Leather sofas are a luxury most of us can appreciate – if you do have one, you’d like to keep it in peak condition as long as possible. But how long do leather sofas last? Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer here. Your sofa may last just a few years, or it might even last decades if you take very good care of it. But what should you do to preserve that perfect piece of furniture for as long as possible?
Life expectancy of leather sofas
How long a leather sofa lasts depends on the quality of the construction and the materials. A high-quality leather sofa should last 25 years or more, but a low-quality sofa will not last five years. The difference between a high-quality leather sofa and a low-quality one is not always obvious. To ensure that you are buying a high-quality leather sofa, learn about the materials used to make it.
Factors that impact sofa life expectancy
To understand how long your leather sofa will last, you need to know how it was made and what materials were used in its construction. Three factors are critical:
Type of leather used
The most durable and longest-lasting type of leather is full-grain leather. It takes about ten years to break down completely, even when used regularly. It is made from the outermost layer of the hide, which has natural imperfections from scars to brands that give each piece its unique look.
Full-grain leathers have a breathable surface that keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It gets more supple as it ages and develops a beautiful patina over time which is why it’s worth investing in this type of leather if you can afford it.
Aniline leather is one of the most expensive types of leather available, and it is also the most durable. The full-grain aniline leather is dyed, while corrected grain aniline leather is buffed and dyed. A full-grain aniline leather sofa will show all imperfections on the surface and is considered more luxurious than corrected grain aniline leather. Spills easily damage both types of aniline leather, and this is why they need to be cleaned immediately when something is spilled on them.
Bonded leather is made by shredding scrap pieces of genuine leather and gluing them together to form sheets that can be used in furniture upholstery. Bonded leather is considerably cheaper than other types of leather, but it doesn’t last as long. Bonded leather may start peeling within a year or two, especially if exposed to sunlight or humidity. Faux leather lasts about as long as bonded, so avoid both types if you want your couch to stand the test of time.
The obvious factor that affects the lifespan of a leather sofa is how you use it.
How can usage affect your couch?
The more time your family spends on your couch, the quicker the materials will wear out and require replacement or refurbishment. If you have company regularly, you will likely see more damage to your leather furniture than someone who lives alone and only uses their couch for an hour or two per day.
Children are especially hard on any upholstery, including leather. Their tendency toward sticky fingers and food spills can wreak havoc on your couch over time. In addition, many people bring pets into their homes these days. If your family has pets and they get on your leather furniture, it’s advisable to find a way to cover seats. While many pets are well-behaved around furniture, some tend to shed more than others, and they can quickly cause damage with sharp nails.
In addition to the frequency of use and who uses the furniture, exposure to heat, sunlight, and dampness also affect the durability of leather sofas.
Maintenance is perhaps the most significant factor impacting sofa longevity. Caring for your leather sofa properly can prolong its life. Neglecting proper maintenance also can cause a leather sofa to become brittle and crack.
The best way to care for a leather sofa is to use common sense and treat it gently, cleaning it regularly and keeping it away from direct sunlight or heat sources. A common misconception about leather sofas is that they are waterproof because of their material; however, water can be just as damaging as the sun if left on the surface of a leather couch for too long.
Many factors contribute to the life of a leather sofa. Fiber content, the thickness of the leather, and the quality of stitching all play a role. But what really makes all the difference is how you take care of your leather sofa and how you use it. With proper maintenance and care, most leather sofas can last for years and years, decades even. They’ll be in style for many years as well, and like a good wine or an old pair of shoes, will become even more comfortable with age.