What Does Bonded Leather Mean On A Sofa

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
23 min read

When asked what does bonded leather mean on a sofa, the correct response is that reconstituted leather was used to make the piece of furniture. Genuine leather is still present, but it is not in its natural state like it is in top-grain or full-grain leather sofas. The meaning of “reconstituted leather” is explained below.

Before purchasing a leather couch, have a look at these suggestions. You’ll learn what to look for in a leather sofa and if bonded leather is right for you.

What Is a Bonded Leather Sofa?

A sofa made of bonded leather is constructed from both synthetic and genuine leather. Manufacturers of bonded leather use scraps of real leather and a binder such as polyurethane to create the material. To make it appear and feel more like real leather, the reconstituted material is bonded to a paper backing and coated.

Bonded Leather - The Truth on Quality, Cost, & Durability

Bonded leather couches are often mislabeled as “genuine leather” because they are made using leather scraps and fibers. However, only about 10–20% of the total composition will be real leather, as the rest will be made of synthetic materials. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to ask the salesperson exactly what kind of leather the furniture is made of.

Bonded leather vs genuine leather

There are ways to tell if a sofa is leather, the most obvious of which is to see if the brand name appears on the tag. However, the label is unreliable because some producers market the fact that their bonded leather furniture contains a small percentage of genuine leather. Instead, you should think about whether or not the leather couch seems too good to be true.

Since it does not use full-grain or top-grain leather, a bonded leather sofa will always be less expensive than a genuine leather sofa. The use of plastics is also discernible in the sofa’s synthetic feel and smell. In addition, genuine leather naturally has flaws compared to the uniform patterns of bonded leather.

Advantages of bonded leather

A bonded leather sofa is a great option for homeowners on a tighter budget who still want the sophisticated look of leather furniture in their living room. Sofas made from animal hide don’t come in as many colors or designs. Finally, bonded leather’s polyurethane composition makes maintenance less laborious than that of porous leather sourced from animals.

Disadvantages of bonded leather

Because of its lower quality, bonded leather sofas require more frequent maintenance and repair than their genuine leather counterparts. Peeling, cracking, tearing, and discoloration are common problems with the synthetic material, especially with prolonged use. Rather than buying cheap furniture that will need to be replaced frequently, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to invest in something of higher quality.

Should I Buy Bonded Leather Furniture?

If you’re wondering whether or not bonded leather sofas are a good investment, that answer will vary from person to person. You could have set aside a certain amount of money for the living room set. Maybe you care about the environment and recognize the value in the fact that scraps are used in the creation of bonded leather.

How to maintain a bonded leather sofa?

Bonded leather requires the same care as any other synthetic upholstery. Take care of spills right away and don’t use harsh cleaners. Additionally, when wiping down the sofa, use a soft cloth so as not to scratch the finish.

Can bonded leather be conditioned? Since there are no pores in this material, conditioning it with leather dye or oil is pointless. To preserve the surface finish, you need do nothing more than wipe it down with a damp cloth on a regular basis.

Does bonded leather peel?

Peeling is possible with bonded leather because it is not flexible. Wear and tear from regular use, such as sitting and getting up from the couch, can cause the fabric to crack and separate from the backing. Leather conditioners, which are designed to preserve and lengthen the material’s life, are not appropriate for use.

A common problem with leather furniture is peeling. It shouldn’t be hard to track down a leather sofa repair kit that’s a perfect fit. A patch and dyes are included to match the repaired area to the rest of the couch.

How long should a bonded leather sofa last?

Depending on the quality and care of your bonded leather sofa, it can last anywhere from two to five years. Bonded leather sofas have a much shorter lifespan than traditional leather sofas (which can last up to 25 years). If you want to avoid the hassle of possible repairs, you may want to look into other types of leather, but regular maintenance should help it last for more than a year.

Which Is Better Bonded Or Faux Leather?

Because it does not contain any animal byproduct, faux leather is preferable to bonded leather. Instead, PU or PVC is used to make the faux leather more durable and less likely to crack or fade. In addition, it’s a great option for house owners who are vegan or vegetarian.

Remember that imitation leather will wear out much faster than real leather will. If your faux leather couch ever gets damaged, like rips or holes, here’s how to fix it.

