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Leather Furniture

Updated: 2020-03-19

What to look for in leather furniture

Always intrigued by leather furniture but wonder if it’s too delicate for a rambunctious household? Not sure how to get a timeless look you’ll love for years? 

In this guide, we'll look at leather furniture types, what to look for in leather furniture, and tips for buying and decorating with leather furniture.

In addition, the video below contains even more information on leather furniture types. 

Leather furniture types

It’s easy to get lost in leather nomenclature when buying leather furniture. For starters, here’s a quick guide to 7 high-grade finishes we offer: 

Full Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is the most prized and sought after of all the leather types, as it is the most authentic leather type used in furniture. Other than hair removal and soaking in a natural dye, there is usually no treatment for full-grain leather. Full-grain leather, including full-grain aniline, is also uncorrected so it's natural beauty shines through. Also, full-grain leather furniture pieces often develop a patina. 

Top grain leather

For those who prefer a softer, less rugged leather than full-grain, top-grain leather furniture is a great option. Like full-grain leather, top grain leather is still uncorrected, allowing its beauty to shine through. In contrast to full-grain leather, top grain leather is buffed, making it softer, yet still natural and extremely durable. 

Wax-protected leather

Wax-protected analine is slightly corrected with a fine topcoat, making it sort of a hybrid between top grain and split-grain leather. While wax-protected leather retains its natural beauty and develops a patina, it looks and feels more sleek and refined than full and top grain leather. 

Split grain leather

Split grain leather is created by removing the top section of the hide, using only the remaining portion. Compared to the leather types above, split-grain leather has a harder texture. 

Enhanced effects leather

Enhanced effects semi-aniline is corrected with artisan techniques to create desired the tones and textures used in custom leather furniture applications. 

Even-coloration leather

Even-coloration aniline is corrected with pigmentation, which evens out its tone and creates a uniform look for those who want a refined look. This can also a good choice for busy households. 

High-quality treated leather

Two types of leather that are treated for durability are semi-aniline leather and pigmented leather. Below are descriptions of these two types of leather:

  • Semi-aniline: Quality leather treated to withstand everyday use. 
  • Pigmented: A very durable leather, protective treatment can detract from its natural look.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is created by rolling up various pieces of leather with an adhesive, resulting in a product that has 15% less leather, but can be durable and good quality and a lower price. 

Nubuck leather

Made from the raw-hide only, nubuck leather is known for its similarity to suede in texture, which is created by sanding the rawhide. Known to be more fragile, nubuck leather is often treated by waterproofing and other measures for durability. 

Bi-cast leather

Bi-grain leather is split-grain with a coating of color. Less expensive than top grain, bi-cast leather can peel and crack without the right treatment. Before purchasing bi-cast leather, make sure you understand how it was treated (see high quality treated leather above).

Faux Leather

Faux leather provides a leather look without actually using an animal's hide. While not nearly as prized as real leather, technology has lead to the improvement of faux leather in recent years. 

Quality of leather furniture

There is nothing more classic than quality leather furniture. Durable and comfortable, leather furniture can become even more comfortable and stylish after it breaks in, gaining character as it ages. Leather furniture is naturally resilient and luxurious, says Stephanie Holdren, a Bassett Certified Design Consultant in Atlanta. She loves the high-quality leather that Bassett uses, which has a rich, buttery texture fabric can’t beat. 

Buying leather furniture

You can choose anything from the texture and natural beauty of artisan-quality leather to the color and practical appeal of protected leathers. Because of the flexibility of leather furniture, it is important to choose a piece that fits your lifestyle, stylistic preferences, and desired texture. The main thing to look for in leather furniture is to make sure you are getting the product you purchase. Make sure to ask about how the leather was cured, what chemicals were used, etc. 

Decorating with leather furniture

Below are some tips for what to look for in lea

One of our best tips for buying leather furniture is, when it comes to choosing pieces, a little leather goes a long way. “I like mixing it up with fabric upholstery,” says Stephanie. “If I’m doing a leather sectional, the chairs or ottoman are in the fabric. If it’s a fabric sectional, then I do a leather ottoman.”

For color choice, Stephanie recommends checking boutique hotel bars to see what’s fits in where you live. For example, bright white is common in Miami Beach, rugged brown in the Midwest, sleek black in New York. 

Then use details to move the needle from contemporary (think nickel-plated nailhead trim) to classic (brass) or rustic (a swatch of plaid on the arm cushion). 

Bassett Leather

Maintaining leather furniture

When you choose top-grade leather, maintaining its leather beauty couldn’t be easier:

  • Never place pieces directly in the sun or close to heat sources.
  • Mop up spills right away.
  • Dust regularly.
  • Clean monthly with a soft, damp white cloth.

Leather furniture FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions concerned leather furniture:

Are leather sofas durable?

The short answer is yes, depending on the quality of leather used. Compared to traditional fabrics (not the more modern high-performance variations), leather is known to be more durable. 

What is the best leather furniture?

The best type of leather furniture depends on your lifestyle, and stylistic comfort/preferences. While full-grain leather is the most sought after leather furniture, other types of leather may best suit your style. 

What brand of leather sofa is the best?

With over a century of designing and crafting the best leather furniture, like that gorgeous top-grain sofa, Bassett Furniture is an American classic, with a storied brand built on an uncompromising commitment to quality. 

Where to buy full-grain leather furniture?

The Bassett Furniture showroom has many options for full-grain leather furniture, which can be custom-built to your preferences. 

Leather furniture store

You’ll never grow tired of kicking back in a leather club chair with a stiff drink or nestling into a leather sofa to binge the series you’ve been waiting for. It’s that good. 

If you’d like more tips for buying leather furniture from an interior designer like Stephanie, just schedule an appointment

Like to learn more or explore? Visit our leather furniture workroom

Leather Workroom
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