Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Your home should not be without seating. Leather sofas offer a high level of comfort and are of very high quality. Genuine leather sofas in particular retain their quality for a lifetime.

With our big leather sofa test 2021 we want to help you find the best leather sofa for your personal needs. We have therefore compared different leather sofas and weighed up the respective advantages and disadvantages for you. In this way, we want to make your decision easier.




Summary

  • Different materials can be used for a leather sofa. The most commonly used materials are buffalo leather, cowhide and calfskin. They differ in part greatly in their properties and slightly in quality.
  • A distinction is primarily made between imitation leather sofas and genuine leather sofas. Even though imitation leather sofas are often cheaper in price, this does not always diminish their quality. With good workmanship, they can be of very high quality.
  • Leather sofas are particularly durable. To maintain this longevity, they require proper and regular care.

The Best Leather Sofa: Our Selection

Leather sofa: buying and evaluation criteria

The decision to buy your own leather sofa is not an easy one to make. In this section, we will present you with the criteria you can use to guide your choice.

The criteria listed here are suitable for comparing different leather sofas with each other:

In the following paragraphs we will look at the individual criteria to give you a better overview:

Colour

The colour is particularly essential when choosing your leather sofa, because you certainly want your leather sofa to fit in well with the colour of your home. In general, it is advisable to choose plain colours such as black or grey for leather sofas if your home is already colourfully furnished. This way, you can avoid the colour of your leather sofa clashing with other furnishings.

In contrast, you can also set accents with brighter colours, for example by choosing a red, yellow or brown leather sofa. This is especially recommended if you prefer white walls and want to bring a little colour into the flat with your furniture.

The choice of colour should therefore be based on how well it suits your home. You can always play it safe with a black or white leather sofa. Here you have the opportunity to set accents with coloured cushions according to your taste. The advantage of this is that if you change your mind, you only have to change the cushions and not buy a new leather sofa.

Material

Different materials can be used for a leather sofa. The most common materials are buffalo leather, cowhide and calfskin. Some of them differ greatly in their properties.

Buffalo leather is extremely hard-wearing and robust, which makes it particularly durable. However, this also makes it particularly important to care for the large-pored material properly and intensively. This is the only way to ensure that it retains its durability in the long term.

Cowhide is less coarse-pored than buffalo leather but just as hard-wearing. As it is much cheaper, it is often used in the production of leather sofas to reduce costs.

Calfskin, on the other hand, is very fine-pored, supple and pleasant, but not quite as resistant as buffalo leather and cowhide. This material requires considerably more care.

Size

When choosing the size of your leather sofa, several factors are decisive. In general, it is important to consider your size and how much space you need on the sofa. You can also ask yourself whether you mainly use your sofa for sitting or whether you also like to lie on it.

Especially if you want to use your leather sofa as a sofa bed, it should have a pull-out function and therefore be significantly larger. In principle, you can follow the following rule of thumb when choosing the size: To sit comfortably, one person needs about 60 cm of space. For two people, you should allow 120 cm and for three people 180 cm.

As a rule of thumb, one person needs 60 cm of space.

In addition, you should bear in mind that the total dimensions of a single-seater, two-seater or three-seater sofa always refer to the seat area plus the area of the backrests. You should therefore allow extra space for the backrests.

The seat height, on the other hand, is usually between 44 and 50 cm. If you want to create a cosy atmosphere, the sofa can also be lower. This way, you don't have to bend your legs, but can easily stretch them out.

Sleeping function

Who hasn't experienced it: you're hosting a party or spending a cosy evening cooking at home with friends. Sometimes it gets late and it is obvious that you need an extra place to sleep for your guests. What could be better than a sofa bed?

A leather sofa with pull-out function has a very special advantage. It allows you to save space in everyday life when you only need it to sit comfortably. However, when you need it, you can easily extend it to make it bigger. This way, the two- or three-seater quickly becomes a large sofa bed.

Leather sofa: frequently asked questions and answers

Not only when choosing a leather sofa, but also if you already own one, various questions can arise. In the following guide, we want to answer the most important questions about leather sofas. We have selected these questions for you in order to answer them shortly. After reading our guide, you will know all the essential background information about leather sofas.

Who is a leather sofa suitable for?

