For my entire life, I've always relied on the wisdom of crowds to help guide my purchasing decisions.
When Amazon first started, its review system seemed like a breath of fresh air, allowing us, the consumers, to provide ratings to the masses.
However, we soon discovered that online reviews are easily manipulated and ultimately not all that trustworthy.
In fact, as I've mentioned here before, I don't typically trust furniture retailers that offer reviews on their website; those reviews can easily be filtered or manipulated without anyone knowing.
Thus, this is why I often try to scour the web, seeking out the opinions of those that actually have first hand experience. Note, it's also one of the reasons I started this website - to help provide consumers with unfiltered and unbiased furniture reviews.
So, for consumers, online forums and discussion boards can be a great place to find that wisdom of the crowds.
Here are five great leather furniture forums that you can use to help guide your future purchasing decisions.
My Furniture Forum
MyFurnitureForum.com is probably the most comprehensive online forum available online for leather furniture shoppers. There is a bit of a bias I should note however. Its owner, Duane Collie, owns a furniture store called The Keeping Room that has relationships with several different leather furniture manufacturers.
Thus, you will often see Mr. Collie recommending many of the brands he sells in his store, such as Hancock & Moore or Bradington Young. However, based on my research, these brands are among the best leather sofa brands on the market; thus his bias certainly appears warranted.
Overall, the forum has great discussions on the different types of leather and various information regarding purchasing a leather sofa. Consider it a great resource if you are looking for more information on leather furniture and need additional education.
Leather Cleaning Restoration Forum
Another leather furniture forum with a clear bias, the Leather Cleaning Restoration forum owner, is Roger Koh. He owns Leather Doctor, a company that provides a host of leather care products. Thus, many of the answers on the forum are from Koh himself, who is recommending various Leather Doctor cleaning kits.
However, there is still some good informative discussion happening on the forum. Koh is great about providing information on a visitor’s leather type and the appropriate products to help restore, clean, or repair a sofa. I would like to get more information on the quality of Leather Doctor's products, so if you have purchased any of their cleaning or repair kits, leave me a note in the comments below.
Houzz Furniture Discussions
Houzz is a large website that has a community of designers and consumers that discuss furniture and design. While Houzz doesn't have a dedicated leather forum, they have a furniture forum, where people ask questions about different brands, furniture types, etc.
Houzz is a good resource for opinions on furniture manufacturers and whether the quality is good or not. The search is a bit confusing, but you can enter any keywords at the input box near the top of the page. Here's an example of a design-based question, where a consumer asks if they can mix a brown leather sofa with a teal-colored chair. (my answer is yes :))
I'm a big fan of Reddit and I love crowdsourcing opinions and reviews from redditors, regarding their experience with specific furniture brands. For those not familiar with Reddit, it consists of thousands of different 'subreddits' or topic categories, where people discuss different interests.
Reddit does have several subreddits where good discussion is happening on leather furniture. Here are a few:
Bogleheads Consumer Forum
A unique choice, the Bogleheads.com forum members focus on low-cost investing; however, the forum has excellent discussions on everything, ranging from saving money on different types of consumer-based products, including furniture.
The Personal Consumer Issues section of Bogleheads.org is excellent for anyone looking for crowdsourced opinions before buying anything of significance. And I've discovered many discussions about leather furniture in the forum.
Now, since these folks like to save money, they aren't likely to recommend any Restoration Hardware sofas, but I think you'll find the discussions helpful and informative overall.