Couch Research

Fabric Frenzy: The Best Fabrics to Consider for Your New Couch

Navigate the world of sofa fabrics with Discover comfort, durability, and style insights to make an informed choice

When you embark on the journey of selecting the perfect fabric for your new couch, you’re not just making a style statement; you’re investing in comfort and durability. Through FAQs and an exclusive interview with interior designer Rebecca Hay, dives deeper into the world of sofa fabrics and address your most pressing questions to help you make an informed decision.

A Unique Perspective From Interior Designer Rebecca Hay: What Are Her Favorite Materials for Couches?

The Evolution of Fabrics:
Rebecca emphasizes the resurgence of natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen, reflecting a shift towards a more European aesthetic.

The Stain-Resistance Debate:
The conversation delves into the debate between stain-resistant synthetics and natural fibers. Alex raises questions about the practicality of choosing fabrics solely based on their cleanability, while Rebecca advocates for a balanced approach that considers both functionality and design aesthetics.

Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality:
Rebecca offers valuable insights into achieving the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality in upholstery choices. She encourages viewers to understand the inherent characteristics of each fabric type, such as the patina that develops over time on natural fibers like linen, and emphasizes the importance of informed decision-making.

What is the Most Luxurious Fabric for a Sofa?

Luxurious fabric: When it comes to luxury, nothing quite compares to Mulberry Silk. It’s exceptionally soft, smooth, and boasts a captivating sheen. It’s important to note that silk, being delicate, may not be the most practical choice for everyday use.

What is the Toughest Material for Couches?

Durability Matters: If durability is your top priority, consider the following options:

  • Leather: People widely recognize genuine leather for its tough nature and ability to withstand wear and tear.
  • Synthetic fabrics: Many appreciate high-quality synthetic fabrics, like microfiber or polyester, for their durability and stain-resistant properties. These fabrics are, by and large, polyester based and very resilient.

Which Sofa is Easiest to Maintain?

Maintenance made simple: For ease of maintenance, look no further than:

  • Leather: Leather sofas are a breeze to clean and maintain. Regular wiping with a damp cloth keeps them looking pristine.
  • Synthetic fabrics: Fabrics like microfiber and polyester are both easy to clean and resistant to stains, making upkeep hassle-free.

What is the Most Durable Upholstery for Couches?

Durable upholstery: If longevity is your priority, consider the following materials:

  • Leather: Genuine leather is known to withstand the test of time.
  • Microfiber: Microfiber’s durability and resistance to wear make it a reliable choice.
  • Crypton fabric: Crypton-treated fabrics are incredibly durable and adept at resisting stains and odors.

What is the Softest Material for a Couch?

Velvet: For those seeking the ultimate in comfort and luxury, velvet stands out. Its gentle texture and elegance make it a popular choice.

What is the Best Couch Material that Doesn’t Pill?

Pilling prevention: To avoid pilling, consider fabrics known for their resilience:

  • Tight-weave fabrics: Fabrics with a tight weave, like twill or canvas, are less likely to pill.
  • Leather: Leather is naturally resistant to pilling as there are no fabric fibers to bunch up (that’s what pilling is).

What Color Couch is Best for Stains?

Stain camouflage: Grey is a practical color choice as it not only exudes elegance but also conceals stains and dirt effectively.

What Color Couch is Easiest to Clean?

Easy-clean colors: Lighter colors like beige or white are generally easier to clean since stains are more visible, prompting quicker action. Other than being able to see or “spot” the stain (pun INTENDED), there isn’t really anything about a specific color that makes it easier to clean. Easier to spot, yes, and also easier to hide, yes… but all color couches are equally easy or difficult to clean within a given fabric style or family.

These insights provide valuable guidance for your couch fabric decision. In the next section, we’ll continue to explore colors, address common concerns, and delve into the practicalities of maintaining different fabrics. Your couch is more than furniture; it’s where memories are made, so choose wisely to ensure both comfort and longevity.

What Color Couch Shows the Least Amount of Dirt?

Dirt disguise: If you want to minimize the visibility of dirt, opt for dark-colored couches. Shades like deep brown, charcoal, or navy are excellent choices for homes with active lifestyles or pets.

Do Beige Sofas Get Dirty Easily?

Beige and dirt: Beige sofas, while elegant, may show dirt and stains more readily than darker alternatives. However, they can be cleaned effectively with proper care and maintenance.

What Couches Don’t Show Stains?

Stain-resistant fabrics: To avoid the stress of visible stains, consider couches upholstered with fabrics treated for stain resistance. Crypton-treated fabrics are particularly adept at repelling stains.

Do White Couches Get Dirty Fast?

White and cleanliness: White couches may appear pristine when well-maintained but can accumulate dirt quickly, demanding regular cleaning. They’re a bold choice for those who prioritize aesthetics and don’t mind the upkeep.

How Durable are Polyester Couches?

The durability of polyester: Polyester couches, made from 100% polyester, offer excellent durability. The name has a bit of a bad stigma attached to it but they resist wrinkles and are generally cost-effective, making them a reliable choice. They are also the absolute easiest to clean out there (and are very popular these days). When combined with other materials, they can provide added strength. For these reasons, polyester couches are a popular option.

What Sofa Materials to Avoid?

Materials to Avoid: When choosing a sofa, steer clear of fabrics that may not align with your lifestyle. Delicate materials and low rub count fabrics like silk or certain natural fibers might not be suitable for homes with active children or pets.

