There are ways to tell whether or not that’s real leather and to test its quality and durability. But you don’t have to worry about all that if you’re purchasing one of these elegant and versatile designer sofas.
How to Choose a Leather Sofa for Your Style
Whether you’re interested in durability, craftsmanship, appearance, or ease of cleaning, there are several things that you need to consider before investing money in a product which isn’t exactly the cheapest. When you’re on the market scouting for a new leather sofa, here are some tips, useful information, and suggestions to keep in mind:
- Consider the types of leather used to make the sofa. Most genuine leather sofas are usually made from cowhide, but the way the leather is processed will affect the feel and look of the sofa.
- Top grain leather receives a vegetable aniline dye treatment to make the hide softer and gives it a natural look.
- Full-grain leather is the least-blemished top-grain leather, with the exception of aniline dyeing, which is the only “processed” thing about it.
- Corrected grain leather is actually top grain leather which has been treated to remove surface grain in order to make marks less visible.
- When corrected grain is coated with a polymer surface, it’s called pigmented grain. This type of leather is stain-resistant and easy to clean.
- Leather is typically a very durable material, especially if you choose natural leather. That means that you need to pay further attention to the sofa’s frame to make sure you opt for one of high quality.
- One of the most durable leather sofas is the one made with a hardwood frame and top grain aniline leather.
- If you come across products with “leather seating” in their description, know that it means that only the seating is made from 100 percent leather (a.k.a. genuine leather).
- You also need to consider the rest of your room décor when you’re choosing a leather sofa. Neutral shades are perfect for design flexibility.
- The natural grain of a leather sofa can cause it to blend really well into multiple types of decors, from traditional to contemporary, regardless of whether you want it to be the focal point of the room or you want it to be a furniture piece that you can build around.
Faux vs. Real Leather
The cost difference between natural and faux leather is the first hint that you’re dealing with either the synthetic product or the “real deal”. However, there are multiple ways to tell these two types of leather apart, such as:
By the way it looks
Faux leather is typically available in a wider range of colors, being a more versatile material compared to real leather. On the other hand, genuine leather has a unique visual effect and, in time, gains a very distinctive odor. Both of these types of leather, when properly cared for, will maintain a beautiful visual appeal for years to come.
By the level of comfort
Ok, but what does this mean, exactly? Regardless of whether you’re buying genuine leather that has been treated or not, it’s still real leather, and its natural qualities make it behave like one. It retains properties such as malleability, flexibility, and breathability. If you look and touch faux leather, you will notice it has a more rigid surface because it doesn’t have the same natural give. Also, note that real leather gets softer in time, while faux leather doesn’t.
By examining the texture
This is one of the most common ways to tell real leather apart from synthetic one because there is no faux leather that can perfectly mimic the texture of genuine leather. However, real leather that has been coated with a protective pigment will mimic the texture of faux leather a lot.
By the smell
As you can probably imagine, artificial leather will have a chemical or plastic-like smell that you won’t usually encounter in products made from real leather (unless they have some protective coating of sorts).
Modern Italian Leather Sofas Available On The Market
Made from genuine leather, this sofa is designed with bold lines and a sleek profile that makes it perfect for people who want couches that can make a statement. It measures 34” H x 78” W x 34” D overall and has a seating area of 20” H x 65.5” W x 22” D, so about 3 people should be able to sit comfortably on it. Seat is filled with a combination made from 90 percent foam and 10 percent polyester fiber with 8-gauge sinuous coils to offer suspension, while the upholstery is made entirely out of top grain leather, and the legs are made from solid wood. This sofa has a total weight capacity of 750 pounds and the cushions are removable.
- Easy to clean.
- Seats up to 3 people.
- Comfortable and removable cushions.
- Arms could use more cushioning.
Next up, we have another sofa with 3 seats that’s made from quality genuine leather and offers a high level of comfort but a rather simple design, making it a great choice for both modern and traditional room setups. The entire couch measures 33” H x 73” W x 33” D, with a seating area of 19” H x 66” W x 21” D, and has a weight capacity of 500 pounds, which can be considered pretty low if you compare it with the previous 3-seat couch that supported up to 750 pounds. The frame of this couch is made from eucalyptus wood, while the seats and padding are made with sinuous springs, foam, and synthetic fibers.
