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How To Identify If a Sofa Is Made From Real Leather

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Is it a Real Leather Sofa? Here's how to find out if your leather sofa is the genuine article!


Real leather sofas are generally much more expensive than those upholstered with vinyl or other synthetic materials. For many people there is no substitute for the real thing, but how do you tell the difference? Here are a few handy tips you can use to distinguish a genuine leather sofa from a synthetic one:

1/ Look at the tag – Often furniture will have a manufacturer’s tag that states what kind of material the product was made from. There are many names that indicate fake leather. Some of these include: faux leather, permeable leather, plether, leatherette, naugahyde, ultrasuede, corfam and leather cloth.

To find out whether yours is the real deal, try looking for these terms: nubuck, suede, sauvage and of course, “genuine leather”.

2/ Look at the grain – If the pattern of the leather grain repeats itself in an artificial manner, the upholstery is obviously fake.

3/ Smell the leather – Genuine leather has an unmistakeable smell that cannot be replicated in a factory. It may help to familiarise yourself with the smell of real leather prior to using this tip.

4/ Feel the leather – Real leather is much softer than synthetic imitations and also much more supple and malleable. Push down on the leather and see if it sinks a little. Fake leather is typically very rigid and inflexible.

5/ Examine the backing – Vinyl is always backed with cloth. The best way to look for a cloth backing is to look at the cut seams on the underside of the sofa. Often cloth will visibly protrude from underneath the vinyl upholstery.
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