When I was shopping for a leather sofa (well before getting educated on the leather industry), I considered buying a used one.
My wife and I decided to find a super expensive, high-quality, brand-name sofa (like Restoration Hardware) at a discount.
I shopped on second-hand marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace but started feeling disgusted by what I found.
Leather is a bit of a different material. It's undoubtedly the most durable of all furniture types, but it can also trap many liquids and moisture.
After initially considering the purchase of a used leather couch, my constant thoughts about bodily fluids (and even bugs) seeping into the leather gave me pause.
But that's just me. I have readers asking me a bit about different expensive leather brands and if they might consider a used leather sofa at a discount.
While there are some great benefits to buying a used couch, there are also some potential downsides. This blog post will explore the pros and cons of buying a used leather couch to help you make an informed decision.
Pros Of Buying A Used Leather Couch
If you are a budget-conscious consumer, buying a used leather sofa is a great alternative.
If the thought of an expensive, brand-name leather sofa (at a more reasonable price) excites you, then a used leather sofa might be an attractive option.
The FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) crowd is a big believer in shopping frugally, and used furniture certainly fits into this mindset.
Buying a used leather sofa can save you some money. An average new leather sofa of decent quality typically runs around $2500 to $3000. You can find the same couch, only a few years old, for around $1000.
Considering the average leather sofa lasts around 20 years, we soon realize that buying a used one might be a good idea.
Also, did you know that a brand-new leather sofa depreciates by over 30% on average after only one year of use?
A leather sofa purchased for $3000 last year would be worth only $2300 today (based on estimates from Spitwise.com)
2. Unique Styles
Another benefit of buying a used leather couch is the opportunity to find a unique style that you may not be able to find in a new couch.
Often times, used couches are vintage or antique pieces that offer a different, one of a kind style that isn't necessarily in vogue any more.
And the old saying 'they don't make them like they used to' certainly applies to furniture as well. Many mass produced pieces today are made in a manufacturing line and aren't hand assembled like a lot of high quality vintage furniture.
This can be a great option for those who are looking for a unique and one-of-a-kind piece to add to their home.
3. Environmentally Friendly
Environmentally friendly: Buying used furniture is an environmentally friendly option as it reduces the need for new furniture to be manufactured. This helps to reduce the environmental impact of the furniture industry and also keeps usable furniture out of landfills.
4. Ability To Buy Designer Brand At Fraction Of The Price
Restoration Hardware, Ethan Allen, Mitchell Gold - Bob Williams, and Bauhaus are all expensive brands. And many of these brands often show up on used furniture marketplaces for sale.
Shoot for the higher-end neighborhoods.
You'll know the higher-priced areas of your vicinity, so if you're on Craigslist. You see a lovely sofa for sale by a seller in a nice part of town; the odds are the leather sofa a)was expensive, b)probably well taken care of, and c)the seller is willing to let go of it for well under the initial cost.
Heck, even scouting these areas in your car could land you a lovely, free leather sofa. Also, be sure to check out your local town Facebook groups. Some even have a 'Nothing For Sale' group in which community members give stuff away for free.
The one caveat is that sellers often think they can get a ridiculous price for their name brand furniture.
So, if you feel like a seller has unrealistic expectations, just move on. Of course, for any of the best leather sofa brands we've covered, if you can find one that's only a year or two old at a reasonable price, it might be well worth your time.
Cons Of Buying A Used Leather Couch
1. Wear and Tear
One of the biggest downsides to buying a used leather couch is the potential for wear and tear. Used couches may have been well-loved, which can result in scratches, stains, and other signs of wear. It's important to thoroughly inspect a used couch before making a purchase to ensure that it's in good condition.
I would only purchase a used leather sofa if it is ALMOST new, maybe less than a year old.
You always run into sellers who bought a couch, and it didn't fit their room or décor and didn't feel like returning the sofa, or the return period ended. Those are the ones I would pounce on without any question. A leather sofa that's a few months old and barely used can be cleaned and disinfected with no concerns.
Another potential downside of buying a used leather couch is the potential for cleanliness issues. Used couches may not have been well-maintained and may be dirty or have a musty odor. This can be a major concern for those with allergies or sensitivities.
Watch out for bed bugs.
Yes, absent the bodily fluid concerns, bed bugs are a genuine concern, and I've heard of a friend who found a used couch to discover it was infested. I've heard from some frugal-minded consumers online that covering the sofa in black plastic bags and leaving the furniture out in the sun for a day or two can remove any bug issues.
But, again, try to get a pulse on the person you are buying the sofa from. Hate to say it, but the location matters. If you pull up to the seller's house and it is in complete disarray - outside and inside, the odds of a bug infestation are that much higher.
I will note that I would much rather buy a used LEATHER couch, as opposed to a used FABRIC couch.
While leather certainly has a porous nature, a fabric sofa is a hotbed of disgustingness.
A used couch may not be as high quality as a new couch. Leather couches can last for a long time but often the quality of the leather is not as good as a new couch. It is important to check the quality of the leather before making a purchase.
Note, I would probably never buy any leather (or any fabric) sofa over ten years old, and over five years would probably be pushing it unless I was targeting something vintage. That's another story for another day.
4. Limited Warranty
Many used couches do not come with a warranty or guarantee, which can be a major concern for those who want to ensure that their purchase is protected. This means that if something goes wrong with the couch, you may be responsible for the repairs
What are your thoughts?
Have you ever scored an incredible, used leather sofa on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace?
Let us know in the comments below.