Leather Sofas: A Basic Buying Guide

With more choice than ever on both the high street and online choosing new leather sofas can sometimes seem like a daunting task. There are hundreds of different styles, materials and features to consider. For most people buying leather sofas is a major purchase that will last many years so making the right choice is crucial.

Type of leather

There are many types of leather used to upholster leather sofas. More expensive or higher end leather sofas generally have a softer finish and are covered with genuine leather all over the sofa. Less expensive sofas may use a leather match or ‘faux leather’ to the side and back panels with a genuine leather to all the wearing surfaces, these include the seat cushions back cushions and arms. The leather match on the non-wearing parts is designed to look exactly the same as the leather used elsewhere, hence the name. Leather match is an exact colour match and imprinted with an identical grain to the genuine leather, however it is partly PU based.

Seating on Leather Sofas

All leather sofas can look the part but if they are not comfortable then you may end up with a sofa you don’t want to sit on. Most leather sofas have some sort of sprung suspension, this can consist of pocket springs or serpentine springs. The seating on lower end sofas is usually just foam filled, this set up tends to have a shorter life span. Sprung seats offer greater support and have the ability to spring back to their original shape, serpentine springs run parallel across the seat and have a zig-zag appearance. Pocket springs sit vertically in the seat. A pocket sprung leather sofa has a layer of coiled springs each sitting in its own fabric pocket, this type of seat when topped with a high density foam offers the best in comfort support and durability.

Fixed vs reclining leather sofas

The choice between fixed and reclining leather sofas is mostly down to personal choice. Reclining sofas tend to have a much higher back and will feature either a manual or electric powered mechanism. Recliners can offer adjustable comfort from an upright position to an almost horizontal recline.  Recliners are usually quite a bit bulkier tan your standard fixed sofa

Removable vs fixed cushions

Leather sofas can come with a variety of options in terms of their cushions, some sofas will have fixed seat and back cushions or fixed seat and removable back cushions. Removable cushions can be either loose or are often held securely in place with a zip or velcro, either way it is worth testing the sofas out to ensure that the cushions are secure enough that they won’t slip when sitting on the leather sofas.

Corner Sofas

Leather corner sofas are growing in popularity and are a great solution when space is limited, these can either have a chaise longue section or an arm on each end. These leather sofas can also come in a modular form whereby the customer can add extra pieces or seats to create the ideal size and shape of sofa.

Buying cheap leather sofas

The cost of cheap leather sofas in recent years has fell and it is now possible to buy cheap leather sofas from a variety of outlets whilst not compromising on quality and style. The importation of cheap leather sofas from the Far East and more recently Eastern Europe has made buying leather sofas more affordable and brought a wider range of choice to the market, this factor along with new methods of construction and cheaper types of leather means great savings can be had. Below are a few factors to consider when buying a cheap leather sofa.

Internet versus High Street

Internet retailers are often able to offer better deals on cheap leather sofas as opposed to high street stores. Running a large high street store can result in huge overheads which the retailer will have to account for, usually in the price of the sofa! Internet firms with smaller overheads are able to pass these savings onto the customer however it may not be possible to view or try the sofas out before buying so it really is a trade-off between price and viewing the sofas beforehand.

Full leather versus leather / leather match

Many cheap leather sofas are made using a method of upholstery known as leather / leather match. A leather hide is used for the wearing surfaces, this usually comprises of the seat cushions back cushions and arms and a leather match or imitation leather is used to the non-wearing surfaces. This results in a high quality suite with the look of a full leather sofa but at a reduced price due to the saving in materials. As its name suggests leather match can look identical to the leather used elsewhere in terms of colour and grain but is usually PU based.

Build quality

If you are looking at buying cheap leather sofas but are concerned about build quality, there are a few features you should look for as a minimum in terms of specification.

Frame – Ideally this should be a hardwood frame that is both glued and screwed for extra strength and durability

Suspension – For the best in both comfort and durability pocket sprung seats are top of the list. Pocket sprung seats have vertical springs in individual pockets across the whole seat, this type of seating ensures the seat will spring back to its original shape. Second to pocket springs are serpentine springs these are zigzag shaped springs that run across the seat. A sprung seat should then be topped with high density foam. Low end sofas will often not have any suspension and feature a foam filled seat, these will not last as long as sprung cheap leather sofas.