The Best Leather Sofas for Any Room in Your Home

Best Overall: Burrow Block Nomad Leather Sofa

Our Favorites

  • Customizable
  • Built-in USB charger
  • Material derived in an ethical manner
  • A wide variety of arm and leg options
  • Get free samples of paint colors

The Things That Bother Us

  • Fewer colors to choose from
  • Expensive

The Nomad from Burrow is highly adaptable and brings a sleek, modern look to your home. It’s crafted from high-quality Italian leather and comes in chestnut, slate, or camel. But that’s only the start. There are six available leg finishes and three available arm styles, so you can create the perfect furniture set. The chaise, ottoman, and bolster pillows are all moveable options that can be added for extra comfort and style.

Each Nomad begins with a frame made from Baltic birch, which is resistant to warping, and features cushions stuffed with three different densities of foam and soft fiber. The USB chargers embedded in each sofa give them a sleek, contemporary look. It’s also made with environmentally friendly materials that were sourced ethically. The sofa is also fairly broad, so it can comfortably accommodate three people at once, or a single person who wants to stretch out and take a nap.

Top grain leather upholstery; 85″ L x 35″ W x 33″ H; foam and fiber cushions

What Is Bonded Leather? Definition and Care Guide - Leather Honey

Best Sleeper: Lark Manor Rasberry Rolled Arm Sofa Bed

Our Favorites

  • Competitive cost
  • Choices in a rainbow of hues
  • premium quality leather

Disliked Features

  • Manufactured wood is used for the frame.
  • Mattress comfort could be improved.

The Lark Manor Rasberry Leather Sofa Bed is a stylish and functional 2-in-1 piece that can be used in a variety of settings, from a home office to a guest bedroom. Genuine top grain leather covers a frame of kiln-dried and laminate wood, while foam, fiber, and down stuff the back cushions for extra comfort.

The queen-sized innerspring mattress is simple to unfold and tuck away in the Rasberry sofa. After three nights, our tester rated the sofa bed’s comfort level as a 4. The mattress wasn’t particularly thick or supportive, but it served its purpose. She gave it a perfect score for style and functionality, praising the premium leather and understated silhouette. This sleeper sofa is great for accommodating occasional overnight guests due to its quality construction, 750-pound weight capacity, and relatively low cost.

81″ x 35″ x 33″ | Real leather | Foam, down, and synthetic fiber cushions

Best Budget: IKEA MORABO Sofa

Our Favorites

  • Affordable
  • It comes in five different hues.
  • Folding arm rests

Disliked Features

  • Featuring a faux leather construction,
  • Inaccessible jacket

This sofa from IKEA is a great option if you want to save money without sacrificing comfort or style. The Morabo’s five color options and tufted back and bench seat give the impression of a much higher price point than it actually has.

Both the main surfaces of the sofa (covered in GRANN, a strong grain leather) and the accent pillows (upholstered in BOMBSTAD, a faux leather fabric) are upholstered in these two materials. The chromed steel legs are the finishing touch on a multi-material frame. The cushions have a foam core and polyester wadding fill for comfort and support. However, if you’re on a tighter budget and still want to give your room a stylish look, this is a great option.

Weighs 37.875 lb | Measures 81.125 x 36.25 x.125 inches Grain leather is the material. Polyester wadding and high-density polyurethane foam make up the cushions.

Best Splurge: Pottery Barn Turner Roll Arm Leather Sofa

Things We Dig

  • Several sizes are readily available.
  • Variable hues and adornments
  • Choices of genuine, semianiline, and synthetic leather

Disliked Features

  • Usually takes ten weeks or more to arrive.
  • Some permutations of customization options may be unavailable.
  • Expensive

The Turner Roll Arm Leather Sofa from Pottery Barn has timeless style and customizable features, making it a worthwhile investment. Couches come in your choice of four different sizes and as many as three different numbers of seat cushions, as well as thirty or more different leather color options and the addition of decorative nailhead trim.

The frame of the Turner sofa is kiln-dried hardwood, and the leather is top-grain and semi-aniline dyed for durability. You can really sink into the down-filled cushions, and the internal springs provide support for even more relaxation. This expensive but adaptable piece will serve you well for years to come in terms of both comfort and good looks. Since each sofa is made to order, there is the significant delay of up to 10 weeks for delivery of some options. The saying goes, “Those who wait are rewarded.”

Top-grain, semi-aniline-dyed leather frames wrapped in down-blend cushions with a polyester foam core; overall dimensions: 68.5 x 38.5 x 35 inches

Best Mid-Century Modern: Article Sven Charme Tan Sofa

Our Favorites

  • Competitive Cost
  • Made in four distinct hues

The Things That Bother Us

  • Unwashed dark denim can leave permanent stains on light-colored leather.
  • Expert cleaning is recommended.

