Top 10 Best Leather Sofas Reviewed In 2017
Maybe you’re one of them, having the worst experience with the couches at your home and simply want to get things changed. So, there is a really great choice to make which is leather reclining sofa. It works like a remedy to give you comfort and relaxing experience. The leather reclining sofas are soft, comfortable and absolutely contain amazing designs.
They’re the best for home use. You can put the leather reclining sofas in your living room and you’ll notice how things are quite working for you. The leather reclining sofas are good for taking rest and relaxation as most importantly. You can find lots of leather reclining sofas in the market but it is all up to the quality as well.
The leather reclining sofas are even easier to maintain, quite durable and even they have adjustable backrests that can be really beneficial for you as you’ll make full use of it. So we have brought you a list of Top 10 Best Leather Reclining Sofas In 2017 as depending on their reviews. This is to make things lot more easier for you to help you make a choice easily. These are quite prominent ones with best quality that you can purchase for your home. Let’s begin with the list!
№1 – Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa
The Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa in Brown Bonded Leather features a classic reclining sofa look. The durable construction and materials make it stand any crazy activity children may use it for, such as jumping.
The reclining seats and overstuffed arms make comfort a priority. A great practical choice for any home, this piece offers practicality along with style. Those with pets and kids will appreciate the great workmanship and high-quality materials that stand up to nearly anything.
Another great feature of this sofa is that it will fit into nearly any décor, especially with newer homes which tend to have neutral colors.
№2 – Sofa Sleeper Convertible Couch Loveseat Chair Recliner Futon Black
Mainstay Sofa Sleeper Convertible Couch Loveseat Chair Recliner Futon Black Twin Bed Guest features a stylish design and ultimate versatility. Perfect for a guest room, this piece converts from a loveseat to a twin bed.
This affordable choice is great for those who want to save space and money. This piece is also great for college students, or those with studio or loft apartments and are looking for a starter sofa. The unique “classy” futon style makes it unnoticed that the piece doubles as a bed.
№3 – Ashley Kennard Leather Match Power Reclining Sofa in Cream
The Ashley Kennard Leather Match Power Reclining Sofa in Cream is a modern yet versatile design. The sofa features solid construction and is tested to be up to industry standards. It’s also tested to ensure safe transportation and regular wear and tare in the average household.
Attention to detail is prominent from the match cut pattern to the corners being securely fastened. This sofa is a great choice for any modern home. Those with kids will appreciate the strength and quality of this great looking piece. Ashley is also a well respected and trusted brand with many year of experience in designing and building sofas.
№4 – Espresso Bonded Leather Reclining Motion Sofa
Espresso Bonded Leather Reclining Motion Sofa by Poundex features a great espresso color and bonded leather. This sofa will comfortably fit three and will fit in most any space. The modern design and reclining seats make it a highly versatile sofa.
The materials and construction are made to endure any amount of activity. This is a great choice for those who want something fun, but practical for a family. This sofa also has a rather classy look to it, and will make people think you spent a fortune. Little do they know we kept your budget in mind.
№5 – Ashley Furniture Signature Design
The Signature Design by Ashley 4240147 Exhilaration Collection Power Reclining Sofa in Chocolate offers a sleek and modern design. This oversized loveseat features one-touch power reclining.
The sofa is durable and built to last with high resiliency materials and construction. This piece provides comfort mixed with a bit of unique styling, for a great overall flow.
№6 – Homelegance Double Reclining Loveseat
The Homelegance 8500GRY-2 Double Reclining Loveseat, Bonded Leather Match in Grey features a unique colored sofa for contemporary décor. The seats are ergonomically designed to provide back support.
The reclining seats are manually operated requiring no electricity. This piece is great for those looking to spruce up a room with a fun, versatile piece.
№7 – Homelegance Double Glider Reclining Loveseat with Center Console
The Homelegance 9668BLK-2 Double Glider Reclining Loveseat with Center Console, Black Bonded Leather is the ultimate in functional design and style. Although technically a loveseat with a center console, the 83 x 38.5 x 40-inch size indicates that of a full sized sofa.
The glider design and center console add comfort and versatility. This piece will fit nicely in any décor and provides extra storage for remotes and other items.
