Buying a Leather Sofa

Buying a new sofa can be a challenge, but with a little bit of knowledge it can be fun looking for the perfect leather sofa!

A sofa isn’t cheap, so if you decide you don’t like the upholstery later, it can be a costly mistake.

A good quality leather sofa will last longer than fabric, but knowing something about leather will help you avoid overpaying for a cheap one or getting imitation leather when you thought your were getting the real deal!

Buying a leather sofa will add style to your room decor. Knowing about the quality of leather and construction will help you get the most from your investment.

Here are our tips on shopping for a leather sofa:

Know Your Leather Grades

The least expensive, bonded leather is made from scraps of leather that are bonded together to form a single piece. It may look like a single piece of leather, but will not have the strength and quality of a true leather hide.

Split grain leather is a step up from bonded. The hide is split into the inner and outer most layers, with the inner layer being called split grain. Since it is one piece of leather hide, split grain is higher quality than bonded and will often have the label “genuine leather.

Your lifestyle will be a big part of what leather sofa you purchase. If you have pets or kids, that full grain leather sofa could be more expense than its worth!Top grain leather is made from the outer most layer of a hide, and will be sanded or processed to conceal imperfections. Top grain is stronger and a higher quality leather than split grain because the outer layer is the most durable. Top grain leather may have texture applied during manufacturing to give it the look of an exotic alligator, ostrich or other type of skin.

Full grain leather also comes from outer most layer of the hide and is the highest grade available. Unlike top grain, it is not sanded or processed, which leaves the natural grain and markings of the hide intact. Full grain leather offers the most premium durability, strength and beauty of the leather.

There are also variations in how manufacturers prepare and finish the leather. An aniline dye offers the best finish to protect your leather sofa from scratches, stains or fading. Semi-aniline finishes will have less of this protective coating. Pigmented leather is usually made from a lower grade hide treated with surface color and may be stiffer than a higher quality full grain aniline leather.

Picking a leather sofa style can be challenging; you have so many shapes and styles to choose from, like this very modern curved sofa with attached end table.Pick a Style That Matches Your Room

Be sure to measure your room and door openings and determine the placement of your sofa before you go shopping and take a drawing of the room with the dimensions with you. You don’t want to find the perfect sofa and then get it home and find it doesn’t fit through your front door or that it blocks a doorway!

A Sectional unit can have the advantage of various configurations to work in your room, or you might select a smaller sofa and matching love seat or sofa to better fit your space.

Color is another big decision. If you are selecting a high quality full grain leather sofa, you might select a more natural finish and color that best shows the full beauty and texture of the leather.

Most retailers offer free swatches you can take home to get a sense of which color works best with your wall paint, other furnishings, accessories and art work.

Of course, you will also have style and shape to consider. Do you want a sofa with modern lines to match your contemporary decor? Or do you prefer the more shapely and curvy traditional shape?

Shop Around for the Best Value

The best thing is to go to shops and try sitting in a bunch of sofas to get a sense of various comfort, style and finish options. Will it be comfy to lie on and take an afternoon nap? Will the family be comfortable together watching a movie on the flat screen? Will the dog or cat scratch the full grain leather? If so, you might be better off with a top grain or split grain leather sofa that you don’t have to worry so much about being trashed by kids, pets or guests.

High quality leather furniture is an element of home decorating that you will appreciate and enjoy for many years.Be sure to ask sales people questions about frame quality, construction and warranties. A solid hardwood frame will generally make your leather sofa last much longer than lower quality frame materials. Another thing to look for is that some manufacturers use a different grade of leather on the sides or back.

Once you find the manufacturer, style, color and other details you want, you might consider shopping around online for the best price. While you’ll have to pay shipping cost, you could still save money. Shipping cost, warranty and return policies vary greatly with online retailers, so be sure to compare before making your purchase.

Don’t forget to factor sales tax and delivery costs into your budget. You could also save money by borrowing a truck from a friend or neighbor and save on delivery cost! Buying a new leather sofa can be fun and taking time to shop for the right one will give you comfort and style that you will enjoy for many years.

3 Responses to Buying a Leather Sofa

  1. johney says:

    When you buy a leather sofa it is important to make the right decision as it is an investment in your comfort. Whether you choose real leather, faux leather, aniline leather, brown, black or any other color leather there are deciding factors that should be taken into consideration that will help you choose the sofa for you.

    Thanks For Sharing..

    Leather Sofa

  2. Angie says:

    I was told by a salesperson that bonded leather would be the best choice for a home with pets. The sample piece was impossible to scratch. She also said that the better quality “real” leather grades would show much more abuse from our dog’s nails. We want to get a decent quality but also want something that will hold up to our dog, as it will be impossible to keep her off when we are not home. Our previous purchases were various fabric and none of them seem to hold up and all are hard to keep clean. Any advice?

    • Kelly Wilson says:

      Bonded leather is made up of about 20% leather, mixed with scraps and adhesive to form a durable material. It costs a lot less, but it’s reported that bonded leather doesn’t last as long as genuine leather and doesn’t wear as well. It’s difficult to tell bonded leather apart from the genuine thing EXCEPT for the furniture tag. If you plan on having your couch for only a few years, it might be worth trying bonded leather. I also have a dog, and microfiber has worked really well for us – it doesn’t have any loops to snag on our dog’s nails, and if it’s patterned you can hide stains.

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