10 Best Leather Couches in 2017 – Reviews of Brown and Black Leather

If you are looking to decorate your living room, cheap leather sectionals are an ideal choice.

Sofas are an essential furniture in a room and without one, a room appears boring and plain. They give an amazing and cozy look to the room. Choosing the best sectional couches for cheap is an important task to make sure you live a comfortable life. There are many cheap sectional sofas available on the market, and it is your task to pick one that is suitable for you. In an attempt to help you find the best leather sectional sofas, we have formulated this buying guide.

They give an amazing and cozy look to the room. Choosing the best sectional couches for cheap is an important task to make sure you live a comfortable life. There are many cheap sectional sofas available on the market, and it is your task to pick one that is suitable for you. In an attempt to help you find the best leather sectional sofas, we have formulated this buying guide.

 

 

Feel free to explore the podium, click on the pictures to find out more.

 

 

№1 – Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa

Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa
Pros
PU and bi-cast vinyl covers
Pre-assembled off the shelf
Double reclining technology
 

With this reclining Homelegance sofa, you get a durable household accessory with an aesthetic brown theme. Designed to recline effortlessly, it is comfortable to use. Back, arms and seats have comfortable overstuffed designs that users appreciate, while its sturdy wooden frame lasts long.

Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa has professional-grade components. Apart from its aesthetic brown leather upholstery, for instance, you get water-resistant PU and bi-cast vinyl covers that prolong its life significantly. Padding, on the other hand, is high-density foam, while its pre-assembled 83-inch x 39-inch x 40-inch design comes ready to use. You will appreciate the value of a new one.


 

№2 – Homelegance 9668BRW-3 Double Reclining Sofa

Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa
Pros
Lever-based reclining technology
Padded back, seat, and arms
Aesthetic design
 

Reclining leather seats are popular globally. To get a comfortable model that will cradle and support your body well while lounging or watching a movie, Homelegance 9668BRW-3 is a popular product. Luxurious, it blends well in homes. It is also comfortable and made of high-quality materials.

Fitted a durable bonded leather upholstery, for instance, it has an appealing classic outlook that does not fade nor rip easily. Its thickly padded back reclines comfortably, while its double foam seat is comfortable. An original also has traditional rolled arms with channeled tufts and nail-head accents.

Measuring 90 x 38.5 x 40-inches, Homelegance 9668BRW-3 has a spacious design that fits up to three people comfortably. Considering its clutter-free design, this is ideal for individuals with small homes.


 

№3 – Classic Double Reclining Loveseat

Classic Double Reclining Loveseat
Pros
Space-efficient 60 x 39 x 40-inch design
Lever-based reclining technology
Padded back, seat, and arms
Aesthetic black-themed design
 

This classic double reclining sofa from Divano Roma Furniture is an aesthetic black-themed accessory for home use. Made of bonded leather its upholstery is stylish and easy to clean. The hardwood frame used is durable while its comfortable overstuffed arms maximize the experience of users in homes.

Construction of this Classic Double Reclining Sofa is professional-grade. Both its back and seats, for instance, have thick foam padding that cradles the body well. The lever-based reclining system it comes with is easy to use, while its affordability is desirable. This sofa measures 60 x 39 x 40-inches and comes assembled and ready to use from Amazon. Research and purchase yours today.


 

№4 – Coaster 601741P Home Furnishings Power Sofa

Coaster 601741P Home Furnishings Power Sofa
Pros
Numerous smart features
Top grain leather upholstery
Charming modern-themed design
Sturdy frame
 

Ranked among the best power sofas in the market, Coaster 601741P has remained sought after in the reclining sofa niche because of its impeccable style. Its modern-themed outlook blends well in homes without cluttering space. You can also maintain it easily and lounge comfortably at home when watching a movie. If you have a tight budget, you do not have to spend a lot of money to own one.

Do you have a hectic day job? Do you want a comfortable reclining sofa that you will enjoy using on a day-to-day basis? Coaster 601741P excels in this regard too. The top grain leather used to make it, for instance, is not only durable but also has a smooth and comfortable luster that most individuals appreciate. Its scooped chaise-style body cradles users well, while its low profile arms are ideal.


 

№5 – Roundhill Furniture Brandan Bonded Leather Dual Reclining Sofa

Roundhill Furniture Brandan Bonded Leather Dual Reclining Sofa
Pros
Pre-assembled
High-density foam padded seat
Spacious 93 x 41 x 39-inch design
Comfortable reclining system
Bonded leather construction
 

Brandan from Roundhill Furniture is a well-made dual reclining sofa with a sturdy hardwood frame that measures 93 x 41 x 39-inches. If you are shopping for a spacious sofa, therefore, but have a tight budget, this model will never let you down. It fits up to three adults comfortably. Its creak-free design withstands abuse well, while its quality of construction appeals to individuals of all cadres.

The charm of this Roundhill Furniture Brandan sofa cannot be understated. Made of bonded leather, for instance, it has an appealing rustic theme that blends well in homes. The material is also durable and has a well-finished design that you can clean easily using a damp cloth.


 

№6 – NHI Express Benjamin Motion Loveseat & Consoler

NHI Express Benjamin Motion Loveseat & Consoler
Pros
Bonus storage for remote and phones
Built-in cup holder
High-density cushions
Smooth reclining technology
Comfortable two-person design
 

Are you shopping for a comfortable love seat that you can share with your loved one? Even though numerous brands are currently available in stores, NHI Express Benjamin is one of the best. Perfect for lounging and watching movies, it is an ideal indoor accessory. It’s sturdy dual design fits up to two adults while its padded cushions, headrests, backs, and armrests maximize comfort levels.

To maximize comfort further, NHI Express Benjamin has a smooth reclining system that you can customize as needed. You can push it back and forth to normalize the position of your body. You can also customize it to maximize support or comfort without impairing its performance over time. Coupled with the thick foam cushions it comes with (foam) expect a memorable experience at home.


 

№7 – Roundhill Furniture Kmax 2-Toned Dual Reclining Sofa

Roundhill Furniture Kmax 2-Toned Dual Reclining Sofa
Pros
Convenient two-piece design
Built in storage console
Quality bonded leather construction
Low maintenance design
Sturdy creak-free frame
 

Are you shopping for a new soft that you and your loved ones will enjoy lounging on? The Kmax from Roundhill Furniture is an ideal model. Featuring a unique two-tone design its charming outlook blends well in homes. Its spacious design doubles as an excellent loveseat. It is also durable and has a well-finished creak-free design that withstands everyday abuse well. You will enjoy having it around.

The quality leather sofas offer users is admirable. Apart from its unique two-toned outlook, the quality leather used to manufacture this seat is a major attractant. Bonded, for instance, the material is durable. It does not rip, fade, nor fray easily as, comparable low-grade ones often do. The material is also water-resistant and has a smooth and easy to clean surface that does not irritate sensitive skin.


 

№8 – Homelegance 4 Piece Bonded Leather Sectional Reclining Sofa with Cup Holder Console

Homelegance 4 Piece Bonded Leather Sectional Reclining Sofa with Cup Holder Console
Pros
Striking brown theme
Smooth reclining technology
Premium cushions
Quality leather cover
Sturdy creak-free design
Spacious six-person deign
 

A reputable manufacturer of reclining sofas for years now, many individuals know and like the Homelegance brand for its durable products. With this four-piece model, however, you get more than comfort. Its quality of construction, for instance, outmatches that of most comparable models in stores. It is sturdy. It also has a higher load capacity and premium cushions (heavy duty) that withstand a lot of abuse without losing their shape and or luster over time. You will appreciate the value that it offers.

Featuring a four-piece sectional design, you get a versatile indoor accessory with each original Homelegance Bonded Leather Sectional Reclining Sofa that you buy. In your living room or man cave, you can set it up in numerous ways without compromising comfort. This seat is also creak-free and has a smooth reclining technology that comes in handy whenever you are relaxing at home.


 

№9 – Primo International Discovery Contemporary Motion Reclining Sofa

Primo International Discovery Contemporary Motion Reclining Sofa
Pros
One-year warranty
Cost effective design
Comfortable overstuffed back and arms
Stylish dark brown theme
Durable leather cover
 

Roquette from Primo International is a contemporary looking seat with a comfortable reclining back. Made of quality leather, this sofa has a charming outlook that blends well in most types of homes. In contemporary spaces, it blends well with most types of décor. It’s charming rustic look also appeals to individuals with traditional homes. The leather used to manufacture it is durable. It also easy to clean and has a stylish dark brown theme that does not fade not stain over time.

Whenever you are resting at home, forget about the irritation and or back pain that you suffer because of your poorly designed sofa. With Primo International Roquette, you get a quality accessory, manufactured with the user’s comfort in mind. It’s overstuffed back and arms, for instance, cradle, cushion and soothe users. It also has convenient pocket coils that support the body and a built-in entertainment center that consists of a drop-down table and a center storage drawer.


