What to Know Before you Buy Leather Furniture
It’s hard to deny the appeal of leather furniture. But before you take the plunge on this practical, beautiful and versatile material on your next piece, do a bit of homework with this insider info first.
A leather’s grade is the most important feature of its quality, as well as a indication of both its price and durability. Top-grain leather comes from the outer surface of the hide (the desirable area). Lower surfaces are turned into split-grains – they’re typically much weaker.
The grade is based on the manner in which manufacturers prepare the leather, and how much work goes into getting them ready for market. Mark-free hides are rare, making them highly coveted. The highest quality hide will become the softest, most supple leather or “hand” (feel), in industry speak. Leathers that have been buffed to smooth obvious imperfections will be stiffer.
Aniline (also known as pure or full aniline) is leather that has been soaked in aniline dye, with no other finishes or pigments. Most anilines have visible markings – think wrinkles and scars – that just add to their beauty. Think of a high-quality bag or wallet – that beautiful patina that comes with age and use makes them even more special.
Semi-anline (also known as protected aniline) is leather than has a small amount of pigment or coating. That boosts their resistance to stains and fading.
Pigmented leather has been fully treated with surface color. This leather comes from lower-grade hides, making them stiffer than anilines. Finishes and pigments offer the greatest protection against fading, scratching and staining.
Nubucks and suedes are known for their plush softness.
Sauvage leather has a marbled appearance.
Pull-up leather has been treated with either oil or wax that, when stretched, separates to produce a softer, lighter burst of color for an overall distressed look.
Embossed leather has been patterned with pressure or high heat.
- Proper Care
Direct sunlight will cause your leather to fade, and direct heat sources will dry it out. Remove dust with regular vacuuming, and be quick to blot any spills with a clean, dry cloth before allowing to air dry. Ask for a leaner or conditioning cream recommendation when you buy your leather furniture – using it regularly can improve your leather’s resistance to staining, while also keeping it supple, soft and gorgeous.
We’re proud to have beautiful leathers on all kinds of furniture at The Find. Come visit us Thursday, Friday and Saturday to see what we have on hand, and ask us about specifics if you’re looking for something special.