What You Need to Know Before Buying Leather Furniture

What You Need to Know Before Buying Leather Furniture

Interior Design
By Dikran Seferian January 07, 2022

The sofa is undoubtedly a defining element of the living room. Choosing the right material is key to ending up with a unit that will serve both form and function. One type of upholstery that is quite popular among many homeowners is leather. Like any other type of furniture material, however, leather has its benefits along with a few drawbacks. It can be sleek but also textured — adaptable, but also attractive. Oftentimes, comfort is the first thing people look for in a couch, followed by aesthetics. While these factors are unquestionably important, weighing the entire pros and cons of the fabric will ensure that you don’t end up with the wrong piece of furniture. 

Benefits of Leather Furniture

The popularity of leather sofas among many homeowners comes to no surprise. Besides the classy appeal of these elegant pieces of furniture, several practical advantages come into sight.

Attractive Aesthetic

Appreciating the Aesthetic Value of a Leather Sofa

Appreciating the Aesthetic Value of a Leather Sofa

Whether it’s an armchair, a settee, or a sectional, leather furniture is known for its classy appearance. Leather sofas offer a timeless and elegant aesthetic to the living space. You can find them in a wide range of tones from dark shades to vibrant hues. A dark brown sofa, for instance, is ideal for a refined and luxurious interior while a vibrantly colored one can create an eclectic look.

Leather sofas are also available in several different shapes. Those with sleek outlines resonate with a modern aesthetic while a thick and tufted leather couch exudes a vintage charm. Moreover, the beautiful grain paired with the natural pattern of the leather adds character to a living space.


Durability is an important criterion to consider when choosing furniture material. You’ll want a unit that will last for a decade or two. Leather is known to deliver in that department. It doesn’t fray like its fabric counterparts, its colors don’t fade as easily, and any scratches can be remedied with leather polish.

Unlike other types of upholstery, a leather cushion will do a better job at maintaining its shape. Moreover, this natural material is inherently water-resistant, making it easy to clean should you spill a drink. You also won’t see any accumulation of dust on leather furniture as much as you would on fabric units. A well-maintained leather sofa will last up to several decades. And when it ages, it does so like fine wine — vintage leather sofas are an aesthetic of their own. 

Easy Maintenance

The Simplicity of Maintaining Your Leather Furniture

The Simplicity of Maintaining Your Leather Furniture

One might initially assume that leather would need a good deal of upkeep. This natural material, however, tends to be relatively low-maintenance. Other fabrics may require you to wash them every now and then in order to maintain their freshness. In the case of leather sofas, maintenance is rather quick and easy. Occasionally, you may need to clean the couch with a mild solution of soap and water, in addition to a leather cream treatment once every few months to restore the shine. It can also be a good idea to vacuum the crevices if the cushions aren’t detachable. This basic level of care can considerably boost the longevity of your leather furniture.


Those who are prone to allergic reactions may rejoice at the fact that leather does not induce allergies. This is because the material itself doesn’t retain dust mites and pet hair. It is also known to repel dust, making it easier to clean. As a result, leather furniture is a common option among those who don’t do well with allergens.

Common Reservations Around Leather Furniture

Regardless of its aesthetic and practical advantages, leather does have a few drawbacks you may need to bear in mind. A leather sofa might be out of the question if you’re an animal rights activist, on a budget, or you simply prefer a cozier seat.

Ethical Issues

If you’re an animal lover, the main setback that will deter you from opting for a leather sofa is the fact that it comes from animal hide. This downside presents a major ethical issue in regards to animal rights. An identical alternative to consider is faux leather. This is an ideal option if you appreciate the aesthetics and texture of leather but have a strong view regarding the ethical aspect of where it comes from. Faux leather, however, isn’t as durable as its genuine counterpart. Synthetic leather, as it’s also called, can be prone to scratches and rips. Moreover, it doesn’t age as gracefully as the genuine material which becomes more supple with usage. On the other hand, synthetic leather doesn’t tend to crack as quickly.

High Price

Another drawback of leather is that it might leave a dent in your wallet. Leather tends to be more expensive than many other types of material. Even though its value is evident in its longevity, the cost can be somewhat of a deterrent if you’re on a budget. However, those who are looking for the superficial qualities of leather can find a less expensive alternative in — you guessed it — faux leather. Going for the synthetic variety allows you to achieve the look and feel of its genuine counterpart without having to break the bank. 

Not Very Comfortable

Many homeowners tend to stay away from leather furniture simply because they’re not very fond of the feel. The material can be cold to the touch in the winter and sticky to bare skin in the summer — unless you have consistent indoor temperature throughout the year. If you prefer softer and cozier upholstery that you can snuggle up in, leather might not be an ideal option for you. Also, faux leather may not be a good alternative in this case because it has almost the same feel as genuine leather. 

Choosing the Right Leather Sofa

Weighing the pros and cons of leather furniture is certainly key when investing in leather furniture. However, there are a few other factors to account for before making the purchase.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Leather Couch

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Leather Couch

Identifying the Quality of Leather

Genuine leather is divided into two general types during the process of tanning — top-grain and bottom split. You may want to opt for a sofa that is made of much stronger grain leather. Those made of split leather tend to be somewhat fragile, unstable, and prone to stretching. Moreover, their lack of grain makes them unsuitable for furniture. Full-grain, corrected, or semi-corrected — all of which fall under the category of top grain leather — are the best choices for a leather sofa. To determine whether the leather is authentic, check for tiny imperfections. Top grain leather should not be smooth. Grooves and unevenness along the surface will indicate genuine quality.    

Most Popular Styles of Leather Furniture

Chesterfield Sofas Never Go Out of Style

Chesterfield Sofas Never Go Out of Style

Leather couches possess a timeless charm. Moreover, there are several different styles to choose from that may correspond with your interior design. One particular style of leather furniture that’s currently dominating the spotlight is the Chesterfield sofa. Its traditional lines and curves exude a vintage appeal to a living space, especially when combined with artisan rugs, antique decor, and wooden elements. If your living spaces feature a more contemporary design, your choices don’t fall any shorter than the classic varieties. Modern leather couches feature sleek lines, modular layouts, and are low-slung. For larger spaces, consider going for a cognac leather sectional.

Selecting the Best Color for a Leather Sofa

A leather couch will most likely be the focal point of any living space, which is why it is important that you choose the right color. If you’re looking to create a harmony between the leather sofa and your interior palette, consider going for natural tones such as cream, tan, or brown. These earthy hues typically resonate with most design styles. Charcoal or black leather sofas, on the other hand, tend to be a rather bold and dramatic choice. Even so, you can still introduce a black leather couch to a wide variety of color schemes and general styles.


Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian