Types of Leather Used In Sofas
There are a few old adages that still resonate in the present day, and one of them is: you get what you pay for. Investing in high-quality right from the off ensures a longer and guarantees a much higher level of excellence than choosing a cheaper option. Nowhere is this truer than in the living room, specifically with regards to the sofa. The sofa is a piece of furniture which will be used, day in, day out, by many different members of the family and a lot of guests, so it is vital to make an investment and ensure that the pride and joy of the living area will not be worn out and tatty within a year or two. A sofa of good quality will retain its levels of comfort and its aesthetic qualities for many years, compared with the cheaper models which will become out of shape and lifeless within months.
One of the most important considerations has to be the sofa covering. Frame and filling are important too, but the sofa covering is the element of the sofa that everybody sees, and it is the most difficult area to replace should it become damaged. Frames can be repaired, cushions can be refilled, but the overall sofa covering should be an expensive and durable fabric. Of course, there are no more durable and luxurious fabrics than leather when it comes to covering a sofa. For those looking for a quick-fix to brighten up their living area, it can be difficult to resist opting for a soft chenille fabric, a smooth velvet or a buttery suede, but it is leather that receives all the plaudits, not only for its aesthetic quality, but for its durability and easy maintenance when compared with the initial investment.
The average life span of a real leather sofa is up to five times longer than that of a sofa which is covered with fabric. They are beautiful and durable, with high levels of comfort and longevity and relatively low levels of maintenance. This means that they are, on the whole, the most expensive sofas in general, which is why those looking to buy a leather sofa should know exactly what qualities they are looking for when making this investment. The most important distinction to make is whether a sofa is upholstered in genuine or faux leather.
This can usually be deciphered by simply checking the furniture tag or reading a little more in-depth about the piece. Faux leather can be confusing because it comes under a variety of names; pleather, leatherette, permeable leather or leather cloth are just a few of them, and as they all contain the word ‘leather’ in some form, many people can mistakenly believe that they are purchasing the real thing. A genuine leather sofa will always be identified with the term ‘genuine leather’; it’s that simple.
Once it has been established that you are purchasing a genuine leather sofa, it is important to ascertain the quality of the leather itself. There are many different levels of quality, from bonded leather, which is made up of strips and scraps of leftover leather glued together, to full grain leather, which is relatively durable but doesn’t usually have any additional protection, meaning it shows wear and tear more readily than other types. Split grain leather is sometimes considered less desirable than other types, as it is made purely from the inside of the hide, rather than the outer layer, because it’s also not as durable. Top grain leather, as the name might suggest, is made from the outer layer and is the most durable type of leather overall because it is treated with special protection agents to increase its endurance against the stresses and strains of everyday life. The most expensive option is full grain leather. Similar to top grain leather, it is crafted from the outer layer of the hide, but it is not treated in the same as top grain leather is. It is often considered the most beautiful type of leather, but is slightly less durable.
As well as these types of leather quality, there are also three categories that genuine leather sofas fall under: Aniline, protected and Nubuck. All of the categories are dried, softened and milled, but with subtle differences. Aniline and Nubuck sofas don’t have a protective finish, but Nubuck sofas differ from Aniline sofas in that they have a slightly visible texture. Protected sofas, as the name suggests, are made more resistant to scratches and stains, and also have an added degree of colour pigmentation to ensure consistency.
From these many different types and standards that leather has, it is important for those considering adding a real leather sofa to their living area to consider their options very carefully. But they can rest assured that when they do make that initial investment, it is one that will serve their home well for an incredibly long time.
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About LeatherSofasOnline: On the LeatherSofasOnline web site, you will also find a wide range of leather sofas, including the Petit Confort Sofas and a range of design classics including the Mies van der Rohe’s style Barcelona Chair & Stool as well as many Eames style designs such as the Eiffel Chair and Baha Rocker. LeatherSofasOnline sell a variety of leather and aniline sofas, sofabeds, beanbags and leather cushions, all at great prices.