clean, then of course the users will need to pay in terms of money or time.

So those who cannot afford anything extra should prefer having leather sofa covers. You might have noticed whenever we wash a wool sweater it gets 10 times heavier than its actual weight, the same will happen while washing wool sofa covers. Do you really think it would be easier for you to handle almost 20 kgs of sofa covers and wash them? It will be a mess.

Looks and Home Decor

We all wish to reside in some amazing spaces. Many of us plan every tiniest detail about our home and office. Some of you might hire an interior designer for this job. So in every respect, looks matter a lot. Otherwise, no one would ever think of spending money on upholstery, or furniture.

Here, I need to be very explicit, because so far you might have thought that leather upholstery fabric is better than wool in every respect. No, not when it comes to looks and appearances.

Leather sofa covers are only available in limited colors and patterns. Even the grain style of the leather sofa cover is nearly unnoticeable.

Moreover, fortunately, it is very easy to dye wool. You don’t need to pay extra money for dyed and colored wool sofa covers.

As for the leather upholstery fabric, you may get red or green colored sofa covers but they are expensive.

In a nutshell, for people who love bright colors and patterns, wool upholstery is better than leather.

But, does that mean leather upholstery is useless when it comes to looks? Not really. Many people love to have that royal and luxurious look, which gives a serious and overwhelming look to the room.

For them, wool upholstery would not be a good option. Leather sofa covers have a unique shine that uplifts the whole look of the sofa. So if you have some very well designed sofas, and you need to accentuate the look of your furniture, then dark themed leather sofa covers, with this natural shine would be perfect.

Safe to Use

Both leather and wool are very popular among the masses, and we all have used both these fabrics several times in our lives. But, still with the advent of new technologies to manufacture both these fabrics, risks of skin allergies are increasing.

As safety means different things for different people, so we have categorized this section accordingly.

Skin Allergies

Even though wool is considered a safe natural fabric, it still comes with some skin hazards. According to the Mayo Clinic, wearing wool fabric of a certain type can cause rashes and eczema.

However, some scientists argue that it is just a myth because wool is also keratin, the same type of protein our skin and hair have. Then why would it cause harm? Thus, to stay safe it would be better to check your triggers. Not all of us would get sick from wool sofa covers, but if you have sensitive skin, then it’s better to be safe.


In this case, luckily both the fabrics are fire-retardants. You don’t need to worry about your sofa catching fire. Even if it does, then we are pretty sure that the entire sofa will not burn.

But, if the sofa is stuffed with a flammable material like polythene or nylon, then of course the risk sustains.

Repellent to Microbes

Living in a humid environment has its own issues, and fungi are one of them. Damp places can easily cause fungi to grow on various things such as a sofa cover.

On the contrary, there is an extreme condition for the leather sofa covers. It can get mold on it, but only when not cleaned properly. You need to vacuum and clean leather sofa covers every now and then to avoid mold.

For both leather and wool sofa covers, it is essential to clean them regularly. So if mold is your main concern, then you may choose either of these fabrics.


In comparison to leather, wool is a cheaper option. So if you are tight on budget, and there are several sofas and cushions to be covered then wool can be a better option for you. Otherwise, the price difference is not much. Say if a meter of leather is for 8 dollars, then a meter of wool is around 6.5 dollars.

Final Words

To conclude this comparison we would suggest the following things to you.

  • Get wool upholstery if the patterns, designs, and look of your sofa matter the most.
  • Go for leather upholstery fabric if you have kids.
  • Buy wool upholstery if it’s on a tight budget.
  • Choose leather upholstery if cleaning sofas is difficult for you.

This is it. Lastly, it all comes down to your choice and preferences. Some people are more included towards wool only because they get that nostalgic feeling, and wish to stick to it. While some would prefer leather to get a more modern furniture look.

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I did my bachelor's in journalism and English literature from the University of Punjab, and now I am going to start my master's in the English language, I love to write and I have written a great deal since 2016.