 

№10 – Coaster Home Furnishings Transitional Motion Sofa

Coaster Home Furnishings Transitional Motion Sofa
Pros
Comfortable pocket technology
Bonded leather cover
Sturdy transitional design
Eye-catching contrast stitches (white)
Large three-person design
 

When shopping for a new leather seat, durability and comfort are among the must-have attributes that you should never sacrifice at all costs. While most models promise the foregoing, only a few deliver the invaluable experience buyers of this Transitional Coaster Home Furnishings sofa enjoy. Designed and manufactured to maximize comfort, for instance, it is one of the best models for lounging and or resting at home. Its design is also eye-catching, while the professional-grade materials used to manufacture it have attracted it positive attention globally. You will not regret purchasing one.

Wrapped in a smooth bonded black themed leather, Coaster Home Furnishings Transitional Motion Sofa is comfortable to sit on. Unlike fabrics that irritate sensitive skin, for instance, the material is smooth and irritants-free. By distributing weight evenly across the buttocks, it also eliminates pressure spots that lower the comfort levels of users when seated for long. This seat also has eye-catching contrast stitches (white) and an advanced pocket coil technology for added comfort.


 

Leather Furniture Consumer’s Guide

Planning on buying leather furniture? Did you know there are different types of leather? Which is best for you? Read on and learn some important tips to keep in mind when shopping.

Start by thinking about the usage patterns you expect with your new leather pieces. Will the furniture be placed in an active, “high-impact” setting with children, pets, food and drinks galore? Or, is your home a quiet, “low-impact” environment?

Quality leather is a remarkably durable material that will offer many years of comfort. However, the right type of leather should be selected based upon how you expect the furniture to be enjoyed. As a leather furniture repair and restoration specialist, I repeatedly hear from my clients how their sales person, designer, etc. never told them the leather would stain, fade, tear, etc. So, avoid these problems by learning a few simple keys and asking a few simple questions. To understand the issues let me take you through a mini-primer about leather.

There are two ways of coloring upholstery grade leather – with dyes only or with dyes and pigments. Leather colored strictly with a dye is referred to as unfinished, whereas pigmented leather is classified as finished. So, what’s the difference?

If leather is colored only with dye then there is no protective coating. It is sometimes referred to as “pure-aniline” leather. (Aniline is a type of dye that colors leather.) This leather is soft, supple to the touch. Its color is rich and deep as dyes are translucent and they penetrate, often completely through the leather. The leather’s natural beauty is accentuated by the dye giving the furniture a luxurious look and feel. Only the finest hides can qualify to be unfinished, so unsurprisingly, it’s the most expensive category. However, there is a dark side. This class of leather stains easily (these hides are highly porous) and the color fades, in some cases very rapidly. (UV’s the culprit.)



Finished leather is colored with the same aniline dye as unfinished leather however these hides go through a secondary coloring process. A pigmented coating (finish) is applied that is chemically engineered specifically for leather. It has to flex and allow the leather to breath so it has unique attributes that differentiate it from common wall paint. Pigmented leather finishes are opaque, creating a colored film on top of the hide. The color coating is then augmented with a clear coat forming its primary protection. This clear coat also dictates the sheen, from gloss to matte. Quality finished leather may not feel as soft and supple as unfinished, but will be able to withstand the rigors of an active household. It won’t stain nearly as readily. It’s easier to clean, and fades so slowly, you’ll never notice it.

Your first key is placement. Simply put, active, high impact environment like a family room, media center, conference room, dining room, etc. dictates finished leather. A low impact home, with UV tinted windows and little threat of staining can indulge the beauty of unfinished leather.

The next step is to consider your budget. This is where your expectations are appropriately set. There are two primary considerations, the leather and the frame.

Top-grain leather is the most durable, but will cost more. This is the epidermis of the skin which offers vast majority of the hide’s durability. Split-hide leather (leather “split” from the epidermis) won’t stand up to the test of time in an active household, but as a low grade is generally more affordable. If you want a piece that will last a long time, then you must insist on top-grain leather.

The internals or guts of the furniture should be considered. Is it constructed using hard wood appropriately joined with tight, solid fits, or is it slapped together with cheap pressed board, staples and cardboard? (No kidding, cardboard.) Clearly, solid construction will cost more, but offer many years of trouble free service.

Color selection is something else to think about. The lighter the color, the more maintenance it will require to keep the leather looking new and clean.

Finally, is it all leather or did the manufacturer sneak in some vinyl? Vinyl and all its fancy name derivatives like leatherette, leather-mate, leather–match etc. is a synthetic, not the real deal. It won’t feel or wear like leather. It’s less expensive than leather, but simply doesn’t have the durability of quality leather.

So, based on your budget, set your expectations correctly and think about how the piece will be used. Then when you shop ask the following questions.

With the answers to these questions at least you’ll know what you’re buying.

Knowing What to Ask For

First and foremost, shopping for quality and value in home furnishings is about knowing exactly what you are paying for. With such a wide range of retail price points for living room furniture, it’s important to see past the commissioned salesman’s jargon to know what you are getting for your dollar. Nowadays, cheaper manufacturers have found savvy ways to throw the word ‘leather’ around while meaning something completely different. The best course of action is to find a furniture store near you and always to ask a salesperson directly about the construction, fabric, leather, and warranty. Before you buy, make sure you’re getting the straight talk you deserve.

What Is Bonded Leather?

“Bonded leather” is a cheaper manufacturer’s first line of attack in selling you the look and feel of leather for a “great deal.” Unfortunately, bonded leather is hardly leather at all—by definition, it has to be only 17% leather. So leather is to bonded leather what chicken is to chicken McNuggets (or pressboard to wood, or dryer lint to fabric): In other words, it’s processed beyond recognition.

When a leather cowhide is taken into manufacturing, cookie-cutter-like shapes are cut out of the hide to make panels that will eventually make the seat cushions, backs, arms, and sides of quality leather furniture. When you are cutting cookies, there will always be scraps outside the cuts of these panels that are too small to use whole. This is where bonded leather begins. These scraps are ground up in a machine into even smaller pieces that are laid out in a long, thin layer and then adhered together with a thicker layer of polyurethane (plastic).

While bonded leather, being merely a “leather product,” prices out (foot for foot) similar to a fabric—and in the sense may be more economical—it is, unfortunately, used all to often in misleading customers, as retailers may try to pass it off as the real thing in order to inflate the perceived value of their product.

In reality, a person sitting on bonded leather is not sitting on leather at all, only plastic. And unlike real top-grain leather, the ground-up hide and plastic will never acclimate to your body temperature or get better with age.

What Is Bicast Leather?

Bicast leather (also known as bi-cast, bycast, or PU leather) is what most people consider the next step up in quality.

Before a hide is put into production, it is cut horizontally into layers. These layers consist of the top grain (the top layer that maintains the actual surface of the cow’s hide where the pores and hair follicles used to be) and then every split below that.

Bicast leather is a layer of split which was too thin or flawed for normal use and that, like bonded leather, is completely sealed on top with a layer of polyurethane. Like bonded leather, no actual point of contact is possible between the natural leather and your skin and, therefore, bicast doesn’t demonstrate any of the same wear or comfort attributes of top-grain.

That being said, bicast can still serve as an economical alternative for people wanting the look of leather without the price. Another benefit might be that bicast and bonded leather wipe up easily (since they have plastic surfaces) and you won’t run into many of the food/drink stain issues you may experience with upholstered furniture.

What Is Split Leather?

As mentioned before, a split is merely the lower layers of a hide underneath the top-grain. A split is still 100% real leather but does not have all of the characteristics of top-grain due to processing differences.

When a split is made, it is initially light-colored and fuzzy or suede-like on both the top and bottom of the hide so that it won’t look like top grain. On leather furniture, the traditional top-grain leather look is shiny, has natural variations in color (as a hide is a natural product with variations in thickness and quality and, therefore, withstands dyes differently), has a smooth and soft hand (or feel), and natural “pebbling” (the unique bumps that vary depending on from which part of the cow the hide was taken).

Because a split has none of these qualities, the split must be processed through various means to simulate the appearance and feel of top-grain leather. Although the result is still 100% leather, some softness is always lost through the processing procedures and natural variations in color and pebbling are no long evident as these hides are run through a uniform screen.

What is Leather-Match?

Leather-matching is the practice of placing real, top-grain, 100% leather everywhere you touch on a piece of furniture (e.g. the seat, back cushions, and arms), but then filling the side panels, back panels, and the backs of the cushions with a non-leather.

Most leather-matches are vinyl on the back and sides, although, in some cases, you will see bicast or bonded on these parts. However, manufacturers who want to maintain the ability to say “all 100% leather” will use top-grain everywhere you touch, but then replace the sides and back with a split. Although this is a good, economical way to get 100% real leather on your furniture, there are many reasons (that I will address below) to support the benefits of putting the same product on all sides of the furniture.

What Is Top-Grain Leather?

As stated above, the top grain is the smoothest, supplest, most natural, and best kind of furniture leather your money can buy. Each hide is as individual and unique as a fingerprint. Real, top-grain is comprised of about 12-14% water. For this reason, top-grain leather acclimates quickly to your body temperature. Leather is a natural product and thus breathes like one.

