Furniture makes up almost 2% of Italy’s main exports, to the tune of nearly $7 billion in 2020 alone. And it’s far from surprising since furniture with the “Made in Italy” stamp is considered the gold standard by the world’s top interior designers.
If you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your home, it’s time to explore Italian leather couches. These premium lifestyle products don’t just look incredible—they’re also designed with comfort and durability firmly in mind. While the price tag may be higher than sofas made elsewhere, a designer couch is sure to last a lifetime.
With such longevity, it’s essential to make your selection carefully. Read on to learn about the factors you need to consider when you buy a leather couch crafted in Italy.
Decor and Lifestyle Matter Most in Italian Leather Couches
When planning for your Italian leather couch purchase, consider what lifestyle your clients (or you) have.
Do they have a large family with young children? Are they older couples who travel a lot and only plan to use the couch in their formal living room? How many pets do they have, and are they allowed on the furniture?
Factors like this dictate the level of protection the couch needs, the style, and the construction.
Next, take a close look at the existing decor of the home. If your client is firmly in the maximalist camp, they’ll want a very different style of furniture from someone seeking to channel a 1920s Art Deco interior.
Finally, don’t forget to consider color. Some brands only release their couches and sofas in a limited range of hues, which could narrow your selection considerably—especially if you’re looking for a particular or bespoke shade.
Decide What Style of Couch You Want
Italians have been crafting exquisite sofas since at least Ancient Roman times. Over the centuries, the technical innovations inherent in Italian furniture making can be seen in most contemporary sofas.
Some common couch styles include:
Remember, too, that leather care is vital for extending the life of your sofa. A large, complicated couch style may be more challenging to keep in good condition than a smaller or less fussy design.
Know Your Grains
Not all leather is made equal. When looking for a new couch, it’s essential to understand what makes the different types of leather look the way they do.
In most instances, you’ll be dealing with sofas crafted from high-quality cowhide. However, some premium Italian brands may make their furniture from the hide of other animals—lamb or goat, for instance. But since cowhide is the most commonly used leather in the furniture industry, we’ll focus on that.
Cowhide can be divided into four types of grain:
- Full grain
- Top grain
- Corrected grain
All grains are used in Italian furniture making, though full grain and top grain are the most popular.
Full-grain leather uses all of the hide except the hair. It’s highly durable and naturally water-resistant due to a network of dense fibers.
You may notice some imperfections in this leather, which some companies use to their advantage—think industrial-chic. Over time, it will take on an attractive patina.
Top-grain leather is made from only the top layer of the hide, which is buffed or sanded to make it smooth and soft. It is, however, still relatively durable.
Corrected grain sits between full and top-grain leather. It uses all the hide but is sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. Suede is also used in Italian furniture making. It’s luxuriously soft, though it can be challenging to keep clean.
Test the Couch—If You Can
Looking through catalogs or browsing Italian leather couches online is a great way to narrow down your preferences. However, before you purchase a couch, getting a feel for your options in real life is essential.
By this, we mean visiting a showroom to literally “test-drive” the sofas you’re interested in. You may find that a couch that looked perfect in the product photographs is uncomfortable, too small, not well constructed, or not the right style or size for the space you plan to put it in.
Try these tips when testing out a couch:
- If you or your client are tall, consider a couch with a high back
- Sit on the sofa with more than one person
- Lie down on the couch to make sure it’s long enough
- Try to cross your legs on the sofa to make sure it’s deep enough (if it’s not, consider purchasing a matching ottoman)
- Measure the couch to make sure it fits your space
In cases where you can only order the sofa you want (or in the case of bespoke orders), go over the product specifications with a fine-toothed comb to ensure they match your needs exactly.
Consider Your Budget
Even the country’s leading interior designers have a budget to work with.
And, of course, designer Italian leather couches don’t come cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from the thousands to tens of thousands for your ideal sofa—depending on the brand, style, leather quality, and availability.
In searching for the ideal sofa, view your budget as a tool to help refine your options. After all, the best couch is one that ticks off as many items on your wish list as possible and comes within budget.
Italian Leather Couches: What’s Right for Your Home?
Navigating the world of Italian leather couches can be daunting.
While there are only a handful of truly premium brands, it can still be challenging to match style, color, quality, and lifestyle with your budget. Most importantly, you need to take the time to consider what you want from a sofa—only that will lead you to the couch you need.
At Michelangelo Designs, we’ve been helping New Jersey’s high-end interior decorators and luxury homemakers to secure fine Italian furniture since 1985.
Contact Michelangelo Designs today for more information or an in-person visit to the showroom. Find out for yourself why we’re known in the industry as “the cure for the common.”