Leather upholstery has been in style for decades. For thousands of years, humans have used leather for clothing, shelter, and armor. While some hesitate to incorporate leather furniture due to the myth that leather is high maintenance and uncomfortable, that’s certainly no longer the case. Globalization and mass production have created an abundance of choice for those buying leather sofas. Are you ready to bring the simple opulence of a quality, top grain leather couch to your living room?
So, what is it that you need to be looking for specifically? Aside from a piece of furniture that fits your taste and lifestyle, our full couch buying guide walks you through the key elements and the nitty-gritty of buying a high-quality leather sofa.
Before getting into what makes a good leather couch, take some time to think about the space in which the couch will “live.” Larger rooms may look better with a larger sectional couch, which can provide versatile seating for family and guests. Smaller rooms, on the other hand, can look overwhelmed if your leather sofa is too big for the space. Consider a three-seat traditional sofa that only uses one wall for smaller living spaces.
In line with the age-old saying, “you reap what you sow,” your leather couch gives back what you put into it. Forgo regular maintenance? Do not expect top performance. The reverse is also true. By taking the following steps to reduce premature aging of the couch you can enjoy your top grain leather furniture for years to come:
- Keep the couch out of direct sunlight, as this ages leather.
- Avoid spills of any kind—including water.
- Clean the couch immediately if the leather gets wet.
- Keep dust away by monthly dusting.
It’s all in the couch’s bounce—yes, that means the springs and the cushion filling! Not only does the quality of springs and filling indicate the couch’s potential life span, but it also can help you understand price differences between different leather furniture models.
But with so many different types of springs used to construct modern couches, which one does the trick? Let’s take a quick look.
Eight-way, Hand-tied Springs
This is your top-shelf choice. Hand-tied springs are made with detailed craftsmanship, by securing each spring coil to other springs, and to the sofa—all by hand. The detail and craftsmanship of this type of spring does typically mean these couches come with a higher cost. These hand-crafted type of suspension distribute weight evenly among the sofa and have long been considered the best quality.
These S-shaped springs are the most common springs around due to their durability and affordable price. Made from steel wire, sinuous strings snake in an S-pattern that starts at the front of the couch frame, and spans all the way to the back. Typically, they are joined together horizontally. Copper-coated sinuous springs are even better, as the material prevents corrosion. Another benefit of sinuous springs is that they require less space inside of the frame, making it the ideal choice for sleek and low-to-the-ground furniture designs.
The least supportive type of spring system is web suspension. It can be used in combination with couch springs to make for a sturdier build. Web suspension alone puts the couch at a higher risk of sagging over time, as the webbing loses tension. However, this problem also can be mitigated by a tensioner, often used in higher quality builds to maintain the stability of the bands.
Seat Cushions and Filling
A couch’s filling is the second key element in determining a leather couch’s quality and comfort. The filling you choose for your leather sofa is also key in determining the lifespan of the furniture. Not all types of filling are created equal. Pick the one that best fits your needs and lounging style.
Down and Feathers
Looking for the softest sofa in the land? Down and feathers are your friend. Down is sourced from the underbellies of geese, known to be very plush. Feather-filled cushions are down’s cheaper cousin, often sourced from duck or chicken feathers. The issue with feather is that if it gets wet, it will not dry properly. But if you add in some waterproof covers, you’ll be able to avoid water damage.
So 100% down we say? Not per sé! Cushions with 100% down are bound to get lumpy over time—unless individual pockets or baffles were used to sow the down into. For something with softness and firmness, try cushions that have an outer layer of down or feathers, and an inner foam core.
This high-density choice consists of a foam core and an “egg crate” foam outer layer, followed by a polyester fiber wrap. If you like a sturdy seat with wrinkles kept to a minimum, foam is your friend. This is a low-maintenance option that always looks good, requiring minimal fluffing, and keeps you sitting upright.
Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge, all you need to do is make your well-informed sofa purchase. Remember, this is a long-term investment; leather sofas made with high-quality, top grain leather upholstery will last for years if properly taken care of.
So, what is the most durable leather sofa? Well, simply put, it is hard to beat a sofa with hardwood, thick wire frames, and a high resilience foam cushion. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone. Review your options and match that up with your preferences. You’re bound to find a leather sofa that is your perfect living room addition.