A new leather sofa, or even a second-hand find in good shape, may look a little too new. The shiny, unblemished leather has no personality and no sense of history. Break in that pristine leather by roughing it up, handing it some misuse and taking off the gloss. You will get the worn and comfy, old-money veneer of a sofa which has been made to last generations. All it requires is a day and a few cheap supplies from around the home to generate everything new old again.
Move that sofa to a work area where you can make a modest mess, and get to work. Spray the leather with rubbing alcohol and let it dry; repeat a couple of times. Then tackle the areas that naturally would experience the most wear over the years with very fine-grit sandpaper, roughing up the seat and seat borders, arms, headrest or very top of the back. Wipe down the sofa to remove dust and grit and spray it with alcohol again, drying it with a hand-held hairdryer so that you can gauge the level of fade fast. Duplicate the alcohol and also blow-dry step one or two more times before the sofa is used to perfection.
Park It Proudly
Your newly-antiqued sofa deserves to star in the living space, so construct an eclectic decor about it. Position the sofa near the stone hearth on an evenly worn and faded oriental carpet over hardwood flooring. A true antique factory cart with stainless steel wheels makes a fascinating coffee table and a couple cube-shaped poufs upholstered in kilim carpets give extra seating. Pick up a wealthy jewel-tone in the carpeting or poufs and drape the windows in yards of faded velvet in that shade. Suspend a tarnished brass chandelier above the conversation region. A leather sofa with an antique patina may take center stage in any decor style.
Distressed leather couches were produced for libraries; in fact, they might have been invented there. The faded color, the stripes and cracks, the irregular hues of the pillows add as much as an invitation to take refuge on the sofa having a gripping book and a cozy afghan. Do not allow your library be too predictable or sleep-inducing, though. Perk up the parquet floor with a rough-woven, apartment black-and-white striped area rug. Range a row of opaque glass pendants — chartreuse, vermilion, sapphire or imperial purple — above a wood library table/desk surrounded by mismatched hand-carved African muninga or zebrawood stools. Toss a few bright appliqued mola cushions on the sofa and scan the shelves for your next read.
Versatile Surprise Sofa
A squashy, light-colored distressed sofa that appears as if it has a few miles on it is going to slide into the space under the window in a teenager’s room for buddy seating, cellphone lounging, discarded clothes’ dumping and a chameleon-like adaptability to any decor. Toss a hot pink silk sari-covered cushion on it in a boho space, and set it with a fluffy flokati for retro ’60s decor. Keep the neutral vibe going with seagrass mat, ivory walls, ceiling and decorated flooring, bamboo and paper globe lanterns and mud or ivory bedding in a Zen retreat. Put a big Buddha on an upended champagne cage across in the sofa so your teen can use the deliberately battered, wabi sabi-style leather pillows as a cozy meditation seat.