Restoring a Leather Chair: Rub n Restore Review

restoring leather chair

So I was checking out the Habitat ReStore because I do that a couple of times a month just to see if they have anything interesting. A lot of times I walk away empty handed but this particular day I hit the jackpot with two great chairs. This little club type chair and a bentwood rocker. I picked up this cute little thing for $15!

restore leather chair

It had twin sisters and I was tempted to get them too but didn’t know what I would do with 3 little chairs. Plus at the time I was planning to reupholster it since the leather was dingy and 3 chairs is 3x the work.  I love the look of the chair with the curved arms, nailhead trim and castors. Plus I checked out the framework and it was sturdy and very comfy. Once I got it home I realized the upholstery was in really good shape, no tears, cracks or split piping. I scrubbed it and it still looked dingy though. I started researching leather restoring products and ran across Rub n Restore.


I tried to find reviews but was really surprised at how little information was out there on this. I went ahead and took a gamble and ordered some in ivory. Total cost was $47 including the rub n restore + protective top coat + shipping.

I watched this youtube video and got to work. It really is very easy. If you can use a sponge you can restore a leather chair. Just wet down a sponge with a spray bottle, add a little rub n restore to the sponge and work it into your chair. Thin coats work best. Let each coat dry in between adding the next. It doesn’t take long for it to dry. My chair took a little longer than a less detailed chair.

restoring a leather chair

For the trim and nail heads I used a small paintbrush. The company recommends using fine steel wool to buff the dye off of the nail heads but I found that nail polish remover on a qtip worked great. Just make sure to use lots of clean qtips if you have a lot of trim.

restoringleather chair

I applied multiple coats, I think 5 even though that was probably overkill. It only took about 1/5 of my bottle so a little goes a long way. I tested the topcoat in a small area and found I liked the more satin sheen the chair had with just the rub n restore. I may use the topcoat on other projects. I think it would just depend on the type and condition of your leather and the look you are going for.The chair doesn’t feel stiff or painted. It feels just like the leather did before the Rub n Restore. It doesn’t run off on clothes either.

For the legs, I used Method wood spray.


The chair is going to be used as our new computer desk chair. I love it!

restoring a leather chair

I will update how it wears. The company said you may need to touch up every so often in spots that get a lot of use especially if doing a dramatic color change. Did I forget to mention you can completely change the color of your furniture. How fun is that! They have a whole bunch of colors or you can order any custom color you can dream up. I love this stuff!

Note: I was not paid in any way for this review. Heck, I don’t get paid for anything except my real job! I did email the company recently and let them know how much I loved their product. So you can trust this is a legit review and I hope you love this stuff as much as I do if you try it!


16 thoughts on “Restoring a Leather Chair: Rub n Restore Review

  1. I’m considering this product to recolor a high end sofa that I’ve been offered. It’s the super supple, thick leather that you can just melt into. I’m definitely concerned with wear over time. How is yours holding up? I’m also considering doing some blue recliners in need of some TLC that we use every day.

    • Hi Aria,
      I haven’t used my chair much yet as I am redoing my desk area right now. The company says heavily used items may need touch ups once in awhile. You should contact them at or 1-888-704-5571. They are very nice and helpful there and can answer your questions I’m sure. I will hopefully get my new desk set up soon and will update how the chair is wearing for me.

  2. So far the chair is holding up pretty well. It doesn’t get as much wear as car seats would but if it starts to wear I think adding a quick top coat would just take minutes.

  3. What a beautiful chair! I have 2 fairly new “ivory” recliners that look more yellowy/cream than I would like–too “warm.” In fact, their color is very similar to your chair’s “before” picture. Your chair’s “after” picture is the color I want… though I never know if I can trust colors on my ipad! I contacted Rub N Restore to ask if their ivory had a yellow undertone and was told it does not. Is that your experience? I sure would appreciate your opinion!

    • Hi Debbie,

      I do not think it has a yellow undertone. I’ve been looking at it in different lights and I would describe it as a very light neutral off/white to ivory. I had some ivory paint chip samples and i put them next to it and they were all more yellow toned than the chair. I hope that helps. I know it is hard to determine color over the web and different monitors make a huge difference. I have had some issues with rugs for that reason. Let me know if you have more questions.

          • Wanted to share my results! Cleaned with ‘Simply Green,’ then wiped dye on with a sponge. After 1st coat dried, applied a second. I now have the perfect off-white colored chairs with a satin finish. I didn’t use the topcoat. It was so easy and looks professional! I hope I don’t start seeing old leather furniture everywhere I go because I will be so tempted to buy and dye! Thank you so much for inspiring me!

          • I am so happy to hear it worked for you and was the color you wanted. Color is so hard to describe and I was nervous it may not be what you were after. I know what you mean about looking for old leather furniture. The product has opened up a whole world of old furniture possibilities for me that I would have passed by in the past.

  4. Hi,
    I am considering using Rub n Restore and was looking up the internet for some reviews.I only found yours. I noticed that its been almost a year since you used this product on your chair. Would you mind updating me on how is the color holding up . I would really appreciate your reply.


    • Hi, The chair is holding up great. I also did an ottoman recently and had a little more trouble. It is holding up decently on that piece but a little cracky and dry looking in the creases. The company contacted me and said that my piece looked like aniline leather and their product is not recommended for that type of leather. My original non-aniline leather chair you saw though is holding up quite well. I fully recommend the product for leather and vinyl except for maybe aniline leather. You can find descriptions online to see if your chair is aniline or not. I think most are not.

  5. Hi! Beautiful job on your chair. I am excited to try doing this to a couch! My only worry is whether the color will transfer onto my clothes when I sit on it. Have you noticed that?

    • Hello, no I have had absolutely no transfer to clothing and we sit in this chair a lot! Just make sure your leather is not aniline leather. It is not recommended for use on it. I tried it on an aniline ottoman and it is not holding up well. My chair though is doing very well. Good luck!

  6. hi Cara, First thank you for taking the time to post a review. Your chair turned out lovely. I’m thinking of using the ivory on a leather sofa and chair that are in really good condition but dated looking with a medium chestnut brown finish. I’m nervous about wear since my husband falls asleep on the sofa a lot!! The frame is stained wood which I’ll be painting with a chalk type paint. I have ordered the samples from Rub N Restore and like the ivory or ash. How is your office chair wearing? Is the color staying clean? I prefer the matte finish too over the topcoated finish but don’t know how it will be repelling dirt.

    • My chair has just started to look a little dingy lately. I tried to clean it but it didn’t come off so I am wondering if it isn’t the color underneath showing through a bit. It was a dingy yellowy ivory. I plan to do one or two more coats to freshen it up a bit. The chair is used daily and has held up well but I think just be prepared to do touch ups every so often especially if your new color is way different than your old color. I’m guessing the top coat would help protect it as well. Just make sure your choick isn’t aniline leather. It doesn’t hold up well and isn’t recommended for that type of leather.

      • Thanks so much for the answer. I really appreciate it. The leather doesn’t appear to be aniline since it repels liquids. I’ll be giving this a try soon, especially since you’ve had such success with it. Again thanks for the great, and honest, review of this product.

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