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Home > Furniture Clinic E-Learning Center > How To Change The Colour Of A Leather Sofa

How To Change The Colour Of A Leather Sofa

This guide will show you how to change the colour of a leather sofa. We will be changing of a small seat from a light beige colour to maroon to demonstrate the correct procedure of changing the colour of leather.

A colour change can be made from any colour to another, i.e. black to white, or white to black, with just as successful results.

The leather colourant kit used in this guide can be used to change the colour of all leather, vinyl, plastic, PVC & leather cloth car interiors.


Pictorial Guide

Leather Seat Before Colour Change This photo shows a seat cushion we will be changing from beige to maroon.

Products Required

Leather Colourant Kit - Used to change the colour of leather


Before Preparation

How to change the colour of a leather sofa guide - seat before prepping


After Preparation

How to change the colour of a leather sofa guide - seat after prepping

Step 1. Prep the Leather

The first step is preparing the leather ready for applications of colour. We do this to remove any waxes, oils or silicones that may be present on the leather, not removing these could cause adhesion problems. Prepping the leather also removes the manufactured finish. If the leather is very dirty, clean it first with the leather ultra clean or warm soapy water.

Do the back & sides first. A lot of furniture these days have finished splits on the back & sides and using a strong cleaner like the leather prep would strip the colour off so we won't be using it on the sides. For the sides all you need to do is wipe them down with some alcohol cleaner on a cloth. Not prepping the back and sides as thoroughly as the rest of the leather won't affect the end results, this is because the back and sides aren't really used and so come under no, or very little stress

Because the seating cushions and other areas come under more stress (wear & tear) it is more important to prepare them. To do this it is best to rub them with the leather prep and an abrasive pad, this application removes the leather finish. A good way to apply this is to place two cotton wool balls on the abrasive pad and then wet them in prep, fold the abrasive pad over the balls and then use it to rub the leather. This way applies the prep in the correct and sparing way making the product last longer.

Prepping the leather in this manner will remove any creased and cracked areas on the leather. So it not only makes the leather ready for colouring but it greatly improves its appearance. Any severe cracks can be filled using heavy filler.

The leather is correctly prepped when you start to see colour transfer from the leather onto the abrasive pad or cloth. This indicates that the finish has been removed exposing the colour beneath. Any distinctive creases in the leather may wear through quicker than other areas once colour is applied (this would only happen on a colour change job, and is just a maybe). To reduce the chance of this happening wet some fine grade sandpaper (320+) in leather prep and rub along the crease to reduce it. Then proceed to the next step.

How to change the colour of a leather car seat  - Clean the leather with leather cleaner

Step 2. Wipe the leather down with Alcohol Cleaner

The previous step will have removed the manufacturers finish and any silicones that are soluble in solvents. There are however some silicones like spray on polish and waxes that aren't soluble in solvents, and so to remove these we need to use the alcohol cleaner. After using the leather prep wipe the leather down with a cloth dampened in the alcohol cleaner and for ease of use you could also spray the alcohol cleaner directly onto the leather. Now wait 30 minutes for the cleaners to evaporate.

how to change the colour of a leather car seat guide - applying the first layer of colorant

Step 3. Apply the first layer of colourant

Shake the bottle of colourant for about 3 minutes to make sure it is well mixed. Pour a small amount onto a sponge and rub into the leather. The idea is to sponge on a thin coat of colour working it into any gaps, creases and hard to reach areas. Apply light pressure here to work the colourant into the grain. If you apply too much pressure you may get a foam of colour on the surface, this is not a problem, just wipe it away with the sponge (gently).

How to change the colour of a leather sofa - first coat of colourant applied. The image to the left shows what the leather should look like after one application of colour. DO NOT try to achieve a perfect finish with the first coat.

The colourant dries naturally or you can speed it up with a hair drier. After applying one base coat, apply two more coats of colourant in the same way as before. You can actually achieve a good finish without even spraying any colour on! However it is best to spray some on as well.

How to change the colour of leather - Spraying on colourant

Drying the colourant

Step 4. Spray on the colourant and leather finish

Wait 30 minutes for the colourant to thoroughly dry and then proceed to spray the colourant onto theleather. Set up your spray gun or airbrush and then spray the leather at a comfortable distance, being carefull not to over apply the colour. It is best to practice a bit on a piece of paper to get the hang of spraying first. Spray the colourant on in thin layers. This avoids runs and so makes for a nicer finish.

Because the colourant we're using is water based it takes a few minutes to dry. We therefore advise you to spray one area and then dry it using a hair drier. Doing it this way reduces the chance of runs. If you do see a run, just wipe it off with a cloth or sponge and then re-spray the area.

There is no right number of coats that should be applied to the leather. Spray on one coat and dry it off, then just keep spraying on a coat at a time until all the base colour is hidden. When you are happy that sufficient colourant has been applied, the Leather Finish should be sprayed on to the leather. First apply the glossy Super-Seal, in three-five coats, this forms the base of an incredibly flexible and durable finish. The glossy appearance, if unintended, will be altered to the desired finish with the application of the Leather Finish. 

After the super-seal has been given sufficient time to dry, the remaining leather finish should be applied, again using the entire contents of the bottle provided to cover the entire area in between three to five coats. Always remember to leave sufficient time for each coat to dry before applying the next.


