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9 things to know before buying a leather sofa

leather sofa

Leather is one of the oldest materials known to man. Used for both clothing and upholstery for thousands of years, it’s durability, comfort and style have ensure the material has really stood the test of time.  

Thanks to its natural good looks and longevity, leather remains a popular choice for sofas, chairs and other soft furnishings. Ideal for busy homes, and suitable for all types of interiors, leather is a fantastic choice for your next sofa. If you’re currently considering investing in a new leather sofa, or if you want to create a full leather lounge, take a look at these important things you need to know before buying your new furniture. 

1) Leather will age over time

One of the fantastic things about leather is that it’s a natural material. This gives it a richness that just can’t be equalled by synthetic fabrics. However, it also means that the way it looks and feels will change as your sofa ages. 

Generally, leather becomes softer and more supple as it gets older. Some types of leather may also slowly change colour over time, with patches of lighter or darker leather appearing on your sofa. This can give your furniture an attractive organic feel and can help your leather sofa look even better. 

If you choose a coloured leather couch, these changes in tone probably won’t be so pronounced, although you may still notice the tone of your sofa softening as the years go by. 

2) Leather sofas are low maintenance

Another reason that leather has remained a popular choice for all types of sofas and chairs is that it’s very low maintenance. Most spills and marks will simply wipe away and you’ll never need to put your leather sofa cushions in the washing machine. 

Because real leather is so robust and hardwearing, it’s a great choice for busy homes and people with young children. 

3) There are different types of leather

If you’re new to the world of leather, you may not have realised that the material comes in a number of different varieties. Leather can be stretched, pigmented or covered in a special coating to make it more durable. It can be left natural to allow marks and blemished to add character to the surface, or it can be buffed to smooth the grain and remove any uneven marks. 

In most cases, sofas that have an uneven, characterful finish and a natural colour have a slightly retro or mid-century modern feel. if you want a modern leather sofa for your living room, look for a piece with a smooth, buffed surface or a splash of bright, bold colour. Choosing the right leather for your sofa will help to complete your interior look and ensure your home décor stands the test of time. 

4) Leather sofas come in different styles

Leather is a very versatile material and can be styled in different ways to suit different interiors. Because leather has a classic, timeless feel, a lot of leather couches have a mid-century modern aesthetic. Often, these leather sofas have wooden legs and a simple, elegant design, making them perfect for homes with both a vintage feel and a contemporary eclectic look.

You can also find modern leather couches and sofas with a Scandinavian inspired look. These light, bright pieces will look fantastic in living rooms and family spaces of all types. 

5) Cleaning your leather sofa will keep it looking good

A lot of people ask does real leather peel? Well, the answer to this question is yes, but only if it’s not properly cared for. Leather is a natural product and if it’s not kept moisturised it will begin to dry out. Over time, the surface of the leather can then start to crack and begin to peel. This can leave the leather looking a little tired and result in rips and tears. 

Ideally, you should use a specialist leather conditioner to treat your sofa every 6-12 months. This will keep the leather soft and supple and significantly extend its lifespan. 

6) Leather is incredibly durable

A well-made, good quality leather sofa will be incredibly durable. The average lifespan of a leather sofa is around 15-20 years. That’s compared to just 5-10 for a standard fabric sofa. As long as your piece is properly maintained, there’s no reason it won’t last you even longer. In fact, there are still a large number of antique leather sofas still in use around the world. 

7) Leather sofas are very comfortable

There are few things more comfortable than a well-designed and well-made leather couch. Leather sofas are comfortable in both high and low temperatures, making leather lounges ideal for all seasons. 

As leather is a little more rigid than fabric upholstery, leather sofas can also offer more support and cushions are less likely to lose their shape. This makes a comfortable leather sofa a great choice for those with back problems and for anyone who likes a supportive sofa. 

8) Leather sofas can be damaged by sunlight

Although leather is very hardwearing, it’s a natural material and it will begin to degrade more quickly than it should if it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Even the best leather sofas can start to fade and dry out if they’re hit by the glare of the sun every single day. So, make sure you place your sofa away from your windows or shade it in the middle of the day to stop the worst of the sun’s rays.

9) Sharp claws can damage leather

Another factor that can limit the life of a leather sofa is animals. Leather can be damaged by sharp claws, so if your cats or dogs like to scratch at your sofa, you may need to protect it with a throw or provide another place for them to sharpen their claws. 

Leather is a fantastic material for sofas, chairs, Ottomans and other soft furnishings. Durable and attractive, investing in a leather couch is a great way to add a touch of timeless style to your home. 

Want more sofa guides? You might also like:

How to protect a soft leather couch

10 tips when choosing a sofa cover for offices

How to choose the right reclining sofa

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