Leather is one of the most requested upholstery textiles around, and for good reason! Simply put, it holds up. It’s a sturdy and durable option that stands up against the elements (meaning daily wear and tear). Aside from its unquestionable durability, it also has an air of elegance that’s not seen in most other fabrics. With that being said, new furniture owners may have a hard time differentiating between good age and bad age (aka not knowing when it’s time to reupholster, and when it’s best to leave it alone). Today we’re going to dive in and take a thorough look into how we make those decisions. Let’s see what those differentiating factors can be!
We’ll start off with the very apparent signs of wear. Holes and tears. When you’ve loved a piece for so long, it’s bound to show it, and that’s okay! It’s when those signs start to show the interior stuffing of a piece (foam, springs, etc.) that you know it’s time to address the situation (that’s when reupholstery comes into play).
What about rough edges that look as though they’re about to burst? We say, wait until they do. Reupholstery (especially leather reupholstery) is a large undertaking (don’t be mistaken, it’s one that we’re happy to take on). But why go through such trouble months (sometimes even years) before necessary? Leather should be loved to the fullest extent possible, so until those seams give out, wear it out. After all, the softness that is achieved over time has been earned. New leather needs to be broken in to feel comfortable, so why not enjoy it for as long as you can?
Worn leather can make a piece look “distinguished”. This sofa made for Teri Pugh Studio has us swooning. Monica Geller, eat your heart out.
There’s nothing wrong with the leather on this Teri Pugh Studio sofa, we just wanted to include it because it was pretty.
The Not So Obvious
Now that you’re open to the idea of revamping your furniture, you might think it’s best to reupholster before the holes start to appear. You may think that by reupholstering a faded chesterfield you’re getting ahead of the problem, but you’re really just being presumptuous. How so? Because leather is sturdier than you think! While it may seem like the smart thing to do at the time, it’s unnecessarily cutting down the lifespan of your existing leather. It can be a little anxiety-inducing to see a formerly dark brown sofa turn increasingly blonde with time (but don’t fret, it’s only natural)! It’s that change in color that prolongs the life of the upholstery. How is the color possibly related, you ask? It might not make a lot of sense at first, but hear us out! If that same sofa was upholstered in a traditional fabric (and was aged the same) those discolorations (as they were) would translate into holes. Knowing this, it’s much easier to live with the slight variations in our favorite pieces than it is to prematurely jump the gun.
Switching gears slightly, what are some less than obvious factors that we should keep in mind? Factors that tell us when it is time to reupholster? Glad you asked!
Stains, stains, & more stains
You accidentally spill a glass of red wine onto the arm of your leather loveseat. Not the end of the world you think, I’ll just take care of it later! But unbeknownst to you, the stain has already set in. Not a problem, I’ll just use the strongest household cleaner I have and it’s like it never happened. Wrong! Too often we find ourselves using products that are just too harsh for the task at hand. Though you might think the more claims a bottle makes, the better, it’s not always the case. That red wine stain looks a lot better than bleach damage (trust us, we’re speaking from experience). It’s the use of those cleaners that are hard to come back from, as they essentially break down the integrity of the leather (causing unsightly tears and ruining the material). When that happens, it’s unfortunately time to recover.
Doesn’t it just break your heart?
So now we know when to reupholster and when to leave things alone, but is there any kind of damage that can be salvaged through DIY? There is! Though small cracks and fading are normal aspects of age, they can be minimized with a few home remedies (and a little bit of elbow grease). By creating a gentle mixture of various butters and oils, you can create an effective conditioner that will keep your leather looking youthful (and therefore prolong any future cracking). Don’t trust a homemade solution? No worries! There are plenty of preexisting leather conditioners on the market that are just as easy to use (and super accessible to boot).
We hope you were able to find at least a few helpful bits of information here today, and hope you tune in next week for more!
Need to reupholster some leather furniture of your own? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an estimate!