№8 – Large Classic and Traditional Brown Bonded Leather Reclining Corner Sectional Sofa
The Large Classic and Traditional Brown Bonded Leather Reclining Corner Sectional Sofa for Big Families and Groups is just that. This sofa can seat six comfortably and has a classic yet stylish Victorian design.
The construction and materials are optimized for family use. Divano Roma Furniture brings you this classic yet stylish design kept in mind for the growing family.
№9 – Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa
The Homelegance 8500BLK-3 Double Reclining Sofa, Bonded Leather Match, in Black matches style and the ultimate in comfort. The 84 x 37 x 40-inch dimensions will fit nicely anywhere. This sofa gives you the benefit of all three seats reclining.
Another cover option is available in gray (leather bonded match) for additional versatility to complement any design. The overstuffed arms and seat backs give you extra comfort and back support. Those who enjoy contemporary design and comfort will love this sofa.
№10 – Kennard Collection Power Reclining Sofa
The Signature Design by Ashley 2900187 Kennard Collection Power Reclining Sofa in Chocolate is a great choice for those who like simplicity and functionality while maintaining simple elegance. You can’t go wrong with Ashley’s award winning designs, and this 87 x 41 x 41-inch rich leather sofa will fit in nearly any room.
The reclining leg rests will have you kicking your feet back for the game, taking a power nap, or while watching your favorite show(s). You’ll love this sofa for its versatility with any décor and its comfort.
5 things to know before buying your leather sofa
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 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 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 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.
Look and Feel
- Choosing your desired look and feel will help you decide on the best type of leather for your sofa or chair.
- Maintenance Required
- Pure aniline leathers are luxurious but require specialist maintenance. You might prefer a lower-maintenance leather with a protective coating.
- Seeing for Yourself
Our leather types range from sumptuous full-grain real leathers to hard-wearing, low-maintenance faux or bonded leathers. Come and explore our range and grill our experts.
This leather buying guide will help you choose the most suitable leather for your upholstery, providing insight into the pros and cons of different leather types. Please call us on 01252 325525 if you have any questions, and browse our sofas, chairs and recliners for leather options for particular models.
Full-grain is the highest grade of leather you can buy. It’s the most natural and comes from thick hides that have not been sanded or buffed, thereby retaining all the original marks and imperfections of the animal it came from. Full-grain leather has optimum fibre strength and durability and, rather than wearing out, it develops a lovely, natural patina that only adds to its character. Full-grain leather is typically available in two finishes: full or pure aniline and semi-aniline.
The Difference – Full-Grain Leather vs. Top-Grain Leather
Full-grain leather is a type of top-grain leather. Top-grain leather is any leather made using the top of the hide (as opposed to the lower layers, which is used to make split leather – see below). However, if a leather is described as “top-grain” but not “full-grain”, it generally means the outermost layer with all the animal’s natural markings has been removed.
Full-Grain Pure Aniline Leather
Pure aniline is where the leather is treated with transparent, soluble dyes, retaining the hide’s natural surface so that all the animal’s pores, scars and marks remain visible. Full-grain pure aniline leather is the most authentic and luxurious leather you can buy, which also means it’s the most expensive. Soft and supple to the touch, it has a rustic, textured look that grows richer over time.
However, pure aniline leather is susceptible to stains, scratches and marks and requires specialist maintenance. If you want a sofa that’s easy to clean, you’d be best off choosing one of the leathers described below.
Full-Grain Semi-Aniline Leather
Full-grain semi-aniline leather is produced the same way as pure aniline leather, but has a thin top coat added to it. This protects the leather and offers colour uniformity, while still allowing its natural characteristics to show through.
Semi-aniline leather is less cold in winter, less sticky in summer and more resistant to stains and scratches. This makes it more user-friendly than pure aniline and perfect for households with pets and children. It’s lower maintenance than pure aniline, but it does still require maintenance.
When leather is described as “top-grain” leather instead of “full-grain”, it normally means it’s corrected-grain leather. Corrected-grain leather is another type of top-grain leather and the second-highest-quality leather you can buy. It’s still made from the top of the hide, but the outermost “full-grain” layer has been removed. This is done to get rid of marks, insect bites, barbed wire scratches and other blemishes on more unsightly hides.