The Sven Charme Sofa combines several desirable characteristics into one convenient package: a streamlined, mid-century modern design; a tufted bench seat; and a sufficient number of customizable options. The couch can accommodate multiple people comfortably. If you’re looking to furnish your entire home in the same fashion, the Sven collection has dozens of additional pieces to choose from.

But there’s more to the Sven than meets the eye. Upholstered in full-aniline Italian tanned leather that will only improve with age, it features a kiln-dried, solid wood frame, foam, and duck feather-filled cushions.

Cushions are high-density foam filled with polyester and duck feathers; material is full-aniline leather; dimensions are 88 by 38 by 34 inches.

Best Sectional: Pottery Barn Jake Leather Sofa Chaise Sectional

Our Favorites

  • Both sizing options are currently in stock.
  • Sizes, hues, and coatings are all customizable.
  • Form-fitting versatility
  • You can get fabric samples for free.

The Things That Bother Us

  • Expensive
  • Cleaning services are recommended.

You can’t go wrong with a sectional couch if you frequently host guests or if you just want a place to stretch out on movie night. In particular, the Jake Leather Sofa Chaise Sectional from Pottery Barn, which can elegantly accommodate a large number of guests.

The sofa is highly customizable, with not one but two different layouts, as well as a choice of leg finishes and color schemes. If you’re having trouble deciding, remember that you can always order free swatches of each color option to see how it looks in your space before making a final decision.

Top-grain aniline-dyed leather | Eleven and a half by sixty-five by thirty-one inches Wrapped down-alternative cushions.

Best Loveseat: Abbyson Milton Top Grain Leather Loveseat

Our Favorites

  • There are two color options.
  • Contemporary style

Disliked Features

  • Needs Assembling.
  • A warranty will cost you extra.

The Milton Loveseat may be compact, but it packs a punch when it comes to both form and function. This two-seater model has a sturdy, corner-blocked wood construction and luxurious, top-grain leather upholstery.

The loveseat is available in two neutral colors (cream and dark gray) that work well with a variety of accents. It has a contemporary look that will complement the decor of almost any room in your house, from the living room to the study. In addition, a five-year protection plan is available for an additional fee, allowing you to relax worry-free.

Top-grain leather | 38.8 x 59 x 35.3 inch dimensions | Foam stuffing for cushions

Best Chesterfield: Birch Lane Adelbert 95” Genuine Leather Rolled Arm Chesterfield Sofa

Our Favorites

  • Various hues are readily accessible.
  • Soft, detachable cushions

Disliked Features

  • Needs Assembling.
  • It is advised to hire a professional cleaner.

The Adelbert Chesterfield Sofa from Birch Lane is an excellent choice if you want a stylish and practical piece of furniture. The genuine leather sofa stands out with its rolled arms, nailhead trim, and tufted design.

You can choose from several different neutral color options for the sofa, ranging from bright white to dark brown. Although having the cushions professionally cleaned is recommended, they are easily removed for a quick dusting or vacuuming.

Leather upholstery; fiber-wrapped foam cushions; overall dimensions of 40.5″ x 95″ x 30.5″

Best Faux Leather: AllModern Jenkin 79” Chesterfield Sofa

Our Favorites

  • Affordable
  • Comprises two decorative pillows

Disliked Features

  • There are two color options.
  • It could be more uncomfortable than you think to sit on.

This sophisticated Chesterfield couch may fool you into thinking it’s upholstered in genuine leather, but it’s actually made of beautiful faux leather. Polyurethane upholstery has advantages over real leather, including being durable, easy to clean, and generally more affordable, as pointed out by Allmodern. However, the real deal tends to last longer with care (we’re talking decades).

Both a honey tan and a vintage gray version of this sofa are offered. It has a solid wood frame that has been kiln dried, and it’s topped with cushions filled with foam, synthetic fiber, and memory foam for maximum sinkage. Unexpected details include a pair of coordinating throw pillows and modern, gold metal legs.

79″ x 32.25″ x 31″; Faux leather construction; Foam, synthetic fiber, and memory foam cushions.

