Leather can add a bit of the classic timelessness and plush to your home. However, identifying the right leather can be a task. Shibani Mehta from the Naksh Design Studio shares her tips and views on what one must consider before introducing leather furniture into the home.
1. What is the Best Leather for You?
The most durable leather is top-grain which, as a result, also costs more. The split-hide leather is another well-known variety. It is comparatively affordable, but since it is a lower-grade version of the top-grain, it won’t be able to hold its own in an active household. Bottom line: if you want a piece that will last you a long time, top-grain is your best bet!
Cordoba Leather Chair
2. Climate and Surroundings
Before buying it one must first think about the exact place where this piece of furniture will be placed. Will it be in a ‘high-impact’ setting with lots of children, pets, people and regular activity going on? Or will it be in a 'low-impact,' quiet and tranquil environment? Your leather furniture must be selected depending on how it is going to be enjoyed. Simply put, choose finished leather for an active, high-impact environment, since finished leather goes through a secondary colouring process. The colour coating is then topped with a clear coat, which will prevent the piece from staining, fading and nicks.
Empire Leather Sofa Laguna Desert
3. A 'Heaty' Effect
The leather is smooth, supple and natural. Top-grain leather comprises around 12-14% water. This is why it acclimates quickly to your body temperature. People who feel clammy when sitting on (what they think is) furniture made of leather is actually in contact with a leather product like bonded leather or vinyl, similar to what is used on car seats. The top-of-the-line leather is, of course, the most expensive, but it's certainly worth the splurge if you look at it as a lifelong investment for your home.
Top grain leather is aniline dyed with an earthy cocoa hue that will lighten and soften with use and time and will develop a rich patina. The leather becomes more supple with age and wear. There could be variations in color and texture of various parts from hide to hide, which makes each piece unique.
Chesterfield Leather Collection - Italian Laguna Brown - Shop Now
In a low-impact environment, where there is also adequate protection from the sun, occupants could choose unfinished leather which is coloured only with dye, and without any protective coating. Unfinished leather is soft to touch. Its colour is rich and deep. Only the finest hides can qualify as unfinished, so unsurprisingly, it’s the most expensive pick. However, this class of leather stains easily due to it being heavily porous. In many cases, the colour can also fade rapidly, so keep these points in mind when choosing your piece!
UV rays are brutal and can harm all natural materials, including leather. With time, direct sunlight will slowly change your leather's colour. It is also important to know that different types of leather change their hues differently. If proper care is not taken, what starts out as a subtle change in colour on the back and sides of your leather furniture, will eventually become an obvious mismatch. Another common problem with poorly-maintained furniture made of leather is that it becomes dry due to regular exposure to the sun or heat, and can, therefore, develop deep cracks or fissures.
An obvious consideration to keep in mind is the budget. There are two primary things you should consider when buying leather: a) the hide & b) the frame. If your budget is tight, opt for split-hide leather as it will be more friendly in your wallet!
Being alert while buying leather furniture is of utmost importance. Some manufacturers tend to position vinyl under fancy names like leatherette and leather-made, as 'real leather goods.' Vinyl is synthetic and definitely not real leather. Secondly, the internal frames of the furniture should be considered. You must check if the frames are joined with solid fits or just put together with cheap, pressed wood.
Are you a proud owner of leather furniture? Do you suffer from furniture woes or are you delighted with the leather picks in your home? Next time whether you buy furniture online or from a furniture store, we hope that you'll keep the points in mind.
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