We Tested Every Leather Sofa At West Elm – Here’s Our Review


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Drawn in by West Elm's eye-catching ads and their new store in our area, their leather sofas piqued my interest. 

Were these stylish pieces as good as they looked, and did they offer real value for their price?

I embarked on a thorough exploration of West Elm's leather sofa collection, aiming to cut through the mixed online chatter.

My review tackles the key issues buyers face: are these sofas worth the wait, and how do they stack up in material quality against more budget-friendly options, like those from Amazon?

If you'd like to leave a review of a West Elm leather sofa, please tell us about your experience in the comments below.


Key Takeaway

With an array of sofa collections like Haven, Hamilton, and Axel, West Elm offers a variety of styles and options. However, potential buyers should be aware of mixed feedback regarding wait times and furniture quality. While top-grain leather is used, some customers have found comparable alternatives at lower prices. 

West Elm At A Glance:

  • Stylish modern designs under the Williams Sonoma umbrella
  • Ability to visit nearby showrooms to view furniture in person
  • Very wide selection of leather sofas, chairs and recliners
  • Concerns about quality, based on negative customer reviews
  • No explicit warranty policy
  • Many complaints about wait times







What's The Background Of West Elm?

West Elm is an American furniture store which started with a catalog and mostly online presence in 2002 but has in past years expanded its brick and mortar footprint significantly.  

West Elm's first location opened its doors on New York City's Upper East Side in 2002 with only three employees. Today there are over 100 stores, but the company is heavily focused on an omnichannel retail approach in which customers can view pieces in store and leverage the company's virtual design services

Center passageway through Empire Stores connecting Water Street to the open-air courtyard ,where West Elm is located in NY.  Image courtesy Caroline Culler (User:Wgreaves)

Most don't realize that West Elm is owned by Williams Sonoma, which is a publicly traded company (ticker WSM) that owns the namesake Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm brands. West Elm is the company's fastest growing segment and now accounts for roughly 25% of overall sales.  

West Elm was started in order to create "a modern aesthetic for the masses" targeting younger consumers in their 20s to 30s but over time the appeal of West Elm's furniture has certainly broadened to cover many different demographics and age groups.  

Today, West Elm competes with the likes of more modern online furniture retailers like Article, Burrow and Lulu & Georgia.

Who Makes Furniture For West Elm?

I dug into the investor filings for Williams Sonoma and found that they have a multitude of suppliers, with roughly 65% of their furniture sourced from foreign vendors, predominantly in Asia and Europe. 

In addition, they do have manufacturing facilities located in North Carolina, California, Oregon and Mississippi.

One newer initiative is West Elm LOCAL, for which the retailer offers different products that are produced by local artisans. I'm not sure what the relationship is for a local seller with West Elm, but I found a few leather pieces that looked interesting. 

One was this leather pouf made by a small furniture company from Utah called Gathre


Even despite the claims ofWest Elm having their own manufacturing prowess, I did find a multitude of Reddit posts that discuss the poor quality of West Elm.

Is West Elm Furniture Good Quality?

West Elm's range of sofas, including popular collections like Haven, Hamilton, and Axel, has garnered attention for their modern designs and aesthetic appeal. But beyond the visual allure, how does the quality of these sofas hold up?


Axel Sofa Living Room

My research indicates that West Elm offers a reasonable level of quality, especially when considering their price point. These sofas may not be the most durable option on the market, but they offer a viable choice for those who value a mix of contemporary style, comfort, and affordability.

Craftsmanship and Durability

The quality of a leather sofa isn't determined by the leather alone. The construction plays a crucial role in its overall durability and comfort.

However, I found that on nearly all of their sofa frames, West Elm is using a combination of solid woods and engineered woods, which are of inferior quality to a sofa made with a solid hardwood frame. From our guide to high quality sofa construction:

"Engineered woods are the least desirable type of frame and are best avoided if possible.  Engineered woods break more easily and don't hold screws as well as plywood and solid hardwoods."