A leather sofa is generally suitable for anyone who wants to furnish their home with a place to sit and lie down. If you have space in your home and would like to have a piece of furniture for sitting together and relaxing, a leather sofa is a good alternative for you.

Ledersofa-01

A leather sofa can become an oasis of well-being within your own four walls.
(Image source: Unsplash: Jon Tyson)

Even if you have pets like cats and dogs, leather sofas are better for you than fabric sofas. This is because fabric sofas are more susceptible to scratch marks. However, you should only consider a real leather sofa, as the likelihood of scratch marks is also quite high with synthetic leather sofas.

Real leather sofas are generally more expensive than faux leather sofas. Depending on how much money you have available for your leather sofa, either a leatherette or a genuine leather sofa is more suitable. Nevertheless, even if you compare well, you can still get a high-quality faux leather sofa at the lowest possible price.

What types of leather sofas are there?

If you are looking for a leather sofa, you can distinguish between real leather sofas and faux leather sofas:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Real leather sofas high quality, visually high-quality, durable and robust expensive to buy, not suitable for vegans and vegetarians
Faux leather sofas suitable for vegans and vegetarians, visually mostly high-quality, covers easy to change, not susceptible to stains, low price coating breaks more easily, seams tear more easily, less breathable, higher environmental impact

If you would like to learn more about the individual types of leather sofa, you can read more about each in the following three sections.

Real leather sofas

Real leather sofas

A sofa made of genuine leather is of particularly high quality. This is noticeable both visually and in the quality of the leather, because if the sofa is cared for properly, it is particularly durable and robust. Difficult stains can usually be removed without any problems. In addition, it is very comfortable to sit on.

Advantages
  • high quality
  • visually high-quality
  • durable and robust
Disadvantages
  • expensive to buy
  • not suitable for vegans and vegetarians

Due to the high quality of genuine leather sofas, however, they are more expensive to buy. It is therefore particularly worthwhile to opt for genuine leather sofas if they are to be used for a long time. They are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans because they are made with animal skins.

Imitation leather sofas

Imitation leather sofas

Imitation leather is made from textile fabric. This is finally covered with a plastic top layer, which in turn is often processed with a grain embossing to imitate the structure of leather. They are therefore suitable for vegans and vegetarians, as no animal skins are processed.

Faux leather sofas are visually similar to real leather sofas. This is because, especially with high-quality workmanship, you often only notice that it is not real leather when you take a closer look. Covers are easier to change and they are less susceptible to stains. A big advantage is also the price, because imitation leather sofas are usually much cheaper to buy.

Advantages
  • suitable for vegans and vegetarians
  • optically mostly high-quality
  • covers can be changed easily
  • not susceptible to stains, favourable price
Disadvantages
  • Coating breaks more easily
  • seams tear more easily
  • less breathable
  • higher environmental impact

Compared to real leather sofas, however, the quality of imitation leather sofas has to be compromised. For example, the coating can break more quickly, especially on cheaper versions. Before buying, you should pay particular attention to the workmanship and the course of the seams, as these can tear more quickly.

In addition, they are less breathable and have a higher environmental impact during production and processing.

However, the advantages and disadvantages of artificial and genuine leather sofas cannot be generalised. Even a high-quality artificial leather sofa can be of better quality than a genuine leather sofa if it is well made.

What does a leather sofa cost?

The price of a leather sofa depends on whether you buy a real leather or a faux leather sofa. Faux leather sofas are generally cheaper than real leather sofas. The price can also vary greatly depending on whether it is a two-seater sofa, a three-seater sofa or even a living room landscape. The larger the sofa, the higher the price.

Type Price
Real leather sofa approx. 1200 to 6000 euros
Artificial leather sofa approx. 400 to 2200 euros

For real leather sofas, you can expect prices between 1200 and 6000 euros in the normal price segment. However, there are often no upper limits. You can buy an imitation leather sofa for as little as 400 euros. The normal price range goes up to about 2200 euros. Here too, however, prices can be somewhat lower or higher.

What are the alternatives to a leather sofa?

