Last updated: August 5, 2021

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A leather armchair creates a rustic, timeless and elegant look. The selection of models in different living styles with different functions is enormous. In addition to visual aspects, such as the style of living and the desired location of the armchair, there are also practical factors to consider: the material properties and mechanical or electrical functions of the leather armchair.

In our leather armchair test 2021 we inform you about all background information on the topic of leather armchairs. What types of leather are there and how do you care for, dye and clean it? We also introduce you to the different types of armchairs and give you important evaluation criteria to consider before buying.




Summary

  • A real leather or imitation leather armchair is a real eye-catcher and is suitable for living rooms as well as offices or dining rooms.
  • The choice of different types of leather armchairs with different functions is huge. The prices therefore also vary greatly.
  • Leather armchairs are robust and durable. Nevertheless, there are a few things to keep in mind when cleaning and caring for the leather.

The Best Leather Armchair: Our Choices

To make your buying decision easier, we have selected six different leather armchairs that have different characteristics and are recommended in their own special way.

Leather Armchair: Buying and Evaluation Criteria

If you want to buy a leather armchair, you need to consider a few aspects before you buy. Because not all leather chairs are the same. Here you can see which criteria are important:

Next, you'll find out what the criteria mean in detail and how you can use them to find your perfect leather chair and make a decision.

Authenticity

Genuine leather or imitation leather? Every buyer must answer this question for themselves. We can only show you what is positive or negative about the respective variant.

Genuine leather is an animal product, as it is tanned animal skin. The leather comes from cattle, sheep, lamb etc. and the origin is often not exactly traceable. The animal product has a very characteristic smell that remains even after a long time.

Imitation leather is cheaper, easier to care for and more animal-friendly than real leather.

Real leather is not necessarily of a higher quality than imitation leather, as it comes in different quality grades. The best quality level is robust and extremely durable. In any case, however, it is significantly more expensive.

Fake or artificial leather can hardly be distinguished from the real thing. It is made of different materials, such as polyester or nylon, chemically or organically. It is particularly easy to care for and resistant.

Another clear advantage is that it is odourless and reacts less to stains. Oil or grease rolls off artificial leather, whereas it leaves traces on real leather.

Colour

There are almost no limits to the colours of leather and there is something for every taste. The shine and embossing also vary greatly from leather to leather.

Natural leather tones such as brown, black, cognac or beige are particularly popular. They are imitated in imitation leather in order to still maintain the rustic look of the supposed natural product.

The leather colour tone can also be changed afterwards with special leather dyes or home remedies.

But leather armchairs are also available for more unusual tastes and furnishings - the leather is dyed uniformly in certain shades for this purpose. In this way, colourful shades such as red, blue, green or yellow can be produced. Apart from the fact that stains are more easily visible on light colours, the individual leather colours have no advantages or disadvantages in terms of handling.

Living style

Leather has always been a popular material for furniture. This is precisely why the range of leather armchairs in different styles is so wide. Almost all epochs and designs are represented. Here is a brief overview of the styles:

  • Modern, Industrial, Used Look
  • Italian design
  • 20s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s
  • Vintage or Retro
  • Country style, English style
  • Antique, Art Nouveau, Colonial

It is best to enter the various style keywords in your search in order to find what you are looking for in your living and furnishing style. Most manufacturers are quite specific in the description and style classification of their leather chairs.

Application area

When it comes to the area of application as a decision criterion, two different areas can be classified:

  • Living room
  • Dining room or office

In the living room, the leather armchair is seen more as a piece of seating furniture that is used for comfort, for example as a TV armchair or in front of the fireplace. Such an armchair should offer the possibility to comfortably fall asleep on it, put your feet down and enjoy full comfort.

You should look for armchairs that have a high backrest, a footrest, strong upholstery and possibly a reclining option. For example, relax chairs, ear chairs or even massage chairs are possible.

In the dining room or office, on the other hand, a massive, large recliner would be completely out of place. More delicate leather armchairs that are almost reminiscent of a chair are better suited. A leather lounge or cocktail chair, for example, is also suitable as a dining room chair or desk chair. The only thing to consider here is the seat height in combination with the height of the tabletop.

Functions

Another criterion that can be decisive for a purchase are the functions of the respective leather armchair. Many leather chairs have exactly one function - to sit comfortably. However, many models offer various mechanisms or even electrical devices that further increase the comfort.

You can see what functions are available here:

  • Swivel: Various wingback, cocktail or also relax armchairs have a single standing foot with base plate. The actual armchair can be rotated 360º on the base. The function can be extremely practical if the leather armchair has a good location and many objects can be reached by turning it.
  • Extendable: Extendable in this context means that the armchair can either be reclined and put into a reclining position, which most recliners can do. Or, for example, a folding leather recliner that can be extended to a horizontal position.
  • Electric: An electric leather recliner has several possible functions. It may have an integrated massage or heating function. Other models can be electrically adjusted to a reclining position or to activate the stand-up aid.
  • With stand-up aid: A stand-up aid can be particularly gentle for people who have difficulty getting out of a leather armchair that is low and tilted backwards. The tilt function makes it easier to stand up by tilting the armchair forward. Older people or overweight people in particular benefit from such an armchair. Many leather armchairs are designed for a body weight of up to 150 kg, but special models up to 200 kg are also available.

