Top Five Reasons Leather Furniture is Worth the Investment - Copenhagen Imports Skip to Content
Back to blog
Copenhagen Blog

Top Five Reasons Leather Furniture is Worth the Investment

Stressless Emily sectional and Mike recliner

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a furniture store, and your eye is drawn to a gorgeous leather sofa, sectional, or chair. You approach it and run a hand over the upholstery, marveling at the softness of the hide and the texture of the grain. You sit on it and sigh audibly in comfort. But then you may start to wonder, “Will this leather hold up if I sit on it every day?” or “Will this leather be able to handle kids and pets?”

There are many of us who have dreamed of buying leather furniture but weren’t sure whether it would last over time or fit our lifestyle or budget. However, there are compelling reasons why leather is a sound investment and one of the best materials you can purchase furniture in – especially when you buy from high-quality retailers like Copenhagen. Greg Joslin, a Copenhagen Phoenix employee and furniture salesman with 25 years of experience, proudly stands behind the leather pieces he sells, from dining chairs and recliners to loveseats and sectionals. Below, he expounds on the top five reasons why quality leather is stronger than you think – and worth every penny.

1. Durability

Though leather tends to be more expensive compared to materials like fabric, it will typically be much more durable in the long run. “Leather is omnidirectional,” Joslin says, “which means the fibers have no direction – that’s what makes it so strong and durable. This contrasts with fabric, which is woven and has directional threads running horizontally and vertically. Leather should last 3 to 5 times longer than fabric, making it a great investment.”

Of course, you do have to make sure you’re buying high-quality leather. When shopping, look for leather that’s described as “top-grain” or “full-grain” – this means the leather came from the top half of the cowhide when it was cut. As opposed to leather made from the lower cut, full-grain and top-grain leathers are higher in quality, with a richer feel and a more natural look that includes variations in the hide.

Premium leathers will also often be described as “aniline” or “semi-aniline,” referring to how the leather was dyed. Aniline leather is colored with water-soluble dyes that give it a soft, natural feel with good breathability. For instance, the Empire Loveseat is upholstered in top-grain aniline leather, with soft, plush cushioning. Made in Italy, the Lodi Sofa is another stylish aniline leather piece, with midcentury modern-inspired tufting. Semi-aniline leather is similar but finished with a light lacquer to give it more protection – a good example being the popular Paloma leather of the Stressless® Buckingham Sofa.

You may also be interested in “corrected” and “protected” leathers, which undergo treatment to make their surface more consistent in appearance and maximally resistant to everyday wear and tear. An ideal choice for those with children or pets, protected and corrected leathers are commonly used in commercial environments and built to handle almost anything everyday life throws at them. The Stressless® Consul Chair and Incanto Italia’s Bennett Sectional are prime examples of corrected leather pieces that are durable and comfortable.

In summary, when shopping for leather furniture, look for leather described as full-grain or top-grain for premium quality; aniline or semi-aniline for softness and character; or corrected/protected for ease of care and resiliency. And if you’re feeling unsure, ask an associate for help! They can assist you in choosing the best leather for your lifestyle, so you can enjoy a piece that pays off.

2. Ease of Care

For those who are concerned that leather is high-maintenance or difficult to care for, Joslin says, “The care of leather is actually very easy. All you need to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth at least once a month, and apply a small amount of conditioner to the surface every 3-6 months.” You can think of leather conditioner as similar to the conditioner or lotion we use on our skin or hair – it maintains the appearance and longevity of the leather by reducing the effects of drying out, fading, or scratching. Copenhagen offers affordably priced leather conditioner and cleaner, as well as more detailed care instructions on a dedicated leather care page.

3. Improvement with Age

While fabric can be more prone to wear or thinning over time, and vinyl can crack and peel, leather ages like a fine wine, being one of the rare materials that gets better with time. For instance, Joslin says, “The more leather is used, the softer it becomes. Over the years, a good leather will develop a palpably softer hand.”

This is just one aspect of the patina that high-quality leather will show when exposed regularly to body oils, sunlight, and everyday wear. Other qualities of leather patina include a darker surface, a slight sheen, increased smoothness, and/or visible scuffs or marks. Because they are less heavily treated, aniline and full-grain leathers will develop more patina compared to protected leathers. Far from being a flaw, patina is prized by leather connoisseurs because it shows character, tells the story of those who use it, and is a mark of exceptional quality.

4. Eco-Friendliness

Though synthetic leather is commonly described as “eco-leather,” you may be surprised to learn that real leather can also be an ecologically conscious choice. Real leather typically lasts longer than synthetic leather (and fabric), which means less product ending up in landfills. While synthetic leather, over prolonged periods of use, can crack, peel, or otherwise lose its integrity, top-notch leather is capable of being passed down through multiple generations. What’s more, because leather is an animal product, it biodegrades more easily compared to many manmade materials – taking around 25-50 years to break down as opposed to hundreds of years.

5. Timelessness

“Because it is such a durable product, leather used as upholstery has been around for thousands of years,” Joslin says. The earliest leather-making dates to prehistory – over 7,000 years ago – and was refined over time by the ancient Egyptians, medieval Arabs, and the technology of the Industrial Revolution. Today, the international demand for leather is still going strong, as leather goods and furniture can be found everywhere from neighborhood stores to high-end fashion and design houses. Because of leather’s rich history and timeless quality, it’s safe to say that leather will, in one form or another, always stay in style. “In my opinion,” Joslin says, “leather will continue to be around for as long as people are sitting on sofas.”

So if leather furniture has been on your wish list but you weren’t sure it was worth the investment, here’s a quick recap of the top reasons to reconsider:

Durability: By virtue of its structure, leather is built to last many years, and protected leather is an especially solid choice for homes with kids or pets
Ease of care: Conditioner, water, and a cleaning cloth are typically all that’s needed to keep leather in good shape
Improvement with Age: Leather will develop a unique patina over time that enhances its beauty and character
Eco-friendliness: Natural origins and inherent durability make leather easier on the environment
Timelessness: Leather has been loved for millennia and possesses style like no other material

Stop into your local Copenhagen to discover our wide selection of leather furnishings, carefully vetted by our buyers for outstanding quality and a fair price. What’s more, our sales associates and designers are always happy to offer recommendations based on your budget, aesthetics, and other factors. For instance, Joslin’s personal favorite leather piece is Incanto Italia’s Sabrina Sectional – “It has a great modern look with a cool wraparound walnut accent, and is very comfortable and stylish.” Take the plunge and discover, like so many satisfied customers, why leather furniture is furniture for a lifetime.