The natural color means that coordinating other furniture and accessories is easy. “Whether it’s a fabric armchair, rugs, cushions or ottomans, anything goes depending on the style you wish to achieve,” Bull says.
The shape of the sofa is important, though. Bull recommends a brown leather sofa with square arms for contemporary, coastal or Scandinavian-style homes, and round arms and sofas with studs (like a Chesterfield) for more traditional interiors.
Sofa: Club Classic, Bay Leather Republic
“A brown leather sofa with a modern silhouette and clean lines can really transition into any style or setting and has a timeless aesthetic,” says designer Christen Ales, who used the classic piece in the bachelor pad shown here. She adds that leather is especially effective at providing a sleeker texture alternative to spaces with a lot of upholstered fabric pieces.
Easy to clean. Leather sofas are pretty low-maintenance because they are more wipeable than fabric, Ales says. But it all depends on the type of leather and stain. In some cases a water-dampened cloth is all you need. In others, a leather cleaner is best. Always check with the manufacturer’s recommendations first.
“Having a brown leather sofa myself, with two young kids, I have had my fair share of cleaning marks off the sofa,” Bull says. “I find that a damp cloth works best. However, I’ve also purchased a leather stain and rubbed the stain over the sofa to bring back some of the richness in the color. This is particularly useful if the sofa is affected by the sun, as it can fade over time.”
Sofa: West Elm
Bull agrees. “Leather is a natural material and the hides chosen for sofas are generally of a high quality,” she says. “They can withstand a lot of wear and tear and are particularly child- and pet-friendly.”
Her wonderfully worn-in sofa, shown here, is about 14 years old. “My husband loves to sneak a nap on it because it stays so cool to the touch and has been so broken in,” she says.
Browse brown leather sofas
Sofa: Dekalb leather sofa, 85 inches, West Elm
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Sofa: Echo Oxford tan sofa, Article
She’s had this piece for about three years and says she wipes it down with a dry or water-dampened cloth as necessary. “Once or twice I’ve rubbed it down with some coconut oil,” she says. “We also have a performance velvet sofa, and I am constantly having to clean and vacuum it. The leather one always looks clean and is such a gorgeous color that I doubt I’ll ever tire of. Definitely my favorite piece of furniture in our home.”
Sofa: Axel, West Elm
Cook also touts its durability. “I have two small children and a cat,” she says. “We used to have a dog too. You’d never know that this sofa has survived such a motley crew.”
But while she loves tufting as a design element, she could go without it on the seat. “Because it is such a crumb collector with little kids,” she says. “We regularly vacuum graham cracker crumbs out of the seat tufts.”
See more must-know decorating tips for people with young kids
Sofa: Lancaster collection, RH