The Finished Product


Coloured Leather Seat Coloured Leather Seat Close Up

The above two images are of the seat thoroughly coloured. As standard the leather has a slight shine to it. This can be either increased using a gloss finish, matted down using a matt finish or kept the same using a satin finish. Our customer required a matt finish for this item, which is shown in the pictures below.
Finished Leather Seat Finished Leather Seat Close Up


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Andy     (1 month ago)
Hi, I recently changed the colour of my car seats from black to tan using the exact process as described above. However, I found that after sitting on them a couple of times the paint started to crack in some areas exposing the original black colour underneath. Before I applied the new colour, I made a concerted effort to make sure I removed all the existing finish from the black seat as I knew that if I didn't I'd be faced with problems but it still cracked anyway. Any ideas on why this happened or how best to rectify it?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (26 days ago)
Hi Andy.
If you send me some photos of the problem areas, I will advise you accordingly on what products to use and what procedures to follow to rectify that problem.
BAri     (5 months ago)
Hi can you achieve a good finish with a sponge rather than with a spray? removing seats seem difficult
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (5 months ago)

The finish can be applied by sponge but you generally get a better result using the airgun. The airgun allows a more even coat to be applied and avoids unsightly brush strokes or sponge marks.
Mimi     (5 months ago)
Do you have a Canadian office? I would like to purchase a few of your products for my couch. What would I need for a couch that is both leather and vinyl?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (5 months ago)
Hi Mimi,

Our USA sister company, Furniture Clinic Inc. ship products direct to Canada. You can order from their website at

Zaima     (6 months ago)

Which size of leather colourant kit would I need to change the colour of a large 3 seater sofa? Would changing the colour also remove the cracks and marks on it?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (6 months ago)

Generally the large kit is enough for a sofa. The kit will mend minor cracks but for more severe cracking it's worth getting the Flexifil or Heavy Filler as well.

As for marks on the leather, it's a good idea to clean the leather with the Leather Care Kit.
Serena     (6 months ago)
Can you change a dark green leather chair to dark brown?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (6 months ago)
Yes, this can be done with a Leather Colourant Kit
Karen     (6 months ago)
What product should I use to fade/lighten 2 orange chairs? The orange is too strong and contrasting for the space we have. The leather is of the matt type.
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (6 months ago)

You can change the colour of the leather using a Leather Colourant Kit. You can change the colour of the leather to any colour.
plndchr     (7 months ago)
Can you tell me how much leather dye l would need for changing the colour of a large leather chair?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (7 months ago)

The Leather Dye is not suitable for changing the colour of leather. For this would need a Leather Colournat Kit. For an average armchair the medium kit is enough, but for a large chair you may need the large kit.
debbie grindell     (7 months ago)
We have just bought the leather dying kit but the air gun has stopped working any tips how do get it working or can u send us a new one.
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (7 months ago)
Hi Debbie

Please refer to the advice leaflet with the kit. If this fails to help please contact our office.
Lou Robinson     (1 year ago)
Hi, I have a black faded leather saddle which has been bleached by the sun, I have tried the coloured balm and this hasn't worked would the dye kit work or would you recommend something else. Many thanks. Lou
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)

The leather dyes are only for colouring new leather, so I wouldn't recommend it for this situation. However, we have a Leather Colourant Kit which would be suitable.
Alex     (1 year ago)
Hi how long you think the new colour/paint will last on a sofa?And will the new paint not crack when you seat on? Regards
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)

The colourant flexes with the leather so it will not crack when you sit on on. Eventually the colourant will wear off but it will last as long as new leather under the same stresses and levels of use.
julie     (1 year ago)
Hi could you please tell me what size kit I would need to change a double leather bed from cream to black please
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)
I'd recommend the extra large kit.
Neil.     (1 year ago)
How much product do I need to buy I have 1 large 3 seater sofa 1 large 2 seater and a large single lounger.I want to dye it is not in bad condition but does have a slight stain which looks unsightly. I think people have sat on with sun cream on and sun cream has stained the leather. I need the cleaner + dye and finisher.
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)

For the stain you'd need the Leather Degreaser. How much of this you'll need depends how much oil is in there and it can be difficult to tell in advance. I'd recommend starting with one tub. In most cases this is enough.

For the colour I'd recommend a Leather Colourant Kit. Typically, the extra large kit is enough to cover a three piece suite.
Helen Button     (1 year ago)
Hi i have a dark brown sleigh bed and would like to take it down several shades to beige or white - is this possible?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)

Yes, you can change leather to any colour you wish using one of our Leather Colourant Kits.
Kayla     (1 year ago)
Hello can you change a green leather sofa to
Black? If so how thanks
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)
Hi Kayla

You certainly can. We have a Leather Coloutant Kit which you can use to do this. You can change to any colour at all.
regina Santos     (1 year ago)
I have a sectional 7 seats couch (l Shape) real leather , I just love it!
But it's showing old , I want to keep the same color , and Want to buy the paint and finishing for my couch.
Where can I find it?
do you have any sotore where I can visit and learn more about it?
Thank you,
Regina , Florida USA
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)
Hello Regina
Thank you for your enquiry.
Our US office will be able to advise on the best products to use. You can call (866) 931-8095 or visit

If you know what type of leather your couch is (absorbent or not), this will help to know which products to use.
You can find out if your leather is absorbent by pouring a drop of water on a small part of the couch. If it soaks in after about 10 seconds, it is absorbent. Absorbent leather can require different products to non absorbent items.
Tutorial Shopping List
items used in this tutorial
Leather Colourant KitLeather Colourant Kit
From £50.00

or Sending sample for colour match.

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How To Change The Colour Of Leather Car SeatsHow To Change The Colour Of Leather Car Seats
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