12 Ultimate Guide to Identifying High Quality Leather Sofa

Buying a leather sofa is an investment that requires careful consideration. There are a few key things to look for when assessing the quality of a leather sofa, from the type and grade of hide used to the construction of the furniture itself. Here, we will discuss how to tell if a leather sofa is good quality and what to watch out for when shopping for one. Read on to learn more!

12 Tests to Determine if Your Leather Sofa is the Real Deal

Leather Sofa Is Good Quality

1. Check for Physical Defects

When looking for a leather sofa, it’s important to check for any physical defects. A good-quality sofa will not have any major flaws or blemishes.

2. Look for Non-Leather Aspects

When looking for a good quality leather sofa, it is important to consider more than just the leather itself and look at the non-leather aspects as well. Quality stitching is an indication of good quality leather, as is the type of material used for the frame construction, the type of springs action, and the cushion filling.

If possible, check the reverse side of the leather to get a better idea of its quality. Genuine leather will be unfinished on the reverse side and will be rougher to the touch. Avoid focusing too much on marketing jargon such as ‘premium’ or ‘genuine’ leather and instead, pay attention to the other aspects of the sofa.

3. Feel the Texture

When it comes to feeling the texture of a leather sofa, it’s important to remember that genuine leather will usually have a varied or uneven texture due to its natural origin. To get an idea of the texture, gently run your fingers across the surface to feel for any roughness or irregularities.

Leather will also bear the marks of its natural origin, and these qualities can show as scratches, growth marks, areas of differing fibre density and hair follicles. If you’re looking for a high-quality leather piece, make sure it has a soft and supple feel.

4. Determine the Grade of the Hide

Once you’ve determined that the sofa is made of genuine leather, the next step is to determine the grade of the hide. The amount of surface coating applied to the leather will influence whether or not the item can be described as ‘genuine’ leather. Top grain leather is widely considered as the second highest grade of leather.

The outermost layer of the hide is removed to obtain top grain leather. This is then split into two or three layers and sanded to produce a smooth surface. The ‘cleaner’ or less-scarred hides tend to be used for full-grain leather and the more scarred hides are used for corrected grain leather. It’s common to see natural hide markings in real leather, which is a strong indicator that a leather product is genuine.

If it’s all very uniform then it’s probably a fake. There should always be variations on genuine leather, so look out for these when inspecting your sofa.

5. Feel for Soft Suppleness

When feeling the leather of a sofa, you should expect to feel a soft suppleness and slightly uneven feel. It is important to note that this may not always be the case, particularly with lower grade leather hides.

To get the best out of your leather sofa, it is essential to look for a softness and suppleness which indicates quality. If the texture feels cold or smooth, it is probably not real leather. Additionally, you should apply gentle pressure to different areas of the couch to make sure that it feels soft to the touch. This is a good indication that the leather has been treated well.

6. The Sofa’s Dimensions

Once you have determined the grade of the hide and checked for any physical defects, you should also check the sofa’s dimensions. To get a feel for the sofa sizes your space can accommodate, take note of the length and width of your room.

If your room is large with high ceilings, it’s a great opportunity to invest in an oversized leather sofa which will look even more luxurious. On the other hand, if your room is on the smaller side, opt for a smaller scale leather sofa or even a loveseat.

7. Notice Uneven Feel

Another way to tell if a sofa is made from genuine leather is to feel for an uneven surface. When running your hand across the surface of the leather, you should feel a slight bumpy texture. This is a telltale sign of genuine leather and not faux leather.

It is important to note that if you feel an even surface, it does not necessarily mean that it is not genuine leather, as some varieties of leather can be smooth to the touch. Therefore, it is important to combine this method with other methods to ensure that you are getting what you are looking for.

8. Type Of Leather Used

The type of leather used is also important when it comes to determining the quality of a leather sofa. Latigo is a cowhide that is specifically designed for outdoor use and is a combination of chrome and vegetable tanning. You should also look for the amount of surface coating applied to the leather as this will influence whether or not it can be described as genuine leather.

9. The Construction Of The Leather Sofa

When it comes to the construction of the leather sofa, it’s important to consider the joints. In a good-quality frame, the joints will be glued, dowelled and screwed. The corners should also be strengthened with corner blocks and there should be no gaps between the joints.

The frame should also be made of solid hardwood and not any kind of composite material. Additionally, you should check for any sign of warping or damage.

10. Type Of Material Used For The Frame Construction

When it comes to the frame, strong and sturdy construction is key. The materials and methods used in construction are what will ultimately determine how comfortable and long-lasting your furniture will be.

A furniture’s frame/foundation can be made from two primary types of wood materials: solid woods, which includes both hardwoods and softwoods, and engineered woods such as plywood and particle board. In a good-quality frame, the joints get special attention. They are glued, dowelled, and screwed. The corners are further strengthened by the use of corner blocks, steel fasteners, and/or interlocking joints.

11. The Type Of Springs Action

When it comes to determining the quality of a leather sofa, the type of springs action is also important. The three most common springs used in furniture are coil springs, sinuous springs, and Pirelli webbing.

Sinuous or serpentine springs are best for good-quality sofas, and are often found in higher-end pieces. Make sure to verify with the manufacturer or salesperson that the springs are genuine. Doing so will ensure that your sofa is of the highest quality and will be able to withstand years of use.

12. The Cushions Filling

When it comes to the cushions filling, there are a few things to consider. It is important to look at the bottom of the attached back cushions and notice if there are any camouflaged zippers. This will help you determine the type of filling used in the cushions. Most leather sofas will have high-density polyurethane cushion filling.

However, some may also have foam wrapped in softer materials like batting and muslin. It is also important to knead the frame along the back, rail, corners and arms to ensure that the cushion filling provides adequate support for your body. To get an idea of how comfortable a leather sofa will be, feel for soft suppleness and make sure that it does not feel uneven.

Bottom Line

When it comes to finding the right leather sofa, it’s important to take a close look at the material, construction and overall quality. Consider the physical characteristics of the leather and feel for softness, unevenness and good quality material.

Make sure to check the grade of the hide as well as the type of leather used, as well as the construction and style of the sofa. By following these tips, you can be sure that you are investing in a good quality leather sofa that will provide you with years of comfort.


What are the benefits of owning a leather sofa?

Leather sofas have many benefits, including that they are easy to clean and maintain, extremely comfortable, and have a timeless look that will never go out of style.

How long does a leather sofa last?

A quality leather sofa can last for decades if properly cared for. To keep your leather sofa looking its best, make sure to keep it clean and conditioned regularly, as this will help prevent cracking and fading over time.

Can a leather sofa be comfortable?

Absolutely! Leather sofas are incredibly comfortable, as the material is soft and supple yet supportive at the same time. In addition, leather sofas are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your space.

Is a leather sofa expensive?

The cost of a leather sofa can vary depending on the type of leather used, the size of

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