What I Wish I’d Known About Buying a Sofa

I’ve learned a lot in my 12 years as a designer. Lots about what to do to make a home totally awesome – and also what not to do. Yes, even a designer makes mistakes, and thankfully most mistakes were made in my home because I’m my own design guinea pig. This is the start of a brand spankin’ new series called What I Wish I’d Known. Here’s to helping you avoid some of the lessons I’ve learned in the interior design school of hard knocks! First up:

What I wish I’d known about buying a sofa

What I wish I'd known before buying a faux leather sofa!For a while, I wouldn’t shut up about my amaaaazing teal faux leather sofa. The color! The texture! The tufting! The easy cleanup when my kid drools on it!

And yeah, for the first three years or so, that baby was totally awesome. But here’s where it went wrong – I selected a faux leather sofa (also known as vinyl), instead of genuine leather or fabric. Leather wasn’t in my budget at the time (an uncommon leather color like teal commands a higher price point) and I didn’t want a fabric sofa. I thought a faux leather would be low maintenance, easy to clean, wear well, and soften over time.

Want to know what happens to faux leather after a few years? THIS:

What I wish I'd known before buying a faux leather sofa!

My sofa upholstery is flaking off EVERYWHERE. There are constantly little teal flecks stuck to my feet. The material has gone brittle and continues to crack daily. My options seem to be to reupholster it (probably not worth the labor cost) or just suck it up and buy a new sofa. A real leather sofa, for sure.

What I wish I'd known before buying a faux leather sofa!

Here’s what I wish I’d known about buying a sofa: to invest in genuine top-grain leather, or a durable stain resistant fabric. Any other upholstery materials, including faux leather or vinyl, are a big fat waste of time. While a lesser quality sofa upholstery material might look great for a few years, you’ll pay the price for skimping on the quality of a piece of furniture you use every day.

👉 Don’t make the same mistakes I did! Learn from a design pro – check out more of Lesley’s hard-earned wisdom in the What I Wish I’d Known series.