The hide is then sanded and an artificial grain is embossed onto the surface, resulting in an even pattern and uniform colour throughout. Protective coatings are then applied. As a top-grain leather, corrected leather is still very high-quality, but it lacks the natural look and authenticity of full-grain and will not develop a patina. At the same time, it is less expensive than full-grain and boasts great resistance to spills and scratches. It’s also very low-maintenance compared to full-grain leather.
Split leather comes from the lower layers of the hide after the top-grain layer has been removed. Split leathers can be embossed and finished to look like top-grain leathers, but they are brittle, don’t absorb well and have a much lower life-expectancy than top-grain leathers. This, of course, makes them much less expensive. Split leather is used to make suede (split leather with a soft, napped finish) and bi-cast or PU leather (a material with a split leather backing and polyurethane top layer).
Because it is much less durable than top-grain leather, we wouldn’t recommend split leather for sofa seats and back cushions. However, split leathers are good for low traffic areas of your sofa, such as the side and back panels, which makes them an excellent cost-saving measure.
Other Types of Leather
Pull-up aniline leather is full-grain pure aniline leather with an extra top treatment of oil and/or wax effects, designed to become distressed-looking over time. This is great if you want your sofa or chair to have a more rustic appearance.
Bonded leather is an eco-friendly material made using leftover pieces of organic leather, which are shredded and bonded together using polyurethane or latex and embossed with a leather-like top layer. It’s much cheaper than full-grain leather, corrected-grain leather and split leather, but it’s not as durable or high-quality. However, it’s a good choice for those who are looking for an affordable sofa with a leather look. And because it does contain real leather, that characteristic leather odour is sometimes present.
Faux leather is an artificial or synthetic leather usually consisting of a fabric base with a PVC or polyurethane leather-like surface. Faux leather is designed to be hard-wearing, low maintenance and affordable, but still bring an opulent look to your home. Venjakob offers particularly high-quality, hard-wearing faux leather coverings with its upholstered dining chairs.
How to Care For Your Leather Sofa
All natural leathers require maintenance. Semi-aniline leathers and corrected-grain leathers require less maintenance than full-grain pure aniline leathers, which requires specialist care. This includes using good-quality leather protection creams and waxes.
You should try to keep your leather sofa out of direct sunlight, as this will only accelerate natural discolouring. With full-grain pure aniline upholstery, absorbent paper towels should be used to lift liquid spills, followed by dabbing the area lightly with clean towels. (Do not rub in as this will cause staining.) Leathers with protective coatings can be wiped with damp cloths and mild soapy solutions. All leathers should be vacuumed regularly to remove dust.
The right choice
Choosing a leather sofa is simple with Habitat. First, have a browse on our website to get the look and feel that you would like for your room.
Next, having decided whether you are after a sofa, sofa bed, chaise longue or armchair, be sure to measure the space carefully (including doorways and stairwells). Have a look at our sofa measuring guide to give you a helping hand.
Want a closer look or need some advice? Pop in-store to try before you buy, as well as chatting to our friendly staff if you have any queries or concerns before making your new purchase.
Finally, have a think about the rest of the room, will you need other leather pieces to fit in the room? Or maybe some accessories such as lighting and rugs to show off your new space?
- We recommend that you get your leather upholstery professionally cleaned
- Avoid exposing your furniture to direct and prolonged periods of sunlight and heat sources as this may result in fading
- Wipe with a damp cloth and then immediately wipe dry with a soft dry cloth
- Great care must be taken to avoid spillages
- Rotate and ‘plump-up’ cushions regularly to prevent uneven wear and excessive soiling
- Vacuum or brush weekly, as accumulated dirt will accelerate wear and dull colours
- Avoid sharp objects
- Do not use solvent based cleaners
Choosing a leather sofa
There are two important decisions to make when choosing your leather sofa. First you must decide the leather and then the finish. Our website and in-store staff will help you find the perfect sofa for your home.
