Repairing a Leather Couch

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 519 Posts
March 20, 2006

Old leather Couch with missing buttonYou CAN do minor repairs on leather and faux leather goods, especially if you have the stitching holes already - just re-sew with thread (doubled or heavy duty) by hand.


I ALSO replaced a missing magnetic latch on a lovely teal thrift store backpack bag (Espirit) I got for $1 - by putting black self-stick Velcro on the flat round part of the magnetic clasp that was left on the bag, and a corresponding strip on the latch, which I secured with some stitching.

It's lovely now and for a total outlay of $2 (with lots of Velcro left over.)

By Pam from L.A., CA

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10 Questions

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August 31, 2020

My old couch needs a make-over. I want to paint it. So can anyone suggest me out to paint and which type of paint I should use to paint leather?

Links or any discussion on this topics are welcomed.

A leather couch with many worn spots.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 31, 20201 found this helpful
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To tell you the truth when the leather cracks and peels like this it isn't real leather on the couch and the back of the leather is a material type covering. That is why these cracks so easily. What you really need to do is get some new leather and some upholstery nails and cut the leather and place it on top of the leather that is currently on the couch and use the nails to secure it in place. Painting over this just won't work at all. You can not make the paint stick to the material that is showing through on the couch right now.


You will need to recover this completely to make it useable again. I fear if you try and get the leather dye to dye this you will be wasting your money. As you can see from some of the instructions given here that they require you to have a good piece of leather to start off with so that the dye will easily go on and cover the leather. Your leather is like faux leather and not a good quality leather to try to dye it with these methods.

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September 1, 20201 found this helpful
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Looking at your picture I do not believe this is real leather as leather may crack, it does not peel off. It appear that your sofa is some type of 'faux' leather and that is why you're seeing all this damage.


There are solutions to fix/repair this material but, in all truthfulness, your sofa looks too far gone and since repair products cost money it may cost more than you anticipated.
You will have to do a thorough 'clean-up' job before you can begin the repair and looking at your sofa this may take several hours.

I've never used any of the products recommended so I am not saying they work or how good they will look. This is the best video that I've found so please watch this video and see if you really want to try this repair.

Here is another suggestion:
peel, sand with fine grit, spray with artist matt clear, spray paint (not brush) to exact color, spray over with gloss leather polish for shoes. It will last much longer and will not crack. Painting may look good but another six months of body heat, shifting while sitting, etc and you have the same problem but now it's cracking under the varnish you painted on. Spraying with leather coat will keep the spray color perfect for a long time and the under-spray will stop the continued peeling."


Hope it works out well for you.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
September 1, 20201 found this helpful
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I had a chair like this years ago and I can tell you anything you try to do to it is going to make it worse. The chair lived on for years with a lovely throw covering it until it finally went to chair heaven.

A throw is honestly the easiest and best way to deal with this issue. I know that is not what you wanted to hear, but this kind of damage is so typical and just way too hard for the average person to successfully repair.

If you took it to a professional you will probably find as I did that it is less expensive to buy new. Sad, but true!

Post back what you decide!!

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November 28, 2011

I had Resolve spill on my leather couch and the color came off. Is there a product that can help me?

By Jill


December 2, 20110 found this helpful

You might try shoe polish. I had a brown leather couch that got some scratches and I put a coat of close-to-the-color shoe polish on them-looked good!

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October 4, 20141 found this helpful

My husband and I just bought a really beat up leather chair and ottoman hoping we could rehab it.
We used dark brown shoe polish on it and it looks fabulous! There were even places that the surface of the leather was rough and light colored and it took the polish.


We only paid $60.00 and it looks like we paid hundreds! Finished over polish with conditioner. So far so good!

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September 29, 2016

How can I fix this? It's cracked and wrinkly and I don't know what to do?

cracked leather sofa


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
February 1, 20170 found this helpful

Since leather is and was living tissue, it does well if you 'feed' it, such as with special leather oil, shoe polish, or even plain old olive oil. It is, however, always a good idea to contact the manufacturer to see if they have specific advice or a product they recommend.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 3, 20170 found this helpful

Buy leather conditioner at any shoe shop. Apply twice a year.

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July 12, 2016

Please help. I found a video on how to fix this, but can't find any Leather Studio paint. Any other suggestions?

What can I do to stop all this peeling, how can I fix what's already peeled off?

peeling leather chair


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
February 27, 20170 found this helpful

I don't believe this is actually leather, because it is peeling in the way that cheap faux leather peels. This is bonded leather, which is the plywood version of leather - cheap bits of leather bonded in glue. It is almost designed to fall apart.


THis site provides some resources:

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August 6, 2013

My leather sofa looks so horrible. I hate it. It has two seat cushions and two back cushions (attached to the sofa) and the back cushions just sag into two big lumps when you sit down and the seat cushions are like a pile of wrinkles. When I sit down, the seat cushions slide out and drive me crazy. Should I just get a new sofa or can I fix this? Help!

By R.L.H


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
August 8, 20130 found this helpful

It sounds like this couch gave it's all for you and the others who used it. Time to get a new one. Thrift shops are a great place to look, so just keep that in mind.

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August 14, 20130 found this helpful

When my Mom needed her sofa fixed. We fund a lady throwing an old (but clean) sofa away. We took the filling out of the seat and back of the couch. My Moms couch had zippers in the back of her cushions so it was easy to unzip, fill fluff and rezip. If your sofa doesn't have zippers you have to cut the cushion or back cushion open in a unconspicuous place. The opening has to be big enougn to get your arm inside to spread and evenly distribute the fiberfil. After the cushions are stuffed use button thread and a curved needle to sew the place,you cut open, closed.My Moms sofs looked like a brand new one wen I finished. I did overstuff somewhat because I knew the cushions would smoosh somewhat as we sat on them.

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May 3, 2016

This is a page about repairing scratches on leather furniture. Pets, children, and normal usage can result in scratches on your leather furniture.

Close up of nubuck leather with scratch marks

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June 18, 2017

With use, a leather sofa can develop worn spots that differ in color and finish from the rest of the piece. This is a page about touching up worn spots on a leather sofa.

A worn brown leather sofa.

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April 11, 2017

Repairing faded spots on your leather couch may be difficult. Check out some possible solutions on this page. This is a page about fixing a faded leather couch.

Leather Couch

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October 25, 2013

This page is about repairing wear on a leather couch. Regular maintenance will help extend the life of upholstery covering your sofa.

Close up of an old brown leather couch.

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Home and Garden Repair Furniture SofasAugust 13, 2013
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