A damaged leather chair or sofa can sometimes be a simple fix if the problem is slight, like a few minor scratches. Even a minor rip or tear can sometimes be repaired as a DIY project. But when a piece is marred beyond a minor problem, leather repair is best left to the pros. That’s because an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can do more damage than good to an expensive piece of furniture. On the other hand, a furniture pro can perform amazing transformations on a damaged piece – everything from leather recolor to leather restoration. Take a look at these hacks for leather furniture, but keep in mind that you should always test them first on an inconspicuous part of your leather furniture, to make sure that they work well for the type of leather you have.

Learn to repair leather
Learn to repair leather

If you have minor scratching on leather furniture, you can sometimes blend the scratch away with leather oil. Just apply to a soft cloth, buff softly into the scratch, and wipe away excess oil. If the scratch is too deep for this simple method to work, you can move on to a leather repair kit. But before you can repair leather rips and scratches, you have to clean your furniture. First, clean your leather piece with a safe leather cleaner. You can find many leather cleaning products and leather cleaning kits at your local home improvement store.  Lexol Leather Cleaner is a popular leather cleaning product that customers praise for conditioning as well as cleaning, and for being a non-greasy, odorless product. Armor All Leather Wipes are a second alternative, and have the advantage of being neat, convenient and non-drying on leather.

Once your leather furniture is clean, you can move on to repair. This review of leather repair kits compares several brands of heat and air dry leather repair kits, and details the supplies and steps needed to repair a cut in your leather.  The reviewer favors air-dry kits over heat-dry kits on the grounds that heat-dry kits have the potential to damage the leather. The reviewer used the LeatherNu Complete Leather Color Restoration and Repair Kit, and gave it generally favorable marks, but also mentioned that a kit may have too much of one item and not enough of another for your needs. The reviewer mentioned a rival brand, Leather Repair Kit by Leather Magic, because it offers customers the ability to buy individual components and get custom color matching.

The general steps for DIY repair and restoration are to trim large rips; insert backing material behind them; apply repair compound, smooth and dry; grain the repair finish lightly; and apply sealer. Then, you mix and apply the leather dye, and seal the damaged area again.

Even a straightforward DIY leather repair can be a delicate project. Sometimes it’s best to let a furniture pro repair or recolor leather furniture. If you’re unsure of your own DIY skills, or if the damage is more than slight, it’s best to take your leather furniture to a professional.