Leather Furniture Buying Guide

Updated: March 1, 2023

Choosing an item upholstered in leather will add a level of warmth and luxury to your home. Genuine leather is unique, with surface marks, cuts, scars, and other variances. Whether you’re looking for a new sofa, recliner, or ottoman, leather furniture will add style to your home.

Apollo Leather Furniture Set by Southern Motion

Leather furniture comes in various designs including modern, traditional, and transitional. Leather living room furniture also comes in a wide range of colors like brown, tan, and black. You can also bring home blue, green, red, grey, and white leather furniture that will make a statement.

As you begin shopping for leather furniture, it can help to understand the benefits and types. This will help you make the best choice for your home and budget.

The Benefits of Leather

Leather is a durable material that can stand up to the day-to-day activities of a busy family. With proper care, your leather furniture will look beautiful for years to come. In fact, leather sofas and chairs often become treasured family heirlooms.

A main benefit of leather is that its low maintenance. You only have to dust it once a week with a soft, damp cloth. Houses with kids and teens will love the fact that spills clean up without using an upholstery cleaner. To keep the material supple, give leather furniture a deeper cleaning using a leather conditioner.

If you have pets, you’ll appreciate that their fur won't become embedded as it does with upholstery. Instead of needing to vacuum often, you can dust it away with a damp cloth. And leather can be a healthier option if anyone in your home suffers from allergies. The material doesn’t trap and hold onto pollen, dust mites, or pet dander.

Another benefit of leather furniture is that it’s quite comfortable. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, it feels as good as it looks. In fact, leather improves with age, softening and developing a rich patina when it’s maintained.

Juno Leather Living Room Furniture Set in Brown

Types of Leather

Leather comes in a variety of types. As you start shopping for leather furnishings, here are some terms you might come across.

Full Grain

Full grain is the highest quality of leather. It's the hide's top layer and includes all its imperfections and organic markings. As a result, it offers a unique, one-of-a-kind finish. As full-grain leather ages, it takes on a rich patina. Full grain can last for decades.

Top Grain

Top grain is also a high-end type of leather. The outermost layer gets removed, which will take away imperfections. The process makes the leather softer since it’s thinner and more pliable. Sometimes it's imprinted with an imitation grain to give it a uniform appearance. While it's still quite durable, top-grain leather can show scratches since it's thinner. Yet, with proper care, top-grain leather pieces can last for years.

Aniline Leather

Aniline refers to the type of finish full- and top-leather receives. Soaking in a drum of a translucent dye maintains the grain and texture of the leather. Aniline is the most breathable type of leather. While it doesn't have a protective coating, it’s the easiest to repair. Aniline leather will become more beautiful over time, developing a rich patina.

Semi-Aniline Leather

Leather is also treated with a semi-aniline process. A small amount of coating gets added that helps protect it against stains and fading. The pigment also helps conceal blemishes, creating a more uniform look. Offering a somewhat natural appearance, it falls between aniline and pigmented leather. Compared to regular aniline leather, this is a better option to help protect from stains.

Pigmented Leather

Color is applied to the surface of the leather instead of it being soaked in a drum for pigmented leather. The color isn’t as rich, but it does contain a coating for greater protection against stains, scratches, and fading. Less supple than other leathers, pigmented is the most affordable option. It also features the widest variety of color options.

Leather Everywhere You Touch

Furniture described as having "leather everywhere you touch" means that the seat and arms are leather. The backs and sides are usually made of vinyl that matches the leather. This process reduces the cost of the item without sacrificing quality or look.

Contact Us

If you're looking for high-quality leather furniture, check your local Gardner White store, chat with one of our furniture experts online, or call us at 586-774-8853. We carry a wide variety of options that will add style and comfort to your home.

Author - Dave Higgins

Dave has worked within the furniture industry for over a decade and has watched many trends change in that time. When he's not testing out the latest furniture he enjoys cooking, playing guitar, and oil painting.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of leather is the most durable?

    Top grain leather is the most durable type of leather. When compared to other leather types, nothing beats the construction, heirloom quality, and timeless appearance of top grain leather.

  • Are leather sofas going out of style?

    No. In fact, you could say that leather furniture has remained in style for its entire history. This type of furniture remains popular today and it often becomes a family heirloom.

  • How can you tell if the leather is of good quality?

    The feel will be smooth and without blemishes, bad leather will feel bumpy and uneven. The look will be uniform for the entire piece of furniture with no major variations. And finally, that rich leather smell that good quality leather is well known for having.

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