We have seen many instances of clients re-upholstering sofas and chairs when really it was not needed.
In the specific example of leather what has often happened (ignoring cuts) is that the surface or finish has been damaged; scuffed, if you like.
Leather is well able to last the test of time if cleaned and maintained well, however even the best-kept sofa is prone to the occasional accident – the rogue popper on trousers, a buckle on a dog collar or perhaps over zealous friends of your children, not your children of course!
The image above shows a sofa definitely in need of re-upholstering. This one has most certainly seen very much better days. However an errant scuff to your beloved sofa could perhaps often be completely repaired simply by applying a dye. Other noticeable issues that you could have with your sofa could include patchy areas of fading, a degree of cracking or perhaps even burn marks. All of these types of visual damage are potentially able to be repaired with a little love and care.
A professional upholsterer will be able to undertake leather sofa repair quite easily. However the option also exists for the DIY homeowner to use professional materials to perform a, hopefully, similar standard of work.
Such materials would include dye but also chemicals that can remove any grease/oils and then add a pigment and other chemicals that can ‘fix’ the pigment in place.
A similar scenario applies to car leather repair in your beloved automotive friend. Perhaps as a prelude to selling a car you want to rejuvenate the leather or, again, make some minor repairs. Whilst a home sofa might get more use than your car leather the rigours of twisting around and getting in and out of the car may, in fact, make it more liable to get damaged and sometimes we all might be guilty of possibly not taking as much care with our cars as we do with our homes.