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What to look for when buying a leather sofa

Updated May 03, 2018

Leather sofas are beautiful, durable pieces of furniture. They come in a variety of designs from love seats to sectional sofas. When looking to buy a leather sofa, consider the quality of the leather that is used, the construction of the sofa and the size and extra features that you will use.

Leather Quality

Leather comes in a variety of qualities that can serve different purposes. Bonded leather is made of leather scraps that have been glued together. Though it is inexpensive, it is not durable so it should be avoided, especially if the sofa will be used by children or animals. Split grain leather is made from the inside of the hide which is considered less desirable than the outer layer because is it not as durable. Top grain is made from the outer layer and is the most durable type of leather because it is treated to increase its durability. Full grain leather is the most expensive. Like top grain leather, it is made from the outer layer but it is not treated. It is the most expensive because of its beauty, but is not as durable as top grain. Some couches will offer leather match, which is a combination of vinyl and leather, which is less expensive than most genuine leather sofas.

Sofa Comfort and Construction

Test the coils by pushing down on the sofa without the cushions on the sofa. The best sofas will wrap the coils in cushioning so you will not notice them, even if you remove the cushions. The most durable frames are made of hardwood like oak or maple. If you are looking for a less expensive alternative, softer woods like pine or metal frames are acceptable. If the sofa had sufficient padding, the metal frame will go unnoticed.

Type of Sofa

Consider how you will use the sofa. If only one or two people will be using the sofa, consider a love seat. If you will be having a dozen people over on a regular basis, consider a sectional sofa to fit more people. Sectional sofas range from 9 to 14 feet and can be rearranged to fit the needs of the event. If you are buying a sofa bed, test the comfort of the pullout mattress.

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About the Author

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."