Top-grain comes in two different grades: aniline and semi-aniline. Aniline is the most natural and has no protective coatings or treatments that alter its natural feel. Because of this, it’s the softest but also susceptible to stains, while semi-aniline may be coated with a protective topcoat.

Many people who have experienced “sweating” on leather and are therefore turned off by the idea of leather furniture are referring to a leather product like bonded leather or vinyl. This is especially true in car seats that sit in the sun for hours.

Leather’s Natural Patina

The sun is harsh. Brutal UV rays can have a measurable affect on many natural products, and leather is no exception.

Think about it: leather is like skin, and it will age. Over time, direct sunlight will gradually change its hue—especially on parts that are more exposed than others. That being said, different materials patina at different rates. Top-grain leather will change colors differently than splits, splits differently than bicast leather, bicast differently than bonded, and bonded differently than vinyl.

For the true leather-lover, the patina is one of the most charming qualities of the material. However, if you buy anything less than top grain, you may be disappointed.

This is where the importance of steering clear of leather-match is evident. Because your furniture may be in your home for a long time, what started out as a subtle variation in color from the back and sides to front will eventually become an obvious mismatch.

Can Leather Dry Out?

As mentioned before, top-grain leather is typically between 12-14% water. Over-exposure to sun or heat will increase the risk of your furniture drying out.

As a leather is porous, the water within the hide can dissipate and leave your furniture dry or even peeling. To avoid this, try to keep you furniture at room temperature, out of the sun, and condition it twice a year with a special leather conditioner.

Leather: Anticipating the Future

Before you buy and place your leather furniture in your home, try to envision the future. Although leather furniture is universal and timeless in many regards, keep in mind that it will require special care and placement. Keeping that leather sofa away from the window and the heater and instead finding the right accent lighting and a throw blanket may be the best bet. Find a good source for designer lamps and décor and plan your room long before you make you first purchase. You’ll thank me in twenty years.

A Final Word

When buying leather furniture, it’s important to ask the right questions and know what you’re talking about, so a commissioned salesperson won’t think they can pull one over on you! If you’re in the market for leather furniture, you’ll see a lot of faux leathers at stores like Ashley or Rooms-to-go, which is fine if you are looking for a more economical way to get the look and feel of leather, but even so, I’d check out a local furniture dealer with a good reputation.

5 things to know before buying your leather sofa

One of the most popular upholstery coverings for our sofas is leather. But with so many grains, coatings, and textures available, it can often become confusing as to which type would work best for your sofa.

But fear not, as we dispel much of the confusion about leathers in this comprehensive guide.

What is leather?

Real leather is a natural product — it’s warm and durable, and has individual characteristics which make each hide unique. Leather will always bear the marks of its natural origin, and these qualities can show as scratches, growth marks, areas of differing fibre density, and hair pore structure. These characteristics in no way detract from the wearing qualities of the leather.

The curing of animal skins — a method commonly referred to as tanning — creates leather. The skins of cattle are known as hides, making up the majority of the leather used in the manufacture of upholstered furniture.

Many retailers classify leather by grades. This can cause some confusion with customers who are encouraged to think that the more expensive, or higher-grade leathers, are of a better quality. This is not necessarily the case.

Tanneries only produce one quality of tanned upholstery leather. It’s the cost of the various finishing processes applied after tanning that cause the leathers to have different prices.

As a result, when the time comes to choose leather furniture, there’s an inevitable trade-off between appearance and ease of care.

How is upholstery leather made?

A cattle hide arrives at the tannery having been salted to preserve it. Then, it is soaked in chemicals which dissolve the hair follicles and cause it to swell to approximately 8mm in thickness. It’s then split through its thickness, and the upper layer with the hardwearing grain surface is separated off to be used for upholstery leather. The hide then undergoes a tanning process utilising chromium-based chemicals.

This technique is now the modern preferred method, replacing the traditional vegetable tanning process which uses plant extracts and urine.

Once tanned and dried, the hide is graded by size and degree of scarring and blemish. The ‘cleaner’ or less-scarred hides tend to be used for full-grain leathers, while hides with a degree of scarring are lightly buffed on their top surface and used to create corrected grains.

What leather types are used for your furniture?

There are a few different types of leather that are used for furniture applications. Pigmented leather is the most durable with a consistent surface appearance, while aniline leather is more natural looking, but less resistant to soiling. The third type, semi-aniline leather, is somewhere between on both counts. Below are more detailed descriptions of each type and their properties.

Pigmented Leather

Pigmented leather is the most durable type and is used in the majority of furniture upholstery. The durability is provided by a polymer surface coating, which contains pigments. With modern technology, the coating can be finished to be embossed, printed, or plain. The surface coating allows a greater resistance to soiling, scuffing, and fading.

Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is the most natural-looking leather, with the unique surface characteristics of the animal hide remaining visible. Aniline leather is coloured only with dye, and not with any surface coating of polymer and pigment. A light non-pigment surface coating may be applied to enhance its appearance and offer some protection against spillages and soiling.

A degree of natural marks and shade variation should be expected: while this type of leather can be susceptible to the effects of sunlight and it also absorbs liquids more easily. Aniline leather requires special maintenance to keep it in top condition.

Semi-Aniline Leather

Semi-aniline leather is more durable than aniline while retaining a natural appearance. The increased durability is provided by the application of a light surface coating, which contains a small amount of pigment. This ensures a more consistent colour and imparts an extra degree of protection.

Are leather sofas comfortable?

Leather sofas have the attributes to be incredibly comfortable, especially when combined with supportive frames and soft cushioning. Here at Sofas by Saxon, our team puts a lot of care and effort into making sure each one of our sofas lives up to our high standards for comfort. You can look forward to many happy hours spent relaxing on your new sofa once it has been delivered. Take a look at our guide to choosing a comfortable sofa here for detailed advice.

Historically speaking, leather furniture has been used for hundreds of years in a great variety of situations where comfort is at a premium. There is a reason they are such a big favourite among therapists and psychologists, who want to make their patients feel safe and comfortable during their sessions.

Are leather sofas durable?

Yes, real leather sofas are some of the most durable around, and with the right care and treatment, they can last for a lifetime. Leather has an inherent water resistance, making it much easier to clean than fabric if you accidentally spill something. They also don’t accumulate much dust, so you won’t have to go to the effort of hoovering or dusting them as much as you would with other types of sofa upholstery.

Leather really comes into its own in its resistance against wear and tear. It is a naturally tough material that will hold up well to everyday use, but what’s more, any scuffs that it does pick up will add character.

Glossary of leather terms

Grain

The word grain is taken to mean the upper layer of the leather, though it is also used to describe the design of fine embossed lines which cover the surface of most finished leathers.

Full-Grain Leather

This is a leather where the topmost layer has been left untouched. In retaining its natural smooth surface, any natural scars or blemishes will remain as evidence of the hide’s origin.

Corrected Grain Leather

This is a leather where the topmost surface has received a very fine buffing to reduce the appearance of any raised scars. It’s quite common for such a leather to then receive a fine embossed effect after finishing, which will help further mask the appearance of any scars.

Aniline leathers tend to use full-grain hides while pigmented leathers tend to use corrected grains. Semi anilines can use either.

Splits

After a hide is chemically treated, it is then put through a splitting machine, which slices it through its thickness. The topmost section, which contains the hardwearing outer skin or grain, is then used to make upholstery leather.

The under section or ‘split’ has no hard-wearing grain surface and has the appearance of having suede on both sides. This is used to make suede items. Some cheaper methods of leather production have been known to coat one side of a split with a heavy pigment coating to create an artificial grain surface. Whilst an acceptable appearance can sometimes result, the product will quickly fail under use and such material should be avoided.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, we do not use split leather on any of our furniture.

Guide to Leather Types

The most important aspect you need to consider when shopping for a sofa is: leather grain. This is the surface material you’ll actually be sitting on. Do not be deceived by the term top grain. Most people assume top grain leathers are the best when, in fact, the term is describing the top layer being sanded off and a fake grain being stamped onto the hide during the tanning process. To make sure you are purchasing only the best grain, choose leathers that have been allowed to retain the original animal grain. Below details the different types of leather on leather sofas.

Faux Leather

As the name suggests, this is not real leather. It is man-made leather made from synthetic materials such as plastic and rubber-coated fabric. Faux leather has come a long way as the technology has resulted in great improvements in the material composition, thus increasing the comfort level of such sofas. It is durable, looks like original leather and is the cheapest type of leather for furniture.

Bonded

“Bonded leather” is a cheaper manufacturer’s first line of attack in selling you the look and feel of leather for a “great deal.” Unfortunately, bonded leather is hardly leather at all—by definition, it has to be only 17% leather. So leather is to bonded leather what chicken is to chicken McNuggets (or pressboard to wood, or dryer lint to fabric): In other words, it’s processed beyond recognition.

