View Full Version : Leather or not: Suggestions for a new couch

fireworks fan
04-14-2010, 09:59 AM
I'm looking for some BTDT tips about a new sofa/sectional. We're looking at buying a leather sectional with recliners, but I'm wondering about a dog with sharp nails and two children on the leather. Plus, I've heard stories about the leather feeling sticky in the summer, or cold in the winter. If we didn't get leather, we would get microfiber.

And, since this is the Budget Board, where is the best place to look for long lasting furniture? We've had our current sofa for almost 15 years and it is still in decent condition-its just too small for our family now, so I want something built to last. Thanks for the help!

04-14-2010, 10:06 AM
I had the exact same problem last year :goodvibes We went with microfiber from Ashley. Their fabric seemed more durable than other retailers. Their sale prices were competitive and they offer an inexpensive 5-year insurance plan. My "couch dog", DH and DD have not managed to hurt it yet.

04-14-2010, 10:27 AM
We just bought a new couch. I went with a local retailer, who was very competitive on price, was willing to customize the couch and deliver promptly. We went with a micro fiber....several family members have leather and it's not very comfortable in the summer. Since we have a Standard Poodle, I was also worried about the dogs nails (although she doesn't get up on the couch all that often). Several vendors I spoke with told me her nails would just add to the "distressed look" of the leather (which wasn't distressed).
I love the couch, it looks great, is the right size, and works for our family. Look around for small stores--this one is a little place next to a Tuesday Morning. I wouldn't have gone there but I was feeling sorta desperate!

04-14-2010, 10:30 AM
I went the other way. We had micro-fiber and went out and got leather (from Ashley) because our dogs were beating up the micro-fiber. We have small dogs and they are hairy. I was constantly vacumming the couch. With the leather the clean-up is easier and I don't have any 'puncture' wounds from nails, just some small scrapes along the front where they reach to jump up. I do keep dog pillows down for them to lay on.

Was my micro-fiber couch comfy and soft on a cold winter's day, YES. But I am saving a ton cleaning time and I just lay down with a blanket now :)

04-14-2010, 10:31 AM
Our 10 year old microfiber sofa has survived two cats, a dog, and a three year old and still looks great. We went with a solid hunter green color. The dark color hides stuff better so stains don't show as much (they wash out when I get around to cleaning them off too). We use a lint brush to remove the fur and it comes right off.

So, my vote is for the microfiber. It is nice and comfy for summer and winter and doesn't get sticky or hot in warmer weather or feel cold when you sit on it in the winter.

04-14-2010, 10:34 AM
We have leather that's held up better than I expected with two kids, one dog, one cat. The back of the sofa is a little scratched up from the cats back claws when she jumps up - but a sofa table would fix both the appearence and the jumping issue. Where she can jump without needing to use claws, it looks pretty good. A little surface scratched, but that looks nice on leather.

04-14-2010, 10:46 AM
We went with a Berkline leather recliner couch and loveseat last year. We specifically picked this because of our dog. Part of being a responsible dog owner is keeping the nails trimmed. We've had no problems from nail scratches and the dog spends as much, or more, time on the furniture than we do.

In order to make the furniture more affordable (since this is budget board ;)), we went with an option to have a matching vinyl on the back and sides. Everywhere the body touches is leather. The matched panels are perfect in coloration with only a slight variation in texture. You can feel a difference. The couch sits against the wall with end tables at each end. The loveseat has one side that is very visible, but you can't tell the difference unless you touch it. We picked a very good quality leather. It is soft and supple. It tends to adjust to the temperature you want it to be. I haven't found it to be hot or sticky in the summer or cold in the winter.

The one warning I can give is to keep your dog off the furniture for a day or so if you use a topical flea/tick treatment. I have a place on my couch that needs repair because the solution removed the color.

Leather wears well and typically lasts 4 times as long as fabric. Dog hair and muddy paw prints wipe right off. Also leather doesn't seem to absorb any pet odors or have the "doggie funk" that our fabric couch had.

04-14-2010, 10:55 AM
We also went with leather. We have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 2 kids. Have had the leather for about 1 1/2 years and wouldn't change my decision at all. I love being able to just wipe it off and not having any pet "stink". Seems like no matter how often I vacuumed the old couch, anyone who sat on it still ended up with a bunch of animial hair on them - not any more!