If you are looking for a cosy seat, you also have the option of buying a fabric sofa or an armchair in addition to a leather sofa. In the following, we have compiled the characteristics of each so that you can get a better overview:

Type characteristics
Fabric sofa inexpensive compared to leather sofas, available in many patterns and colours, different fabrics available
Armchair as a single-seater, cheaper, more space-saving, many different colours

Fabric sofa

Compared to a leather sofa, a fabric sofa has the advantage that it is available in a wide range of colours and patterns. This means you can choose according to your personal preferences and adapt it to your interior design. Fabric covers are also often cosier and more comfortable.

Fabric sofas are also available at a much lower price, especially compared to real leather sofas. Microfibre fabrics are particularly popular because they are easy to clean and resistant. You can differentiate between fabric sofas:

  1. Microfibre: is very easy to care for, robust and stain-resistant. This is particularly advantageous for households with children or animals. It also protects against the formation of lint.
  2. Synthetics: high range of colours and patterns. These fabrics should definitely be checked for seam workmanship as the quality can vary greatly.
  3. Cotton: Cotton is a natural fabric and therefore very low in harmful substances. This fabric is particularly suitable for allergy sufferers, does not require a lot of care and is easy to clean. However, linting can occur when combined with synthetic fabrics.

Armchair

An armchair is only an alternative to a leather sofa if you want to use it as a single person. This is because it is only a seat for one person. They give you the opportunity to lean back and rest your arms on armrests. Wing chairs in particular can be especially cosy.

A big advantage of armchairs is that they are much cheaper to buy than sofas. They also take up less space, so you can get an armchair even if you have less room in your home. Here, too, you can choose between models made of leather and plastic and different models and colours.

How and with what do I clean and care for a leather sofa?

A leather sofa is much more sensitive than a fabric sofa and therefore needs extra care. Basically, you should clean it thoroughly before caring for it. Only then can care products be used and absorbed by the leather sofa.

Ledersofa-02

Brown leather sofas with an antique look offer you a very special feel-good atmosphere.
(Image source: Unsplash/Dan Gold)

We have listed here the best way to proceed and which stains you should treat and how:

  • Keep it moist: Wipe your leather sofa with a soft and slightly damp cloth. Avoid microfibre cloths and use distilled water only. Normal water can cause limescale stains on your leather sofa. By wiping your sofa regularly, you ensure that it receives enough moisture and does not dry out.
  • Avoid discolouration: Colour-intensive clothes can cause discolouration on your leather sofa. Therefore, you should either avoid them completely or treat your sofa with a protective agent.
  • Avoid heat: Place your sofa far away from radiators!
  • Protect from animals: Protect your sofa especially against scratch marks from dogs and cats. We have compiled more detailed tips for this in the following.
  • Coarse dirt: Remove coarse dirt with a dry kitchen towel. For liquids, use kitchen paper with high absorbency.
  • Drinks and food: Remove drinks and food as quickly as possible with a soap solution. Afterwards, you should treat your sofa with distilled water.
  • Blood stains: Be sure to use cold water to remove blood stains, as warm water coagulates the protein in blood and binds it to the fibres in the fabric. Clean blood stains from your sofa as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove stains.
  • Beer stains: To remove beer stains, you can mix warm distilled water with mild detergent. Dab this mixture onto the stains. If this does not help, you can try benzine. However, you should always follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions!
  • Care: For basic care you can use leather care sets. These contain cleaning solutions, leather cream and other products. Which one you choose depends on your preferences.

What can I do if my leather sofa smells bad?

If your leather sofa smells badly of smoke, sweat, nicotine or other odours, it is easy to remove them. First clean the sofa with distilled water. Then you can treat it with leather cream. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions before treating your sofa.

Sometimes, however, the new smell of leather can be disturbing. If this is the case and several days of airing do not help, it is probably due to improper storage. This is rarely the case. However, if the odour cannot be removed, we recommend that you first make a complaint. Because even with time, such an odour rarely goes away.

How can I mend my leather sofa?

If you have a hole in your leather sofa and repair it promptly, you can ensure that you will be able to use it for many years to come. It depends on the extent of the hole how you need to repair it. You can either pull the leather together, use an auxiliary fabric or patch it.

