The Enduring Luxury of Leather
Sophisticated, long-lasting, comfortable – leather furnishings make up over half the furniture sold world-wide. It’s certainly a desirable décor choice for allergy sufferers. Unlike fabric, dust, cat dander and animal hairs wipe off easily and don’t penetrate the surface. And good quality leather won’t absorb odours. Also, leather is easily cleaned with a simple soap and water solution. Don’t worry – the colour won’t rub off. No wonder leather-upholstered furnishings have become the ideal choice for many consumers.
But before you buy, know your leather. This is furniture that is going to last – it’s an investment. So it’s important that you make a wise decision. What type of leather furniture will work best for you? What kind of ‘look and feel’ do you want? How will it work with the rest of your décor? Remember, this is furniture that is going to last a long time – even a lifetime – so choose wisely and with care.
Recognize the different types of leather. It will help you in your purchase. Top grain leather refers to the top layer of hide. It’s where the hair used to be. It’s soft and pliable and used for fine quality furniture upholstery. Top grain leather is further classified into full grain leather or corrected grain leather. Full grain leaves blemishes in place for a more natural finish. Corrected grain has had the blemishes buffed out – this results in a more uniform finish with fewer blemishes.
Understanding the three types of leather finishing will help you decide what’s best for your needs, the look you want to achieve and the cost variations.
Aniline leather is the ultimate finish for leather upholstery. This full-grain leather is left in its natural state. No pigments are added to cover the leather’s pores. This means that the leather will gradually absorb body oils. Over time this will form a rich-looking patina. Only hides with the least amount of blemishes are used. And only a small number of hides are close to blemish-free. Not surprisingly, just like fine stain-treated wood, aniline leather is the most expensive type of leather.
Semi-aniline leather is also a premium product. This full-grain leather has a small amount of surface-coating finish, or pigment. The pigment smooth’s out the finish, concealing any naturally occurring imperfections. While still very soft to the touch, semi-aniline leather is slightly more resistant to spills than pure aniline leather.
Protected aniline leather is leather coated with protective pigments. This creates a more uniform colour than either pure or semi-aniline leather. This protective coating makes it easier to clean and helps the leather stand up better to heavy use.
Your leather chair or sofa is going to last. So make sure that it’s been constructed to the highest standards. Look for a wooden frame made of kiln-dried hardwood, like oak, maple or ash. The frame should be double-doweled and corner blocked – this makes it strong. In terms of seat comfort, the more coils and deeper the springs, the better. The design style of the piece of furniture will determine which kind of spring is used. Coil and sinuous are the most commonly used ones. If you’re buying a spring coil piece of furniture, you’ll want to it be to eight-way hand tied rather than just four-way.
Now you’re ready to invest in leather furniture! Why not work with someone who knows exactly what to look for, who knows what questions to ask while keeping in mind your needs? A professional and knowledgeable decorator can make sure you get the furniture you want…for now and maybe even for your lifetime. You’re going to love the enduring luxury of leather!