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Office Chairs: Leather, Cloth or Mesh

Office Chairs: Leather, Cloth or Mesh
December 7, 2016 gnuworld


Office chairs are available with leather, cloth or mesh upholstery. So which is best, and under what conditions?

To help you make an informed choice, we’ve explored each of the factors to consider.


If cost is your primary consideration, a leather office chair is off the table. Top grain cow hides can cost a small fortune. In fact, high quality leather can go for up to R400 per metre.

A luxurious Nappa highback may have a soft silky touch and a refined ‘nose’, but unless you’re prepared for the higher price tag, it’s not a practical solution. Instead choose standard fabric or mesh. Plenty of attractive options are available.


Leather upholstery may be cool at first touch, but it has the capacity to absorb and retain your body heat. In winter, it can keep you warm and comfortable throughout the day.

The one drawback of leather in hot climates is its smooth and slippery finish. It can get uncomfortably sweaty in summer.

Cloth fabric is especially comfortable in the winter, and for the summer, it isn’t as “sweaty” as leather. However, it can become quite cloying during the hot months.

Mesh can be slightly hard and chilly to the touch – a characteristic that may not be suitable during the colder months. Also, a mesh office chair offers no extra padding and limited support. However, mesh is perfect for letting air circulate, helping prevent damp lower backs.


If you want to make an impression, a leather office chair is the way to go. Leather speaks of prestige and power. It’s for this reason that leather office chairs are often marketed at bosses. The smell, touch and texture of real leather can’t be simulated. It’s “the real thing”.

That said, status isn’t everyone’s chief priority. With a fabric office chair, you can choose from a wide range of fabric colours and patterns, to suit existing office décor and personal preferences. Mesh office chairs can also be highly stylish, with a polished industrial look.


Leather is a solid material that can last a lifetime, provided it is kept out of direct sunlight. The tanning process transforms the hide into a strong, durable and long-lasting product that is resistant to wear and tear.

Cloth fabric can fade, stain and tear easily. As a result, the estimated lifespan of a cloth office chair is five to seven years. Mesh has a similar lifespan.


Typically, a quick wipe with a damp cloth is sufficient for maintaining natural leather. Tanned leather is waterproof, so spills won’t penetrate the material and solid mess can be easily brushed or vacuumed up.

Mesh is also comparatively easy to keep clean.

In the case of cloth fabric, a chemical stain remover and plenty of elbow grease may be required to lift stubborn stains, which may penetrate the fibres.

Notwithstanding your choice of upholstery material, be it leather, fabric or mesh, be sure to buy your office chair from a reputable manufacturer renowned for producing quality products.

At K-Mark, we specialise in manufacturing high quality office chairs for corporate clients. 

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