As a consumer, I find it helpful to break down my buying decisions into straightforward pros and cons.
While shopping for a new leather couch, I was drawn to the aesthetic appeal.
But, I was still determining the advantages (and disadvantages) compared to a traditional fabric sofa.
To help YOU out, I've compiled a list of the pros and cons of owning a leather sofa.
I hope this makes your next furniture buying decision easier.
Pros Of Owning A Leather Sofa
1. Leather Sofas Are More Durable
Leather sofas on average last roughly 15-20 years, depending on the quality of the furniture purchased, which compares with about five years for fabric sofas.
If you want something expendable and affordable that will get you through the first 3-4 years in your new home, buy an inexpensive fabric sofa.
Most homeowners always opt for the easier, cheaper option (think IKEA) but I promise you will thank me later if you think longer term with your furniture purchases.
2. Leather Sofas Are Easier To Clean Than Fabric Sofas
I've owned various types of fabric sofas over the years, and cleaning has always been a problem.
Blends of polyester make things more difficult, because if you use the wrong chemicals on a synthetic fabric couch, you might leave a stain that never comes off.
Not so with leather; cleaning is a breeze.
Most spills can be wiped off with a simple wet microfiber cloth and there are many great cleaning products available for leather furniture.
I have an old fabric couch that I can't even give away due to some of the stains from my kids.
3. Leather Sofas Have Better Stain Protection
Spill a glass of wine on a white fabric sofa (absent some of the newer stain protection materials) you might as well have plans on getting a new couch.
Spill it on a leather sofa and you'll likely be able to blot out the liquid before it has a chance to seep into the leather upholstery.
Of course, stain protection will depend on the type of leather sofa purchased - thus, some aniline full grain leathers with less protection might not be the best option for families with small children.
I recommend looking for protective leathers that have better stain protection.
4. Leather Sofas Have Good Resale Value
If you buy a high quality, top name leather sofa brand, there's a good chance you'll be able to sell it many years from now.
Buy an expensive fabric sofa and the odds are that in ten years that couch will be set out on your doorstep with little value.
Vintage resale of leather sofas is at an all time record high, especially with some mid-century modern leather pieces.
Imagine, something purchased back in the 1960's is still earning top dollar today!
5. Leather Sofas Are Hypoallergenic
Unlike fabric upholstery, which can trap and harbor common allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, the smooth surface of leather allows for easy cleaning and minimal allergen accumulation.
This absence of weave in leather means fewer hiding spots for allergens. Additionally, leather doesn't retain moisture as readily as fabric, reducing the potential for mold and mildew growth.
While leather itself can be hypoallergenic, it's worth noting that some treatments or dyes used in leather processing might cause reactions in sensitive individuals. However, such instances are exceptions.
6. Leather Sofas Age Gracefully
Leather can develop a unique patina over time, which many people find appealing.
It can give the sofa a beautiful, aged look that's rich in character.
What Is A Patina?
It's a soft sheen that emerges on the surface, resulting from natural aging. This patina gives the leather a rich, vintage look, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
With years of use, the sofa can display subtle variations in color and texture, adding depth and a distinct personality to the piece.
This graceful aging process contrasts with many synthetic materials, which may degrade or wear out uniformly, losing their initial charm.
For many, a leather sofa's ability to age beautifully is a representation of its authenticity, durability, and timeless value.
Cons of Owning A Leather Sofa
1. Leather Sofas Are More Expensive Than Fabric Sofas
You can find an inexpensive fabric couch for less than $1000, whereas a quality leather sofa is going to start near $2500.
Thus for some homeowners, fabric might be the only way to get ownership of a new sofa.
If your budget is $1000, don't buy the faux leather sofas that are found on many of the big furniture websites.
It might look pretty in the picture, but will have minimal longevity.
Instead, I'd recommend setting up your budget and saving money each month to put towards a future leather sofa purchase.
2. Leather Sofas Can Scratch Easily
If you have a cat or a super aggressive dog that likes to scratch things, leather might not be the type of furniture for you.
Although leather furniture makes clean up of shedding pet hair a lot easier than fabric furniture, there is a high susceptibility of leather sofas getting scratched by your pets.
Note, if you do have a leather sofa with scratches, be sure to check our guide which reviews some of the best tips on removing scratches from leather furniture.
3. Leather Sofas Can Feel Cold To The Touch
I admittedly spend a lot of time sleeping on my leather sofa, and there are times when it's a bit chilly in my house where the leather just makes things a little bit colder.
Not something a few warm blankets can't fix, but there is something to be said for consumers that might have a very cold home; sometimes leather isn't the right answer.
In addition, leather also gets warmer in the summer months, not quite the like leather in your car, but still it can be annoying to some.
It doesn't truly bother me personally, but something to consider.
4. Leather Sofas Have Limited Color/Pattern Options
If you are trying to match a color pattern in your home, your options are going to be limited with leather sofas.
Of course you get the normal variations of brown and black leather along with the different pigmented/dyed leathers that produce a solid color.
But of course, if you really need some sort of checkered or striped print to match you decor, it isn't going to happen with leather.
This is when fabric sofas might be your best choice.
However, in my mind, most leather furniture in the right color can look great in any room in the house.
Something I missed? Let me know below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org