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cats and dogs on velvet couch

A couple of months ago, we interviewed Comfort Works users about their favourite activities at home. At the end of these long and heartfelt conversations, we found that most of us have two things in common:

1) Family time at home is one of the most important parts of our lives, and 

2) The couch is the heart of the living room!

Image credit: Pexels

As couch nerds, we totally understand the significance of a sofa at home. Whether you’re a small family of two or a loving couple with five furkids, quality time at home is irreplaceable. 

And most times, so is your couch. We’re of the opinion that nearly every sofa in the world can be saved, and the easiest way to do it is by choosing the best sofa materials for your family and lifestyle, and getting the most out of every moment.

The best material for dogs and cats (the children we can never say no to)

What’s the best couch material for dogs?

Go for velvets, cottons, or even polyester for something durable and easy to wash. You’ll want something that can take a good pounce (for bigger doggies) but still stay in place and feel comfortable. 

Polyester: Abrasion-resistant, making it perfect for dogs…yes, even big ones.


Cottons are generally durable and anything between a duck canvas to a tight-weave cotton material will hold up well. They’ll also feels softer and more comfortable over time, wash and with use. If you love a soft, simple look, try our Madison Cotton


Velvets offer great practicality and great comfort. They also make beautiful additions to a home. Soft and easy to fall asleep on, velvet is absolutely perfect for cuddling!  The tight-knit weaves of the fabric prevent claws from getting snagged so you don’t have to worry too much about those kinds of accidents, either. (We even have a special claw-proof velvet.)


Polyester will provide more use at the end of the day, as it can generally take more rubs and sit-downs while retaining a clean, neat look. While it may not feel as soft or as smooth as cotton, it can be easily washed so that’s a plus. 


Leather is also a good option, as it can easily be wiped off without further fuss. You don’t have to worry about fibres getting caught in claws, or soaking up accidents. Small con: leather isn’t as breathable as fabric-type materials. 

What you should definitely avoid

Soft, delicate fabrics

Delicate linen fabrics that would not be suitable for large dogs

If your dogs are large and love to jump on the couch, we’d recommend steering clear of the lighter and softer side of things. While undoubtedly comfy, softer and more delicate fabrics (like linen, for instance) cannot take too much washing, drying or rough use.

The loose weaves have a tendency to lose their shape when used roughly. Heat exposure from frequent washing and drying will further derail the material as it shrinks and expands. Without proper care, the lifespan of your couch’s upholstery or covers may be considerably shortened.

Fabric blends

Fabrics that are made of two or more kinds of fibres naturally tend to pill more than others. This happens when the different fibres become tangled together and pushed out to the surface.

Blends may be pretty, but the material does become thinner over time, so they aren’t the most suitable for a household where sturdiness is needed, unfortunately! 

Image credit: Comfort Works

What’s the best couch material for cats?

The key is to look for the tightest, closest-knitted fabrics possible. The tighter the weave, the harder it will be for your cats to literally get their claws into it. This will allow your couch to survive more claw-related incidents without losing its looks, practicality or comfort.


Velvet is our first pick. It’s harder to scratch up compared to fabrics and is easy to clean. Most of the time, a simple swipe takes the fur right off the fabric surface.

Looks and feels great, what’s not to like? In fact, our Claw-Proof Velvet was created specifically to stand up to cat claws.


Cotton would also be a good bet, provided you pick a tightly woven variety. There are many different textures of cotton, but we have found that cotton generally doesn’t feel scratchy and most of them are suitable for all-around use.

The best part is how simple it is to look after. Even if your cat makes a mess, a quick rinse generally does the trick!

What you should definitely avoid

Fabrics with large and rough weaves

Any kind of loose weave may catch kitty claws, even when they’re merely walking over the couch. Over time, you’ll be dealing with possibly derailed seams, tears and snags all over.

The scratchy texture may also entice some cats to start clawing at the sofa, which often turns it into a scratching post. The same can be said for fuzzy fabrics like wool!


cat scratching leather

Leathers, too, collect scratches easily. We have had readers (and customers) share that their cat’s claws leave marks on the couch even just by walking on it. Bummer!

What about the best couch material for kids? 

There are so many factors to consider when thinking of kids, but we’ve narrowed it down to three simple points: comfort, practicality, and aesthetics!

parent and child sleeping on green velvet sofa

Comfort is for everyone at home. 

Look for the material that feels the best on your skin. For optimum comfort, we always recommend sticking to natural fibres like cotton and linen as these get so much softer over time. They are also breathable, so it is easy to spend time on the couch without getting too stuffy or feeling too cold.

Velvets can be incredibly luxurious too, so they’re a good option if you just want that buttery soft feeling.

Practicality is all about finding what works for us and our families every day. 

If your living room is a high-traffic area, then the ideal material would be one that is relatively hard-wearing and easy to wash. Usually, this means an upholstery made of cotton or a smooth kind of polyester. 

Enjoy the occasional wine-and-dine (and have friends that can’t seem to stop spilling theirs on your couch)? The obvious choice would then be a fabric that is treated with liquid resistance for a super quick cleanup. Think of Scotchguard on your sofa; that’s generally what you’ll want your couch material to be.

Living with pets and kids? Then aim for something as close to indestructible as possible. We’d always stick to velvets for this one. Rule of thumb: the shorter and tighter the weave, the harder it is to destroy. Cats, dogs, and even kids will have a really hard time scratching that up! 

Living room aesthetics – who says looks aren’t important? 

If you know the style you’re after, choosing the right type of fabric in the right type of colour is essential. Going for a minimalistic vibe? Then you’d probably want something sleek and neutral in tone, like a skirtless velvet sofa in medium grey.

Or, are you leaning towards a farmhouse finish? Then you’re probably on the hunt for something with a fresh crisp overall, like a sofa with pleated skirts in a beige to cream linen material. 

In this day and age, the possibilities are seemingly endless, but there is always something for everyone.

Spotted something you like? Take our fabric samples for a test drive and find the one that works best for your house and lifestyle – we’ve got over 70 fabric options to choose from! When you’ve found your favourite, upgrade your existing sofa with our bespoke slipcovers.