Leather sofas are sophisticated and durable, making them a smart investment in offices or living spaces. Sofa shopping can be fun but very confusing to say the least. As there are thousands of different choices, it can be a daunting mission to choose the perfect sofa. The first priority though is to make sure you are purchasing a well-made sofa. If you are still hesitant about purchasing a leather sofa this article highlights advantages, benefits and what to look for in leather sofas.
Four Advantages Of Buying A Leather Sofa
Leather sofas have distinctive advantages over different types of sofas. They come in a variety of styles and sizes, the difference being the different type of upholstery used to finish it. Most sofas can be upholstered effectively in leather rather than fabric if you prefer the aesthetic. If you are in search of a furniture piece that adds drama or sophistication, opting for a leather sofa could be the perfect solution that also offers durability. Leather sofas are complementary to almost any space, and any style they are placed in.
Here are four advantages of buying a leather sofa:
Add Class and Sophistication
Whether a sectional, three-seater or two-seater sofa, leather sofas frequently raise the style in a room and include a timeless sense of modernity and extravagance to space. Leather comes in an assortment of rich colours and ranges from soft to dark shades and even to delightfully dynamic hues. The colour affects the personality of the sofa and the vibe it brings to the interior. Dark leather sofas are ideal for refined and liberal interiors while a vibrant shade can set the tone for an expressive look. A clean appearance portrays a modern aesthetic as well as adding an old charm.
Durable & Easy Maintenance
Aside from its beauty, leather is well-regarded as a quality choice for upholstery for its durability. High-quality leather hides for sofas undergo an advanced tanning process that makes them resistant to sagging, peeling or cracking. This helps them to last longer than sofas upholsted in fabric. Leather wears well and is less prone to tears and punctures. Leather sofas and chairs are typically upholstered with either full-grain or top-grain leather, which makes them durable and long-lasting. Finally, leather sofas are more resistant to stains and spills. You can drink wine without fear of spilling as long as you wipe spill sup promptly. This winning quality makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze, particularly for families with young ones and pets.
Leather sofas hold their shape and appearance without looking tattered while offering a supple comfort no other fabric can offer. Over time, the beauty of this versatile material is that it becomes more supple and delicate with use. Quality leather is comfortable in both warm and cold environments. It effortlessly adjusts to the temperature of the room it is in.
For those who have allergies, great news, leather sofas do not store pet fur or dust mites! Leather repels dust, allowing it to be easily cleaned to maintain its beauty. Leather sofas are a popular purchase for those who are prone to allergies.
Different Types Of Leather & Qualities
When it comes to buying leather furniture that will last, it is helpful to understand the grade and finish of the hide. When choosing the right piece it is easy to be fooled by leather. When brand-new on the showroom floor, sofas upholsterd in leather all look great!
There are only two different grades of leather hides that are used for upholstery. Yet there are four different finishes that hide poor-grade leather making it visually appear as if it is high quality.
Full-grain leather is the most authentic type of leather, and is the top quality becasue it utilizes the full thickness of the hide. Because of this it is the most durable. Expect it to last!
It is beautiful when purchased but continues to improve with age so it can provide lasting beauty for many years. Most of teh full-grain leather we see in North America comes from Europe. The only process used to prepare the original hide is hair removal followed by soaking in natural dye. Vegetable dye is commonly used. The overall process retains the original texture and appearance. The leather is pure, making it the most highly-priced of all of the options. Full-grain texture tends to be tough in the beginning. Over time it becomes more supple to the hand. Look for minimal blemishing as a sign of highest quality.
Top grain is made from the thickest top layer of hide which is separated from the bottom layer(s). The process is illustrated here. Our supply tends to come from South America which produces a product that is generally not as clear and unblemished as full-grain. Before processing, it has scars, insect bites and other signs of naturally occuring distress. Through processing, the top layer is buffed, sanded, or otherwise removed to show a cleaner more unblemished result. What is lost through this process is also some of the character and texture inherent in a beautiful hide. The result, a smoother product that will not be easily scrathed or damaged, but it will not wear as well as full-grain over the years.
If you are more focused on a leather appearance on a tight budget, consider buying a sofa made of bonded leather. It is made from leather scraps from previous projects that are rolled up with the use of adhesive material. The end product outcome is a sofa covering that may contain only 17% leather, yet it still gives a leather appearance and smell. Keep in mind, it is not nearly as durable as real leather.
Bi-cast leather, is a the result of modern engineering where a hide of leather is split into layers. The top layer, or top-grain, is separated first leaving one or several layers still useable. A polyethelene coating makes the lower, inferior layer useable. It is prone to splitting and cracking and can have an off smell from the chemical processes used to make it. It is a more affordable product than natural leather.
Finishes of Leather
Aniline & Semi-aniline
Aniline dying is a process where the top surface is dyed with an organic dye and the lower layers may or may not be left untreated. The natural characteristics of the hide show through leaving the nature of the hide unaffected. The result will scratch and fade from sunlight but the sophisticated result will be a beautifully patinaed aesthetic provided you start with a quality hide.
Semi-analine is a simillar process to aniline but the name is misleading. It actually signifies an extra step to add a protective layer to the surface to further protect agains scratching and fading. This additional layer or treatment may also impart more pigment which will even out the colour, hiding blemishes and making it more uniform. It also inherently adds protection from scratching and fading in sunlight. It is finished with a clear protective coating that adds lusterouos sheen or may be matte depending on the desired result.
Pattern can be added to leather by stamping the product using heat and high pressure creating a pattern or design on the hide.
Napa leather is produced by a different tanning process. You can read more about it here. The hides are processed using chromium or aluminum sulfate, salts which produce a hide with softness and durability. It is typically dyed in water-soluble dyes which leaves it more resistant to fading and easier to clean.
Nubuck is produced when the natural dimpling or texture of a hide is buffed or sanded to produce a smooth product. It results in a softer almost a suede-like appearance with a supple velvety feel. Nubuck is susceptible to staining, fading, and is a more delicate, almost fragile product; it requires waterproofing treatment to increase its longevity.
Has a gentler feel and may be a bit less glossy. Thsi tanning method results in a tough and moisture-resistant surface.
Is when colour is applied to the surface but not dyed. The colour is not rich, which hides imperfections and adds durability.
Printed leather is stamped with a design or texture giving an aesthetic appearance. Printed leather comes from low to high price ranges as the treatment can be used on any quality of leather from low to high grade.
Split grain leather is the result after the top grain has been removed. Split leather is made from the fibrous part of the hide and results in a leather that is weaker and less durable, but soft and more supple.
Choosing the perfect sofa is a mission. Remember that a sofa that appears to look expensive does not mean it is quality leather. Learn to understand and identify different types of leather. By learning you will save a lot of money and make an informed purchase.
You will appreciate the benefits when investing in a quality leather sofa.
My standard disclaimer: Please note, some of these items may be offered through affiliate links which means I could get a small commission if you order. That will never influence what I find lovely and want to share with you. I always offer suggestions I would buy for my home or recommend to a client. Also, rest assured it won’t affect the price you would otherwise pay.