- Easy to clean.
- Made with premium top grain leather.
- Seats up to 3 people.
- Not that much weight capacity.
If you’re interested in a gorgeous loveseat that’s covered in leather upholstery, you are going to adore the design of the Eufaula. It comes with solid wood legs and a traditional design that stands out through the button-tufted backrest, making this couch less ideal for modern spaces and more suitable for a room with that timeless aesthetic. This gorgeous loveseat measures 30” H x 66” W x 37” D, with the seat itself measuring 18” H x 42” W x 23” D. It’s made from genuine leather if you choose the brown version of the couch, while the other two colors are covered in polyester velvet. The seating area is filled with coils, foam, and synthetic fiber, and the couch has a total weight capacity of 500 pounds.
- 3 color options.
- Elegant button-tufted backrest design.
- Beautiful solid wood legs.
- Claims about upholstery tacks falling after a while.
If you’re aiming for that vintage living room aesthetic, the Baird sofa is going to fit right in. Granted, it’s considerably more expensive compared to the other models we’ve seen today, but it’s construction justifies the price. It measures 29.52” H x 70.82” W x 33.85” D overall and has a seating capacity of 2 people. The frame is made from a combination of solid and manufactured wood, with the seat being made with foam fill. The top grain leather is of high quality and has that worn-out look that makes it perfect for different kinds of room setups. Bold homeowners have often chosen to integrate this couch in contemporary interior design, making a perfect match with studio-like apartments.
- High-quality top grain leather.
- Cushions conform to the body in time.
- Total weight capacity of 750 pounds.
- Very expensive.
Next up, we have the Carmagrim sofa, sporting probably one of the most basic and simple designs you’ll ever see in a leather sofa, but that makes it even easier to pair with all kinds of room decors, especially with minimalist furniture and modern setups. This mid-century modern leather couch measures 26.5” H x 94” W x 40” D, with the seating area alone being 15” H x 72” W x 25” D in size. It can seat up to 3 people that have a maximum combined weight of 750 pounds. The frame is made from eucalyptus wood, while the upholstery is made from top grain leather with foam padding for extra comfort.
- 750 pounds total weight capacity.
- Comfortable cushioning.
- Easy to match with multiple room styles.
- Non-removable cushions.
The Exton couch is another example of how simple leather furniture can add so much style into the room it’s placed in. It measures 36.5” H x 83” W x 41.5” D overall, with a seating area of 18” H x 70” W x 23” D. It’s made with a rubberwood frame and has a seating area filled with sinuous springs, polyester, and foam padding, which is pretty standard for most quality leather couches. The upholstery is made from genuine aniline leather, but we are a little skeptical about mentions of weight capacity being only 250 pounds for a 3-seat couch.
- Medium firmness, perfect for most people.
- Quality aniline leather construction.
- Easy to clean.
- Very limited weight capacity.
- Cushions are not reversible as manufacturer claims.
When you first spot the Kenisha sofa, you will notice that it shares a lot of design similarities with the Carmagrim, especially in terms of simple lines and the ability to match the couch with plenty of room décor types, but especially with contemporary rooms. The couch measures 29” H x 94.5” W x 36.5” D overall, with the seating area alone being 17.5” H x 74” W x 24” D. That means that you can comfortably fit up to 3 people on this couch, provided their combined weight doesn’t exceed 750 pounds. The construction of this couch combines PU leather on the side and back and top-grain leather on the seating areas, meaning we’re dealing with a “leather seating” type of sofa.
- High weight capacity.
- Easy to combine with room décor.
- Comfortable cushions.
- Only seating area is made from genuine leather.
If you had to envision what a simple yet elegant leather couch would look like, the Adda would be the model that came to mind. It’s available in 4 different upholstery color options, with camel and brown leather being the two most popular ones. Measuring 35” H x 83.5” W x 37” D, the Adda sofa offers a seating area of 20” H x 72” W x 22” D, which should be enough to comfortably fit 3 people or a combined weight of 750 pounds. It’s made from authentic cowhide and has a frame made from pinewood. As with other similar sofas, this one also comes with sinuous springs inside the seating, but also foam and polyester padding.