04-14-2010, 11:01 AM
I went the other way. We had micro-fiber and went out and got leather (from Ashley) because our dogs were beating up the micro-fiber. We have small dogs and they are hairy. I was constantly vacumming the couch. With the leather the clean-up is easier and I don't have any 'puncture' wounds from nails, just some small scrapes along the front where they reach to jump up. I do keep dog pillows down for them to lay on.

Was my micro-fiber couch comfy and soft on a cold winter's day, YES. But I am saving a ton cleaning time and I just lay down with a blanket now :)

Same here! Small dogs and traded in my microfiber for leather! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! I couldnt stand the hair my dogs were leaving behind! I was worried about the dogs puncturing holes too...NO problems AT all! We did get the extended warranty with it but I doubt it will be needed. Just make sure you go with a good grade of leather if you pick it and it shouldn't be a problem!

04-14-2010, 11:27 AM
we had the same delimma this year. We have had the above couch(two actually) since the end of February. We LOVE them. So cumfy and cleans up nicely with a soft cloth. We did purchase the warranty, and if we don't use it over the next 6(7?) years we get the cost of the warranty back in Macy "money" gift card.

And since it's a budget board we
did purchase during a sale, and I had the cash put aside to afford them.


04-14-2010, 11:32 AM
We went with both. We have leather in one room and microfiber in the other. I would vote for the leather. I can't stand the microfiber because of the "butt prints" that it leaves! I have a friend who has the same problem on hers. I am constantly smoothing the fabric to take away the prints. Cost wise, we bought both sets at Macy's on sale for about $1500 each. 2 chairs and sleeper sofa for the microfiber and love seat, sofa, chair for the leather.

04-14-2010, 11:57 AM
Comparing leather to microfiber is hard. Leather is definitely more durable, but, you also have to factor the cushions and the springs that you are getting.

We went with the Microfiber Sectional Couch. We paid $1500 for the microfiber couch and in leather for the same size couch it was going to cost us $3500 for the same quality springs and sub materials. We just couldn't afford it. The micro-fibre material has held up well. We did pay for the scotchgard and it was really worth the upgrade in price.

We also have a leather recliner and have had it for about 6 years and DH loves it. It has held up really really well, with only a few scratches. We went with leather for the recliner because, well, we won a $2,000 gc to the furniture store so it was free :woohoo: and we were able to get a really good one - not have to down grade on the mechanical stuff (which is really important as we learned to our regret with our previous recliner - way more important than the fabric) to upgrade on the matrial. Leather does get cold and you will notice it when you first sit in it but it warms up as you sit on it and IMO would only be a problem if you keep your house really cool.

One thing when picking out a sectional- check what type of clips it has to keep the pieces connected. We didn't think about that when buying our and are now really frustrated because the pieces keep separating. The metal ones that slip down into each other are apparently much better than the gator clips that are on the bottom of the couch - yeah guess which kind we got :headache:

04-14-2010, 03:40 PM
We've had our 2 leather sofas for about ten years and they are both still in great shape. I imagine we will have them for many years to come. We had two small dogs years ago and we have a dog now. We don't have any scratches on them. I don't let the dog we have now on the furniture, but he jumps up and puts his front feet on the sofa all the time. We also have a 7 year old daughter.

I love that I don't have to worry about stains or things getting spilled on the sofa. Our dog also went through a really bad stage of marking on the sofa in the living room and I'm thankful everyday it was leather or it would have been ruined.

I've never found either sofa to be uncomfortable in the weather. We keep our house pretty cool year round so the sofa is not hot or sticky in the summer. Sometimes it will be cool when you sit or lay on it but it seems to warm up quickly with your body heat and is very comfortable in my opinion.

Whenever we do decide to replace our family room sofa I'm sure it will be with another leather sofa. I don't think I'd have anything else.

fireworks fan
04-14-2010, 03:44 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm still leaning towards the leather.:thumbsup2

04-14-2010, 04:00 PM
If you have a dog that sheds, I'd get leather. We have leather in the family room and microfiber in the basement tv room. I can never get all the dog hair off that microfiber sofa. We have had the leather for about 7 years and it has no scratches, tears or anything from the dog or the kids.

04-14-2010, 04:16 PM
We have a Golden Doodle, who weighs close to 45 pounds already (she is still a puppy) and a 2 and 4 year old. I have had cloth couches, microfiber couches and now leather. The leather has been a winner all the way around. Beautiful, easy to clean, durable and comfortable. Have not had issues feeling sticky and in the winter it is only cold for a min, until your body "heats" it up.

