One of the more common inquiries I've had of late is regarding the West Elm Melbourne Leather sofa. It's a sharp sofa, but not unlike a lot of of other mid-century looks from others.
What are my thoughts after reviewing the Melbourne sofa?
It's an attractive sofa, and while many consumers might get lured in by the West Elm brand name, I'd avoid buying it. The frame materials are made of engineered hardwoods, cheap suspension and inferior leather quality.
See Our Full Review Of West Elm to Get More Details On The Company
Let's take a closer look at the West Elm Melbourne Leather Sofa in more detail.
West Elm Melbourne Sofa Options
West Elm makes the Melbourne Sofa in a mix of fabric options, ranging from linen to velvet and even 'basketweave', however for the purposes of this article, we will focus on the Melbourne leather sofas.
West Elm's leather Melbourne sofa is available as a traditional sized sofa (76", 86" and 96") or as a sectional. The base color is the 'Nut Saddle Leather' brown, however, West Elm offers a multitude of different leather color options, however, this does extend the shipping times by at least 6+ weeks.
Customers can get free swatches from West Elm to better understand the leather colors before committing to any purchase.
What's The Quality Of Construction On The Melbourne Sofa?
There are a few things you need to review when looking at the quality of construction for any sofa. The most crucial being the frame materials and construction, the sofa suspension system, the leather and the sofa cushions.
In starting with the frame of the West Elm Melbourne sofa, West Elm says that the frame is made with 'Solid pine and engineered wood frame'.
What does this mean? First off, engineered wood is basically another name for 'man made wood', sometimes referred to as particle board or medium density fiberboard (MDF). Think about taking wood scraps or leftover wood parts, gluing them together, and you get engineered wood. It is cheaper even then plywood.
Thus, West Elm is using a cheap engineered wood and combining it with a softwood (pine) to create their frame. While I don't have the blueprints, based on the materials used, I would not expect this frame to stand the test of time.
Regarding the sofa suspension, West Elm does not offer any details on suspension (red flag) on their website. My guess is that they are using a cheap sinuous spring suspension system.
As to cushions, the Melbourne seat cushions are "fiber-wrapped with high-resiliency polyurethane foam cores" and back cushions are 'fiber filled'. Fiber is the cheapest material for back cushions, versus down or feathers and the least comfortable.
As to the leather, they claim to be using a 'top-grain' leather, but the likelihood is that the leather is of a lower quality than most other US based manufacturers.
Note this sofa is made in Mexico.
West Elm Melbourne Sofa Review: What Do Customers Say?
West Elm does not provide reviews on their website, which is a bit of another red flag. Many furniture companies do have reviews on their website, but they are often filtered to exclude any negative reviews. I suspect West Elm took the easy route to not face the wrath of any upset customers. Thus, there are no reviews to gather in terms of customer satisfaction on the Melbourne sofa.
However on Reddit, specifically the /InteriorDesign sub-Reddit, there is a lot of discussion about West Elm and the lack of quality of their sofas.
There's also one customer that bought a West Elm Axel leather sofa, made with supposed 'top-grain' leather that started to peel after only one month of ownership.
There are also the nearly 1000 reviews to filter through at Consumer Affairs on West Elm with a disastrous 2.2 stars of out of 5.
My Final Thoughts On The West Elm Melbourne Sofa
As we spoke about in our overview of West Elm, there are major concerns about quality, given the lack of poor materials used to build their sofas. The same can be said for the West Elm Melbourne sofa, which is made using cheap frame and suspension materials and a top grain leather that is inferior to what is used by other top US manufacturers. For a sofa that retails at over $3000, there are better choices out there. I would avoid it.