Opt for light leather to give an uplift to your room and allow bright accessories to do the talking. Or go for a darker, richer colour to give a cosy feel to your room.
When choosing a finish, be sure to think about how much usage your sofa will get. A thicker, tougher finish such as pigmented leather will ensure it survives all the family. Whilst a more delicate corrected grain finish will make a style statement.
Finally, be sure to measure the space carefully. Will you need a two seater, three seater, sofa bed or corner sofa? Try laying out newspapers on the floor to the measurements of your sofa to ensure it will fit and be sure to measure doorways and stairwells as well as the room itself.
Sofas are great for introducing a colour or theme into your space but accessories can be just as important. When choosing your sofa, have a think about which cushions you would like to have. Would you like to coordinate or clash? For a solid block of colour on the sofa, it is often fun to introduce a playful print to your soft furnishings. Will you need a rug as well? How will this fit in the space?
Lighting is a great way to add a mood to your room, you can opt for a statement piece such as a floor lamp or introduce subtle hints of colour with a desk or table lamp. Be sure to order lamp shades and light bulbs at the same time to ensure you can enjoy them as soon as they arrive.
Finally, furniture. Do you need side tables, coffee tables or a bookshelf? Or maybe a console table or footstool? After all, you’re room will need to be practical as well as comfy.
How To Choose Leather Furniture The Proper Way?
Nothing frustrates us more than setting our eyes on an awesome piece or set of leather furniture only to quickly realize it may not be able to physically fit into the space that it was intended to occupy. Unless you can really do something about it like rearranging your existing stuff to accommodate it, then you just got to give it a miss and move on. Don’t just buy it first and decide to worry about placement later, it will usually end in failure.
Next, we have to consider the Styling and Taste but these are far too subjective for any good advice to be given here so individual preferences ought to prevail and ONLY you can be the best judge of what you like and is best suited to your needs so if you have fallen in love with that lovely leather furniture piece(s), then Go For It but provided the other considerations, in particular, durability are met.
Though there are several other things to look out for besides the type and quality of the leather such as the materials used for the frame, cushioning and seating etc., your main focus should still ALWAYS be on the quality of the leather upholstery. The reason is simple – The bulk of the costs involved in the construction of your leather furniture comes from the quality of leathers used.
Is it really that complicated?
How should we proceed to choose leather sofa or other contemporary leather furniture that offers the best value for money without compromising on quality? The answers are not so straightforward and in fact raise issues that are not easily resolved. To give an example, let’s say you have hyperactive young children and house pets (cats/dogs) living with you and you are on the lookout for a contemporary leather sofa set. Are you willing to pay extra dollars for the better or best quality leather sofas in the showroom knowing that your kids and furkids are likely to ruin it sooner or later? Wouldn’t it be more practical to get cheaper lower quality leather furniture instead but does that really present real costs savings in the long run?
To further complicate matters, in recent years, there have been numerous scandals globally involving the home furnishings/furniture industry where consumers paid top dollars for supposedly quality genuine leather furniture but what eventually turned out to be “problematic leathers”. To understand the problem, we first need to know what are the different types of leather upholstery used to manufacture home and office furniture.
Different Types of Leather Upholstery
You need to be reasonably knowledgeable in your understanding of the different types of leather upholstery before you step into a leather furniture showroom or you may put yourself at a disadvantage.
In a nutshell, leather upholstery can be placed into 3 broad categories, namely Unprotected (Unfinished), Protected (Finished) and Fake (Faux). More in-depth explanation can be found here in the Glossary of Leather Terms but for now it suffices to give a brief but concise summary of the various leathers available in each of the 3 categories.
Only the best quality full grain hide is used and because it is full grain leather, you can expect to see the original surface characteristics of the hide such as healed scar marks, brand marks and fat wrinkles etc. as they have not been removed by sanding or buffing. Usually there are only minimal flaws and imperfections in the best quality full grain hides and this is the hallmark of top quality leather at its maximum strength and durability. Because organic aniline dyes had been used to colour the leather in order to produce the most natural looking leather available with natural color variations, that means it will easily absorb all liquids, body oils and dirt as there is no surface protection whatsoever. Hence, it is best to avoid this type of leather furniture if you have kids and furkids as removing stains, care and maintenance will be an expensive nightmare.
