How to Pick Out a Leather Sofa for Your Home and Lifestyle

If you are in the market for a new leather sofa or sectional, make sure you do your research. Leather is a very durable material on furniture. It can last up to five times longer than regular upholstery and is very easy to care for. But there are different grades of leather that need extra care, so if you have children or pets, you will need to make sure that you are choosing the right sofa.


    • 1

      Understand the differences in styles and grades of leather. When shopping for a leather piece of furniture, you will notice they sell in a wide range of prices. Most of the time this is due to higher grades of leather vs. lower grades as well as 100 percent leather and leather vinyl matches. Learn the differences so that you will know whether or not you are getting something that will last, something that is priced fairly, and what is easier to care for.

    • 2

      If you are purchasing a leather sofa that is 100 percent top grain leather with a higher grade leather, expect to spend quite a bit more. A leather sofa that is split grain (that is usually made from the second layer of skin and is sometimes made into a suede or into shoes) and lower grade of leather will be under $1000.

      Grades of leather are determined by the condition of the hide or skin when it is first examined. A skin with more markings, mosquito bites, barbed wire markings, and other issues falls into a lower grade. The leather will be buffed and corrected to make it look better, but it will be priced lower because it isn't showing much of its natural beauty anymore. The hides in higher grade leathers are in better condition, so less maintenance is done and they are worth more.

    • 3

      If you have kids, you can buy a sofa with a protectant on it. It is usually found in a lower grade of leather (which can look as nice as a higher grade, but may not be as soft and supple as the more expensive high grade). You can buy the 100 percent top grain leather and pay a little more or select the 100 percent leather with the split grain on the sides. Split grains are a little less sturdy, but they are still more durable than upholstery.

    • 4

      If you are looking for a good quality leather sofa, do not have any kids to worry about, and price isn't much of an issue, look at a full grain sofa (which require little correction on the hides and are very soft and supple).

    • 5

      You will find that leather reclining sofas are quite a bit more, especially if it has 100 percent leather. To save a little extra you can look at leather with leather match sides. The vinyl match is such a good replica that you wouldn't know the difference.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a leather lotion once a year to keep it from cracking.
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  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

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