When selecting the perfect piece of leather furniture, it is important to understand that not all kinds of leather are created equal. You’ve likely seen some leather sofas that look absolutely stunning, yet at the same time seen leather furniture that had you questioning whether or not the piece was even leather at all. In order to make an educated decision on purchasing any kind of leather furniture, it is necessary to know the various forms of leather and the quality of these kinds of leather. In the end, knowing this will help you determine the best leather furniture for your home.
Full Grain Leather
You’re not going to find a higher quality leather than a full grain. While there are various kinds of full grain, based on the animal it comes from, full grain is the least processed and most impressive of the various forms of leather furniture.
To create full grain leather, the hair is removed from the animal hide and soaked in a natural dye (typically, this is a vegetable dye, although there are some variations). There is no other processing done to the leather. This is the kind of leather that ages the best. In fact, because there is very little processing done to the hide, it will start off on the tougher side but soften, the more it is used.
Furniture made from full grain leather is the kind of piece that only improves with age.
Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather is very similar to full grain, with one exception. Beyond the hair removal and natural dye soaking, top grain also goes through a buffing process, which helps soften up the hide. If you are looking for leather furniture that is immediately soft to the touch and wants to skip the “breaking in” phase, top grain leather is what you need to consider. Don’t worry; you’re not giving up any kind of quality or longevity of full grain. It has the same life span as the non-buffed full grain form of leather.
Split Grain Leather
This is a step down from both full and top grain, and the difference is noticeable. While this doesn’t mean you can’t find quality pieces of split grain leather, full and top grain are significantly better in terms of quality. During the leathering process, the top layer of the leather hide is removed, which leaves the split grain (the remaining leather is literally “split” from the top grain). This kind of leather has a harder texture than the higher-quality options and can be a little more difficult to maintain.
Bi-cast leather is a split grain leather that receives a polyurethane coat on top of it, which is designed to give it a top grain appearance. Don’t be fooled, though, as this kind of leather will crack and peel if not regularly treated. If you go for this option, ensure you are fully aware of the maintenance requirements.
This is where the idea of “leather” furniture begins to get watered down. Nubuck leather is made only from rawhide. The rawhide is then sanded down, resulting in an almost suede-like look. The problem with this is that all of the top layers of the leather were removed, so it is especially fragile. This kind of leather furniture does not have the life expectancy of full, top, or even split grain leather.
When looking at discounted leather, keep an eye out for “bonded” leather. To the untrained eye, shoppers will see the word “leather” and be happy with it. However, bonded leather is far different from all the other leathers so far. Following the completion of other leather projects, there is always scrap material left over. Bonded leather is created from these scraps, which are then pressed and rolled together using a special adhesive glue. It’s basically the plywood of the leather world.
Find Leather Furniture That’s Right For You
Everyone has their own style preference when it comes to leather furniture. At the same time, everyone also has a budget they want their sofa to fit into. With this information, you can sift through the various leather pieces available and identify the best quality for your budget. And when it comes to shopping for leather, make sure to check out the wide selection of American-made leather furniture at Leather Furniture USA. Whether you’re interested in an office chair or the ultimate mancave reclining sofa, you’ll discover an incredible selection all on the website. So check out the top brands and expansive furniture catalog today.