A Guide to Leather Furniture: Choose the Best for Your Home
Michayla Hemminger | On September 20, 2015
If you’re looking for durable furniture that will look beautiful for years to come, consider the benefits of quality leather furniture. A leather sofa or loveseat offers the most durable upholstery covering. Cow hides are tough and can withstand much more pressure than fabric coverings. With so many types of leather out there, it can make choosing the right one seem impossible. Here’s our handy leather information guide to help you pick the right covering.
Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather is the leather that is formed just by removing the hair from the hide and soaking the hide in dye. It’s basically an untreated leather, unfinished to let the natural beauty of the hide shine through. Full grain leather will give you a gorgeous look, but it does take some maintenance and care. If you have pets or young children, full grain leather may be a bit too delicate for your household. Try a top grain leather if you need something a bit more durable.
Top Grain Leather
If a cow hide is buffed and/or corrected, you have a top grain hide. Instead of leaving the hide natural, top grain hides may have insect bites or stretch marks that are corrected to be less visible. Then, several layers of protective coating are applied to the leather for durability. Most high quality leather will be a top grain, as it keeps the soft and supple feel of leather while still offering a protective layer. Full grain and top grain leather will be a bigger investment than other leathers, but also gives you the peace of mind that your furniture will last for years.
Split Hide Leather
A split hide leather is the remaining part of the hide after the top grain has been removed. A split hide is not quite as durable or soft as a top grain hide, but works well to give you the look of leather while keeping the cost down. Some manufacturers will use a genuine leather on the seats and backs of a sofa and use split hides on the sides and back of a sofa. This keeps the look of the piece consistent, but lowers the price tag.
Bonded leather furniture is becoming more popular, as it gives you the look and feel of leather at a much lower price. Bonded leather is created using scraps of genuine leather that are heated and melted together to make a roll of leather. Bonded leather is quite durable, but will not breathe as well as a genuine leather. However, since bonded leather does not undergo a tanning process there are low levels of chemical treatment which is a benefit to people with allergies or sensitivity.
Bi-cast leather uses a split grain of leather adhered to a sheet of polyurethane. Often it’s embossed with a grain to give it the look of genuine leather. Since it’s a less expensive option, bi-cast leathers do not breathe as well as a genuine leather and tend to retain temperature. Bi-cast leather is typically used on smaller accent pieces such as chairs, benches, or dining room chairs where breathability is not a concern. Upholstering a larger piece in bi-cast leather would not be as comfortable as a bonded or genuine leather piece.
Each of these leather types have different benefits and qualities. Choosing the right leather furniture shouldn’t be a daunting task now that you’re armed with this helpful information! If you have more questions, NFM’s world class sales team is always ready to help you find the right type of leather for your lifestyle and budget.