How to Choose and Care for Leather Furniture

A sofa in a modern living room.

Leather furniture makes a stylish and classic addition to any home. In addition to the clear aesthetic benefits, leather furniture is also a great choice from an economic standpoint. This is because it typically lasts more than three times longer than fabric furniture if maintained correctly. Plus, this extremely durable furniture is very comfortable as it quickly adjusts to one’s body temperature in a matter of seconds. Based on the multitude of benefits leather furniture offers, it’s no surprise that it remains a popular staple in many homes. If you’re looking to purchase leather furniture for your own home, consider our guide on how to choose and care for leather furniture.

How to choose leather furniture

When choosing leather furniture, it’s important to recognize that not all leather furniture is the same. Differences in the type of leather used, dying processes, and grain can greatly impact the look and durability of your furniture. Familiarizing yourself with the many different options available before making your decision can help you choose leather furniture that best suits your unique tastes and lifestyle.

Different types of leather dyes and finishes

  • Aniline: Professionals treat aniline leather with nontoxic aniline die which fully penetrates the hide—rather than just the topcoat—and doesn’t have any added surface pigments. Another noteworthy characteristic of aniline leather is that no one buffs it to correct any imperfections. The unfinished product showcases its natural beauty and will age beautifully over time to develop a stunning vintage patina. The texture of aniline leather is soft, and its appearance displays its natural grain and characteristics, including signs of markings and wearing in the original hide. While aniline leather doesn’t have a uniform and even finish like semi-aniline or pigmented leather, many people enjoy the rich, unique appearance of this high-quality leather.
  • Semi-aniline: Also known as protected aniline, semi-aniline leather is a type of protected leather. After the dye and pigmentation, an expert will treat it with a light protective coating. Due to this coating, semi-aniline is a good option for people with kids or pets as it doesn’t mark or stain as easily as full-aniline leather.
  • Pigmented or dyed leather: Pigmented leather is leather that has had color applied to the surface. Because the die doesn’t fully penetrate the hide, the color of pigmented leather isn’t quite as rich as aniline leather. Like semi-aniline leather, pigmented or dyed leather will show signs of stains and marks less easily than full-aniline leather. This resistance to damage is due to the heavy protective topcoat that goes on it after the dyeing process. While its thick protective coating makes it more durable, it doesn’t have as soft and comfortable of texture as aniline or semi-aniline leather.

Types of leather grains

The grain of your leather furniture refers to how much sanding the material has gone through to buff out any scars or other natural markings. Depending on the type of appearance you want your leather furniture to have, consider these main options:

  • Spit leather: Split leather refers to the bottom half of a folded hide. Because it doesn’t have a natural grain, professionals emboss a grain into it after buffing and sanding it during the finishing process. This process gives it a similar appearance to full-grain leather.
  • Top-grain leather: Top grain leather comes from the upper or outermost layer of a hide. This layer is the strongest and highest-quality part of the hide. To help reduce blemishes, experts may sand or buff top grain leather.
  • Full-grain leather: Full-grain leather is unsplit and has a natural grain so there is no need for an expert to emboss it like split leather. This type of leather isn’t corrected to reduce blemishes which can make it more expensive as it is more challenging to acquire hides without natural imperfections.

How to care for leather furniture

Leather has the potential to last for several decades—sometimes even an entire lifetime. However, if you don’t maintain the leather, it can start showing signs of wear and tear far sooner. As such, it’s important to follow these tips on how to care for leather furniture and keep it looking brand new for as long as possible.

Avoid direct sunlight

While a nice, sunny area of the room may seem like an ideal sitting spot, you should avoid placing your furniture in areas that have direct sunlight. Placing your leather furniture in direct sunlight can cause it to fade over time. As such, you should seek to arrange your leather furniture in shaded areas of your home to preserve its appearance.

Avoid heat sources

When arranging your leather furniture, you should try to keep it away from heating vents or fireplaces. Placing your leather furniture close to heat sources can cause it to dry out and crack. As such, you should arrange it in cool areas of your home instead.

Clean up spills immediately

If liquid sits on your leather furniture for a prolonged period, it can leave unsightly stains. As such, it’s essential to soak up any spills immediately. While cleaning the spill, use an absorbent cloth that is damp with distilled water to gently dap at the leather furniture. You’ll want to avoid rubbing the furniture as doing so could lead to more damage. If you leave behind an oil or grease stain, it will eventually absorb into the leather.

Clean your furniture regularly with appropriate materials

Body oils can build up on the surface of your leather furniture and cause stains to develop over time. To maintain the appearance of your leather furniture, you should clean it regularly. When doing so, avoid using furniture polishes, oils, varnishes, detergent soaps, or abrasive cleaners. These products can damage the surface of your furniture and leave unsightly stains. Instead, use a soft cloth and distilled water to wipe down the surface of your furniture. In addition, you should also vacuum your furniture to pick up dust and other small contaminants out of its crevices.

If you’re in the market for high-quality leather furniture, Sofas and Sectionals offers a variety of stunning furniture options to choose from—including leather sectional furniture, sleepers, recliners, and chairs. In addition to providing impeccably-crafted furniture, we also offer the best online buying experience possible. Committed to our core values of treating every customer like family, you can count on us to resolve any problems that arise with your order in a timely and efficient manner. For more information regarding our products, contact us today.

How to Choose and Care for Leather Furniture Infographic

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