furniture shopping is dependent on the grade of the leather.
Furniture sellers typically categorize their leather pieces
using a simple class scale distinguishing the types of leather
from the most high-end to the most low-end. Leather furniture
grade is based on quality of the hide, how the leather is
tanned and processed, the feel and durability, the pigmentation,
and also the entire construction of the furniture piece as
a whole. For example, a couch frame may be covered in the
back with lower-grade leather while the cushions are upholstered
with soft high grade leather. When the furniture is pieced
together in this way, it brings down the cost compared to
a sofa made entirely of high-grade leather.
The most high-end leather is pure aniline, made from full
grain hides with minimal sanding and corrections with a soft
supple feel. As leather moves down the grading scale, it has
been treated in some way—perhaps with a color-protective
coating or buffed or removed tears and scratches. The more
corrections made to the leather, the lower the cost and quality
of the leather. There also is “bonded leather” which
achieves the look but is not real leather. Bonded leather is
merely vinyl with 17 -20% of ground leather sprayed on the
back of the vinyl. Bonded leather only looks like leather and
has none of the desirable properties of genuine leather.
It is also important to consider that leather furniture requires
additional maintenance. Supple leathers may easily scuff, and
to keep up the original look of your furniture will require
a time investment and the use of leather treatments or cleaners.
Of course, many people choose leather because they like a more “worn” look,
so if you’re working toward a more rustic feel that way,
leather is definitely your best choice.
Insider Tip – Be sure to have your sales professional
show you which parts of the furniture item is genuine leather
and which parts might be synthetic. Where ever the body touches
should be genuine leather.
Insider Tip- Punctures and tears in leather furniture can
be expertly repaired if needed.