Picking Out The Right Leather Furniture


So you’ve read our guide on the rights consumers deserve when it comes to furniture purchase. Such information is ever more important considering that furniture complaints have hit a record high in recent years.

One common problem is sub-standard furniture, which as Mr Wan Kut Lum, 56, found out, turned out to be a flaking leather sofa.

“It was embarrassing because the coating peeled off and stuck to my visitors’ legs when they sat on it,” he is quoted as saying in an interview with The Straits Times.

It wasn’t a cheap sofa either. He’d paid over $2,000 for the black synthetic sofa only to have it flake after 3 months.

In this article, we explore the different causes of peeling, flaking or cracking sofas, the different types of leather and how to keep your furniture in tip-top condition.


How Leather Degenerates

While consumers are often times victims of cheap or poorly manufactured furniture, careless disregard or poor attention to the maintenance of your sofa can easily lead to peeling, flaking or cracking leather.

This happens when the top-most layer of the leather, which consists of the finish and/or colour, has started to come off.

One major element to keep your leather furniture away from is sunlight. Store it away from direct sources of sunlight or the heat can cause your leather furniture to fade in colour, often losing its lustre and flexibility.

It may also become too dry and the leather will eventually harden and begin to crack. Regular cleaning and conditioning can only do so much to help keep your leather healthy and new looking.

Synthetic leather, on the other hand, cracks as it ages but high quality synthetic leather may be a little better against the sun – the shinier it is, the thicker the polyurethane coating, the better its protection.


Leather Quality Test

Borrow leather swatch samples from the salesperson. Scratch the layer – does it peel or flake easily? If so, it is most likely that you were given cheap quality material such as bi-cast leather or material with a very thin coating or PU protection.

Real leather also tends to feel supple while synthetic feel more “plastic” and stiff. Bend the leather. Genuine leather will have a uniform colour throughout.

Another great tool is to use your sense of smell. Your furniture should’ve a rich luxurious smell that’s woody in nature – just like genuine leather – and not smell of strong chemicals.

The leather furniture should also offer a minimum of two years for warranty, even if they’re synthetic leather products. In fact, synthetics could even prove to be more hardy, or at least, easier to maintain as compared to genuine leather products.

A little knowledge and some pre-purchase research can save you plenty of grief, so make sure you’re getting some good quality leather furniture before whipping out your credit card.