Friend or Faux? Leather vs Leatherette Upholstery


There’s nothing quite as chic as a sofa, armchair, or dining chair with a sleek, leather or leather-look finish. Whether real or faux, leather reflects light, rather than absorbing it like woven fabrics, which helps to brighten up your room. The material is versatile, allowing for a huge selection of makes and styles — suiting classic, casual, art deco, mid-century, modern, minimalist homes, and more. Whether you love the elegance of a Chesterfield style or prefer the more pared-back look of a contemporary design, there is a leather-look to suit everyone.

But what is the difference between faux and genuine leather? What are the qualities of each and why does it matter? To help you bring home the right piece for your needs and tastes, we have put together a handy list of features to make life easier. If you’re struggling to choose between leather or fabric, don’t worry, we also have a guide for you here.

Genuine Leather Features

  • Unique Character: Real leather is made from animal hides, showcasing all the natural features and beauty and offering character to your sofa. No two hides are the same, meaning every leather sofa, armchair, or dining chair is truly one-of-a-kind. Who doesn’t love having an exclusive piece?

Shop the Tomares Leather 3 Seater Sofa from Searles Homewares online at Zanui,

Shop the Tomares Leather 3 Seater Sofa from Searles Homewares online at Zanui.

  • Hard-Wearing: Genuine leather becomes more attractive over time, for a furniture option that ages like fine wine. Most leather upholsteries are treated to help prevent stains, and most spills can be wiped up with no fuss, making your life that little bit easier. They are also incredibly easy to maintain, with leather care kits helping to ensure that your furniture develops that stunning patina.
  • Continual Comfort: These pieces not only age well, but they also continue to get softer and more comfortable with time. Leather also has the added bonus of warming to your body temperature within moments and is incredibly breathable – keeping you at your ideal temperature all year long.

Faux Leather Features

  •     Animal-Friendly: Faux leather is made without real animal hide. So, if you love the leather aesthetic but would like to avoid any harm to animals, faux leather is a great option for you.
  • Blemish Free: Made with a plastic base and treated with dyes, waxes, and/or polyurethane, faux leather often offers a much more uniform look than hide. The uniformity helps to uplift the look of your room and creates a more modern feel. There’s also something nice about what you purchase looking exactly like the picture.
  • Cost-Effective: Faux leather is considerably cheaper than real leather options, due to the difference in manufacturing. Not only do you get to have the look for less, but it makes it less expensive when upgrading from a 2 seater to a 3 seater sofa, allowing for wider choice without hurting your pocket.
Shop the Rowina Set of 2 Dining Chairs online now at Zanui.

Shop the Rowina Set of 2 Dining Chairs online now at Zanui.

  • Easy to Maintain: Considering the product base is plastic, faux leathers are easy to clean and maintain, making them a great option for people with children. Spills and messes are easily wiped up, and all you need is a simple dust to keep your product looking its best.
Shop the Eunice Faux Leather Sofa from HEQS online at Zanui.

Shop the Eunice Faux Leather Sofa from HEQS online at Zanui.

Shared Features

  •       Hypoallergenic: Leather and leatherettes are the perfect choice for allergy sufferers. The hypoallergenic nature repels dust mites, pet dander, pet hair, and other allergens, keeping your family safe from harm.
  •       Endures Trends: Both types of leather create a classic look in your space that can survive healthily through almost any trend. They offer a sophisticated, lasting style that can seamlessly shift into virtually every interior theme. With all this on offer, it’s hard to go past this brilliant material.

The Best Choice is your Choice

It is important to weigh up the benefits of each material before making your purchase, to ensure you are making the most informed decision possible – after all, it’s furniture that makes the look of your home! Both genuine and faux leather pieces are gorgeous and worthwhile options, but it will always come down to your own personal preference, style, and what you are looking for.

Shop our range of stylish leather and faux leather dining room and living room furniture and find the perfect piece for your home today.

Lucy Fox is a Sydney-based writer of prose, poetry, and digital content currently living on Dharawal land. With a passion for interior design, cooking, and cocktails, you can trust whatever concoction she's coming up with. She holds a BCA (Honours) in Creative Writing and can be found in the Deadset Press, Baby Teeth Arts Journal, The Emma Press, and Imprint Magazine.