To create bonded leather, leather scraps and fibres are mixed together, and then formed into a roll using adhesives or other bonding materials. In fact, the manufacturing process is very similar to making paper. After the roll is formed, it goes under drying equipment to reduce the moisture content. Since it usually contains only 10 to 17 percent leather fibres, some industry experts do not consider it real leather and express concerns with it being marketed as such.

Bonded leather does has its advantage as a furniture material. Firstly, it is highly durable. Secondly, it contains low levels of environmentally unsafe formaldehyde as it doesn’t undergo chemical tanning and is therefore suitable for people with leather allergies. Lastly, bonded leather furniture is significantly cheaper than real leather.

In reality, a person sitting on bonded leather is not sitting on leather at all, only plastic. And unlike real top-grain leather, the ground-up hide and plastic will never acclimate to your body temperature or get better with age.

Bi-cast

Bicast leather (also known as bi-cast, bycast, or PU leather) is what most people consider the next step up in quality.

Before a hide is put into production, it is cut horizontally into layers. These layers consist of the top grain (the top layer that maintains the actual surface of the cow’s hide where the pores and hair follicles used to be) and then every split below that.

Bicast leather is a layer of split which was too thin or flawed for normal use and that, like bonded leather, is completely sealed on top with a layer of polyurethane. Like bonded leather, no actual point of contact is possible between the natural leather and your skin and, therefore, bicast doesn’t demonstrate any of the same wear or comfort attributes of top-grain.

That being said, bicast can still serve as an economical alternative for people wanting the look of leather without the price. Another benefit might be that bicast and bonded leather wipe up easily (since they have plastic surfaces) and you won’t run into many of the food/drink stain issues you may experience with upholstered furniture.

It is made by gluing a sheet of polyurethane colour to a split grain. It has the appearance of top grain leather, at a fraction of the cost. Bi-cast does not age well. In fact, it cracks and peels when exposed to too much friction. So, make sure that you purchase bi-cast furniture knowingly and not because you were led to believe it is real leather.

Split Grain

After the removal of the top grain, you get split leather from the remaining part of the hide. This leather is harder and cheaper than full grain leather. Split leather is comparatively more fragile and gets easily damaged if not handled properly.

As mentioned before, a split is merely the lower layers of a hide underneath the top-grain. A split is still 100% real leather but does not have all of the characteristics of top-grain due to processing differences.

When a split is made, it is initially light-colored and fuzzy or suede-like on both the top and bottom of the hide so that it won’t look like top grain. On leather furniture, the traditional top-grain leather look is shiny, has natural variations in color (as a hide is a natural product with variations in thickness and quality and, therefore, withstands dyes differently), has a smooth and soft hand (or feel), and natural “pebbling” (the unique bumps that vary depending on from which part of the cow the hide was taken).

Because a split has none of these qualities, the split must be processed through various means to simulate the appearance and feel of top-grain leather. Although the result is still 100% leather, some softness is always lost through the processing procedures and natural variations in color and pebbling are no long evident as these hides are run through a uniform screen.

Top Grain

The leather, otherwise known as corrected grain or full grain pigmented, is taken from the outer layers of the hide and is the toughest leather type. Unlike full grain, top grain is usually buffed to remove any imperfections. Top grain leather furniture will typically be more expensive, but will have an incredibly soft feel and will be long lasting.

As stated above, the top grain is the smoothest, supplest, most natural, and best kind of furniture leather your money can buy. Each hide is as individual and unique as a fingerprint. Real, top-grain is comprised of about 12-14% water. For this reason, top-grain leather acclimates quickly to your body temperature. Leather is a natural product and thus breathes like one.

Top-grain comes in two different grades: aniline and semi-aniline. Aniline is the most natural and has no protective coatings or treatments that alter its natural feel. Because of this, it’s the softest but also susceptible to stains, while semi-aniline may be coated with a protective topcoat.

Many people who have experienced “sweating” on leather and are therefore turned off by the idea of leather furniture are referring to a leather product like bonded leather or vinyl. This is especially true in car seats that sit in the sun for hours.

Nubuck

This is top grain cattle rawhide leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, giving it the appearance similar to velvet and suede. It has a more uniform appearance because the exterior is sprayed with a finishing agent. It is cheaper as compared to full grain leather. However, nubuck furniture is fragile in nature and requires careful maintenance. A waterproofing treatment is mandatory to keep the material looking good.

Full Grain

The term full grain describes leathers retaining the imprints original to the hide and the animal it was taken from.

Full grain leather, is the leather that is formed just by removing the hair present on the skin of the hide. The whole hide is used, rather than just some layers of it. Except for hair removal and soaking in some form of natural dye like analine vegetable dye, it is basically untreated leather. No polishing and finishing is done to the grain. Although there may be imperfections on the leather, as it retains all of the original texture and markings of the original hide, this kind of grain tends to look and feel better with time. As such, it is usually the most expensive kind of leather furniture available.

Leather Coloring and Dye

Choosing the color of a new leather recliner or leather chairs is important for maintaining the appeal of your decor. The color you select for your leather furniture should be the one you are using the least in a color scheme. The colors of dyed leather can be brilliant. If the accessories, wallpaper and flooring all have the same color as your leather couch, you may find the furnishings to be overbearing. The color of your new leather couch can also be subtle and still add a great level of appeal.

When choosing colors for your leather sofa, consider what texture you prefer. Choosing semi-aniline leather allows a softer texture with a small amount of finish for adding a low level of protection against stains. Velvety, suede leathers have been sanded a great deal more than other leather choices. Suede provides a tremendous softness to the touch, but it is also the least resistant to stains than any other choices.

Leather that is too shiny can be a bad choice. Choosing leather that is not shiny and looks worn is best and more likely to be real leather. The patina leather gathers over time gives it a worn and classy look you can only achieve with properly tanned animal hides. Overstuffed styles with a few years of patina present a beautiful, well preserved vintage appearance. Many smoother styles can also gather patina around areas of hand tufting. If you are interested in buying a leather piece that has the worn, comfortable appearance of patina, you might consider buying a used piece. Some retailers offer used leather furnishings in great shape and they are sometimes more affordable.

Aniline

Aniline leather used for furniture is dyed inside a special drum. The translucent quality of the dye allows the grain to show through, but it can also show imperfections, therefore only the best quality hides are used for this process. When leather is saturated with dye in the aniline process, the texture becomes a lot softer to the touch. This type of colorful leather may not be the best choice for families with children due it generally not having a protective finish added. Soft leather normally does have any protective finish added because it takes away from the luxurious texture.

Semi-Aniline

Semi-aniline (also called protected aniline) leather is also dyed in a vat and has a small amount of coating applied, giving it slightly better protection against stains and fading than aniline leather.

Tips for Buying Leather Furniture

Just like any big life investment, buying leather furniture should require thoughtful consideration and planning. What room will it go in, and who will be using it? Does it need to stand up to a household of pets and kids, or are you looking for a living room showpiece? And what’s the style of your home? It’s important to ask yourself these questions so that you can hone in on exactly what you need before you start shopping. Beyond the basics, you’ll also need to understand the words that describe leather furniture. For instance, what’s top or full-grain versus full-grain? And what’s the best way to test how leather will wear over time? Here are a few of the major terms you’ll come across along the way.

Graining:

Graining refers to the markings or patterns on a hide’s surface just below the hair. Full-grain leather comes from this top layer of the hide, where the graining is tight, durable, and moisture resistant. Full-grain leather is prized for its durability, natural characteristics, and the way it develops a beautiful patina over time. Top-grain leather is similar to full-grain leather, except that its very top layer has been carefully sanded and buffed to diminish imperfections and markings. Top-grain leather offers more uniform color.

Bonded:

Bonded leather is made of pieces of hide blended together to form a seamless piece of material. Durable and sleek, bonded leather works well on furniture in high-traffic areas, like dining room chairs and stools.

Aniline:

Aniline dying is the process of coloring leathers with transparent dyes. Full-aniline-dyed leather is wonderfully soft and isn’t treated with a protective coating that would alter its natural feel. Semi-aniline dying adds a thin protective top coat to the hide, providing more uniform color and protection from wear and staining.

Patina:

Leather is natural, so it will also naturally age. And as leather lovers can attest, patina adds richness, depth, and smoothness. Direct sunlight will also age the leather, especially on exposed areas, so keep furniture placement in mind when you’re shopping.

Natural Markings:

Leather is a natural material, so no two hides are ever exactly alike in color and markings. If you are given a leather swatch for color reference, pull and stretch the leather swatch to get a sense what the leather would look like when upholstered onto a furniture frame.

Closures:

Unlike a fabric sofa or chair, with leather sofas and chairs the bottom of the cushion isn’t encased in leather. Part of the bottom of the casing has a tightly-woven mesh material, which allows the cushion to breath. Like your favorite leather jacket, leather sofas and chairs only get better with age. If you love a piece now, you’ll love it even more down the road. So do your research, consider the options, and your dream piece of leather furniture will live with you for years to come.

Buying Leather Furniture

Want stylish, comfortable furniture that actually improves with age? Then invest in leather, a durable and attractive material that comes in a variety of styles, colors and strengths. Here are things to keep in mind when shopping:

1. Leather is four times more durable than fabric, so don’t worry about having kids around it. Just like a leather jacket or shoes, leather furniture gets better with age.

