How Can You Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Leather Furniture?

Leather Furniture

Leather furniture products are well-crafted, luxurious and, of course, quite expensive. So when investing in genuine leather items it is vital that you avoid faux leather thinking you are getting the real deal.

However, spotting the actual difference between real and fake leather furniture items can be difficult as they look very similar to the naked eye.

Here are several ways of identifying real from faux leather furniture.

The Price

The obvious place to start is the price. Real leather items are much more expensive compared to imitation materials. Regardless of the type of leather used in making the item, real leather will always cost you more than synthetic furniture. So think again if you think that you have landed an unbelievable bargain as you could be getting a fake!

The Smell

Real leather has a distinctive and unique “leathery” smell – an organic, natural, skin scent that manufacturers cannot accurately replicate. Because fake leather is just a mixture of leather scraps that have been mixed with chemicals, it has a chemical and plasticky odor. The distinct smell of real leather cannot be easily replicated in synthetic items.

Touch the Leather

Depending on the leather quality, the real thing has a feeling of being smooth or coarse, or somewhere in between. Real leather is also soft and flexible, and if the item you are considering feels too smooth with a plasticky feel, it is likely to be fake leather.

Compared to faux leather, real leather is not only much softer but much more malleable and supple. If you are buying a sofa, push down on the couches and see if they sink in a little because fake leather is typically inflexible and very rigid.

The Texture

In general, real leather is less consistent in texture. This is because it has a natural and inconsistent pores pattern that is harder to regulate. Manufactured or synthetic leather, on the other hand, has a repeating, consistent pattern.

An excellent way of telling if the material is genuine is to take a look at the back of, say a cushion. Open a cushion casing and examine the leather backing. If you find a woven cloth that is likely to be a fake as real leather should be closer to coarse suede.

The Label

The majority of genuine leather products typically come with a label that clearly states the product is made using genuine leather. Manufacturers of leather products in the US are eager to show potential buyers that their items are the real deal so their labels are easy to spot. If the label is missing or says, “man-made materials”, assume that the furniture item is made using manufactured leather. Or simply ask the seller for verification to be sure!


Learning how to tell the difference between real leather from the fake ensures that you get what you are actually paying for. Nothing could be as distressing as discovering you have paid a premium price for a fake leather piece of furniture.

We hope the above tips will help you as you make your next leather sofa or chair purchase.


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