What Couch Material is Scratch-Resistant?

Scratch resistance: If you have pets with sharp claws, leather or tightly woven fabrics like twill can be more scratch-resistant compared to loosely woven options.

Is Microfiber Durable on a Sofa?

Microfiber reliability: Yes! Microfiber is a very durable choice for sofa upholstery. Its tightly woven structure contributes to its strength and resilience.

What Sofa Material is Best for Allergies?

Allergy considerations: If allergies are a concern, leather is an excellent choice as it doesn’t harbor allergens like dust mites. Additionally, synthetic fabrics, such as microfiber, are less likely to trap allergens.

When choosing fabric for your couch, it is essential to make a crucial decision that balances aesthetics, comfort, and practicality. You should consider your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences. Take into account whether you prefer the timeless allure of leather, the plush comfort of velvet, or the practicality of stain-resistant fabrics. Visit to explore the best couch cushioning options for your needs.

When you step into your living room and sink into your sofa, you’ll know you made the right choice—one that suits your needs and reflects your personal taste.

Remember to refer to these insights as your guide, and happy couch shopping!

Official Transcript for the Rebecca Hay Interview:

Alex Back: Hey everyone, it’s Alex with, and I’m here with my new friend Rebecca Hay from Rebecca Hay Design. She is the founder and Chief Rebecca Officer, CRO. Love it. I just came up with a new title. And also a popular podcast host of “Resilient by Design.” I was a guest recently, and thank you so much again for having me there. Rebecca Hay, here she is!

Rebecca Hay: Woohoo! Thank you, thank you so much for having me, Alex.

Alex Back: My pleasure. You have agreed to come to and tell our users about certain things that they may be curious about, that they may want to hire an interior designer to discuss. But maybe they should just think about these things first prior to doing that, or prior to going couch shopping, certainly. So one of the questions I think we get all the time is, how do you choose the couch fabric for your clients? I think just the way fabrics have changed over the last 15 years, like polyester used to be, I don’t know, I always joke that 95% of the fabrics in most couches these days are polyester-based. But I think when we were growing up, it was like my Uncle Richie’s 70s go-out-to-the-disco outfit, and it was horrible, unbreathable, whatever. But it’s just a synthetic material that’s actually quite cleanable and allows people to have lighter-colored things and how much is stain-resistant. Would you ever place a fabric on a couch these days, even in a high-end installation or with a higher-end client, that was not stain-resistant or cleanable? My sense is that it probably makes sense to just do it. There’s so many nice fabrics that are. But maybe there’s some specific fabrics, like a pattern or a certain kind of linen or a certain type of feel that a customer or client is looking for.

Rebecca Hay: Yeah, that’s a loaded question. You probably didn’t realize it was so loaded. But to me, it feels loaded because there is this fight, I find, in the fabric world between the stain-resistant fabrics, the polyesters, the man-made fibers that you can pour your red wine over, and it just wicks all the way off. And I’ve seen these demonstrations with these indoor-outdoor fabrics where nothing stains it, and they can clean anything. But on the flip side of that is more of a European aesthetic to having natural fibers—so cotton, wool, linen, a Belgian linen. And that I do see in a certain aesthetic. If you are someone who likes a very natural vibe and you are okay with imperfections of wrinkles and you’re okay with the odd scuff, those natural fibers are actually cleanable. And so I find I’m often having this conversation with my clients and trying to educate them, saying you don’t have to go with the man-made fiber. You can go with a natural as long as you understand—it’s like marble, right? You love the look of marble, but you have to understand that it is going to patina over time. And there are certain homeowners that really like—and I’m one of them—I love the look of natural linens. I love a natural wool. Those are really quite easy to clean, but when the wine pours on it, there’s going to be a stain until you get it cleaned.

Alex Back: Right.

Rebecca Hay: Yeah, there are ways to clean almost any kind of fabric. They may be unconventional, they may take a little bit more elbow grease, or perhaps a paid professional, but there are ways to do it.

Alex Back: So I love that take. That’s very interesting, because most people would guide you in just the direction of what would be easiest. But for the sake of design, it sounds like in certain cases, different types of materials that may not be that crazy performance fabric that everyone’s pushing these days, those might be preferable in some cases. I love that.

Alex Back: Yeah, Rebecca, thank you so much for being with us and sharing your insight. This is incredibly valuable, and I genuinely appreciate it.

Rebecca Hay: Thank you for having me.


A smiling man with short brown hair and a beard stands on a beach during sunset. He is wearing a black short-sleeved shirt with small white dots. The ocean and sandy shore are in the background, creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Alex Back is the founder and CEO of Previously, he was the co-founder and COO of the popular furniture brand, Apt2B, which was acquired by a large US retail furniture chain in 2018. He worked to integrate Apt2B, one of the very first online furniture retailers on the Shopify platform, into the operations of the 100 year old larger business entity and was deeply immersed in the business operations of both online and brick and mortar retail for 4 years before leaving in 2023 to start Working in various parts of the furniture industry since 2004, he has 20 years experience in retail sales, e-commerce, marketing, operations, logistics and wholesale manufacturing and distribution. He has worked extensively with partners such as Costco, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon and his work has been highlighted in many publications such as Forbes, CNN and HGTV, among others. Alex is delighted to bring his experience and authority on couches and the furniture industry to this platform, along with many of his industry colleagues who are helping him keep the audience informed and engaged on a daily basis.
Alex Back CEO & Founder