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Tips for Buying Leather Furniture

One of the most intimidating and expensive pieces that anyone can buy for their home is the sofa. It’s big, it’s expensive, and not often replaced. Plus, there are (what seems like) a million choices out there. How does one decide? We’ve taken a bit of the guesswork out of the equation by eliminating one category: anything $1000 or more! Check out our favorite leather sofas for under $1000.

1) American Eagle Furniture Leather Sofa | 2) American Furniture Sleeper Sofa | 3) Classic Scroll Bonded Leather 2 Seater Loveseat | 4) Coaster Colton Sofa-Brown | 5) Coaster Samuel Cream Leather Sofa | 6) Global Furniture Leather Matching Sofa | 7) Global Furniture Wyatt Collection Sofa | 8) Homelegance 2 Piece Accent Sectional Sofa | 9) Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa | 10) Homelegance Greeley Reclining Sofa | 11) Modway Empress Leather Sofa | 12) Modway Engage Leather Sofa | 13) Poundex F7609 Bobkona Toffy Leather Sofa | 14) Poundex F7769 Bobkona Leather Sofa | 15) Pulaski Rivera Sofa | 16) Poundex F7859 Bobkona Leather Sofa | 17) Signature Design by Ashley Larkinhurst Sofa | 18) Signature Sleep 2152007 Leather Sofa | 19) Simmons Upholstery 6769-03 Leather Sofa | 20) Simmons Upholstery Phoenix Motion Sofa |

Just like any big life investment, buying leather furniture should require thoughtful consideration and planning. What room will it go in, and who will be using it? Does it need to stand up to a household of pets and kids, or are you looking for a living room showpiece? And what’s the style of your home? It’s important to ask yourself these questions so that you can hone in on exactly what you need before you start shopping.

Beyond the basics, you’ll also need to understand the words that describe leather furniture. For instance, what’s top or full-grain versus full-grain? And what’s the best way to test how leather will wear over time? Here are a few of the major terms you’ll come across along the way.


Graining refers to the markings or patterns on a hide’s surface just below the hair. Full-grain leather comes from this top layer of the hide, where the graining is tight, durable, and moisture resistant.

Full-grain leather is prized for its durability, natural characteristics, and the way it develops a beautiful patina over time. Top-grain leather is similar to full-grain leather, except that its very top layer has been carefully sanded and buffed to diminish imperfections and markings. Top-grain leather offers more uniform color.


Bonded leather is made of pieces of hide blended together to form a seamless piece of material. Durable and sleek, bonded leather works well on furniture in high-traffic areas, like dining room chairs and stools.


Aniline dying is the process of coloring leathers with transparent dyes. Full-aniline-dyed leather is wonderfully soft and isn’t treated with a protective coating that would alter its natural feel. Semi-aniline dying adds a thin protective top coat to the hide, providing more uniform color and protection from wear and staining.


Leather is natural, so it will also naturally age. And as leather lovers can attest, patina adds richness, depth, and smoothness. Direct sunlight will also age the leather, especially on exposed areas, so keep furniture placement in mind when you’re shopping.

Natural Markings:

Leather is a natural material, so no two hides are ever exactly alike in color and markings. If you are given a leather swatch for color reference, pull and stretch the leather swatch to get a sense what the leather would look like when upholstered onto a furniture frame.


Unlike a fabric sofa or chair, with leather sofas and chairs the bottom of the cushion isn’t encased in leather. Part of the bottom of the casing has a tightly-woven mesh material, which allows the cushion to breath.

Like your favorite leather jacket, leather sofas and chairs only get better with age. If you love a piece now, you’ll love it even more down the road. So do your research, consider the options, and your dream piece of leather furniture will live with you for years to come.

Photo Gallery of the Tips for Buying Leather Furniture