Restore your leather chair to its original beauty.

Refurbishing a Brown Leather Chair

by Heather Montgomery

Leather offers an ideal material for furniture in a home with kids around. Spills, accidents, throw-up, food and other items wipe up quickly with no smell or stain that remains. While leather is a durable material, over time -- through normal wear and tear or poor maintenance -- leather begins to show its age. Instead of tossing your leather furniture to the curb, refurbish your brown leather chair's finish with a leather repair and dye kit.

Cover your work area with dropcloths. Work in a well-ventilated area and wear chemical resistant gloves while restoring your chair. Move the char onto the dropcloths.

Wipe the leather chair down with a rag damp with leather cleaner following the directions on the cleaner bottle. Be certain to wipe the entire chair thoroughly to remove dust, debris and dirt.

Apply leather degreaser to the arms and top part of the chair where skin and hair often encounter the leather. Apply the degreaser according to manufacturer instructions. Some degreasers come in liquid form that sits on the chair for some time, while others offer a powder that absorbs the grease in the leather.

Add a leather prep product to the chair using a rag. Scrub vigorously and expect some of the chair's color to come off onto the rag.

Repair any deep tears or scratches using a leather repair kit in the brown color closest to the dye you plan to use. Leather repair kits come with everything you need for the repair including the filler, spatula and sandpaper. After applying the filler with the spatula, when it is dry, go over the area with the included sandpaper until smooth. Wipe away excess dust with a damp rag.

Sand the entire chair with a 320-grit sandpaper. Avoid using the sandpaper on the seams and stitches to prevent fraying. Wipe away excess dust.

Shake the leather dye well. Pour a small amount onto the applicator sponge or clean rag. Wipe the dye onto your chair in even, long strokes. Avoid pressing down too firmly or applying too much dye to avoid streak marks and bubbles. Work in small areas to cover the entire chair in the first coat of dye. Allow the dye to dry completely.

Smear a second coat of dye in the designated area in the same manner from Step 7 and allow drying time. If your dye kit comes with a spray applicator, apply the final coat of dye from the spray applicator using even strokes in the same way as you spray-paint something -- long, slightly overlapped even strokes. If your kit does not have a spray applicator, put on a third coat of dye using the same method as the first and second coat. Leave the chair in a well-ventilated area for at least 48 hours to allow it to cure.

Rub on a coat of leather conditioner to the chair with a clean rag after the 48 hours of drying time has elapsed. Move the chair into the room of choice.

Items you will need

  • Dropcloth
  • Chemical resistant gloves
  • Leather cleaner
  • Rag
  • Leather degreaser
  • Leather prep product
  • Leather repair kit
  • Fine 320-grit sandpaper
  • Leather dye kit in brown
  • Leather conditioner


  • If you cannot find leather cleaner or a prep product, mild dish soap and water clean the leather. Acetone preps the leather surface for dye.


  • Do not allow your children near or around the chair, dye or chemicals while you work.

About the Author

Based in Lakeland, FL., Heather Montgomery has been writing a popular celebrity parenting blog and several parenting and relationship articles since 2011. Her work also appears on eHow and Everyday Family and she focuses her writing on topics about parenting, crafts, education and family relationships. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in early education from Fort Hays State University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images