How To Restore Leather Upholstery

If you thought that a luxurious, leather suite was beyond your budget, think again!  Natural leather upholstery can be cheaply and easily restored, so why not pick up a second-hand bargain and restore it yourself?  Here's how.

What you'll need

  • spray saddle soap (available from any tack or equestrian supplies shop)
  • leather preparation product
  • leather filler
  • leather colourant
  • leather sealant
  • sponges
  • old cleaning rags
  • clean cloths
  • spray gun

Everything you need for this project can be obtained from good DIY stores or furniture shops.

How to do it

  1. Begin by cleaning the leather.  Working in small sections, apply liquid saddle soap to the leather and work it into a creamy lather using a damp sponge.  Wipe off the dirty lather using an old rag.  Repeat the process until the whole piece of furniture is clean.  
  2. One section at a time, apply a leather preparation product as per the manufacturer's directions.  Leave the product to soak into the leather for a couple of hours. 
  3. Really old leather often has a network of fine cracks across it.  These can be filled-in with a leather filler product, as per the manufacturer's directions.  Following application, allow the product to dry, and get rid of any residual filler by gently rubbing the the item with very fine grain sandpaper.  Wipe away the dust using a damp cloth.  
  4. Next, apply a leather colourant product, following the maker's guidelines.  Use a soft sponge for this job to make sure you achieve even coverage.  Be careful not to get too much colourant into creases and cracks, and wipe away any excess product with a clean, lint-free cloth.  
  5. Complete this phase of the project by applying a second coat of colourant to the furniture using a spray gun.  To gauge the distance from which to spray the item, first test the spray gun on a piece of newspaper.   
  6. Use a hairdryer to dry the item so that you can see what the finished shade will look like.  If you want the end result to be a really rich and vibrant colour, apply more layers of colourant using the spray gun.  
  7. The final stage in the process is to apply a leather sealant using your spray gun as described above and following the manufacturer's guidelines.  When the piece of furniture has been fully sealed, dry it off using your hairdryer.

In conclusion

Leather furniture can easily be restored by investing a little time and giving it some TLC.  Give old leather upholstery a brand new lease of life by following the guidelines above and undertaking this simple and rewarding project.

If you prefer, you can also contact a professional upholstery store like Dream Design Furniture & Upholstery to restore the furniture if DIY isn't your style.