What To Look For When Buying A Leather Sofa

If you don’t know what to look for when buying a leather sofa, we have discovered the four best factors to consider. They are the leather type, graining, color, and overall build of the furniture. We will also share some signs to check if the leather is genuine. 

With that being said, let’s get right to it. 


What To Look For When Buying A Leather Sofa

What To Know When Buying A Leather Sofa


1. Type of leather

The first factor to check when determining what leather sofa to buy is the type of leather it uses. Manufacturers often use the terms genuine, faux, bonded, and bi-cast leather. 


  • Genuine leather

Homeowners would naturally prefer a sofa that uses genuine leather. However, the more appropriate term for this material is corrected leather. Genuine leather refers to any hide layer treated to remove imperfections, which means its overall quality can be affected, depending on the alteration. 


  • Faux leather

An alternative for people who want the finish of leather furniture but at a lower cost is faux leather. It is not made from animal hide but instead from synthetic materials like rubber and plastic. There are different types of this leather type, so you must get the best quality to avoid frequent repairs on the faux leather sofa


  • Bonded leather

The cheapest leather sofas in the market will use bonded leather. It is attractive to some because it still uses leather. Manufacturers mix leather scraps and other fibers and use this fact as their selling point.

Technically, you’ll still be getting leather at a low price because of the bonded leather’s composition. However, frequently fixing bonded leather can be frustrating as it’s more prone to peeling than genuine leather. 


  • Bi-cast leather

Bi-cast leather or PU leather is another economical alternative to authentic leather. Because it uses polyurethane, bi-cast leather couches are not only affordable. They are also easy to clean, and some are durable enough with proper maintenance. 


2. Graining

Leather sofas can also be classified into using full-grain, top-grain, and split-grain leather. They differ in cost, durability, and overall quality. 


  • Full grain

From the name itself, full-grain leather does not undergo any treatment. It is not polished or finished, so the imperfections are retained on the sofa. The advantage of this leather type is it will look and feel better as time passes at the expense of being at a higher price. 


  • Top grain

If the leather couch underwent correction or the full-grain leather is pigmented, it is called top grain. Manufacturers buff the leather to create a natural-looking yet smooth finish. Top grain leather is long-lasting, but you have to know that it can either be graded as aniline or semi-aniline. 

Aniline is the more natural top grain leather because it does not undergo any treatment that will change its softness. On the contrary, semi-aniline has a topcoat. The advantage of semi-aniline is that it’s less susceptible to stains. 


  • Split grain

Cheaper leather sofas typically use split grain leather. It is the part left on the hide when you remove the top grain. Therefore, split grain leather is more affordable but also more prone to getting damaged quickly. 


3. Color

Leather types can also be referred to as aniline, semi-aniline, and pigmented. Both aniline and semi-aniline are dyed in a vat, but semi-aniline uses a protective coating. Pigmented leather, on the other hand, is leather that is colored on the surface only. 

Selecting a leather sofa based on color is influenced by your existing decor or theme in the room. You may want to match the accessories or add contrast to the wall or flooring. You also want to avoid very shiny leather as it looks fake and won’t look good when worn down eventually. 

Nonetheless, you can always paint the leather sofa if you change the room’s theme and decorations.  


4. Overall built

The final consideration when buying a leather couch is the overall craftsmanship of the furniture. For example, be wary of cheap leather sofas as they might use less durable materials. You also want to get leather that has some imperfections but still has a protective treatment for longevity. 

Besides the leather quality, take note of the quality of upholstery on the couch. Will it be easy to replace if needed? What about the frame and other parts?


How To Tell A Real Leather Sofa?

It should be easy to distinguish genuine leather from fake leather using your senses. First, check the tag for indications such as full-grain, top grain, or genuine leather. Then search and feel for imperfections on the surface. 

And finally, try smelling the leather as it will have an organic scent. Of course, if it stinks, you will need to deodorize the leather sofa as it’s probably due to moisture. 



If you’re on the search for your next couch, why not get leather furniture? In this article, we have discussed what to look for when buying a leather sofa. You will consider the type, graining, color, and quality to help you find the best one. 

Overall, we recommend going with genuine leather that is top grain, not as glossy, and has a protective coating. Then, maintain it properly with leather cleaner and conditioner to help it last longer. 


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