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Buying Your First Leather Sofa

Buying your first leather sofa is a big moment for a lot of people. It might be the culmination of months of saving, mark the move into a new home, or be part of an exciting redecoration project. Either way, it’s something to take pleasure in, but also to ensure you get right. A leather sofa is an investment, so it’s well worth taking the time to get one that’s right for your requirements, environment and personal tastes.

Types of leather

Sloane in Saloon Whiskey Protected Leather Sloane in Saloon Whiskey Protected Leather

Aniline or semi-aniline? The finish of your leather is one of the most important considerations, and tends to be a trade-off between durability and stain-resistance, and appearance and comfort. Aniline leather has no surface coating or pigmentation, which gives it a varied and natural appearance as well as keeping it very soft and supple. On the other hand, aniline leather is easier to scratch and damage, and also absorbs liquids more readily meaning it is prone to staining.

Selvaggio Matt Aniline Leather Selvaggio Matt Aniline Leather

Semi-aniline leather, on the other hand, is treated with a surface coating that protects the leather underneath, while giving it a slightly more uniform and shiny appearance.

Crystal Waxy Coat Semi Aniline Leather in TanCrystal Waxy Coat Semi Aniline Leather in Tan

Pure leather or leather and fabric? You don’t necessarily have to choose pure leather; a quirky but popular style is a leather sofa with fabric cushions. These hybrid sofas not only look fantastic but also provide some of the benefits of fabric in terms of resilience and the ability to easily clean the cushions.


Leather Sofa Sizes

Getting the right size of sofa is absolutely essential, of course. A sofa that’s too big can crowd a room, and make it feel cramped and uncomfortable. Equally, a sofa that’s too small can look silly in a large room, not to mention simply not providing enough seating space for family events or for entertaining. It’s important to take the time to look at sofas and consider their measurements in the context of the space they’ll go in, as a large 2-seater sofa can be just as big as a smaller 3-seater sofa, while some sofas with a lot of seating space could still be quite delicate and have narrow arms that means it doesn’t occupy much space, while others can be much chunkier and take up a lot of room.

Kingly 3 seater sofa with chaise Kingly 3 seater sofa with chaise

Leather Colour Palette

The next most important consideration is choosing the right colour for your sofa. Leather comes in an enormous variety of not only colours, but also shades, tones and textures. In addition, certain types of leather can age beautifully, so it’s worth thinking about both how the colour looks now and also how it may look after a few years of wear.

Fabio corner sofa with recliners in 20JK leather Fabio corner sofa with recliners in 20JK leather

Grey leather sofas are a flexible and popular style that can look great in almost any room, and also disguise wear and damage fairly well. They can be offset with neutral tones like cream and beige, or jazzed up a bit with a range of brighter colours including red, navy blue, or orange.

Woodford Sofa in Crystal Hazel Semi Aniline Leather Woodford Sofa in Crystal Hazel Semi Aniline Leather

Brown leather sofas are, of course, a classic and their ‘natural’ shade can look especially beautiful in soft aniline leather that will age to a beautiful patina. Because brown leather looks natural, and tends to match the wood of other furniture, it can fit well into a huge variety of interior styles from the very classic to the very modern, and from the very neutral to the extremely bright and vibrant.

Elena sofa in 10BY white leather Elena sofa in 10BY white leather

White leather is another really popular choice for sofas and, although it naturally can be at risk of damage or staining, modern treated white leather is easy to keep clean and maintain its crisp appearance. White leather sofas go especially well with open, modern spaces, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited in shades you can choose for your interior. Lime green, sky blue, grey and red can all go beautifully with white furniture.

How to look after your leather sofa?

Day-to-day, leather just requires regular dusting with a dry cloth, and use of a vacuum with a narrow attachment to clean dust and debris from corners and between cushions. Once or twice a year, the use of a good leather conditioner is recommended although, as with any product you put on your leather, it’s always best to try a small amount on an unobtrusive area first.

Cromwell Leather button seat sofa Cromwell Leather button seat sofa

The biggest risk with leather is a spill, as the porous nature of leather means it can be absorbed and create a permanent stain. Treated leather is less prone to this, while untreated leather requires particular care. Either way, the best approach is to gently absorb any excess liquid without spreading it, and then if needs be use a specialist cleaning product.