Real or Fake? How to Make Sure Your Leather Sofa is Genuine


Sofa shown: La-Z-Boy Ava

All of the leather sofas we stock are made from real leather in a range of grades but it is easy to buy what you think is a real leather sofa and then realise afterwards that it’s fake and made from a fabric base, chemically treated to give a leather look and texture. There’s nothing wrong with owning leatherette furniture (although the fabric is not as robust as leather and you may see it wear a lot quicker), but if you’ve paid top notch for a real leather sofa then that’s what you expect to have pride of place in your sitting room. If you have ordered a leather sofa and suspect it may be fake, here’s a few ways of finding out for sure:

Look at the Labels

If the retailer you purchased it from gave you a description of the leather you were buying, then check the label to see if this matches what you’ve been told. Real leather has a range of terms that are synonymous with the quality and grade purchased, including “full grain”, “soft grain” and “top grain”, whereas anything that has been made and treated with chemicals will have words to that effect on the label, such as “manmade” or “p leather”.
Of course, not all sofas have labels but typically a real leather sofa will proudly display its heritage to the world!

Purchase Price

Assuming you are buying new, price check against similar furniture in other stores. If yours is considerably cheaper then it’s most likely to be faux leather, as this tends to come up as inexpensive when compared to real leather models.
Of course, if you’re buying in the sales you may still have bagged a great real leather bargain, just be sure to look at others in the same price bracket to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride!

Feel the Faux

You can generally tell by the texture whether the material is real leather or not. Faux leather tends to have a consistent texture and be smooth all over, whereas real leather is uneven and can be coarse in one section and smoother the next, so you can feel the difference under your fingertips. Leather feels softer and more flexible and if you look closely, you will be able to see the pores of the material – faux leather has pores in a consistent pattern of lines, whereas real leather pores are inconsistent and don’t follow a set pattern. Also, feel the edges – fake leather has smooth edges that don’t feel rough; real leather will be rougher.

Sense of Smell

Don’t think that your nose doesn’t have a part to play – real leather has a distinctive smell which fake leather cannot replicate. You may find this smell fades of time but a new sofa will have a very strong leather smell which you should be able to tell straight off – so get your nose in there and get sniffing!