To do this, proceed as follows:

  • Pulling together: Gather the leather and pull it together over the hole. The edges can then be glued or sewn.
  • Auxiliary fabric: Place an auxiliary fabric under the hole in the padding or on top of the padding. You can fill and fix it with special glue or liquid leather.
  • Liquid leather: Liquid leather fills the hole completely. However, the hole must not be very large.

How can I refresh the colour of my leather sofa?

Re-dyeing your leather sofa is always a good idea when the colour of your sofa has faded. You can either do this yourself or have it done professionally. For high-quality leather sofas, it is almost always worth having the re-colouring done by a professional.

Rule of thumb: At around 20% of the purchase value, it is definitely worth having a professional re-dye the sofa

When re-dyeing, it is important to avoid closing pores. The breathability of the leather sofa should be maintained. Therefore, you should definitely use a special dye and apply it gently to freshen it up permanently and not affect the material.

Paint-like colours, for example, can damage the leather. Special leather dyes, on the other hand, act like impregnating agents and thus spread into the leather structure without sticking to the pores. Also, although improper dyeing can cause the desired effect in the short term, it does not have the desired effect in the long term. Due to the long life of leather sofas, however, damage tends to show up only in the medium term.

The following steps should be taken to refresh the colour of a leather sofa:

  1. Deep cleaning: removes grease and dust from the deeper leather substance
  2. Leather dye: apply it by spraying or working it in with a sponge.
  3. Final sealant: it prevents staining and abrasion.

You should also close breaks and cracks to successfully refresh the colour of your leather sofa. Sandpaper with a grain size of 800 or more can be used as an abrasive as well as leather sanding pastes.

Tip: Use fibre pens for leather to touch up small spots!

Be sure to take enough time to refresh the colour, both before and after dyeing. Depending on the type of leather, the thickness of the material and also the finish, it can take days to finish effectively.

How do I protect my leather sofa from cats and dogs?

If you own a cat, there is a high risk that it will scratch your leather sofa with its claws. In addition, they often leave bad odours on the material, which you then have to treat additionally. This is also the case if you have a pet dog. In this case, it is also important to prevent dog hair from spreading on the leather.

We have put together a list of the best ways to protect your leather sofa from unwanted traces of your pets:

  1. Scratch marks: Scratch marks cause cracks in your sofa. You should avoid this at all costs. If your cat cannot be trained, you can at least make sure when buying a sofa that you only buy genuine leather. This is because it is of a much higher quality and therefore thicker. Scratch marks show up much more quickly on cheaper imitation leather. It is also more susceptible to scratch marks, which cannot be polished out even with a leather care product.
  2. Unwanted smells: If your cat or dog has marked your leather sofa with unwanted scents, this is not so tragic with a leather sofa. These and other accidents can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth and hair can also be removed easily. To avoid scratching due to odours, you may want to remove odours with an enzymatic cleaning product. You can find repellents, often in the form of sprays, in pet shops and some online shops.
  3. Blanket for protection: Wetness does not penetrate the leather of leather sofas because of the smooth surface. Nevertheless, your dog should not lie directly on the leather. Protect your sofa with a blanket, because dogs secrete an oily substance through their sebaceous glands. This can also damage the leather.

How long does a leather sofa usually last?

A leather sofa usually lasts a lifetime. Nevertheless, there are differences depending on the quality of the workmanship of the material. In this case, a distinction can be made in particular between the high-quality smooth leather and the suede leather.

ledersofa-test-04

With the right care, a leather sofa will last a lifetime.
(Image source: Unsplash/Timothy L Brock)

Smooth leather is the name for all types of leather whose grain sides are processed outwards. It is extraordinarily robust and the thicker the surface colouring, the more resistant it is. The leather repels liquids better.

Rough leather, on the other hand, has a roughened structure. Because it is buffed and open-pored, it is soft and breathable. However, it is also very sensitive and susceptible to stains and fading. As a result, it is generally less durable than a high-quality smooth leather sofa.

Conclusion

In this article you have learned everything you need to know about leather sofas. In short, leather sofas are high-quality seating. If they have a sleep function, they also serve as sleeping accommodation. Since they are made in different colours, sizes and materials, you have a wide choice when deciding.

Leather sofas also require regular care to maintain their longevity. If you take good care of your leather sofa, it can last a lifetime.

Image source: Białasiewicz / 123rf

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