2. Aniline leather is dyed in a drum, which allows the dye to completely soak through for a rich, deep color. No protective coating is added, and it’s the softest and most expensive leather.

3. Semi-aniline (protected aniline) leather is also dyed in a drum and has a small amount of coating applied, giving it slightly better protection against stains and fading than aniline leather.

4. For pigmented leather, color is applied to the surface, not dyed through and through. And while the color isn’t as rich, it’s finished to provide greater protection against scratches, stains and fading. These leathers are less expensive and usually aren’t as soft as dyed leathers.

5. Unlike upholstery, the color of your leather piece doesn’t make a difference when it comes to regular maintenance. Just use a damp cloth to remove dust.

6. Look for leather upholstery with zippered seat cushions. While the leather can last decades, the seat cushion may not and you’ll want easy access to get it refilled.

7. Leather takes on the temperature of your body within 12 seconds, so the notion that leather is cold is a misconception.

8. A leather sofa has to suit your lifestyle first. Is it going to work for the way you’re going to use it? What room will it go in? If it’s a busy space that gets a lot of wear and tear, go with a little heavier finish and protection so that you can just wipe up a stain.

9. When considering price, remember that a leather sofa will last at least as long as three fabric sofas.

10. Avoid a leather-vinyl combination. While the two materials might look good together, leather will always outlast the vinyl.

Is my Sofa long on Leather but short on Sofa?

A typical day shopping for leather furniture may often involve driving around town to a number of stores only to hear so many different pieces of information that can be downright confusing. It can be hard to find a decent selection, and much of what you do find may not be high quality. It is best to become educated on leather furniture before shopping to make an informed buying decision.

Some things we will cover, before you can make a wise decision on your leather furniture purchase.

  1. Frame construction
  2. Suspension/ Support
  3. Seat cushions
  4. Leather quality
  5. Which leather is right?
  6. Store reputation
  7. Manufacturer

There are two main cost components that go into a leather sofa or leather chair. Since leather is a commodity, sold by the square foot and on average a normal size sofa will take anywhere from 4-5 leather hides to cover it, then the raw material cost alone is the biggest factor. Second is the frame and to a lesser extent, the suspension used.

1. Frame Construction

It is what you cannot see that counts in leather furniture. A wood frame that is composed of solid hardwood or hardwood plywood that is kiln dried. This kiln drying removes most of the moisture content wood has, making it stable and not allowing it to warp or split. The corners should be reinforced with wood corner blocks that are glued and screwed into the frame. Wood parts should be double dowelled or if plywood is used, a finger joint or mortise and tenon joint to provide durability and strength to the frame.

Today with advances of many engineered lumber you might see some of this used in some leather furniture today. Remember the thicker the wood stock used the better and more durable. In the “old days” when lumber was not as costly as today higher end manufacturers only used solid hardwood frame parts made of birch maple, oak or ash. Many that we carry still do, but today poplar and some other softer woods are used and all of this has a bearing on the final cost of a leather sofa.

2. Suspension /Support system

Let’s start at the bottom of the sofa, if your sofa is going to last you need to have a good suspension attached inside the frame. This is what supports the weight of the user and with the combination of the seat cushions provide most of the durability you should expect from a sofa.

There are only two reasons a sofa has “tight cushions” or (fixed cushions)….Styling or Expense.

Some sofas have a “tight seat” or fixed cushion construction which means the cushions are sewn to the frame , in fact the entire cover is slip cover and upholstered over the bare wood. This method was made popular when Italian leather furniture (Natuzzi) first started offering leather in the US in the mid 1980’s. This method is less expensive to produce but can allow in some cases a more tailored finished product.

Many contemporary styles (European influence) have this type of upholstery. Mom or Dad might prefer a sofa with cushions that do not come off because of a bad experience before with the kids causing them to fall on the floor.

Today with clips and Velcro loose cushions can remain intact but still provide the benefit of being able to remove them to vacuum, re-stuff many years down the road

or repair if damaged. With a “tight seat” only an upholstery shop can dismantle the sofa enough to get access to the cushions which can be costly.

Remember even cheap furniture looks good when it leaves the factory-but not long after you began to use it does it start to make a difference. The real test of quality is how it looks 1 year after delivery, five, or even ten years?

The most important thing is the suspension used under the seat Cushions or “deck” of the sofa. There are 4 common methods for 95% of upholstery used today, and here is the pecking order best to least.

True 8-way hand tied coil spring suspension

When leather furniture first made popular in the 1960’s in the US there were two manufacturers at that time making only leather furniture one was Classic leather the other was Leathercraft. The method used was a true 8-way hand tied suspension.

This consists of an heavy gauge, double cone shaped spring secured, to the bottom of the sofa base usually on polypropylene foundation. A row of steel bands are added horizontally and vertical to reinforce the polypropylene and “L” locked to the frame by nailing or with screws.

A wax coated polypropylene (will not rot) twine is used to secure the springs in 8 different directions and tied to each other across the entire platform. This type of construction is labor intensive and more costly but when this is finished it has a fantastic benefit of weight distribution unlike other methods and virtually zero stress on the frame rails. The technique makes the “ride” or comfort outstanding and increasing longevity for the furniture by many years.

Drop in springs / or 8-way tied drop in springs

Drop in springs are basically a box spring unit similar to what is used in a mattress. I single cone spring machine built unit is wired together in seat sections (width of a seat cushion).

This unit is screwed on top of the frame, so it rides above the bottom of the sofa, whereas a true 8 way hand tied unit is built from the bottom up.Now this method does not have as much comfort or cost as a True 8-way hand tied spring, but still affords a very good support or sit.

So to makes things interesting and to capitalize on the buzz word (8 way tie) the drop in coil /8 way tied unit was born. This is more marketing than anything else, what is done is twine is added to a spring system (that does not need it) to allow the use of the word 8-way hand tied.

Now there is a big difference in this type of suspension and how it is used to indicate quality.

<р>1. What gauge or (thickness) or wire is used? The thicker the more supportive.

2. How much space is between the springs on the frame? If the springs are placed far apart then it is cheaper to build (cutting corners) with less support and a bucketing effect will eventually occur from the suspension failing over a short period of time.

3. Are stabilizing edge wires used, around the perimeter these help control the ride and allow the springs not to roll?

Webbing, Rubber webbing (Pirelli®) brand of webbing.

This method is the easiest and cheapest way to add suspension to a frame. All you need is a staple gun. Nylon/rubber webbing is interwoven vertically and horizontally from rail to rail and stapled to the frame. This system reminds me of an old lawn chair and wears about the same. Nylon webbing sags over time and does not have memory like a spring does. If the user is heavy avoid this method of suspension.

This system was made popular when Italian furniture made its way into the US in the mid 1980’s with Natuzzi. At that time I was selling leather furniture as a manufacturer representative for a leading US company, and I remember you could buy an “Italian leather sofa” for $999.00. In the 1980’s Natuzzi was made in Italy, during that time the government subsidized the brand and they could sell and ship a sofa here and retail it for under $1000.00, although it was built on particle board and pine, very soft low density foam, and stapled frames.

This was unheard of at that time, because sofas in leather were mainly produced by higher end brands made in North Carolina at a retail cost of $2000.00-$3000.00. So the industry exploded for leather because of this attainable price point where before only the more elite could afford it. So imports flooded the market from Italy, and the rest of Europe.US manufacturers took notice and started building its furniture in other ways to compete with this new found competitor. Hence the different spring systems and frame options used.

Today, to remain competitive, these same Italian brands have had to source offshore in China and because there is not a bottom in furniture price, its how low you can go.Funny these Italian sounding companies have their furniture made in China. So with that, Chinese imports made way for even more affordability and the big Box stores jumped all over that product so they can have leather furniture and retail it at surprising prices. It is buyer beware, when shopping today, that is why it pays to learn a little bit about what you are buying.

Seat/Back Cushions

Now the other big contributor to a sofa lasting a long time is the seat cushions and to a lesser extent the back pillows. If you have a choice, buy a sofa with loose cushions because of benefits we covered earlier. If this is not an option on a sofa you like, then be sure and get a HR foam cushion, which stands for “High Resilience” so you can assure yourself of wear ability.

Here are the types of seat cushions available.Aim for 2.0 to 2.2 lb foam.

The DENSITY rating of furniture foam is expressed as a two digit number which may range from 18-35. Actually, there is a decimal between the two numbers which makes the density rating of the #18 foam 1.8 foam. In the production of foam, there are two basic ingredients which are the urethane chemical that is the foam, and air. The more chemical that exists in the foam material, the higher its density rating will be. In the above example, the 1.8 rating means that there is 1.8 pounds of chemical in each cubic foot of foam material. A cubic foot is equal to an area that is 12″ x 12″ x 12″. This particular foam would be rather low in density and would not be a good material to use in seat cushions alone.

Some manufactures use standard poly foam cushions (not HR foam) which are not recommended for durability.