With this information in mind it is possible to source good quality cheap leather sofas at a great price that will last you for years to come.

Getting Value For Money With Cheap Sofas

It’s always tempting to purchase cheap sofas when the price seems irresistible. Cheap leather sofas especially can vary by hundreds of pounds from store to store but how would you know whether what you’re purchasing is still value for money? In the same way, spending thousands of pounds on a sofa can be a risk as the sofa may not be good value for money.

Spend five minutes out in your local town and you’ll see cheap corner sofas for sale in any high street furniture outlet. Cheap settees and sofas are easy to come by and nearly every store these days runs a sofa sale once or twice a year.

Price reductions on cheap sofas

When visiting the high street for cheap sofas look out for genuine price reductions. All previous selling prices should have been active for at least 28 consecutive days so it may be worth keeping an eye on more expensive sofas which you suspect may be added to an upcoming sale. This way you know the price reduction is true and the sofa used to be sold at the higher price.

How to spot value for money sofas

There are a few signs which show you’re getting a good cheap sofa for the money you’re spending. One of these is the frame. Although it’s difficult to actually see the sofa frame underneath the covering whether it is a fabric of leather sofa, The weight of the sofa will show what kind of material it is made from. Good quality sofas will be made using solid wood and not lower quality woods such as ply wood or MDF. Although MDF can be heavy in weight and may give the effect of being a quality frame, MDF doesn’t have the flexibility of natural wood.

Another way in which you can see if a cheap sofa you’re looking to purchase is good value is the comfort factor. Low end sofas will have detachable seating which are foam filled and rest upon a simple spring system. Many cheap sofas will have only elastic strapping for suspension which offers little benefit to the overall comfort.

Higher end sofas may still have a foam seat but will include a better form of spring system and may include serpentine springs underneath the seating. Serpentine springs are in the shape of zigzags or as the name suggests, a serpent with wave like metal bars which flex easily creating suspension.

Pocket sprung sofas are not just high end

Other higher end sofas will include a pocket sprung seating space much like a good quality mattress. With pocket sprung over open coil, each spring in wrapped in it’s own cotton pocket and then packed tightly together creating a unit which is then sandwiched between layers of foam. Pocket sprung sofas allow for a springy sofa seat which will not sag over time.

Cheap leather sofas

Before the introduction of the Internet, a good cheap leather sofa was hard to find meaning a new leather suite in most cases was a major investment or cheaper fabric or faux leather sofas were the only affordable option for a lot of people. With the boom in internet shopping along with imports of high quality suites from places such as China and Eastern Europe cheap leather sofas are now widely available to the consumer with no compromise on quality.

Buy sofas online for discounted prices

Along with the ability to purchase cheap leather sofas online the sofa consumer now has a much broader choice in terms of styles, colours and finishes meaning there has never been a better time to buy a cheap leather suite that will fit in perfectly with your interior.

Online retailers can offer their sofas at much more competitive prices compared to high street sellers. Selling products solely online means that the huge overheads usually associated with running a chain of high street stores such as rent and rates can be avoided and these savings can then be passed onto the consumer. Shop around and don’t be afraid of asking for a discount, with the market for leather furniture being so competitive, sellers will often price match other stores or offer a straight discount if you are prepared to ask.

Modern leather sofa manufacturing

A recent development in the manufacture of leather suites is a type of upholstery known as leather / leather match. This consists of the wearing parts of the sofa (seat cushions, back cushions and arms) being upholstered in a genuine leather whilst the side and back panels (non-wearing surfaces) are covered in a leather match (imitation leather) this material, as the name suggests is in most cases an identical match in terms of colour and texture to the real leather used elsewhere. Due to the high material cost of a genuine leather hide, this cost saving exercise means manufacturing cost is substantially reduced again leading to cheap leather sofas being available to the consumer.

Cheap leather sofas in fashion

With the current wide availability of cheap leather sofas customers can have the option of changing their leather suite with more frequency to match the current market trends or to give their living space an instant face lift. At the time when a mid range leather settee suite would cost £1000+ consumers would tend to keep their suite for a lot longer due to the big financial outlay, nowadays with the huge choice available and the cheaper price customer may not be stuck with a suite that is outdated if the cost of a new cheap leather sofa is reasonable and affordable.