West Elm's sofas use a sinuous spring suspension system which is the most common suspension system on the market. It is inferior to an eight-way-hand tied suspension system but still will tend to have good durability over time. 

Evaluating the Leather Quality of West Elm Sofas


A West Elm Haven Sectional (link)

On their website, West Elm states that their hides are all top-grain, which is the highest quality part of the hide. 

Moreover, they emphasize the use of full aniline leather, reserved for the top 5% of hides. This type of leather is known for its natural appearance and is highly valued in the furniture industry.

However, it's important to note that top-grain leather, while high quality, is not the same as full grain. Top grain leather undergoes a process where the very top layer is removed, making it thinner and somewhat less durable than full grain leather. For a detailed comparison of leather types, see our guide to leather types.


West Elm Axel Leather Sofas

However, the use of Top Grain leather is a standard for most mass market online furniture stores. It is what allows for consumers to have the ability to purchase a leather sofa at a price point under $3000. 

West Elm has eighteen different 'collections' of leather sofas. These include: Haven, Haven Loft, Hamilton, Axel, Dekalb, Dennes, Andes, Zander, Harmony and Harmony Modular, Harris, Urban, Remi Modular, Enzo, Nomad by Burrow, Drake, Brooklyn and Sloane. 

My Visit To West Elm: Review and Rankings

So, I decided to make the trek over to the West Elm store in Dedham, MA.  It's a beautiful store, the designs are on point and everyone in the store is relatively friendly.

It's not a huge showroom, so they don't have every piece of furniture online available in the store.

However, here are my thoughts (and photos) for some of the leather furniture sofas and chairs on display in store.  

My Favorite West Elm Leather Sofa: Hamilton Leather Sofa

My Favorite West Elm Leather Chair:  Henley Leather Chair  

West Elm Hamilton Leather Sofa Review

Price:  $2999
Color As Shown: Burnt Sienna


I really like the classic style of the Hamilton sofa. And i really like the ligher brown (Charme Leather) color as shown above.Also, I only realized when I was reading the tag that is is classified as 'contract grade', which is not a term I was familiar with.

What Is Contract Grade At West Elm?

According to West Elm, contract grade means that it was 'built to go the extra mile', and "can hold up for everyday personal use or busy commercial use".  Normally, something that is labelled as contract grade is used by corporations at hotels, restaurants, bars and offices. 

Something that isn't contract grade is meant for residential use, and in my experience is a little bit cheaper and is built with inferior materials to cut down on costs for consumers.

Overall the Hamilton sofa felt sturdy and the leather did seem to be of high quality and appeared durable. The sofa has down filled cushions which helps with the comfort levels.

West Elm offers many different leather colors and types, whether you are looking for a black leather sofa or even a white vegan leather.

West Elm Austin Leather Armchair Review

Price:  $1399 (without ottoman which is an additional $549)
Color As Shown:  Sesame


I didn't expect this chair to be comfortable based on the looks, and when I sat on it, it did feel a bit stiff, but then when I put my neck back, the head rest support made everything come together. Meaning that it was really comfortable.   Also a contract grade chair from West Elm. 

West Elm Ryder Leather Chair Review

Price:  $1399 (without ottoman which is an additional $549)
Color As Shown:  Nut


This one didn't feel as comfortable as the Austin Chair, and it has a more old school vibe to it from a style perspective. The stitching also seemed a bit inconsistent and loose. For me personally, I'd definitely opt for the Austin. This one is made in China.

West Elm Henley Leather Chair Review

Price:  $2149
Color As Shown:  Burnt Sienna


A really beautiful chair, I love the design and the wood trim added a nice touch. However, the chair felt a bit stiff and for the price, seems a bit expensive. West Elm does provide a rating for the firmness, and this one is a 4 on a scale of 5 (5 being the firmest).  It could just be that my taste is for more cushion, so I suggest trying one yourself to see if it suits your taste. 

West Elm Slope Lounge Leather Chair Review

Price:  $499
Color As Shown:  Nut


Definitely a stylish, mid-century modern kind of look, but not really comfortable. West Elm says it's 'built for lingering' so probably not a great chair for heavy usage. 

