Does your heart go pitter patter when see Farmhouse style rooms with rustic exposed ceiling beams? Do you love Traditional style rooms with nail head trim on wing back chairs, tassels and rich colors? Or do you get excited with bright white, orange and blue colors with modern steel fixtures in Mid-Century Modern design? If you said yes to any of these options then Leather furniture is for you!
Quality leather covered chairs and sofas can be appropriate in all design styles. It is also more durable than fabric and is easily cleaned with a damp cloth and lasts for 10+ years if care is taken. It is also important to remember that quality leather furniture can be double the cost of fabric covered pieces. When purchasing new leather furniture, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Check to see if the backs of sofas or chairs are single pieces of leather or 2-3 pieces stitched together. Most hides are 3ftx 6ft so a sofa with one solid piece is probably matching vinyl. Some manufactures cover the backs and sides of their pieces with vinyl to save on costs which is called Leather Match. Be aware that vinyl does not wear and age in the same way as true leather so your furniture may need to be replaced sooner.
Always check labels to see the type of leather you are purchasing since the various types also have differing prices. Full-Grain and Top-Grain leathers are the best quality because they come from the outer most layer of the hide. They develop a lovely patina over time but they also show the most imperfections. If you are looking for a more uniform color, look for Aniline or Semi-Aniline leathers but know that they are more susceptible to scratches and fading.
Corrected leather often marketed as Genuine Leather is made from the next level of skin layers and is sometimes sanded to remove natural imperfections. This leather stretches more, can look saggy on cushions and does not wear as well as Top-Grain leather. Be wary of Bonded leather which is made from leftover scraps and is mostly plastic. Bicast leather is the thin bottom hide completely covered in polyurethane which does not feel like leather. These materials crack and split and very quickly can flake off in pieces.
Zippered cushions are always a good idea. Sofas and chairs wear in different areas so the ability to replace sagging cushions should also influence your purchase.