Leather repair and restoration specialist Paul Ford

Restoring Badly Worn Antique Red Leather Suite

Here's a classic example of what happens to antiqued or 2-tone (mottled) leather when not regularly maintained.

This leather suite arrived at my workshop in a terrible state. The dark antiquing had worn through exposing the bright red base.

colour worn off chair

Here's one of the chair arms with the antiquing rubbed off.

You would think it was at least 10 years or more, wouldn't you ... but no, it's only about 2 years old!

Most people don't realise what antiqued leather is, so it's not surprising they are horrified when it starts looking like this.

You see, when this leather is originally finished in the tannery, the base colour is bright red, and a darker colour is lightly sprayed over the surface to give it its 2-tone look. Finally a protective sealer completes the process.

So, it follows that when the protective sealer and the darker colour wears away, what are you left with? That's right ... bright red!

antiquing worn off couch

Here's the couch. It has also had a decent amount of wear.

This highlights the potential problems associated with antiqued or 2-tone leathers. Once the darker colour wears through, you are going to see the base colour.

Regular care and maintenance will slow down this wearing process, but this is a little-known problem with these types of leathers ... it's eventually going to wear through, it's only a matter of time.

cleaned recliner chair

When I cleaned the recliner chair, the darker antiquing literally washed off!

So, here's a word of advice ... "Don't put leather with an antiqued finish in a high wear environment".

With that said, I dug deep into my bag of artistic skills and went to work.

I carefully remove all the old finish, re-antique it, then hit it with a heavy-duty sealer for maximum protection.

Compare these 'after' photos (below) with the ones above!

antiqued chair after restoration

Getting it to look exactly like the original is the trick!

antiqued couch after restoration

You want a closer look? Here you go ... So, what do you think?

close-up of restored recliner

If you have antiqued leather that looks a bit like this one, look at it on the bright side ... at least you know I can fix it for you.

When the suite arrived back at the customers home, they were certain it had been replaced with a new one!

Makes it all worth while, doesn't it?