HR foam is a basic cushion and has a Dacron wrap for comfort and inserted into the seat cushions. It is better if the cushions are bagged/sewn in a muslin ticking for added durability, but it does add to the cost.

HR foam cushions with a down feather wrap sewn into a muslin ticking. These cushions provide a more casual appearance a “puddled look” so to speak, but do provide a more comfortable sit.

HR foam cushions with innerspring coils and Dacron wrapped. These cushions are the most durable over time because the coils provide longer support and wear that foam alone cannot give. The coils are fully open inside cotton socks encased around foam and Dacron wrapped for comfort. These cushions can have an additional step of down feather added around the cushions to create a more comfortable ride.

Back cushions are important too but do not carry the weight load of a seat cushion. Most manufacturers use Dacron, polyester fiber, down feather, in some instances if a tight back is used foam. An added plus is if you can get a cushions loose where the cushion is zippered for access so you can add fill or fiber down the road when it softens from use, a big plus. Now better manufactures will channel the fill which means they sew it horizontally in several places so it does not settle down into the bottom of the cushions.

Leather quality

Not all beef animals produce hides suitable for leather upholstery: this is determined by the types of animal and its place of origin. Tanners buy hides in bulk, sight unseen, with all qualities included. When hides are culled and graded, only three to five percent of the hides can be used without having to alter, or “correct” the surface before coloring. These are considered the premium leathers. The remaining hides have their surfaces corrected by either sanding, embossing, pigment coloring, or a combination of all of these. The more correction required, the less expensive, supple, and natural the leather will be. Additional reading on leather facts .

Leather is the strongest sheet material known to man: its tough physical structure comes from an intricate network of natural fibers. It strength makes it virtually impossible to tear or puncture: it will not readily burn or melt, as most fabrics or vinyl’s will. You can make a hole in leather and it will generally not widen unlike vinyl (plastic)

Manufacturer’s of leather furniture purchase their hides from literally all over the world. Keep in mind, cow leather is a byproduct of the beef industry, bovines are slaughtered for the beef and most of the worlds hide supply comes from the Americas, North and South America as we are the largest consumer of beef in the world. So think about it, US cow hides tanned in other countries. This is mainly due to Epa regulations stopping most of the tannery operations inside the US. There are some finishing tanneries still around that actual receive the leather article tanned already and color or dye it here in the US.

Some of the best leather tanned comes from countries like Italy, Germany, and Swiss countries as they have some of the oldest tanneries in the world and have perfected it into an art form. South America is another country where hides are produced but at a more favorable cost than European hides. A side note, many people assume that better furniture is made in Italy, but this is generally not true as the brands found in this country are more promotional built furniture “see my manufacturer ranking chart” . Most of the cattle hides from European countries and pen cattle, better taken care of, kept from harsh weather conditions and grown larger before heading off to the grocery. This creates more desirable byproduct and more yield in the hide.

Leathers derived from Americas come from grass eating, outdoor range animals that have been subject to barb wire, branding, winter snow and summer sun.

How To Identify And Buy Quality Leather Furniture

Leather furniture has always been a classic. Although the designs vary the same as styles, there’s no doubt that leather furniture can look timeless without much effort. But there’s more to worry about style and design when buying leather furniture. First of all, you should make sure it’s genuine.

If you possess some basic knowledge about the subject, it should be quite simple to figure out whether the leather you’re looking at is real or not. The main characteristics to look for include a variety of elements.

For example, always check the back of the furniture piece. You should look to see whether there’s a single piece of leather or several stitched together. Keep in mind that the average hide is 3′ by 6′ so if you see a huge sofa covered in one single piece of leather you can be certain it’s a fake.

Of course, it’s usually easy to distinguish genuine leather from fakes just by looking at the price. But that can be deceiving too. There’s no guarantee that pricey leather furniture is genuine. Also, high quality doesn’t always mean more durability.

So don’t rely on the price alone to tell you if a piece of furniture has real leather or not. You should also check the label. You should be able to find a detailed description of the type of leather used so don’t hesitate to double check the info or to ask for more if needed.

What You Need to Know About Leather Furniture

When buying furniture of any kind, research is your best friend.

That’s even truer when you’re looking to buy new leather furniture. There are a lot of options when it comes to frame material, construction, suspension system, and cushion design.

But let’s start where any serious leather furniture buyers should, with some much need background info on the leather industry.

What You Didn’t Know About the Leather Industry

The (somewhat sad) truth about leather is this: There is no bottom price on hide—the raw material for all leather.

That’s because there is no bottom quality. All hides are bought and used for something. Yet, only the top 3-5% of hides can be used without undergoing some sort of “correction” process.

This scarcity is the main thing that pushes up the price of the highest “full grain” leather products.

Bulk Cow HidesTanneries buy hides in bulk orders that each contains various levels of quality. Typically, these hides come from beef cattle. They vary based on the type of cattle, location raised, and life the animal led.

Bulk orders of hide are assigned classifications based on where they come from—which helps to predict the average quality in any given batch.

Hide providers and tanneries usually label batches with one of three rating levels. They might call them first, second, and third grade. Or more likely simply A, B, and C. They might even go with something like standard, utility, and special.

Different countries have different standards when it comes to the treatment of livestock. So the rating of any given batch is based primarily on where in the world it comes from.

Frame Materials

The quality of the leather on the outside of your furniture is one thing. The quality of the wood on the inside is something different altogether.

Kiln-dried hardwoods are the traditional choice for high-quality furniture frames. The kiln-drying process removes nearly all the moisture from the wood, which prevents twisting and warping. Most high-end furniture manufacturers even go one step further and use knot-free wood which helps with the life of the frame.

Furniture made from quality hard woods—such as oak, walnut, ash, or maple—is more expensive. But it lasts longer and can handle more abuse. Softwoods are better suited for decorative furniture or none at all.

** Please note, we left the space out of “hardwoods” on purpose. The term hardwood, refers to deciduous trees. While most of the time the name fits, wood from some of these trees is actually soft. High-quality furniture should be made out of wood that is hard, otherwise hard wood. **

In recent years, furniture made with high-quality plywood has been getting more and more respect from manufacturers and retailers alike. Plywood is an engineered wood made by gluing layers of lumber together under high pressure. It can be quite strong.

However, plywood has a low-grade little brother that goes by several names, including particle board, composite board, and fiberboard. You want to avoid leather furniture using this weak material as it will not last.

Whether your furniture frame is made of kiln-dried hardwood or plywood, the thicker it is, the sturdier it will be. For hardwoods, you want at least 1¼” lumber or thicker. For plywood, it needs to be 11 layers or more.

It is relatively easy to determine the quality of leather by looking at or touching a piece of furniture. But it is much harder to detect the quality of the lumber used in the same way.

This is one reason why it is so important to buy your furniture from manufacturers and retailers you trust. Soon, we’ll help you figure out who you can trust.

But for now, let’s help you understand how different aspects of design affect furniture quality.

Frame Design

The materials used to construct a piece of furniture are not the only thing that determines its durability.

In addition to the obvious stylistic impact, the design of your next couch or sofa will have a major bearing on how long it lasts. The best leather furniture manufacturers make sure that their furniture is properly balanced and supported. They also stick to dowels and screws over staples.

Different pieces of furniture have different subtleties of design, but there are a few things you should know about different components of your sofa.

Joints

Furniture JointsStrong joints are one of the most important features of any piece of high-quality furniture.

Woodworking features a variety of joints for different uses. The consensus in the industry is that the strongest and most long-lasting joints are glued-and-screwed double dowel joints. There’s really no disputing it (except by some shady, lower-end manufacturers).

The best furniture makers then add corner blocks to reinforce major joints. These should also be both glued and screwed (no staples!) into place. Otherwise, they are likely to pull away from the frame.

Legs, Back, and Arms

Needless to say, there is a tremendous amount of variety in furniture design. Despite this, there are a few furniture making best practices that you should look for.

First, the legs, if not part of the frame, should also be made of a hard wood. Otherwise, they will inevitably break off or become uneven. The back and arms should also be integrated into the basic frame as much as possible.

Metal brackets and other support pieces may also be used where needed to strengthen unique elements of any particular couch or armchair.

Motion Mechanics

ReclinerJust because a chair or an end of your sofa has a few moving parts doesn’t mean it should be fragile.

Too often, shoddy manufacturers feel that novelty is an excuse for a lack of durability. Motion frames should be built with the same materials as their stationary counterparts. They should also have (at least) the same joint reinforcement and overall support. Make it a point to find out.

When it comes to moving or motion furniture, be sure that you ask as many questions about the build as possible so that you can make sure it will last. Otherwise, you might pay for a recliner and have it transform into nothing but a wobbly armchair after a few months.

Held by the frame, furniture’s suspension is the part that holds your weight.

The type and quality of a piece’s suspension are the main factor that determines the “ride”, or how it feels when you sit on it.

Just like with every other component of leather furniture, there is a wide disparity between the best and the worst. Top-notch suspensions are not only comfortable, but they remain consistent over time.

