woman sitting in a leather sofa

The leather couch is a furniture staple. With classic aesthetic and durable quality that makes it stand the test of time, it’s no wonder it’s a desired piece for the home. But, what makes a ‘good’ one?

Whether you’re a first time buyer, or simply wanting to learn more about what sets a genuine leather couch apart from the phonies, it’s definitely worth doing a little research before you fork out the hefty investment. The real deal will be worth it, and will give you many years of enjoyment.

The real deal is a top quality natural product. The leather couch is produced through ‘curing’ – a process by which animal skin (such as that from cattle) is salted and preserved, and then tanned to produce a warm, durable hide. There are different types, each with their own unique characteristics, but generally speaking there are certain things to look out for to indicate this natural origin of the product.

You can generally spot the fakers from price alone, but this can at times be misleading, so it helps to know what elements to look out when furniture shopping. To help you make the right choice, here are 9 of our pointers for spotting a quality leather couch…

  1. Smoothness

Or lack thereof. The surface of a real piece will have natural grooves and unevenness. Keep an eye out for tiny imperfections. Don’t worry, they’re meant to be there. A perfectly smooth surface is generally a good sign that authenticity isn’t the name of the sofa.

Imperfections to look out for include…

> Scratches

> Fibre density

> Hair structure

> Growth marks

  1. Back and side panels

One of the best ways to check for a real vs faux leather couch is by patches on its back and side panels. Large panels mean the grain may not be real, in turn meaning you may not be looking at a genuine number.

  1. Full-grain

Is the highest grade of leather couch you can buy. It comes from thick hides that haven’t been sanded or buffed, leaving behind all the original marks and imperfections from the animal skin. Because of this, it’s very strong and is far from easily worn. Plus it has a beautiful organic patina.

Many retailers classify these sofas by the grade, however you should note that more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean higher grade nor better quality.

  1. Tight mesh

The fabric of genuine sofas are visibly different to others – cushions are crafted from a tightly-woven mesh in order to allow the material to breath, which in turn adds to the longevity of the sofa.

  1. Stretch durability

If you can stretch a part of the leather couch without it growing on the verge of damage, it’s a very good sign that you’ve not only got a genuine piece, but one that will stand the test of time. This is an important detail to ensure if the plan is to enjoy your purchase for the long term.

  1. Stitches

Check the back of the furniture to identify a single piece of material vs several pieces stitched together. If you have a large sofa covered in a single piece of material, you can pretty much guarantee it’s a faker.

  1. Texture

Should be soft and warm to the touch.

  1. Scent

Should be classic and distinctive – a rich, full-bodied aroma that’s easy on the senses. Faux material on the other hand, emits a chemical scent that can be less pleasant to breathe in.

  1. Reverse side

Genuine material is unfinished, rougher, and has no colour on the back.

Finding the real deal version of these sofas is worth the careful inspections. An authentic leather couch is extremely durable and with the right care, will see through many, many years with you.