Leather furniture is front and center this week as our Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down topic. Cindy likes leather furniture – Terrie does not. Read through our opinions and then jump into the conversation and share your thoughts with us.
Cindy Gives Leather Furniture a Thumbs Up
My husband and I bought our first leather furniture about 25 years ago. We purchased a cream color sofa and matching loveseat for our living room. When we moved about 6 years later the leather sofa and loveseat took up residence in the family room. After another move, approximately 7 years later, they provided the main seating in the media room. After 8 years of popcorn and soda on those sofas, we downsized our home and both furniture pieces went to our eldest son (and his 4 roommates) – and they are still in use! In the meantime, 4 years ago we purchased a leather sofa for our T.V. room and four rattan/leather chairs for our living room – so we’ve come full circle with leather furniture
This real life story illustrates one of the reasons I love leather furniture – it is extremely durable and outlasts any other upholstery by at least three times (my personal estimate). Some of the other reasons I give it a Thumbs up:
- Leather looks good for many years (durable is one thing – but if it doesn’t look good too you wouldn’t want to keep it around!)
- Leather cleans easily – spills wipe right up without staining (you can bet there was a lot of movie snacking on of sofas during those 8 years in the media room!)
- Leather works on most any style of furniture–mine is contemporary but I’ve seen it on very modern sofas, French country chairs, and transitional bar stools, just to mention a few. In addition to seating you’ll find leather on ottomans, benches, bed headboards and footboards, lamps and shades, coffee tables, decorative pillows, magazine racks, and more!
- Leather retains it’s resell value because it maintains its good looks – if you move and need to sell your furniture you will get top dollar on the leather pieces
- Leather does not tear or rip as easily as fabric upholstery – after 25 years you can bet the fabric would be showing weak spots
- Leather doesn’t absorb smells like fabric upholstery
- Leather is better for allergies as dust and pollen don’t sink into it – they sit on top of the leather so you can just wipe them off
- Leather and pet hair do not stick together – you can ditch the continual vacuuming and sticky clothes rollers and instead simply wipe pet hair off leather furniture
- Leather is less expensive in the long run because the cost is amortized over more than twice as many years as upholstery
In addition to all of these reasons, I buy leather furniture because I like how it looks. It’s available in a variety of leather types, the colors opti0ns are extensive and the furniture applications varied. Leather definitely gets a Thumbs Up from me.
Terrie Gives Leather Furniture a Thumbs Down
Once again Cindy makes a great case for leather and almost has me sold….almost. I actually like leather quite a lot – just not on anything that will touch my skin. I love leather accessories like tables, ottomans, headboards and even lamps because it adds a wonderful texture and luxury to a space.
As with seating, leather accessories can complement a traditional or contemporary setting and are available in natural tans and browns as well as a myriad of dyed hues.
My beef with leather seating is that I’m not comfortable on it. It’s slippery and cold and my skin sticks to it. The lower the quality of leather, the worse these characteristics are. I hate the ‘peel and stick’ feeling of getting out of a leather chair.
Pet hair may not stick to leather, but that’s because it’s slippery. So that means that ‘arranged’ pillows or a perfectly placed throw don’t stay in place either. Speaking of pets, we’ve always had cats. Cats that jump up on the furniture and use their claws to hold on. My chenille sofa absorbs those claw marks where leather would show the scratches and little pinprick holes made by the claws. But….I do have to vacuum the cat hair off the sofa frequently. (Especially when Cindy is visiting since she’s allergic.)
I remember Cindy’s cream colored leather sofa set (yes, we’ve been friends over 25 years!) and it looked lovely all the time. The room looked fresh and light. However, when I visited, especially in the summer, I found that I tended to sit in one small space on the sofa because once I warmed up the leather I was loathe to move and warm up a new area (kind of like cold sheets in the middle of the night). I preferred to sit in the kitchen on an upholstered chair!
While I concede that good leather may generally last longer than good upholstery, I’ve had my upholstered sofa for 12 years and it’s still looking great (it’s an eggplant chenille). That’s about as long as I want to keep a piece of furniture. However, if you’re interested in buying a sofa and not replacing it for 25-30 years (assuming the frame and cushions hold up too), then leather may be the option for you. Just remember to buy the best quality you can to get the longest life.
What’s your take on leather? Is your home filled with sturdy leather furnishings or do you prefer the upholstery route? As always, you can leave us a comment or email us at solutions@YourDecoratingHotline.com.