A Guide: How to Buy the Best Leather Sofa


There are different quality levels of leather sofas that distinguish every piece, whether it is the frame underneath or the leather itself. When you understand how to check the quality of leather sofas, this will help you buy the best.

1. Know the methods of dyeing leather furniture

Pigmented leather – the dye is mixed with a protective coating and dyed just directly on the surface. This is usually the cheapest option. While this is a durable and low-cost option, most of the time, people want a buttery feel from their leather and pigmented leather does not offer that. It can also look unnatural.

Aniline leather – the leather is dyed in a drum. The colour impregnates the whole piece of leather and provides a lasting finish. This is the most natural-looking because the animal hide remains visible.

Semi-aniline leather – the process of dyeing this leather is like in aniline leather, but the dye only fills the surface to give it more of a coating. Compared to aniline, semi-aniline is more durable, but it also retains a natural appearance.

2. Check sofas in your chosen leather style: pigmented, aniline, or semi-aniline

understanding different types of leather - pigmented leather, pure anilene leather and semi anilene

Do not buy pieces that are a combination of vinyl and leather. This sofa may look appealing, but in the long run, the leather will last longer than the vinyl and you need to reupholster parts of the sofa or buy a new one.

Aniline leather – The creases are distinct because they have not been filled out by a surface coating. Another thing to note is that the grain pattern depends on the species (sheep in this case) and the part of the animal it came from.

Semi-aniline leather – This falls somewhere in-between on both counts, and has a light surface coating. Notice that the creases are much less distinct because they’ve been partially filled by the surface coating, as if the surface has been layered with a thin coat of paint.

Pigmented (protected) leather – Being the most durable among all, the creases of the grain pattern have been filled out as if the surface was painted over several times. In this case, the grain pattern in the photo was embossed onto the finished leather. It’s hard to distinguish if this was full grain or corrected grain without examining it under a microscope.

3. Sit on the sofa and move side to side, fall naturally into the sofa, and lean backwards into the frame

choosing leather sofa for your home
Photo credit: The Wire Cutter

If you hear any squeaking or feel any movement, the frame underneath the sofa is probably of poor construction or quality. Be careful as well with high-end leather sofas, because this can also happen to them. Therefore, do not ever miss this step.

4. Examine the padding

examine leather sofa padding
Photo credit: Modhomeec.com

In any area of the sofa that there is padding, you should not feel its frame. A good option is to check out sofas wherein the padded areas have removable covers. This way, you can redo them in the long run.

With the best leather pieces, the leather will last a lot longer than any padding, so without removable covers, you will need to take out the leather and replace the padding or buy a new sofa. Any sofa that is easy to repair after a period of time to prolong its lifespan is definitely of better quality that those that are not.

5. Inspect the stitching

inspect the leather sofa stitching
Photo credit: Ambiente Furniture

Make sure that stitches are not wearing out and every leather piece look really tight, like it is glued to the leather.

6. Ask questions

leather couch frame
Photo credit: Pinterest

Find out the type of wood used in the frame. Remember that hardwood is more durable than softwood. Moreover, look into the coils for the support. The best one is tempered steel.

7. Visit a furniture store

It doesn’t harm to visit a furniture store that has a huge inventory or one that specializes in leather. This will offer you many choices that you can compare.

These steps give you information about the basic elements of high-quality leather sofas. You can now compare brands and styles to find the best one that suits your lifestyle. Leather sofas need to be maintained well, so if you need help cleaning your favourite sofa, contact our professional upholstery cleaners on Kaodim! 

Guest Author: Akshay works as an Interior Designer with Lalco Interiors and he is in love with his job. Thinking up interesting home décor ideas and helping clients implement them is what makes him tick. You can catch up with Akshay and his team and indulge in one of their beautiful home décor pieces for your home at Lalco Interiors – Furniture Showrooms In Bangalore.