best office chair material

While factors like price, ergonomics, and aesthetics often dominate the decision-making process when buying a new chair, material choice is something that shouldn't be forgotten. The material will impact everything that we mentioned, so if you find the right material you'll see that all other things will fall into place for you. Because of that, we're going to walk you through what office chairs are usually made of, the pros and cons of each material and what is the best fabric for office chairs out there.

Table Of Contents

Material Features


Faux Leather & Ultra-Leather


Mash Fabric




Material Features

Firstly let's go over the factors that you should consider when choosing the right office chair material. There are a few, but it's best to start here so we know what we are considering for each material.

How does the material feel on your skin?

How the material feels against your skin is crucial for long hours of comfortable sitting. Nobody wants an itchy material, but besides that, you should consider the environment you're sitting in and if you prefer it to be hotter or warmer. You'll see that some materials will provide a lot of breathability which is great for hot places.

Is it easy to clean?

Maintenance is very important for any office chair material. A material that is easy to clean can save you time and effort, and it impacts its durability.

How long will the material last?

We're of course looking for a material that can withstand daily wear and tear. Easily scratched or torn material is just not cost-effective.

Cost vs. Value

More expensive materials are usually more durable, so their price is very much justified and in the long run they will prove to be a better option. Of course this is not always the case, sometimes affordable options won’t be lacking in any field compared to more expensive ones. So it’s always better to be informed and check specifications of each chair as comfort is super important for anyone sitting every day.

Natural vs Synthetic Materials

Both have their advantages. Natural materials may bring warmth and style, while synthetic ones often offer durability and cost-effectiveness. So again, it will be up to you to decide which one you're looking for.

Pilling and Fading

Pilling happens when the fabric becomes uneven due to broken parts which can make your desk chair uncomfortable and less appealing. Besides that, some materials are prone to fading which will also impact the general aesthetics of the chair. Giving a thought to these things is also very important if you want to keep your office space looking clean and professional for a long time.

Now, the actual materials, all of them have their pros and cons of course, so you'll have to find the one that suits your needs the best. Everyone wants a material that's durable and easy to clean, but some materials will offer other awesome features besides that.

Let's start with what office chairs are made of:

1. Leather

Opting for leather for office chairs represents a top-tier choice, its aesthetic appeal is just unparalleled. Beyond its looks, leather is super easy to clean - a simple wiping for any stains should clean it in no time.

Yet, its durability and beautiful aesthetics come with higher costs. But that investment is justified, as the leather will bring sophistication and a professional look to any office space that hardly any other material can do.

However, despite its many merits, leather is not as breathable as other desk chair fabrics and you might prefer mesh or fabric chairs if you're sitting for prolonged work hours.


  • Premium, stylish look and feel
  • Comfortable in various conditions
  • Easy to clean


  • Higher cost
  • Susceptible to temperature changes
  • Must be regularly maintained, neglect can lead to cracks

Top-Notch Leather Chair Options in NZ

Eden Eames Classic Leather Chair

Eden Eames Classic Leather Chair - Leather with a chrome frame, comfortable and sophisticated choice for any office space

Eden Eames Soft Pad Leather Chair

Eden Eames Soft Pad Leather Chair - The Eames Replica Classic chair is ideal for boardroom or meeting room seating as well as the home office.

2. Faux-Leather & Ultra-Leather

Faux leather presents a budget-friendly alternative to genuine leather. Ultra-leather, in particular, is recognized for its enhanced durability compared to traditional faux-leather options while still keeping the aesthetics of real leather.

While faux leather may not match the durability and tear resistance of genuine leather, it's still easy to clean and it's animal-friendly which adds to its appeal.


  • Similar premium look and feel to the regular leather
  • Comfortable and easy to clean
  • Cost-Effective


  • Less Breathable
  • Not as durable as genuine leather

Faux-Leather Office Chair Options

Eden Domain Executive Leather Cha

Eden Domain Executive Leather Chair - An elegant boardroom chair with modern functionality and timeless styling.

3. Vinyl

Vinyl, valued for its durability and effortless cleaning, is ideal for maintaining hygiene in the workplace. Vinyl is a cost-effective option that also proves to be a durable chair fabric. Vinyl color options may be limited, but if functionality is a priority this may be the optimal choice.

However, if breathability is something very important to you, vinyl may not be the ideal choice, especially for those working in hot and humid surroundings.


  • Easy to clean 
  • Ideal for good hygiene 
  • Cost-effective   


  • Less comfortable
  • Limited color options
  • Cheaper feel than other materials 

Best of Vinyl Chairs in NZ

Slim Vinyl Visitor Chair

Slim Vinyl Visitor Chair - With its comfortable molded propylene seat and back, sturdy steel sled base, and linking feet, the Slim chair is ideal for meeting / training rooms.

Eden Eames Classic Vinyl Chair

Eden Eames Classic Vinyl Chair - Offering a stylish and durable seating solution for office spaces

4. Mesh fabric

Mesh fabric is a popular choice between other desk chair fabrics, it shines where other materials may fall short - breathability. No other material can compare to this, besides that mesh chair back will conform to your body which of course makes it a very comfortable and ergonomic option.

If you're a person who gets cold easily, airflow offered by mesh could potentially be a drawback. In that case, exploring fabric alternatives that maintain similar breathability while offering additional warmth might be a good consideration.


  • Extra breathability
  • Cost-effective
  • Comfortable as fabric 


  • Less luxurious
  • Limited color variety

Mesh Back Office Chairs at Agile Office Furniture
Metro II Nylon Base Chair

Metro II Nylon Base Chair - Featuring latest technologies in ergonomics and the sophistication of contemporary fine mesh.

Trice Mid Back Chair

Trice Mid Back Chair - At an affordable price and built to withstand the rigours of a commercial environment, with the strong chrome base enhances the aesthetics.

5. Fabric

Fabric-covered chairs, be it a knitted or woven material, bring together comfort, affordability, and style. They're comfortable and better for cold environments compared to leather or vinyl

For those looking to personalize their office space or keep it in a certain color theme, a giant plus for fabric is that they come in all possible colors and patterns.

Unfortunately, as any other material it has downsides, and you'll notice that the fabric might not be as durable and is pretty difficult to clean.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Available in various colors


  • Less durable than some materials
  • Can stain and be difficult to clean  

Fabric Chairs Options

Evo Luxe High Back Chair

Evo Luxe High Back Chair - With an extra comfortable high density padded seat, this chair is ideal for all day use.

Buro Roma Chair

Buro Roma Chair - Designed to provide optimal comfort and support. Because of the postural support and ergonomic features, it can be used for extended periods of time.

6. Plastic

Plastic is often used in the construction of chair frames and shells. Its durability, ease of cleaning, and cost-effectiveness make it a practical choice for office chairs. 

But overall if you value comfort, limiting the use of plastic to the armrests and frames is the best choice as sitting directly on plastic is not the most comfortable option and it lacks the aesthetic appeal that other materials can provide.


  • Durable and easy to clean


  • Generally less comfortable


As we can see, we cannot choose "the best material". All of them provide different advantages for different use cases. In our exploration of office chair materials, we highlighted key factors to consider and hopefully made the decision of choosing your perfect office chair a little bit easier.