Below you’ll find the four main types

8-Way Hand Tied Coil Springs

8 Way Hand Tied Coil Spring Suspension8-way hand tied coil spring suspensions have long been considered the best.

Creating this type of suspension system is just as labor-intensive as it sounds. And that is what makes this so good—granted it’s done right.

A true 8-way hand tied coil suspension starts with one of two foundations mounted directly to the frame. The more traditional foundation uses polypropylene reinforced with steel bands. Today, some furniture makers are opting for an interlace web bottom. Either is acceptable.

From here, cone-shaped springs of different gauges are placed strategically on the foundation. Then they are hand-tied into place with polypropylene twine. Generally, the more springs, the better the ride.

Each spring is connected to its neighbors and eventually the frame. Each spring serves as a function of 4 pieces of twine (2 directions each = 8-way hand tied coil system).

This process requires the trained skill of a true craftsperson. That’s it is only found in high-end pieces of furniture.

This kind of suspension delivers weight distribution other designs can’t come close to. Plus, those sharing the sofa do not affect each other. The motion of the springs below is contained to just your seat.

This is great for both a couch’s ride and longevity.

Drop In Springs

Drop In Springs for a SofaDrop in springs are a more affordable option than hand tied springs.

These suspensions are basically a preconstructed metal framework of springs that is inserted into piece of furniture’s wooden frame. Drop in springs are full metal and durable.

They are very similar to a box spring in appearance, but they function mostly to expedite the manufacturing process. Whereas 8-way hand tied suspensions rest on the bottom of the furniture’s frame, these are inserted wherever they fit best.

Sometimes manufacturers will add the “8-way hand tied” moniker to their drop in springs. Don’t be fooled. They could have tied them together 80 ways; it still wouldn’t be the same thing. They are only trying to take advantage of an industry buzzword.

Drop in springs will never have the same ride as hand tied springs, but some may be less prone to sagging.

Sinuous Springs

Sinuous Spring SuspensionSinuous, or “zig zag”, springs are another decent option.

They are probably the most commonly-used suspension for upholstered furniture today due to the combination of durability and affordable price.

These springs extend in rows from the front of the frame to the back. They are attached with metal clips and covered. Seat cushions are then placed directly on them.

It’s not surprising that a rows of springs are less expensive than the two more complex setups before. This is part of why they are popular. The other main reason is that their simplicity makes them the preferred system for sleeker furniture designs.

Sinuous springs last a long time and some people actually prefer the ride or lack thereof.

Interlace Webbing

Interlace WebbingWebbing is the cheapest suspension worth mentioning.

This type of suspension utilizes strips of rubber and nylon to support the cushions. They are attached to the frame running front to back and side to side. They are overlapped and interwoven so that they support each other.

This is the same as the webbing that is used as a base for some 8-way tied systems. Without the springs, there is obviously no true ride.

The elastic strips may provide a little give, but there is no weight distribution at all. Interlace webbing is prone to sagging with consistent use. And heavier individuals should avoid sitting on them altogether.

Interlace webbing is not a good choice if quality or durability are important to you. Unless it goes along with a cheap frame and cheaper leather, it has the potential to ruin the value of a piece of furniture.



Seat Cushions & Filling Material

This last crucial component of leather furniture design obviously has a lot of bearing on comfort. But you might be surprised to find out how important filling is to a sofa’s lifetime.

Especially when it comes to the back and armrests, proper padding is required to protect the leather from the sharp edges of the frame. Otherwise, it will get worn from the inside-out.

The number of layers and type of padding used also has an impact on how comfortable your furniture feels. This is especially true for the part you sit on.

Unless you’re dead set on a style that dictates otherwise, you’ll want leather furniture with removable cushions that can be opened. The main benefit is that you will be able to refill your cushions as they inevitably get worn down over time.

Your cushions have the final say so in the ride of your sofa. Why not leave yourself the option to keep it updated? After all, not all cushions are created equal but there’s no need to be uncomfortable, even on an old couch.

While there are many hybrids, at Wellington’s we like to divide cushion options into 4 main categories.

Foam

Foam CushionFoam (usually made of polyurethane) is the most important cushion filler. It is used on its own and in conjunction with other materials to create cushions with different properties.

Foams are rated on both density and firmness. Contrary to some information, these are not the same thing. In fact, they are usually expressed together when referring to a particular variety of foam.

Foam density is expressed in pounds per square foot. This means that a 12” x 12” x 12” block would weigh 3.5 lb. for 3.5 density foam. Furniture foam ranges in density from 1.5 to 6.

The firmness is expressed as the Indentation Force Deflection or IFD. It’s a measure of how much force it takes to compress the foam. The higher the rating, the firmer it is. Foam in upholstered furniture ranges from 12-45 IFD.

To give an example: if you see foam rated at 22/30, it would be 2.2 lb per square foot and have an IFD rating of 30.

High Resilience (HR) Foam is a variety of foam that has more bounce, faster recovery, and lasts longer than standard polyurethane foam. It’s always a better option when available. Please note: the “High Resiliency” designation doesn’t affect density or firmness.

Foam-only cushions provide a firm sit and taunt appearance. Over time, “comfort wrinkles” will develop as the leather stretches. When assembled properly, they almost never need fluffing.

Foam & Filling

Foam, Dacron, and Down CushionIf you’re into soft seat cushions or want a more relaxed looking sofa, you’ll want more than just foam.

Down and feathers have long been the cushion filling of choice due to the softness and loft it provides. The foam is usually wrapped in polyester fiber and a down-proof case. The filling goes around the foam and then a muslin ticking is added to the inside of the leather to protect it from quills.

Dacron is another option that is lower cost than down but does not provide the same loft. Foam and dacron cushions are probably the most common on the market today.

Remember that the firmness of the foam will have the most bearing on how long any given foam-and-filling cushion will last and retain its shape.

Innerspring

Inner Spring CushionSeat cushions with innerspring coils provide superior support and durability over other designs.

In these cushions, coils are encased in the foam. Then the center gets the same wrapping and extra filling as the previous variety. Because they are already on the high-end you can expect innerspring cushions to be made with down more often than not. This option retains its shape the best overall.

Down Plush

Down Plush CushionArguably the most comfortable and luxurious, down-only cushions are certainly the most traditional.

Also called blend down cushions, this is the only real choice for anyone who fantasizes about diving into their couch.

There is no comparing the loft of down plush cushions and others. So it isn’t surprising that they require a significant amount of fluffing and primping to keep them from looking sloppy. But if you can afford the maintenance, there is nothing else like them.

This type of seat cushion works best on an accent chair. Typically 100% down filled cushions are not used on a sofa or sectional and never on a sleeper sofa.

A Lounge Lizard’s Guide to Buying a Leather Sofa

When it comes to sofas, leather’s got the look – and the feel, the durability and even the smell. But before you wave that credit card, do a little hide homework. There’s a wide range of types, qualities and styles that will affect your ongoing satisfaction with your purchase, so know what you are buying, what to expect from it and whether it’s right for your decor. The answers to some important questions will guarantee you bring home a sofa you’ll love to lounge on for years to come.

Isn’t leather just leather?

There are three basic types of furniture leather (mostly cow hide), which refers to the part of the hide used.

Top grain leather doesn’t mean top quality. It’s a layer from the outer ‘hairy’ part of the hide. Marked or damaged hides are scoured back and look-alike grain is stamped into the surface. This is known as ‘corrected grain’.

Full top grain leather also comes from the top layer of the hide, but a premium hide free of defects is used so the natural grain is genuine, not imitated.

Split leather is from the second or third layers of the hide and is more fragile, unstable and liable to stretch. It has no grain and is not suitable for furniture.

How does the finish affect the look and performance?

Cow hide is one tough leather, but needs further processing to turn it into furniture leather.

The most common furniture finish, and the most popular for high-use pieces, involves a three-part process: the leather is pigmented, surface spray-coloured and protected with a clear coating. This brings several benefits including fewer natural markings, a firmer feel, low maintenance and a wider colour choice.

For leather intended for moderate use, aniline or semi-aniline dyes are applied. Aniline dyes are transparent pigments that give even colouring and a soft feel.

For the crème de la crème of leather furniture pieces, full aniline dyes are applied. This shows off the natural grain, makes it softer and increases pliability. A light stain repellant is also often applied. It means that it’s more difficult to clean and can fade, but the quality often speaks for itself.

What’s inside the hide?

If the beauty of the exterior is only skin-deep, the sofa won’t last. As with any sofa, the sub-structure is crucial. Solid hardwood frames and coil springs ensure a sofa maintains its shape, although engineered timber is often used now. Whatever the structure, it should not be flimsy. Webbing suspension instead of springs sags over time and has no ‘memory’ like spring suspension. Ask the salesperson to tell you about the construction.

Some sofas have ‘tight’ cushions, meaning they are attached to the frame. If your preferred style has these, bear in mind they’re not removable for cleaning, repairs or re-stuffing, if needed down the track. Cushion content is a major factor in comfort and lifespan – ask about HR (high resilience) foam with innerspring coils.

What can I tell from the price?

