buying leather furniture? what to watch for

As we kick off our major leather sale, we thought we’d help you learn a bit more about leather. We’re talking real leather.

Farmville leather chair

Quality leather furniture is durable and long lasting—sometimes for generations—so you want to be careful and informed about what you’re actually buying.

After all, some retailers claim that certain pieces of furniture are “genuine” or “100%” leather when in reality, they may only partially be made of leather. Sometimes, they’re not even leather at all!

Read on for what to watch out for.

top grain from top-to-bottom (and side-to-side!)

One leather “trick” is to claim a product as made of leather, when in reality it’s only partially made of leather.

What you’ll want is top grain leather that extends all around the piece, not just in a cushion or back. Don’t be shy: ask!

  • The fine top grain leather on the Collins is handcrafted in Italy; each Italian hide is tanned using the purest water from the Italian Alps.
  • The Lenny cocktail bench is teak colored in 100% top grain semi-aniline leather
  • The Halle 100% top grain leather sofa features a "pull-up" effect, which is when a burst of colors results from the leather pulled tight.
  • The navy Charlize barrel chair in top grain leather

 

There are a wide range finishing processes to be aware of. Take the top grain leather on the Farmville chair or the Collins sofa. While some leather surfaces are sanded to rid the material of natural imperfections, these particular pieces require no correction!

If you do your homework, you’ll have a leather item that is durable, rich to the touch, and the real deal.

what else to watch out for…

Always be leery of bi-cast leather or split leather which is not even leather, but a leather byproduct. This means the underneath has been split off from the top, and then the top layer is treated and embossed to make it appear more leather-like. The feel is not nearly as rich or supple as top grain leather, and it wears more easily over time.

Other characteristics of bi-cast leather:

  • Appears uniform, with very little variation in the grain
  • Prone to cracking and splitting (this is a common top concern posed to our design associates!)
  • Strong chemical smell

Lastly, if you ever see mention of poly-synthetic leather, or “PU”, steer clear! This is not real leather and is certainly not suitable for a quality, long lasting piece of furniture like a sofa or chair.

Collins luxe leather room

in the end, how does it feel?

Sometimes, getting an actual feel for the leather will help you decide. Do you like soft and supple? Or firm? Do you like the worn-in look, with natural patina that gets better and better with age? (We do!)

And, of course, how does the price feel? Keep in mind that although the price point may be higher for beautiful top grain leather, it’s the longest lasting and most durable upholstery material out there. With proper care, it can last a lifetime.

What may help you decide is our leather sale going on now through January 31 (use coupon code L2), where you can get 20% off an entire piece and save up to hundreds of dollars on quality leather. If that helps make the decision, have at it!

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