Thinking of buying a leather sofa, but want to weight up the pros and cons first? Smart move! Though some people swear by leather sofas, others recoil at the thought of them. Don’t regret your sofa purchase; read up first to see whether a leather sofa is really for you.
- Leather sofas can last an extremely long time, potentially up to 4x longer than a faux leather sofa of the same design.
- They’re not as high maintenance as one would initially assume. Upholstered fabric sofas need a wash every once in a while to keep them fresh. You need to unzip the cushion covers and throw them in the washing machine. With leather sofas, you could argue cleaning the sofa is even quicker as you just use a mild soap and water solution to wipe down the sofa, and use leather cream every few months to keep the leather at top quality. With this kind of attention, your leather sofa could last a lifetime. The majority of leather sofas don’t have detachable sofa cushions, so a quick hoover in the crevices and a wipe down every now and again goes a long way.
- Leather is a naturally thick, durable material. Any scratches to the leather (caused by pets or otherwise) can be obscured with some leather polish, and leather doesn’t fray.
- If you spill something, all you have to do is wipe it down. On a fabric couch, you may have to scrub to prevent staining and then give a thorough wash. With lighter colours of leather sofas, such as white or cream, you may still want to take care not to prevent staining when it comes to things such as red wine or curry. But cleaning up spills is far easier with a leather sofa than a fabric one.
- Doesn’t absorb smells the same way that a fabric sofa does. Good for if you have pets or just a smelly friend or family member… Good news for smokers too.
- Easy to wipe off pet fur as it doesn’t cling to the sofa. Just needs to be brushed off.
- The biggest deterrent for many people is the price. Though it’s value for money as they last longer, the initial cost of buying a leather sofa can be off-putting.
- You may have children or pets that like to jump or play on the sofa. Leather sofas may be far less forgiving for rough-housing than “bouncier” upholstered fabric cushions.
- If you’re not a fan of the feel of leather (and that’s okay, some people just don’t like leather) but are persuaded by the way that the leather looks, don’t compromise on comfort and hope you’ll get used to it. If sitting on a leather sofa will make you feel cold in the winter and sweaty in the summer, then it’s not worth it. You could put a throw over it, but then why not just buy a fabric sofa? Though if your indoor temperature is quite consistent throughout the year, this is unlikely to be an issue.
- Genuine leather isn’t all the same. You need to know what you’re looking for. Some genuine leather will scratch and scuff with little effort, but high end genuine leather is far more durable. It can be difficult to tell the difference without the help of an unbiased expert, so it might be a gamble.
- Less variety in terms of colours and patterns.
Different types of Leather Sofa
Aniline leather has little to no surface coating to protect the sofa from spills and scratches, but is the most natural looking so can be very aesthetically pleasing if you’re not worried about the risks. Aniline leather sofas may be dyed with colour but you can see more of the natural visual qualities of the animal hide than you can with a coated leather.
Semi-aniline leather has a slightly thicker protective coating than aniline. It is more resistant to staining than completely aniline leather due to the small amount of pigment, and the colour dye of the sofa will be more consistent across the sofa as a whole.
Pigmented leather has a polymer coating that protects the leather more. The majority of leather sofas use pigmented leather to ensure durability against scratching, scuffing and fading. There are various types of pigmented leather sofas that can effect the thickness and look of the leather surface. Full grain pigmented leather will have the protective coating applied without any alterations to the grain of the natural leather surface, while corrected grain pigmented leather will have its imperfections sanded or buffed before the coating is applied. A grain pattern may be embossed onto the corrected grain pigmented leather afterwards which will result in the same look and feel as full grain pigmented leather. If you’re after a more weathered look, you can opt for “antique grain” which uses a darker-toned top layer of colour coating which is then rubbed away slightly to give a worn appearance.
What about Faux Leather Sofas?
Other than the price, you might be asking, what’s the difference between faux leather and real leather sofas? Obviously, if you’re an animal lover, the biggest difference is the fact that genuine leather comes from animal hide. In which case, faux leather makes a great animal-free alternative if you still appreciate the look and feel of leather. However, faux leather sofas are far less durable than real leather sofas and are therefore prone to rips and scratches. They also feel stiffer, as genuine leather sofas become more supple and more comfortable with use whereas fake leather doesn’t age so authentically. However, for this same reason, faux leather is unlikely to crack or fade as quickly.
Whichever style of sofa you choose,
browse through our collection to see if one catches your eye…