How to Refresh a Leather Couch

I have a leather couch that we got about 7 years ago. It’s the Hamilton Sofa from West Elm and we’ve loved this couch! It’s been used day in and day out by our family. Other than maybe spot cleaning here and there, I haven’t done anything to keep this conditioned. And I know, I should have been. So I decided it was time to refresh our leather couch.

It’s definitely showing it’s age, with cat scratches and random spots here and there. (You can see the before photo right below). I have no idea why the one back cushion is all spotted (the freckled cushion I guess). But it was the faded look of the cushions that was really bothering me.

Even though I was more than ready to refresh our leather couch, I was feeling pretty nervous to try this. I didn’t want to ruin my couch! I documented my whole process by video, so you can watch that below. And of course, lots of photos here in the post too!

living room with old leather couch and round wood coffee table

I started by giving the couch a good wipe down and then vacuumed it. 

I used Leather Honey leather conditioner. It had really good reviews, so I decided it would be a safe one to try.

I first tested it out on the side of the cushion, a spot you don’t see, just in case it did something weird. I could definitely see a difference right away. The leather became darker and richer looking. I let that sit for a while, again just to be sure it wasn’t going to ruin it or anything. Once I was sure that it was safe for my leather couch, I went ahead and tackled the whole thing!

What do you need to refresh a leather couch:

Yes, to refresh a leather couch, you just need a couple basic cleaning supplies, plus leather conditioner.

bottle of leather honey leather conditioner

I used Leather Honey leather conditioner and it worked great on my couch! I found that it was best to pour the leather honey onto my cloth, and kind of work it into the cloth, so there wasn’t a huge glop of it going straight onto the leather. It can leave dark streaks or spots if it goes on too heavy. You can wipe those spots down though with a clean cloth, and once the leather honey soaked in and dried, I couldn’t see those spots. But I thought it went best if I let it soak into the cloth and just applied it lightly to the leather, and then just continued to go over and over it. 

The immediate difference it made was pretty obvious. There’s a few photos below that show the difference between the cushions that had the leather conditioner and one that didn’t.

two leather couch cushions laying on the floor next to each other, one darker than the other
leather couch with one back cushion darker with leather conditioner on it and one back cushion lighter with no leather conditioner on it
leather couch cushions with one cushion with leather conditioner and the other cushion without leather conditioner on it

Before and After of Leather Couch Refresh:

It really made a big difference! The lighting hits the couch differently, depending on the angle and how bright it is, so it wasn’t always easy to capture by photo and video. But in person, it really was a big difference and looks so much better. Fluffing up those back couch cushions helps too of course!

Below are some before and after photos of the couch. You can still see spots and marks on the couch, but to me, that’s just part of the character of leather. I am going to do another coat soon, I think it could use it, just because I hadn’t done this before and the leather seems pretty dried out. So maybe it’ll get even better with more applications! 

side by side before and after photos of arm of leather sofa with the before picture without leather conditioner on it and the after photo with leather conditioner on it
side by side photos of before and after of side arm of leather couch, the before photo without leather conditioner the after photo with leather conditioner
two photos side by side showing close up view of back of leather couch, one with leather conditioner on it the other without leather conditioner on it
side by side photos of before and after of leather couch without leather conditioner on it and with leather conditioner on it
living room with brown leather couch with throw pillows on it and jute rug
living room with brown leather couch with throw pillows on it with lamp on end table next to couch

So what do you think? Overall I’m so happy with how this turned out and wish I would have done it sooner!


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