Leather furniture has both fans and critics. The first consider that it looks respectable, lasts a long time, is pleasant to the touch, and is environmentally friendly. The second note is the high price, the complexity of the care, and the peculiarities of the use of leather sofas and armchairs.
Today I will talk about why you should choose leather furniture, what customers love it for, what types of upholstery exist, how to distinguish them, how to care for sofas and armchairs so that such furniture will serve for a long time.
What is important to know when buying a leather sofa?
- Natural leather has care and maintenance features that must be taken into account. Otherwise, the product will quickly become unusable.
- There are several types of natural leather, depending on the method of manufacture: aniline, semi-aniline and corrected. If you wish, you can independently check which of them the material belongs to. But it is better to consult an expert.
- A leather sofa cannot be cheap.
- Artificial leather is a cheaper analog of natural leather. It has many advantages that make furniture with such upholstery optimal for commercial premises and interiors where intensive use is meant.
- To find both genuine and artificial leather furniture pieces you can go to Homey Design Store.
Leather furniture is valued for comfort, durability, hygiene
I will tell you in detail what meaning consumers put in these advantages of leather sofas.
- Environmental friendliness and hygiene. Dust and pet hair do not collect on the skin, pathogens do not multiply in it. The skin does not generate static electricity. If you spill juice or water on the sofa, quickly wipe off the liquid with a soft cloth – the upholstery will not have to be washed.
- Durability. Leather is used in the production of premium furniture, which by default is durable and reliable: it does not creak and does not require frequent repairs.
- Status. The leather sofa becomes an accent in any interior. In the living room, bedroom, study – wherever it is, this piece of furniture immediately attracts attention. Leather creates an ambiance of luxury, even in areas where the overall environment is rather laconic.
- Refinement and nobility. The texture of the leather, like wood or stone, is unique.
However, genuine leather has a number of features that you need to consider before buying furniture.
The skin is afraid of exposure to direct sunlight and heat from heating appliances. If you place a leather sofa close to a radiator, fireplace, or heater, the upholstery will crack over time. She does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature.
The skin needs special care. However, like any leather product: shoes, bags, and so on.
What are the types of genuine leather?
For the production of upholstery materials usually use the skin of cattle, usually cows. In bulls, it is too stiff and has an uneven density. Cow leather is highly elastic, homogeneous, and of sufficient thickness (about 4 mm).
The most valuable material is calfskin. It is used only for the upholstery of exclusive products. It is distinguished by its special softness and aesthetic properties.
There are several types of genuine leather depending on the manufacturing method:
Aniline. It is a premium quality material for which raw materials are carefully selected. The impact of skin manufacturing is minimal thus preserving its natural texture. Next, the material is dyed with aniline-based agents. They penetrate deep inside but do not clog the pores, which provides the skin with good air exchange and hygroscopicity. Such material is not afraid of liquid and oily substances: it absorbs them and distributes them evenly over the fibers. Over the years, these sofas acquire that unique vintage look;
Semi-aniline. This is also premium material. In contrast to the previous version, slight deviations are allowed in this, for example, bumps and deepening in the surface, which do not affect the outer layer and can be eliminated with a gentle finish. The skin is gently polished and stained with semi-aniline products with a matte effect. This is followed by finishing embossing. In terms of durability and performance, such leather is close to aniline;
Corrected. This material goes through several stages of processing. First, the skins are sanded, then tanned and dyed. Final processing-intensive embossing and varnishing. A polymer varnish is applied to the outer layer of the leather. It makes the surface perfectly flat and protects it from external influences. At the same time, all those qualities for which the leather upholstery is valued – natural texture, characteristic smell, tactile properties – are also preserved. Such upholstery is optimal for furniture that is exposed to intensive use.
How to independently recognize natural leather and determine its quality
There are several ways to determine the type and quality of leather:
Squeeze the skin sample and count to ten. If it quickly heats up from the warmth of your palm, then it has a lot of open pores. Most likely, it is aniline or semi-aniline leather. The corrected material will take longer to heat up.
Smell your skin. The specific smell remains in the material for a very long time. Rub the skin sample with your fingers until warming, fold it in half and inhale the scent. The smell of quality leather cannot be confused with anything. The heavily processed material has a synthetic “flavor” – like a rubber eraser.
Consider the texture of the skin – size, location of veins, scars. This inimitable pattern is called “merea”. It should be uniform if the upholstery is made from a single piece, rather than stitching together fragments of different skins. By the way, minor defects such as scars and bites are a sign of high quality and natural skin. They do not spoil, but, on the contrary, decorate the material. Therefore, such products should not be avoided;
And of course, the main feature of a high-quality leather sofa will be its high cost. Remember: it is impossible to buy a sofa in high-quality leather at a low price.
Is faux leather bad?
This is a cheaper analog of genuine leather. The basis of this material is cotton or polyester. The top layer consists of polyvinyl chloride, if it is vinyl leather or polyurethane, if we are talking about eco-leather, it is considered more expensive. In its structure, foamed polyurethane applied using special technology, resembles natural leather: it is distinguished by its porosity, which provides it with good air exchange.
The debate about which material is better – artificial or natural leather never stops. Of course, even the highest quality artificial leather cannot compete with natural leather in terms of tactile properties. In terms of thermal conductivity, too: natural upholstery heats up much faster from contact with the body. However, artificial leather has undeniable advantages:
- perfectly flat surface;
- resistance to abrasion and deformation – it is not afraid of temperature changes and the effects of heat, like natural leather;
- ease of care – artificial leather can be cleaned with most detergents.
- Furniture made of high-quality eco-leather is perfect for commercial premises: offices, beauty salons, boutiques, showrooms, and so on.