What to Look for in a Leather Sofa

Type of leather

The experts agree that genuine full-grain leather is the best option for a long-lasting product. Ariel Richardson of ASR Design Studio warns that some of the upholstered sections of the customizable sofas may be made of nylon faux leather. Richardson recommends looking for commercial-grade vinyl if you need to buy a sofa with faux leather because it will last slightly longer.

Professionals shed light on the wide variety of leathers available:

To create bonded leather, Betsy Moyer, co-founder of Retreat, uses scrap leather to create a pulp that is then adhered to a fabric backing, coated in polyurethane, and embossed to resemble leather grain. Bonded leather couches wear out quickly because the polyurethane topcoat wears away and exposes the leather fibers.

Be wary of furniture labeled as “genuine leather,” as this could actually refer to bonded leather; do your homework before making a purchase.

Full-grain leather is genuine because it retains the cowhide’s original markings and grain.

Top-grain leather is leather that has been finished to a high gloss for a consistent look and feel. It will retain some of its individual character marks and acquire new ones alongside a patina over time.

According to Richardson from ASR Design Studio, “Vegan leather is often made from polyurethane, a polymer.” Pineapple leaves, cork, apple peels, other fruit waste, and recycled plastic are just some of the other materials that can be used to make it.

Genuine Leather vs. Bonded Leather | Baer's Furniture | Ft. Lauderdale, Ft.  Myers, Orlando, Naples, Miami, Florida, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Melbourne,  Jacksonville, Sarasota

Leather dying process

There are three distinct kinds of leather within these groups, each distinguished by its method of dying and other treatments.

Aniline leather, also known as “naked leather,” has the most natural appearance but is easily stained due to its lack of a polymer or pigment coating.

Semi-aniline leather is treated on the surface to make it more durable against wear and tear, but it still retains some of its natural texture.

The most common and long-lasting leather is protected pigmented, which is also used for automotive upholstery. However, due to its processing, protected pigmented leather lacks the natural beauty of aniline leather.

Soft frame material

Look for a sofa with a solid frame made of kiln-dried wood if you want a high-quality leather sofa or any kind of sofa. Kiln drying removes moisture from wood so that it won’t warp or crack. Common framing materials include plywood and particleboard, but their durability is questionable.

Cushion fill

Find a leather couch with cushions that are filled with springs, high-density foam, and a soft fabric or feather cover for the best of both worlds in comfort and support.

Richardson suggests a foam center wrapped in a downy cover. “This is more costly, but more comfortable,” she explains. Look for synthetic down if you have allergies or sensitivity to natural fibers. Feather-down cushions are the way to go if you’re looking for a plush seat.


How do you clean a leather sofa?

Before getting out the vacuum or cleaning solution, make sure you know the right way to clean a leather sofa. Use a brush tool on the cushions and a crevice tool in the cracks and crevices to clean them thoroughly. Then, combine a few drops of mild soap with a bowl of hot water to make a gentle cleaning solution.

Blotting up the excess liquid is the first step in removing tough stains like grease or ink. To remove oil stains, sprinkle cornstarch over the affected area and let it sit for at least four hours (or overnight). The ink can be removed by using a damp cloth and a mild bar soap to scrub the stain in a circular motion. At last, a leather conditioner can be used to renew the couch’s softness, as well as to shield it from further wear and tear.

How do you repair peeling leather?

A leather repair kit is needed to fix the peeling leather. Scrubbing away the flaking bits with a cleaning brush and some mild cleaning solution is the first step in creating a smooth surface. After that, clean the area with alcohol wipes and sandpaper. Recolor the damaged area as directed by the repair kit.

The best option would be to buy a genuine leather couch that never peels. According to Moyer of Retreat, “good quality leather won’t peel when properly cared for.” If your leather is showing signs of cracking and flaking, you may have a fake imitation of full-grain leather.

How do you protect a leather sofa?

Training is essential. After you’ve cleaned it the right way, condition it once every six months. Consideration of sofa placement is also recommended. Burrow’s co-CEO and CEO Stephen Kuhl advises that leather be protected from heat and sunlight whenever possible. Long-term fading and peeling can be prevented by doing this.


Do you know the distinctions between the various leathers? If you were wondering, “What does bonded leather mean on a sofa?” then you should read this article. Because 10-20% of their composition is made up of leather scraps, some brands mistakenly label their bonded models as genuine leather, leading to much confusion.

To restate, bonded leather is merely leather that has been reconstituted from scraps and fibers of real leather. Most of the components are still made of synthetic components. We hope this helps, but if you still have questions, please ask them below.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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