When deciding to purchase a new sofa, a big part of the buying decision comes down to the longevity of the couch. Leather sofas last much longer than typical fabric based couches, but in reality, there are many variables to consider.
So, how long should a leather sofa last?
Leather is very durable and lasts 15 to 20 years compared with about five years with fabric. The quality of the leather sofa you purchase is the most important factor in determining longevity.
Higher quality top grain leathers can often times last in excess of twenty-five years. However, some cheaper leathers, especially 'faux-leathers' will fall apart within only a few years following the purchase.
I wanted to dive deeper into why some leather couches last longer than others.
Here are my findings into the key factors that determine longevity in a leather couch.
Leather Quality Is The Most Important Factor In Predicting Sofa Longevity
After speaking with several furniture store owners, the consensus is that leather quality is the number one factor in determining the longevity of a leather sofa.
The old saying 'you get what you pay for' couldn't be more relevant in the world of leather furniture.
So how do you determine quality when choosing a new leather sofa?
First, avoid the cheap bi-cast leather couches (more on this in our 'What Is Leather?' piece), which are definitely cheap for a reason.
If you have an unlimited budget and can afford a full top grain, or to a lesser extent, a 'top grain' leather, go for it.
Genuine Leathers and Bonded or Bi-Cast Leathers are not generally recommended and typically will have a much shorter lifespan.
Also, consider your lifestyle.
If you have no children and your couch doesn't necessarily see a high amount of traffic, a full top-grain leather might be okay, considering that you have a nearly unlimited budget.
Families are better off looking to semi-aniline top grain couches, which have more durability and much better stain protection.
Consider your couch as an investment - the more you spend now, the better off you'll be. Translation - if you buy a CHEAP couch, you'll likely end up needing to buy a new one a few years down the line.
On the flip side, spending more money now to get a top of the line top grain leather couch will pay dividends down the line, meaning that it could be a piece of furniture you hold onto for the rest of your adult life.
Care Of Your Leather Couch Is Also Important
While the quality of the leather materials in the sofa is the number one factor in sofa longevity, a close second is the care and maintenance of your furniture.
First, leather sofas do not do well with direct sunlight, so if your couch is in the direct line of the sun's powerful rays, expect to wear out your couch a lot sooner than anticipated. Be sure to position your leather couch away from direct sun exposure or even consider using window coverings to help slow fading.
Proper maintenance of your leather couch is extremely important. Most homeowners believe that leather couches are indestructible and don't need any care, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Most furniture makers recommend a cleaning and conditioning twice a year.
If you avoid the maintenance part of the equation, expect a lot less life out of your new leather couch. There aren't the same set of instructions for all leather furniture, thus we recommend consulting with the manufacturer to get their recommended cleaning advice.
Note that bonded or bi-cast leathers should never be conditioned. Remember these are not real leathers and contain a lot of synthetic materials, thus a normal leather cleaner or conditioner will damage the surface. See the manufacturer's website to get proper cleaning instructions.
Buy From A Trusted Leather Sofa Manufacturer
Remember that leather is only one part of the equation. Typically you want to buy a leather sofa from a reputable manufacturer that prides itself on quality craftsmanship.
Some mid century leather couches might look great but under the surface, they may have cut corners (and materials) in order to produce the couch at a lower cost then is required.
Thus we highly recommend consulting our guide on the Best Leather Sofa Brands in order to get some insight into the best companies to purchase from.
Not only is leather quality key, but the quality of the sofa frame and the suspension system used. Please see our guide on identifying sofas with high quality construction.
Thus, in conclusion, if you are in the market for a leather couch, first remember that leather and frame quality is certainly a big factor in determining the ultimate longevity of your couch.
But, secondly and almost as important is a proper cleaning and conditioning schedule, which most recommend twice a year.
And, lastly, be sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer that takes pride in the quality of their furniture.
By following these tips you can certainly maximize your chances of having a leather couch that lasts for many years to come.
We hope this guide was helpful and please feel free to leave any comments or questions below!