West Elm Axel Sofa Review

Price:  $2999
Color As Shown:  Nut


This one wasn't in stock when I visited the store, but I know it's a popular choice at West Elm. Thus, I did a little bit more digging to see what people's experiences were with the Axel sofa. 

First, regarding the details, the frame is made of solid and ENGINEERED hardwoods.  Not good.  Top grain leather -- fine.  Sinuous springs - OK, not the best. Contract grade, meaning it is built to hold up for maximum durability. 

Most I've talked to say the couch is very comfortable, some complaints about the leather feeling not the greatest quality but overall they would buy the sofa again.

West Elm Axel Leather Armchair Review

Price:  $1499
Color As Shown:  Nut


Hands down the most comfortable chair I tried out at West Elm. While I really liked the Austin chair, this would be the one I'd go for if comfort is your thing.  Note, also a contract grade chair, and made in China. There is also an Axel full leather futon but I didn't see it in the store.

West Elm Dennes Leather Sofa Review

Price:  $3099
Color As Shown:  Burnt Sienna 


Probably my favorite sofa at West Elm, love the mid-century design, with the removable back cushions and the circular pillows. And by the way, West Elm's accent designs are so on point; if I were buying this couch, I think I'd need that blue blanket and the accent pillows. 

So, as for comfort, the couch didn't at first feel all that cushiony but then once I leaned back into the couch, the back seat cushions were really comfortable. It gets a 3 out of 5 from a firmness perspective.  

West Elm Lucas Leather Swivel Chair Review

Price:  $1299
Color As Shown:  Nut


Stylish chair for sure, but ultimately not really all that comfortable.  This is also a contract grade chair. Probably for those that are looking for something that would make a beautiful accent chair. Maybe not as purposeful as a chair that is designed for comfort. 

West Elm Wilder Black Leather Chair Review

Price:  $1749
Color As Shown:  Black Leather


West Elm Wilder Black Leather Chair

Mid century modern at its finest, this West Elm black leather chair is called the 'Wilder' and one of the more popular leather chairs at West Elm. Featured here in black, there are a multitude of different colors to choose from. I found this chair to be surprisingly comfortable as well. 

I hope my reviews and in store photos help! Personally I was hoping that West Elm offered a nice chesterfield leather sofa, but alas they do not. Still a lot of good options. 

Check out our West Elm Melbourne Sofa Review

I have also had a lot of readers asking for a review of the West Elm Anton leather sofa, so hopefully will get that out soon.

West Elm Vegan Leather Review


Most of West Elm's leather sofas are available in Vegan Leather variations, in several different colors, including Cindr, Molasses, Saddle and Snow (an off-white). 

According to West Elm, their Vegan Leather is an "animal-friendly faux leather that's made of 100% nylon and has a soft, smooth handfeel that mimics real leather".  

As we note in our piece discussing vegan leather sofas, West Elm's vegan sofas are made with a "polyurethane topcoat".  

Like any sort of vegan or faux leather, these materials, while attractive, will not stand the test of time in comparison to any genuine leather sofa.  You can expect cracking and peeling over time. 


West Elm Zander Faux Leather Sofa

While I respect anyone's wishes to avoid animal cruelty, the reality is that a real leather sofa will last 20+ years, while furniture made of fake plastics will have a limited lifespan. 

West Elm's Vegan Leather sofas sell for less than traditional leather options, with most variations running below $2000, however it is typically only a few hundred dollars less than the real leather option.

If you've purchased a vegan leather sofa from West Elm, we would love to get your  review in the comments section below. 

Is West Elm Legit?

West Elm is a well known online and brick & mortar furniture retailer that has been in business since 2002.  It is owned by a publicly traded company (Williams Sonoma) which also owns Pottery Barn.  The company is listed on Trust Pilot and has a score of 1.2 (out of 5 stars) on 423 Reviews.  There are over 1800 complaints with the Better Business Bureau.  