04-14-2010, 04:29 PM
I have leather BECAUSE I have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 3 kids! No way would I have anything else. Hair doesn't stick, spills, etc wipe right off. We have no problems with nail marks at all and my 80 lb golden has a reserved spot on the couch! :sad2:

04-14-2010, 08:26 PM
We purchased a new leather couch in October. We went to a local furniture and purchased it there. We also looked at leather couches at a discount furniture store but there were huge differences in how the leather felt.
So far we are so pleased with our couch, the leather is so soft and yummy. We have an 85lb. dog who loves it too (and no nail scratches yet).

04-14-2010, 08:50 PM
My husband bought a leather couch before we got married 16 years ago and it is still in great shape. We've had a dog most of the time and now have 2 kids ages 13 & 11. I love how easy it's been to keep clean. I don't have any problems with how it feels but I also don't live in an area that gets too hot, which may make a difference.
I kinda wish something was wrong with it ~ I'd really like to pick out my own family room furniture now.:rotfl:

04-14-2010, 08:59 PM
I bought leather 12 years ago. I had 4 dogs at the time. I was concerned about the dog's nails and told the salesman. The salesman gave me a ballpoint pen and a piece of the sample leather and told me try to stab a hole or scratch it - it passed the test, lol!

I still have the sofas and the look nearly as good as when I bought them. I do use leather cleaner & conditioner on them twice a year.

04-14-2010, 09:09 PM
Another vote for leather. Mine's survived 2 kids, a dog, & 5 cats plus 20yrs at my mom's house before I inherited it. Still looks as good as it did when they bought it! Everything & I mean everything wipes off. My microfiber couch started to look icky after about a year & while washing the cushions makes them look new, I still haven't figured out an effective way of cleaning the rest of it. :confused3 Plus, the fur issue others mentioned.

04-15-2010, 07:28 AM
Hey OP, your post has helped me decide on a new leather couch for our family room. Can anyone recommend a brand/store that is budget for leather?

04-15-2010, 11:56 AM
We bought leather 2 years ago - 1 dog - who gets on the coach and 2 ds's under 10. They have held up great. We bought through a local store. They offered a protection plan that we took - haven't needed that yet, but I was worried someone or animal may cause a problem.

Don't have any problems in summer or winter.

I would buy leather again.

04-15-2010, 12:01 PM
I already posted but... I have to say the leather is great with pets....I never realized it that it would be. That was why I was so afraid for so long to get leather. Had I known it would of been fine... I would of done it LONG ago!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the leather!!

04-15-2010, 01:05 PM
Our leather sofa and loveseat are going on 17 years and one of the best investments we've made....at the time we didn't have a dog (now we do), but he does not go on the furniture. There are a few scratches towards the bottom where he's tried to get his toy, but overall the couches look great. Now the springs are another problem, they are shot. The couches have given us many years of joy and now we need to look for new ones, but really don't want to let these go... The leather is great, it gets 'softer' over the years, body oils keep it subtle, no smell and soooo easy to keep clean. Also, the leather is 'cool' in the summer and 'warmer' in the winter (to touch). When we purchased the leather couch the store owner (local shop) had given us a swatch of the leather - it's very thick, so see if you can get one (it's also attached to the couch under the cushions). This was how we could tell we weren't getting a 'thin' leather, but rather a substantial leather (and not bi-cast leather - which is a split leather with a layer of polyurethane applied to the surface and then embossed).

04-15-2010, 01:57 PM
My great room has leather, we're on a second set, first lasted over 12 years with our other dog, BIG who loved to curl up on it. We replaced it and have another dog, smaller but he too, loved it and we allow him on it.

IMHO, they wear really well if you buy a good quality leather, and we chose to go all leather versus vinyl in parts. It "wears" like an old pair of leather boots, getting softer and softer, there are different grades actually, some being so soft to start with that they will mar, scrape evn scratch easily, so we did Not choose that. they come in all colors (we're more of a natural rustic/country look) and we LOVE them.
My only regret was that I should have also bought leather for the living room, I hate cleaning the couches (cotton?) which get icky and I actually cover them. So, for us, leather has worked well, with family pets and Holiday spills etc. Oh as far as "cold" yes it does feel cool till you warm it up, but in the summer warm mos, it more than makes up for that :lmao:
Good Luck deciding, we bought local and the prices really due vary, search around consider shipping rather than retail.
Good Luck OP! :wizard:
Oh, one of our rooms has micro fiber i could SCREAM about that, seriously....worse thing we ever bought and it is going to trash when I get around to it.....it gets pilly somewhat and the wear is awful....