Upholstery buying guide

Buying upholstered furniture is a big investment, so you'll want to feel confident that you're making the right choice. Comfort, durability and fit is just as important as style and colour. So use our checklist to make sure you've got everything covered.

Measuring up

Before you order your furniture, you need to make sure that it will fit in the room it's intended for. Here are some tips to help you:

  • If there's existing furniture in-situ that's being replaced and has previously been installed with no problems, you may consider opting for the same dimensions.
  • Decide on your furniture layout and once you've chosen it, measure its dimensions out in the room. Marking the floor area with tape will give you a really good idea of your furniture's proportions.
  • Make sure there is enough height, width and diagonal depth to accommodate your furniture's entry and that there's plenty of room to manoeuvre around corners. Check fixed obstacles such as radiators won't cause a problem.
  • If entry is tight, call our customer services who can discuss other possible routes.

Choosing the furniture covers

The covering material has a big impact on the overall appearance of your furniture and how it will wear. Think about the type of cover, material and use it's going to get.

You'll want a fabric or leather that complements your sitting room's colour scheme. We can provide swatches so you can match it up in its exact location.

Fabric covers

These come with either fixed or loose covers.

  • Fixed covers: Fixed covers that are permanently attached to the furniture frame offer a much wider choice of colours and material finishes. Although they fit tightly offering a neater look, they're not as practical in terms of maintenance. They need to be dry cleaned in situ.
  • Loose covers: Loose covers can be removed and normally washed at a maximum of 40°C or professionally cleaned. They're an ideal option if you have kids or pets, enjoy entertaining, or simply eating spaghetti Bolognese while watching TV! Either way, consider a darker fabric that will hide a multitude of marks.

Leather covers

Our leather sofas are made from corrected grain - a finish that's been buffed and embossed during manufacture to make the hide more uniform. This is a practical option for families as it's really durable and can be wiped clean. Please see below the different types leather:

Quality leather: featuring an embossed grain and matt finish to provide a very uniform look, our Quality grade leather is perfect for family life as it is hard wearing and easy to maintain.

Premium leather: like our Quality grade, premium leather also features an embossed grain to give a more uniform finish, but the lesser levels of finishing provide a more natural look. This higher grade leather is softer to the touch and will become more supple over time. Our 'cognac' colour premium leather also features an antiqued patina finish.

Superior leather: our superior grade, whilst still featuring an embossed finish, has an even lower level of treatment than our Premium grade. This results in a wonderfully soft look and feel and a warm natural finish as the leather retains more of it's unique characteristics. With the correct care, this superior quality grade will retain its good looks for years to come. Our antique and cognac colours feature a further patina to lend the leather a soft aged appearance.

Luxury leather: the ultimate investment purchase, our best grade leather offers a luxurious natural feel that lends your sofa a relaxed style which will last and last. It's low levels of treatment ensure the most authentic leather look and softest texture, with the leather retaining many of its natural features. It's thicker, hard wearing surface will ensure that it keeps its good looks throughout the years. Given it's natural surface treatment, each model will have its own unique appearance due to the visibility of natural characteristics in the grain.

Semi aniline: marks and imperfections are natural characteristics of leather. Semi aniline leather is given a fine pigmented protective coating which gives it a two toned appearance while retaining natural markings and softness. It's durable and practical.

Corrected grain leather: this leather finish has been buffed and embossed during manufacture, to partially remove the surface and any imperfections, before applying a surface colour and coating for a uniform finish.

Split leather: This type of leather is the lower split of leather hide. We only use this type of leather on the non wearing areas such as backs and sides to cover the frame on some of our leather sofas.

What our leather symbols mean - for corrected grain and faux leather

  • Corrected grain and split leather

  • Full corrected grain cover

  • Luxury corrected grain

  • Semi Aniline and corrected grain

Where we have indicated the leather hide symbol this shows that this leather has been tested and has passed BS2780:1983 by the British Leather Consortium (BLC Leather Technology Centre).


Cushion fillings affect the level of firm support, your furniture's appearance and its durability. Tesco stocks foam, fibre, fibre/foam and fibre and feather mixed sofas. All meet British UK safety standards.

  • Foam: the most commonly used filling in our seating range, foam provides the firmest and most supportive cushion. It's also more flexible from a design point of view as it can be moulded into a variety of neat seat cushions. Foam fillings are highly resilient and are the best at retaining their shape so we use them in the arms as well as cushions.
  • Fibre: this synthetic fibre filling, made up of woven strands of processed material, provides a soft to medium support. Fibre has a softness that contours itself around the body. As foam's not as resilient as other fillings, we use fibre fillings in back cushions, fixed back sofas and scatter cushions, rather than seat cushions, and these need regular plumping.
  • Foam/fibre: these fillings are used to give the best characteristics of both fibre and foam. It's a filling that's used for a soft/lived-in look, so cushions need more turning and plumping. Seat cushions often have a deep pad of HR foam with a layer of fibre on top to give the recovery, resilience and shape of foam, together with the soft characteristics of fibre.
  • Fibre and feather mixed: used in our higher end seating ranges, fibre and feather fillings are used for back cushions, accessory cushions and some seat cushions. Feathers allow more give and moulding. However, as they move about inside the cushion and don't recover in the same was as foam and fibre, they need plumping up regularly to retain their shape and evenness. Fibre/feather blends do have better resilience and longevity than just fibre filled seat cushions. However, they may not be a good option for allergy or asthma sufferers who react to feathers.


Wherever you are in the UK, as always with our deliveries, we make sure furniture arrive in perfect condition. Our delivery team take great care not to cause any damage when entering your home. They will deliver it to the room of your choice, unwrap and remove the packing if requested.

Before our drivers arrive:

  • Make sure there is clear access to deliver the furniture to the room of your choice.
  • Protect anything which is at risk of being damaged, such as wooden floors or lights.

Upholstery care

  • Avoid positioning your furniture in direct sunlight where it will fade.
  • Try and utilise all the seating so that the covers and fillings wear evenly. Whether leather or fabric, follow the cleaning instructions provided.
  • Plump and turn over cushions regularly to maintain shape and their durability.
  • Have fixed covers professionally cleaned regularly.
  • Wash all parts of the loose cover set at the same time to prevent colour differences.
  • Any spillages should be blotted up straight away.
  • Call our customer careline for further advice.
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