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All About Leather . . .

Leather as a covering for furniture never goes out of style. It can be beautiful, durable and comfortable. It can also be expensive. Here’s some guidance on how to choose the best options.

The highest quality usually found in furniture is called “top grain” or 100% leather. While it is highly durable, it requires special care to keep it nice. Be sure to research what the manufacturer recommends. It’s easy to find leather care tips and products with a Google search.

Be aware that leather furniture is rarely top grain all the way around. It is often leather on the areas that touch your body, and some made to match material on the sides and back. This can be called “vegan leather” or “leather match”. If you want leather all the way around, it is out there but be prepared to pay almost double the price.

If you are planning to buy “forever” furniture in top grain leather, make sure to choose items that are classic in both style and color. Getting trendy is nice if you can afford to trade it out in a few years but otherwise pick something that you can update with other colors and accessories. Here’s an example of Classic Style that will go on for years and years.

But look how different this looks when choosing neutral but lighter traditional colors. Either way, you can accessorize leather to look up to date year after year.

Bonded vs. Top Grain

Be sure to ask the salesperson to describe and provide documentation on the exact type of leather you are buying. Bonded leather is often pushed on unaware customers. Yes, it’s real leather but it is a very thin piece of leather bonded to a polyester fabric. With use over time, the bonding comes undone and the leather can crack and peel. It is not possible to fix as with top grain leather. Of course, it will also be less expensive.

If you can’t afford top grain, choose one of the new polyester fabrics that look and feel like leather. They are almost always called “leatherette”, but they come in a wide variety of textures. The better ones look and feel almost like real leather. They are often called “breathable” because they also act cool like real leather. You can tell by the hand whether you are getting a “cheap” leatherette or a quality one. This new fabric is easier to maintain and clean than the real thing so if you have little ones running around, it might be the best choice for you.

This sectional is covered with a fabric called “elephant ears” which gets its name from the texture. It is actually a polyester fabric that looks and feels great. This sectional is well made with lovely stitching detail.

The Not-Chunky Recliner

I’ve heard many of my female customers complain about how puffy and masculine reclining furniture looks.  Yes, it’s still available but many companies have been designing “motion” items that look sleek and modern.  Check out these examples which would look sophisticated in any living room – not just the “man cave”.

When choosing a recliner get the “power” version if you can afford it.  Also select the separate adjustment feature for the headrest.  This lets you control the leg position and the neck position separately for personalized comfort.   Many customers think the power feature has a greater chance of breakage, but the opposite is true.  Manual recliners are sometimes pushed too hard either opening or closing and are subject to stress more frequently.

Carefully Choose Color

If you are buying “forever” furniture, be sure to choose neutral colors.  Brown and black are traditional but can feel dark and dreary.  If you are furnishing a den or reading room, this might be the effect you want.  You can always lighten it up with a white or off-white wall color.  The new neutrals in leather are beige, white and gray.  Choose slightly on the darker side for durability as it will be easier to clean and show less staining.

If you want to be bolder, there are many choices.  Somewhat neutral can be in the light blue family. This set is exactly the same as the dark brown one above but looks completely different in this color.

Maybe you just feel bold and happy.  In that case, select from many different colors.  These bold colors will be the focal point in the room so surround them with neutrals that let them be the star of the show.  This yellow tone certainly feels cheery.

Here’s a red chair that is a star not just by color but also by its unique design.

This dusty blue “chofa” has a lot of class.  A chofa is a sofa with a chaise attached – great for putting your feet up after a long day.


All the items in this blog are available for purchase at Lake Wylie Home Furniture.  You can count on us to spend whatever time is necessary to help you select the perfect items for both your style and your budget.   Call or text for your one-on-one appointment with Susan.  704-770-7741