You can probably tell if a sofa is genuine leather, as there is a large price difference between real and faux leather. Price also indicates leather quality, although oddly, it doesn’t always indicate serviceability – full top grain aniline leather with a high price tag isn’t as easy to keep clean as ‘corrected’ and ‘protected’ leathers. Add the differential of design details and the designer name, and the picture is not clear. Comparison shop and ask questions of both the retailer and, if possible, the manufacturer before committing.

Can I get a guarantee and after-sales service?

A top quality two-seater leather sofa can cost $2500 and upwards into the stratosphere, depending on leather grade and style, so a guarantee is essential. Ask what it actually covers. Check what the procedure is if you have a problem, and that the retailer bears any freighting costs.

Is leather high maintenance?

And the answer is … another question: compared to what? Some fabric upholstery is high maintenance, even with fabric protection, and some leathers need more care than others.

  1. Read care instructions and guarantee conditions so you don’t void the warranty
  2. Wipe weekly with a soft damp cloth and wipe spills immediately
  3. Apply a manufacturer-recommended leather conditioner every four to six months

TIP: Do a patch test in an unseen spot if using a product for the first time.

Any other care tips?

What’s your climate?

A quick survey in my local beachside cafe yielded an overwhelming ‘no’ to leather in a hot humid climate. Reasons were bare skin sticks, sweat stains can soak in, sand (and naughty sandy dogs) scratch it and it’s not a ‘beachy’ look. You choose.

What styles are popular?

The time-honoured Chesterfield is back and its handsome lines give a gentlemen’s-club-cigar-and-port ambience to a den-like room, especially in rich mahogany-toned leather. A classic Chesterfield has deep button tufting on the back, seat and arms, nailhead detailing and opulently rolled arms in line with the back.

TUFTING TIP: Before the invention of the spring, tufting kept horsehair stuffing in place. A tufted sofa is a practical choice if you don’t like leather that wrinkles, as it stabilises the upholstery.

How to Choose a Couch That Will Last Forever

1. Check the Frame

A sturdy frame means a long-lasting sofa. Soft wood, such as pine, is low-cost, but it may warp or wobble after five years. Pricier hardwood (kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech, for example) is more durable. Avoid frames made of particleboard, plastic, or metal; they may warp and crack. Legs should be part of the frame or held on with screws or dowels (pegs) — not with glue alone.

Tip: To test frame strength, lift one front corner or leg of the sofa off the floor. By the time you’ve raised it six inches, the other front leg should have risen too. If it’s still touching the floor, the frame has too much give; it’s weak.

2. Ask About Joinery

A frame with joints connected by any of the following means is solidly constructed: wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks (the tag might read corner blocks glued and screwed), or metal screws and brackets. Staples or nails may be used for extra reinforcement, but never buy a sofa that’s held together solely by staples, nails, or glue.

Tip: Ask your salesperson for written manufacturer information on frame joinery.

3. Test the Springs

Most sofas have sinuous, also called serpentine, springs — preassembled units of snaking wire. They’re nicely supportive, but they can press on the frame or sag over time if the metal isn’t heavy. High-end sofas often come with “eight-way hand-tied springs.” They’re comfy but expensive; some experts feel they’re no better than serpentines. Feel the springs through the upholstery — they should be close together and firm. Sofas with no springs, just webbing or mesh, are uncomfortable and flimsy.

Tip: Sit down firmly on a corner or outside edge of a sofa you’re considering. Squeaks and creaks suggest that springs are incorrectly placed or hitting the frame.

4. Feel Your Fillings

Polyurethane foam is a low-cost, easy-care cushion filling. But the more durable, high-density type can feel hard, and softer, low-density foam deteriorates more rapidly with constant use. High-resilient (HR) foam is slightly more expensive but more comfortable and long-lasting. Polyester fiber is also inexpensive, but it flattens quickly. Goose- and duck-feather fillings are comfy, but they can clump. Top of the line: goose down (the bird’s soft undercoat) mixed with feathers. The combo is yummily plump, expensive (about double the price of foam), and high maintenance; cushions need frequent fluffing. A down-polyfiber blend is cheaper, but it flattens fast.

Tip: Two good options that are comfortable and reasonably priced: HR foam in a layer of down and conventional foam wrapped in polyester batting.

5. Find Tough Textiles

Sofas for everyday use need durable fabric. Cotton and linen are winners (but watch out for loose weaves — they can snag). Also terrific: synthetic microfiber, which can mimic most fabrics and is stain resistant. Cotton and linen can be treated for stain resistance, but even then they aren’t as easy to clean, or as durable, says Kathleen Huddy, the GH Research Institute’s textiles, paper, and plastics director. Blends of natural and synthetic fibers tend to pill within a year. Wool and leather are handsome and strong but expensive. Silk is sleek but fragile. Fabrics with patterns woven in tend to wear better than those with printed patterns.

Tip: Ask the store for a piece of fabric larger than the usual swatch. Place it where the sofa will go. View it in natural and artificial light — and see how much you still like it after a few days.

Top 13 Tips for Buying a Great Sofa

Are you thinking of buying a sofa? Why not buy a great sofa using these tips. The devil is in the details as they say, so take this sofa buying checklist along when you go sofa shopping.

However, before you even go shopping for a sofa, think about your own personal style and what would be a good match for your home. Consider size and scale, and never forget to measure. Color and fabric selection matter a lot, and choosing the right color, texture, pattern are all parts of fabric selection.

After all, most sofa selections are made on the basis of fabric alone.

To read up on fabric and fabric selection you may want to visit the links below:

  1. Choosing Upholstery Fabric
  2. Guide to Upholstery Fibers
  3. Selecting the Best Upholstery for Cat and Dog Owners

These sofa buying tips have less to do with fabric selection, and focus more on another aspect of sofa buying, namely, the quality of a sofa.

1. The frame should not wobble or creak, it should be sturdy and sit squarely on the floor. Wobbly or creaky frames mean less sturdy joints, while a strong frame means your sofa will last you longer.

2. The frame and all the corners should be well padded. Run your hand over them firmly to see. A padded frame will not stick out through the upholstery, it also means less friction for the fabric that is covering the frame.

3. Check the sofa from behind, and pat the center to make sure it isn’t hollow.

4. If you are buying a reclining sofa or a sofa bed, all mechanisms should work smoothly. Reclining, or motion furniture is generally more expensive, and you are paying for a functioning, smoothly running mechanism. It makes sense to check those features out at the store.

5. If the sofa has any metal parts, inspect to see that they are smooth and free of sharp edges. All moving parts on a sofa bed or reclining sofa should clear the fabric completely to avoid tearing. You don’t want any injuries to yourself or damage to your upholstery from a faulty mechanism.

6. When you check out the back of your sofa , there should be no bumps or hard spots. Run the palm of your hand over it. This is especially important in a tight back sofa. Not only will bumps and hard spots mar the look of your sofa over a short period of time, they will also feel uncomfortable.

7. Seat cushions should be firm and resilient and fit snugly within the sofa frame. Additionally, the cushions should regain their shape after you press down and let go. A cushion that stays put when you press down will be flattened in no time, end up looking unsightly and feel uncomfortable when you sit on it. Cushions that do not fit snugly in place will also lose their shape quickly and the edges will start looking unsightly.

8. Seats should be comfortable, and for reclining furniture, be comfortable in all different positions. Select deep or shallow seats depending on your height. A taller person will need deeper seats.

9. The arms should not jiggle or move, and if upholstered, they should be be well padded.

10. If there are any buttons, check to see that they are sewn on securely. Loose buttons will come off and end up getting lost in no time.

11. Just as in well tailored clothing, patterns and stripes should match at the seams. Although it might not catch your eye right away, mismatched patterns or stripes will give you the sense that something is”off”. Stripes that match at seams make a sofa look well finished.

12. Patterns should be centered, and all seams and welts should run straight. Uneven welting and seams that are pulled to one side or another mean that the cover was badly tailored.

13. For fire safety reasons, look for the gold UFAC tag, indicating that the sofa manufacturer certifies it is made in accordance with UFAC methods. UFAC, or the Upholstered Furniture Action Council was founded in 1978 and its purpose was to make upholstered furniture more resistant to ignition from smoldering cigarettes. UFAC claims that the number of household fires has gone down considerably since these standards were put in place.

Bonus Sofa Buying Tip

And finally, when you are done looking at it, test drive your sofa. Lounge, recline, lie down, see if it feels like a good fit, because more than anything else, that is the sign of a truly great sofa.

 

 

 

How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the leather couch by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

Final Word

There are many great home theater seating options to choose from, but these eight options rank highest among customers for a variety of reasons. Comfort and functionality are extremely important aspects to consider when purchasing home theater seating and these options offer that and much, much more. Hidden storage consoles, fully reclining seats, and stylish looks are just a few aspects these seating options offer. Whether you’re looking for individual seating, children’s seating, or multi-person seating option, there is something on this list for everyone.

So, TOP10 of leather couch:

 

 

Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about leather couch is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!

by Don Oliver | Last Updated October 1, 2017



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