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Can you re-dye a leather sofa?

Updated February 21, 2019

Changing a decorating scheme usually means colour changes. This is not usually a problem with small, inexpensive pieces of furniture and decorative accessories. For larger, more expensive items--such as a leather sofa--budget limitations can encourage alternative thinking. Dyeing your leather sofa is a cost-saving measure that can produce good results. If you are working with an already-dyed leather sofa, the process will be a little more involved, but is still very doable. Just remember that re-dying leather is not an exact science, so experiment on an inconspicuous spot on the furniture before working on the entire sofa.

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Prepare Leather

Removal of protective finishes is necessary before re-dying can take place. A process called deglazing, or colour prep, removes these protective finishes and gets the leather ready for re-dying. Some deglazing products are not suitable for leather that is being redyed, so read the product description carefully. For example, if the label on the bottle reads "Dye Prep" instead of "Deglazer" it may only be suitable for leather that has not been previously dyed. To apply a deglazer, wipe it on and let dry.

Apply Dye

The difference between dying a leather sofa for the first time versus re-dying is that re-dying is a two-step process. Neutralising the original colour is the first step, followed by dying to the new colour. The intermediate colour you choose will depend on both the current colour and the final colour choice. Practice and experimentation will determine the correct colour combination to produce your results. For example, use the following intermediate colours to produce the indicated final colour:

For white leather you want to redye brown, first redye the sofa light green. For white leather you want to redye dark blue, first redye the sofa light black. For white leather you want to redye black, first redye the sofa green or blue. For red leather you want to redye black, first redye the sofa green.

A regular-size sofa requires approximately 946ml. of dye. Apply using a spray gun or airbrush on large areas, and a piece of wool cloth for smaller areas; let dry for 12 hours. Apply a second coat for better colour results, if desired.


Do not allow dyed surfaces to touch each other for a minimum of 12 hours. After this time, apply a leather protector using a soft cloth and then buff with a buffing cloth.

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About the Author

Jackie Lohrey

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

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