How to restore tufted leather furniture?

Picture of tufted leather upholstery

Tufted furniture has lots of buttons, folds, and wrinkles. Often these areas have a darker color which results in a burnished or polished appearance. Follow these instructions to restore your tufted leather or completely change the color and ensure the best result.

  1. Cut a sponge in half diagonally to make two wedges.
  2. Use a small brush to apply Rub ‘n Restore® color to the button, folds, and wrinkles that radiate outward.
  3. Before the color begins to dry, use one of the sponges (or a second brush, if preferred) to trace the path and wick excess color from these areas.
  4. Allow the color to dry.
  5. Do all the tufted areas before moving on to higher, smoother surfaces.

To create a burnished appearance, use this same method to apply a different (usually darker) shade to the recessed buttons. Diluting color with Clear Prep+Finish™ to make a translucent glaze will make this easier. Even so, you’ll find this color will influence that of the plush, high spots unless you are careful to remove it all. For this you may need an additional sponge or two and a tub of water for rinsing. Alternatively, you can apply the darker color to the tufting first, and then finish with the color desired on the high spots.

This video demonstrates beginning at minute 4:30:

  • 0:14 – Cleaning and prep
  • 0:36 – The Tape Test
  • 1:10 – Priming
  • 1:45 – Mixing a glaze
  • 3:02 – Testing color adhesion
  • 4:30 – 1st coat glaze
  • 5:59 – Discussion of quantity
  • 7:00 – 2nd coat color
  • 7:28 – Burnishing with a different color
  • 8:36 – Buffing or sealing
  • 9:53 – Before and after

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  1. I just bought a new leather sofa and armchair from IKEA. Now that I’ve got them home, I’m not wild about the color. I want to change it with one of your beautiful Rub n Restore colors.
    Since this is brand new, top-grain leather furniture, will alcohol do everything I need to remove any manufacturer’s wax or protective coating? Currently, water runs off the surface —it does not absorb.


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