- Quality leather construction.
- 4 upholstery color options.
- Supportive and resilient cushioning.
- Complaints about creases on the side.
Other cool leather design sofa ideas
Portfolio is a sofa designed by Ferruccio Laviani. It has a highly flexible and versatile design, allowing one to use it either as a modular or fixed system. This also allows it to be suitable for small spaces. The versatility of the design, however, doesn’t make comfort any less important.
Carlo Colombo designed a system of sofas called Park, with aluminum frames and back structures and padding made of multi-density polyurethane foam. The seat and back cushions are covered in Italian leather. The whole system of sofas is highly durable and yet lightweight.
The Borderline sofa by Mauro Lipparini impresses with its harmonious design and combination of materials and textures. Its linear design is simple and features a glossy steel support frame. The seat cushions, back and armrests are covered in leather and complemented by a set of fabric accent pillows.
This is the 1700 Jelly sofa. It was designed by Gianluigi Landoni and the name actually describes it pretty well. It’s a casual, soft and cozy piece of furniture with no visible frames or structures. It has raw cut edges and colored yarn stitching that emphasizes its casual and natural look.
By contrast, the Patmos sofa designed by Terry Dwan has a really lightweight and fresh look. This is a modular sofa which includes a series of leather seats and wooden blocks which can be organized in various ways. This makes the design highly versatile.
The Slab sofa has a design with subtle architectural influences and which combines the linearity of simple shapes the softness of the materials used in its construction to get an overall harmonious look. It was designed by Mauro Lipparini.
Featuring a strong internal structure made of solid pine and poplar plywood and a metal frame, the Caresse Fly 2 seater sofa designed by Alessandro Dalla Pozza is ideal for small spaces and elegant interior designs. It’s a piece of furniture that would look quite nice in a home office. The upholstery is available in both fabric and Italian leather with completely removable covers.
Yang is a sleek leather sofa designed by Rodolfo Dordoni which impresses with its simplicity and highly comfortable structure. It offers a dynamic seating system where geometric lines meet gentle curves and soft volumes to create a one-of-a-kind design and experience. The most interesting detail is the series of offset elements which can be combined in a variety of ways and which include ottomans and side tables.
This is Fly, a simple sofa with a modern design created by John Hope. It sits on a floating metal platform which gives it a timeless and classical look. The soft cushions can be used as ottomans or extra seats if so desired.
Meet Alison, a sofa available in three different sizes and able to adapt to a variety of designs and decors thanks to its simple and unpretentious design. It’s upholstered with dark brown Italian leather and it’s a timeless piece.
What is the difference between leather and Italian leather?
Italian leather is considered to be of higher quality compared to other types of leather for several reasons. It is handled by the very best craftsmen in the industry, typically lasts longer than regular leather, it has a one-of-a-kind appearance because of its vegetable tan, and caring for it is easy, especially since it seems to get more beautiful as it ages.
Where does Italian leather come from?
Italian leather is made from cowhide, and it’s often a by-product of the food industry, so the animals aren’t sacrificed specifically for their hide.
Why is Italian leather expensive?
It is believed that Italians are the best leather craftsmen in the world, people that aren’t just skilled, but also use quality hides in their craftsmanship. Italian leather is often higher in quality compared to leather made in other corners of the world because it’s made with natural items and dyed using plant-based extracts. The result is longer lasting and more durable leather.
What are the 5 types of leather?
While there are different ways to classify leather, when you hear talk about the 5 types, know that it refers to the layers and volume of the original hide that can be seen in the end product. The 5 types of leather are top-grain, full grain, split grain, genuine, and bonded.
Whether you’re looking to buy a sofa made from faux or genuine leather, it’s a good long-term investment that beats a lot of other upholstery material options. Keep in mind that genuine leather will always bring added benefits because of the quality that this natural material has, so it’s mostly a matter of choosing the grain you prefer and the style that you think fits your home best.