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Used Leather Furniture Buying Guide

Because buying leather furniture second-hand is both eco-friendly and thrifty, it’s a very IN thing to do right now. Scoring a great deal on a used leather sofa, sectional and/or loveseat is a surefire way to revitalize your living room’s interior design—but you need to know what to look for to make sure you’re getting the right piece.

Here are some tips to be sure you make good buying decisions when it comes to used leather!

Tips for buying used leather furniture

Buying used leather couches or other pieces can be a great way to lower the price tag while still getting high-quality pieces for your home. However, it’s essential to be diligent and make informed decisions to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Start by following these simple tips:

  • Determine Your Budget:
    • Decide how much you’re willing to spend on used leather furniture. Setting a budget will help narrow down your options and prevent overspending.
  • Research and Educate Yourself:
    • Learn about different types of leather, their qualities, and grades. Full-grain AND Top-grain leather are considered the best leathers, while bonded leather is less durable.
    • Understand the various styles, sizes, and types of leather furniture available in the market.
  • Define Your Needs:
    • Identify the specific pieces you need, such as sofas, chairs, or recliners.
    • Measure the available space in your home to ensure the furniture will fit comfortably.
  • Check Local Listings:
    • Browse online classified ads, and websites like Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace, or visit local thrift stores, consignment shops, and secondhand furniture stores.
  • Inspect the Furniture:
    • When you find a potential piece, inspect it thoroughly. Look for signs of wear and damage, including scratches, stains, tears, or sagging.
    • Check the frame for stability. Sit on the furniture to see if it feels comfortable and sturdy.
    • Check the cushions for firmness and shape retention.
  • Assess the Leather:
    • Examine the leather closely for cracks, peeling, or discoloration. Quality leather should have a smooth, consistent texture.
    • Smell the leather to ensure it doesn’t have a musty or unpleasant odor.
    • Ask the seller for information on the leather type, if possible. Real leather and faux leather aren’t always easy to spot to the untrained eye.
  • Verify the Brand and Age:
    • Check for labels or tags that indicate the manufacturer and the date of production.
    • High-quality brands often offer more durable and long-lasting furniture.
  • Inquire About Maintenance and Care:
    • Ask the seller about the furniture’s maintenance history. Regularly conditioned and cleaned leather pieces tend to last longer.
    • Request any maintenance records, if available.
  • Negotiate the Price:
    • Be prepared to haggle the price. Offer a fair and reasonable amount based on the condition of the furniture.
    • Research the original retail price of the piece to help with your negotiations.
  • Consider Delivery:
    • Determine if the seller offers delivery services or if you need to arrange transportation yourself.
    • Factor in any additional costs associated with delivery when calculating your budget.
  • Check Return Policy:
    • Ask the seller about their return policy in case the furniture doesn’t meet your expectations or has undisclosed issues.
  • Bring Help and Tools:
    • If you decide to purchase the furniture, bring someone to help you move it and any necessary tools for disassembly, if required.
  • Clean and Condition:

And for some more in-depth advice:

Check to see if the previous owner took good care of it:

  1. We recommend that people use leather cleaner and protection cream to care for furniture several times a year.  Following those guidelines will make leather last a lot longer.
  2. Look and see if there is dirt underneath the cushions.  If there is, it is likely that the owner did not clean and protect it often.

Compare pieces of a set to determine quality:

This might sound like common sense, but if you are looking at a set of furniture, line up all the pieces next to each other to compare each piece’s quality before you buy.

  • It is likely that some pieces were used more and are more worn than others.
  • Also, one piece of a used set may be more faded from the sun than others.
  • These are little differences that you might overlook in the store but may drive you crazy once you get them in your home.  Setting them all up for comparison is a good way to avoid the issue.
  • Also, keep in mind that if some pieces of a set look dramatically worse than others, it might be an indicator that the furniture doesn’t hold up well.
  • The new-looking pieces were probably not used very frequently, so they might still look pretty new.
  • It’s likely that the one or two pieces that look bad were the only ones that got used by the previous owners, and they just didn’t hold up well.  That could be a bad omen for the rest of the set.
  • Consider the age of the furniture.  If it is relatively new furniture that is already showing some wear, it could be a sign that it won’t hold up well in the future.  However, if the furniture is an older piece and is still only showing a little wear, that is likely a good sign of things to come.

Is it worth it to fix up damaged furniture?