The respective functionalities are specified and described in detail by the manufacturers. However, the individual functions are reflected in the price. Purely mechanical functions are still significantly cheaper than leather chairs with electrical devices.

Leather Armchairs: Frequently asked Questions and Answers

When looking for a leather armchair, a number of questions come up. We have compiled the typical questions and suitable answers on the subject of leather armchairs for you. In this way, you will get to know all the background information and important tips.

Who is a leather armchair suitable for?

A leather armchair is just the thing for leather fans! Leather creates a unique, natural and stylish look and fits into almost any style of home. It is also robust, durable and, above all, very easy to care for.

ledersessel-test

Not all leather is the same. The range of genuine leather, imitation leather, different embossings, colours and structures is even limitless. (Image source: unsplash / Cater Yung)

The question you need to ask yourself is whether you like sitting on leather and like the feel of it on your skin. Leather is cool on the skin and usually a little harder than fabric upholstery. If you're comfortable with that, you're doing everything right with a timeless leather armchair.

What types of leather armchairs are there?

There is a wide range of different types of leather armchairs. You can find out what the individual types are called and what their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages are in the following:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Leather lounge chair Large variety of shapes and colours, buying a set is a good idea, can be used as a seat at a table No leaning with the head possible, upright sitting posture necessary
Leather wing chair Cosy look Comfort due to high backrest, head cannot tip down due to the "ears", can look old-fashioned depending on the furnishing style, sometimes no footrest available
Leather recliner chair Strong upholstery, adapts to body shape, high backrest and footrest, extensive adjustment options Very solid and eye-catching, little choice of colours and patterns, cleaning under the armchair is difficult
Leather recliner Can be brought into a horizontal position, can be used as a guest bed, simple and chic when folded Must be unfolded and folded manually, pad or sheet needed to sleep on it

The models are quite different in their features and are therefore more or less suitable depending on the buyer's requirements. Here are the models in detail:

Leather lounge chair

Lounge or cocktail chairs are simple and elegant. Their distinguishing feature is a medium-high backrest (below the shoulders) and there is a wide variety of shapes and colours. Since they tend to be petite armchairs, it makes sense to buy a set. Depending on the seat height, the lounge chair can also be used as seating at the dining table or at desks.

Lounge chairs are less suitable for relaxing and dozing off. Because of the low backrest, the head cannot be leaned against it.

Leather wing chair

The classic wing chair is a true feel-good chair. The high backrest offers a lot of comfort and if you fall asleep, the "ears" protect you from tipping sideways. The wing chair is available in the traditional country house style, but there are also models on the market for modern furnishing styles.

Leather recliner

The recliner or TV armchair is completely designed for comfort. It is very softly upholstered, has a high backrest and a footrest. The footrest is possible by means of a fold-out footrest or a stool.

The recliner has extensive adjustment possibilities and can almost be brought into a reclining position.

The disadvantage is that the great comfort also has its price. In addition, the recliners are very massive and conspicuous and do not fit in with every style of furnishing. The choice of different colours is also very limited. For example, it can be difficult to find a model that matches the existing sofa set.

Leather recliners

Sleeping chairs can be placed in a perfectly horizontal position, like a bed. A sleeping chair is perfect for receiving sleeping guests. During the day, it can be used as a chic armchair.

To use the armchair as a mattress, it must be folded out manually. Finally, not everyone likes to sleep on leather and in any case a base, e.g. a sheet, is necessary to avoid sticking to the leather or straining it.

How much does a leather armchair cost?

As with many pieces of furniture, the prices of leather armchairs vary enormously depending on the model, type of leather and brand.

Article Price
Leather armchairs in general approx. 60 - 12,000 €
Leather lounge chair from approx. 70 €
Leather recliner from approx. 100 €
Leather wing chair from approx. 230 €
Leather sleeper chair from approx. 250 €

The cheaper models are usually also the more delicate ones, as a price is also determined by the amount of material. This means that lounge or cocktail chairs are still the cheapest available and the large recliners are more expensive. However, the range of recliners in particular is large, so many suppliers also offer very affordable armchairs.

What alternatives are there to a leather armchair?

Not everyone is a fan of real or imitation leather, but don't worry! There are alternatives made of woven fabric. In addition, fabric covers are usually cheaper than leather covers. There is also a wider choice of colours and patterns, as the fabric can be individually woven.

Overall, they are easy to clean, but sometimes less robust and durable. Fabric can cause knots to form due to friction, "pills" in technical jargon. Possible fabric types are as follows:

Alternative cover Advantages Disadvantages
Flat weave Large selection of different structures (from coarse to fine) Not quite as hard-wearing, formation of pills particularly likely
Woven velour Looks like velvet, very soft and pleasant on the skin, hard-wearing Appearance changes when fibres are flattened
Flock velour velvety, hard-wearing and robust, easy to care for surface changes when fibres are flattened
Microfibre reminiscent of suede, high-quality appearance, soft, hard-wearing and easy to care for areas exposed to friction and body fat wear out more quickly, shiny spots possible

The small lumps or fluff are caused by friction and are completely normal. Just as with clothes, they can be removed carefully with a lint shaver.

