Leather Sofas – Everything You Need To Know

You’ve made the decision to purchase a leather sofa for your living room, which is fantastic. Leather is certainly easier to care for – definitely much easier than fabric sofas – and leather looks smart and classy in any space.


In this post we’re discussing real leather versus faux leather, the look and feel of leather, and the styling and maintenance of leather sofas.

The Difference Between Real and Faux Leather

Williamsburg 3 seater sofa

For many people, the feel and smell of real leather is earthy and luxurious. Genuine leather sofas are certainly more expensive than faux leather sofas, real leather is soft yet strong and has unique but natural characteristics. As it ages, real leather becomes more supple and definitely more comfortable. Did you know there are different kinds of leather? The type of leather determines it’s look and it’s thickness. When it comes to sofas, genuine leather is typically divided into semi aniline, pure aniline, and pigmented categories.

Semi-Aniline Leather


This type of leather is initially dyed with an aniline dye, re-dyed with a light colour, then topped with a protective coating, ultimately evening out the dye across the hide. Semi-aniline leather is usually softer than pigmented leather, and if you’re not really fond of the appearance of natural hide this leather would be a good choice.

Pure Aniline Leather


This leather is the most natural looking and is often reserved for top-quality hides. Treatment consists of a tumbling process which adds softness to the leather and enhances its natural grain. Pure aniline leather typically fades really well. This leather is resistant to scratches and spills and is the most delicate of these three types.


Pigmented Leather


This type of leather is initially dyed in a base colour, re-dyed in another colour, then finished off with a polymer coating, giving the leather maximum protection. This treatment gives the leather an extra firm feel, at the same time covering the natural markings of the hide. If you decide to purchase a sofa created from this type of leather you’ll have access to a wider selection of colours. If you’re looking for sun resistance and maximum stain, then pigmented leather is the way to go.

Faux Leather


More and more we’re seeing people choosing not to purchase genuine leather, and if this is you, then you should know that faux leather makes the perfect alternative to genuine leather. You may simply be cost-conscious, or you may be an animal lover or vegan, if you choose to take the faux leather road you won’t be disappointed. Just be aware that faux leather will feel stiffer and probably won’t age as well as genuine leather, but on the other hand, it’s a great choice if you don’t want your sofa to fade or crack. The majority of faux leather sofas ae made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or PU (polyurethane).


Which Colour Will You Choose For Your Leather Sofa?


When you think of a leather sofa you may instinctively picture a brown or tan colour. In actuality, leather sofas are available in a wide variety of colours. However, browns and tans remain the most popular leather sofa colours as they induce a more authentic leather feel. The colour and darkness of your leather sofa will always come down to personal preference and style choices. Darker browns are a classic, antique-style look that won’t date, while lighter or tan colours provide a more contemporary or fresh look. Consider the style of the rest of your house and whether you intend your leather sofa to blend in with existing furniture or to standout as a feature piece.

​Styling Your Leather Sofa


Sofas are large, bulky furniture items that tend to set the tone and style of a room. When choosing your sofa style, consider whether you want your room to have a luxurious, formal, or casual, or homey feel. A darker leather sofa can appear heavy – especially in a smaller room. Lighten the look and feel of your room by using soft, light-coloured curtains, rugs, throws, and cushions to offset a darker sofa. Consider placing one or more other large furniture items in the same room, such as a floor lamp, bookcase, or full length mirror to offset the largeness of the sofa.


If you feel that your sofa has a stark appearance, use plush cushions to make the sofa appear more inviting. Use colours that already appear in other areas of the room to create a cohesive look. Avoid sateen cushions as these will naturally slip out of place on a leather sofa. Another decorative alternative to soften the look of a dark or conservative leather sofa is to use a throw over the back, perhaps made of sheepskin.



As a natural product, leather must not be placed in direct sunlight as discolouration and fading will result. To avoid wearing out one portion of the sofa faster than others, ensure you move your cushions around and try to sit in different positions on the sofa from time to time.


The beauty of a leather sofa is that everyday messes and spills can be wiped away in a matter of seconds with a damp cloth. Make sure you wipe away spills immediately to ensure there is no time for liquids to seep into the surface, potentially causing a stain that will be hard to remove later.


Leather sofas can be a mixed blessing for pet owners. While pet dander and dust mites won’t sink into leather as they do in more porous fabrics, deep scratches caused by pet claws can be difficult or even impossible to repair.



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