Sometimes. We love the eco-friendly factor in buying and fixing up used leather furniture instead of buying brand new. Sustainability is the name of the game with furniture repairs.

There are a lot of types of damage that are pretty cheap and easy to fix, making refurbishing a much cheaper alternative to buying new. But, there are a few types of damage you should look out for and avoid because they are expensive to fix.

Cheap fixes

  • Dinginess – If the piece is just a little dirty and dingy looking, it doesn’t cost much to pay a professional to thoroughly clean it.
  • A few minor scratches and scuffs – many professionals charge based on the number of scuffs or scratches, so a few are going to make for a cheap repair.
  • Small Pen mark

Mid-range fixes

  • Dog chew hole
  • Color missing on cushion surfaces and arms

High-end fixes

  • Body oil stains and spots
  • Visible stains
  • Damage near seams is always trickier and more expensive than damage that does not affect a seam

Let’s talk holes

Holes in leather are hard to drop into the “Cheap, Mid-range, High-end” fix categories because the size of a hole makes a big difference in how expensive it is to repair. 

As a general rule, a hole with a diameter up to one-eighth of an inch is considered small, 1/8 to 1/2in. is mid-range and bigger than 1/2 in. is considered large.

Repairs in the long run:

Some repairs are more likely to become a problem again later on down the road than others, so it’s a good idea to consider that if you plan to hold onto this furniture for a while. 

For example, other than a small scratch, a repair to the sitting area of a piece of furniture isn’t going to last as long as a repair in a place that never gets touched because of the constant movement.

Consult a Fibrenew expert for all your leather questions and needs

We’re always here to give you peace of mind when it comes to all things leather.

Get in touch with your local Fibrenew operator for any questions.

And if you’re passionate about leather, maybe a career in leather repair and restoration is the path for you. Check our free Franchise Information Report for everything you need to know.

Until next time!



Buying used leather furniture FAQ

Is buying used leather furniture a good idea?

Yes, it can be a great idea! Used leather furniture is often more affordable than new pieces and can offer excellent quality and durability when chosen wisely.

What should I consider before buying used leather furniture?

  • Check for signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, stains, or tears.
  • Look for high-quality brands, as they tend to last longer.
  • Ensure the leather is genuine and not faux leather.

How can I verify if the leather is genuine?

  • Genuine leather typically feels soft and supple, and you can often see the natural grain and imperfections in the material.
  • Ask the seller for any authenticity documents or labels that came with the furniture.
  • Check out our “How to spot fake leather” article”

What types of leather are commonly used in furniture?

  • Full-grain leather is the highest quality, followed by top-grain leather and split-grain leather. Bonded leather and faux leather are less expensive options but may not be as durable.

Are there any specific care instructions for used leather furniture?

  • Regularly clean and condition the leather to prevent drying and cracking.
  • Keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Avoid spilling liquids or placing sharp objects on the leather surface.

Where can I find used leather furniture for sale?

  • Look for local furniture stores that sell second-hand items.
  • Check online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay.
  • Consider visiting thrift stores, consignment shops, or estate sales.

How can I negotiate the price when buying used leather furniture?

  • Research the market value of similar items to have a fair price in mind.
  • Point out any flaws or imperfections to justify a lower price.
  • Be polite and willing to compromise with the seller.

What are the benefits of buying used leather furniture?

  • Cost savings compared to buying new.
  • Vintage or unique designs that may not be available in new furniture.
  • Reduced environmental impact by recycling and reusing.

Are there any drawbacks to buying used leather furniture?

Potential wear and tear, which might require repairs. – Limited warranty or return options compared to new purchases. – The need for careful inspection and research to make a good choice.

Can I refinish or reupholster used leather furniture?

Yes, if the frame is in good condition, you can often refinish or reupholster leather furniture to give it a new lease on life.

What should I do if I suspect the used leather furniture is damaged or has hidden issues?

Always thoroughly inspect the furniture before purchase. – If you have doubts, consider getting a professional inspection or consulting a furniture expert.

How can I transport used leather furniture safely to my home?

Use proper packing materials and secure it to prevent damage during transport. – Consider hiring professional movers or renting a truck if necessary.

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Meet the author

Chad Hendry

Head Trainer

I’m like a modern-day superhero at Fibrenew, using my trusty cape to save leather, plastic and vinyl from being wasted! That’s right: I help franchisees learn how to restore damaged items instead of replacing them.

See other posts by Chad Hendry