Whether you are just looking to replace a favorite desk chair or redecorate your entire home, nothing adds a sense of luxury and elegance like leather furniture.

Real or fake?

There are a couple of things to consider when deciding whether you want to buy real or fake leather. In addition to being vastly less expensive than real leather, fake leather is also easier to clean and maintain. Faux leather generally comes in two forms, vinyl meant to look like regular leather, and microsuede meant to resemble suede. If you have children or pets, and don’t have the time to properly maintain leather, this is definitely something to consider.

The choices are endless.

Whether you go with real or fake leather, once you make your decision you will be astonished by the variety of leather living room furniture available on the market.

It starts with the traditional leather living room chairs and sofas. Faux leather armchairs at large retailers like Target or Walmart can start as low as $100. Faux leather love seats start around $130, and traditional couches around $200. Real leather couches at Target start at about $500, and can go as high as $2300 for large sectional sofas. Real leather sofa beds start at around $900. Prices will be higher at local or specialty leather sofa furniture stores, and even higher for custom made or antique pieces.

Because of leather’s (both faux and real) relative stain resistant properties compared to cloth, leather has recently become a huge trend in dining chairs. Real leather dining chairs with true elegance can start as low as $100 at the large chain stores.

Leather has even made it into the bedroom in the form of soft cushioned headboards. Faux leather headboards start at around $100, and the real thing at about $300.

Maintaining your leather.

Vinyl faux leather is water resistant and extremely easy to clean. You can usually just wipe it off with a damp cloth, but you can also use cleaning products on it. Faux leather also does not fade.

Microsuede can be slightly trickier to clean, due to its texture. Microsuede is manufactured to repel water, so immediately soaking up any spills is the best way to start. Also, specific cleaning products are made for microsuede brown leather furniture. Check with the manufacturer or at your local hardware store. If you spill something oil based on your microsuede leather sectional furniture, you will need a product that can dissolve it. You can try clear liquids like rubbing alcohol or even vodka.

Neither vinyl faux leather nor microsuede needs any maintenance besides cleaning.

Real leather is a different story.

If you have a real leather piece of leather couch furniture, you want to start with prevention. Make sure it is protected with a water based leather product like “Scotchgard.”

If you spill something, soak it up immediately. If that doesn’t work, you can try a good quality water based foam leather cleaner. Do not use anything with oils, waxes or silicones, as this may damage the leather. Do not use any house hold cleaning products not designed specifically for leather, as they are also likely to damage the leather.

After cleaning up a spill, make sure to retreat the area with Scotchgard.

You also want to maintain your leather with a regular regimen of leather conditioner. This will help keep it supple. If it does begin to dry or crack, you will need to call in a professional to try to restore it. Regular leather maintenance will help prevent this, as well as preventing body oil and dirt from permanently staining your sofa.

As long as you’re willing to maintain it, nothing lends a sense of elegance to a home like a beautiful piece of discount leather furniture.

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