How do I clean a leather chair?

The material properties vary greatly depending on the type of leather (imitation leather, suede, smooth leather). Therefore, depending on the leather chair, the care instructions must inform you about how best to handle the material.

Most types of leather can be wiped damp with a cloth for basic cleaning. To check whether the leather is suitable for washing, you can drip a little water on the surface.

If the water soaks in, the leather chair should only be wiped down with a light damp cloth. If droplets form, you can wipe the leather with more water and a little curd soap. This can be said about the individual types of leather:

  • Rough leather or suede should be cleaned primarily with a hoover and a cloth should only be used very carefully so that there is not too much friction. Afterwards, the fine hairs can be roughened again with a rubber brush. Stains can be rubbed off with sandpaper.
  • Smooth leather can be wiped with leather care products, a mild soap solution, warm water or baby wipes.
  • Aniline leather can be cleaned with a mixture of water and white spirit.

Imitation leather is much easier to clean than genuine leather: soap mixtures can be used without any problems because the imitation leather does not dry out.

Be careful with genuine leather. Do not use cleaning agents that dissolve grease (e.g. washing-up liquid), because it is an animal skin that would dry out too much.

Make sure you find out in advance how to clean and care for your leather chair. The manufacturer or seller will usually give you valuable tips on how to handle it.

How do I refurbish a leather chair?

If there are holes, cracks, scratches or abrasions that are only localised, they can be replaced and touched up to create a uniform appearance. For this purpose, you can buy entire leather repair sets from specialist dealers that contain all the necessary products.

Faded areas can be re-pigmented with colour fresheners in the appropriate tone.

Cracked and brittle areas in the leather can be greased with certain care products and oils, which immediately make the surface look much smoother. In the case of deeper and more extensive damage, however, a new cover is necessary.

This work can be done by yourself or you can go to a specialist shop.

If you are not familiar with leather work, upholstery and covers, it is better to leave your leather chair in the hands of a specialist.

For a new cover, the material can be bought by the metre on a roll. This option is much cheaper as there are no service charges, but it does require a lot of experience.

A new cover and/or upholstery in a specialist shop, on the other hand, costs considerably more (from about 1000 €). Smaller touch-ups and repairs, on the other hand, can be done for about 200 - 300 €.

How do I dye a leather chair?

There are two ways to re-dye or re-dye your leather chair, just like refreshing it: do it yourself or go to a leather specialist shop.

Generally speaking, leather dyeing only works convincingly with darker shades. Lighter dyeing is almost impossible.

To dye your leather chair yourself, you need a leather dye. Here it is particularly important to buy a suitable agent - the agents for real leather or imitation leather are completely different. For leather dye, a water-based one is recommended, as alcohol-based leather dye dries out too much.

Man can recolour a leather armchair if you ever want a different colour. (Image source: pixabay / epicantus)

In addition to the usual leather dyes on the market, there are also some home remedies that can be used, such as coffee, saffron, vinegar and iron.

Alternatively, you can hand in your leather furniture for a few hundred euros and have it professionally dyed. This is advisable if you have no experience in dyeing and want a professional result. You should not take any risks with your favourite pieces.

What to do if the leather chair sticks or creaks?

Sticky leather or a creaking sound when sitting down on the armchair are two common phenomena. But don't worry - there is a remedy!

Smooth leather always has a slightly sticky effect when it comes into contact with bare skin, this is completely normal. If you don't like the feeling, you can simply put a blanket under your bare legs in summer.

However, the leather chair only becomes really sticky when the leather becomes "greasy". This is when fat is deposited in the leather, which is hard when cold. If you now sit on the chair, the fat warms up and creates a sticky feeling.

The leather chair can be cleaned or degreased in different ways with:

  • Special ironing foils
  • Grease-dissolving special cleaner
  • Diluted rubbing alcohol
  • Warm water

The creaking sound of the leather armchair is caused by the contact of different surfaces in the armchair. Snagging and loosening in the material causes the creaking or squeaking noises. The intensity of the noise is strongly dependent on factors such as the humidity, the effect of force or the temperature.

In some cases, this can be remedied by coating with a sliding varnish or "antifriction coating". These reduce friction and can reduce the annoying noise. These products, which are also used for leather seats in cars, can be found in leather shops.

Conclusion

A leather armchair is a timeless and chic piece of seating furniture that is suitable for tables, but also for relaxing and watching television. Leather armchairs are available in a wide variety of models and the choice of variants in real or imitation leather is large.

When buying a leather chair, it is important to think about how it will be used, i.e. where it will be used and what functions and appearance it will have. There are also a few things to consider when handling the leather cover. One thing is certain: a classic leather armchair can fit decoratively into almost any room and colour style.

Image source: 123rf / 132216197

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