These stats had me worried.  Keep reading as I explore some of the reasons people are upset. 

What Do Customers Say About West Elm?

This is where things got sort of ugly, and a bit surprising to me - I was a bit surprised with the overall negativity towards West Elm.

To start, West Elm does not offer reviews of its products on its website, similar to say a Joybird for example, which I'm more supportive of, since any reviews on a retailers website are bound to be filtered in some way.

However, once I started to review West Elm on other review sites, this is when things went south. As I previously noted, West Elm has over 100 physical stores, so I explored different locations on Yelp. The ratings were consistently between 2 and 2.5 stars; one example in Brookline, Massachusetts.  


The overwhelming concerns/complaints?

1. Long Waits For Furniture
2. Quality Control Issues 
3. Poor Quality

So, this really had me discouraged, so I tried to hunt down anyone that maybe had experience with one of West Elm's leather sofas. 

This West Elm Hamilton Sofa review from YouTube is worth the watch if you are considering a purchase from West Elm. 

Although he only had owned it for two months, he seemed quite happy with the purchase, noting nice quality and I must agree with him, that the middle leg support would likely help with any bowing of the couch. 

And then I went over to my other favorite source for true, unbiased reviews--Reddit.

One thing I discovered is that Amazon had replicas of many West Elm sofas through its own Rivet furniture brand.  Something, I've definitely noticed before with the other online manufacturers, so I often wonder if there are just a few overseas manufacturers that are distributing the same exact furniture to multiple retailers.

Note that a few one of the Interior Design subreddits was also littered with complaints about West Elm.  This one commenter was pretty harsh in their complaints.  

It is just about the same as Ikea if not 5% better. Just like Ikea, they are great at styling their furniture in rooms so you buy it, but when you get it the fit and finish is terrible, and it just feels and looks cheap. I've had the same issues with shipping, things taking MONTHS and never fucking shipping, calling customer support and it's just ridiculous answers. It's the same for the sister companies CB2/CB, etc. For me, if it's not in stock at the store I just don't buy from any of them.

This same sentiment was echoed in this piece from CNBC which notes the Peggy Sofa, which was an unmitigated disaster for West Elm.


What's The Warranty On West Elm's Leather Furniture?

"Eligible items can be returned for a refund of the merchandise value within 30 days of receiving an order or 7 days for Quick Ship upholstery items. An original receipt or gift receipt is required."  

That's the tagline from West Elm, but no mention anywhere of a warranty on their website. So I reached out to customer support..and I didn't really get the answer I was looking for. Here's the exchange:

Hi, do you offer warranties on your leather sofas?

We here at west elm do not offer warranties on our product but we do stand by our product.

Hmm...what exactly does that mean?

If there is an quality issue we will certainly provide a replacement or an exchange

So if something were to go wrong with the sofa in a year...or two, would you take care of it?

Depending on the issue we will offer a replacement or credit.  It will be determined on a case to case basis, through Quality Care team.  

My thoughts---this leaves West Elm with a lot of wiggle room and grey area---given the amount of complaints, I really wonder how well they live up to their word.

Will West Elm Ship Internationally?

International shipping restrictions prevent them from shipping Furniture and oversized items to some countries outside of the U.S..  Canadian customers may purchase select furniture items online and in their stores. Delivery restrictions exist. 

Canada: 1.855.860.1082

Other Countries: 1.405.717.6122

I would suggest emailing to see if there is any possibility to ship if you live outside of the US or Canada.

Email international@westelm.com

Does West Elm Offer Discounts?

Up To 50% Off Savings
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Doesn't expire

About the author Tom

When I started shopping for a leather couch two years ago, I was confused and overwhelmed by the information available to me. I decided to launch Best Leather Couches in order to create the best resource for shoppers looking for a new leather couch. I hope you enjoy the site. Feel free to drop me a line anytime at tom@best@leathercouches.com

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  1. They have stores in toronto and won’t ship to thunder bay. Crazy. I will not buy from them after reading this blog so thanks much for saving me the headache of ordering from this redic overpriced low quality store

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