Slightly lower quality full grain hides fall under this category. These full grain hides usually have slightly more surface imperfections than the best quality ones and hence a light surface coating of micro-pigments is applied to the hides to cover up the “defects” and to give it color consistency. Additional finishes may then be applied by hand or machinery to give an antiquated look or other special effects etc to the leather. Lastly, the final application of either a matte or high gloss clear protective coating to the surface imparts some stain and fade resistance. This is called a Semi-Aniline finish and must be clearly listed in the furniture piece(s) sales brochure description. It offers some protection against stains, oil and dirt but still manages to retain many of the desirable characteristics of leather.
Top grain hides also come under this category. However, do take note that full grain leather is top grain leather but top grain leather is not necessarily full grain leather. Sounds confusing, right? But it is crucial to draw the distinction. Top grain leather refers to hides that have their surface imperfections removed by sanding/buffing. They are then given a thicker surface coat of pigments and usually further embossed with an artificial leather grain pattern to give it a more natural look. This is known as a Pigmented finish and offers the best protection against stains, body oil and dirt but the leather is not as soft and supple as those given an Aniline or Semi-Aniline finish.
Split hides usually come under this category too. It is the lowest grade of real leather and is made from the bottom split of the hide. It is given a thicker surface polymer coating of pigments and embossed with an artificial leather grain pattern. However, it is really weak and used mainly in the sides, back and non seating areas of leather furniture in order to save costs. If the salesman or brochure tells you that the leather piece is made entirely from split leather, then you should promptly give it a miss.
Now you may have heard about Bonded leather during your furniture hunt but what is Bonded leather furniture? It is created by gluing lots of leather scraps together on a fiber sheet together with a layer of polyurethane and then embossed with an artificial leather grain pattern to give it the appearance of genuine leather. Furniture retailers and salesmen want you to believe it is real leather since it is made from leather scraps but it has none of the desired properties of real leather. Because of the manufacturing process, some Bonded leather furniture are surprisingly more durable than lower quality real leather furniture but the overwhelming majority are vastly inferior in all respects to real leather furniture of all grades. Hence, it is best to avoid them altogether as the quality varies greatly and you cannot be absolutely certain that you will be getting the better quality ones.
Another notorious fake leather that is widely promoted as real leather to unsuspecting consumers in the home furniture industry is Bi-Cast (Bycast) leather which is also infamously known as PU leather. It is made using the lowest and thinnest grade of split leather and similarly having a polyurethane (PU) layer applied to its surface followed by embossing with an artificial grain pattern. Even under normal use, the polyurethane layer will inevitably crack and split free of its split leather backing and/or start to peel off in large strips and/or start flaking within 6 to 9 months resulting in large unsightly marks. It is impossible to repair or recondition these defects and they are usually discarded in under a year.
Now, you may come across terms like Eco-Leather, Leather Plus, Pleather and Leatherette and wondering what they all really mean. Well, these 4 terms have been used loosely and interchangeably to refer to Bi-Cast (Bycast) and PU leather, Bonded Leather and all other forms of synthetic leathers. They all share one thing in common and hence come under the category of Fake Leathers.
You are also likely to come across the term Leather Match. It refers to the leather furniture industry practice of installing real top-grain leather everywhere on a piece of furniture that come into contact with your body (seat, back, cushions, arms rests), but then installing the back panels, side panels, and backsides of the back cushions with vinyl, Bi-cast (PU), Bonded or Synthetic Leather.
However, manufacturers would often use Split leather for all these non-contact areas whenever they want to market contemporary leather furniture as being 100% leather. Although this is an economical and practical way to get 100% real leather on your contemporary furniture, I would not usually recommend choosing these types of furniture because as time goes by, your leather furniture will take on different colour tones especially if your furniture receives a fair amount of sunlight. You must not forget that Vinyl, Bonded leather, By-cast, split and top grain leathers are entirely different materials altogether and will aged differently from each other.
Should We Go For The Cheap Faux Leather Sofa then?
If you are on a tight budget and have been eyeing that nice looking Bonded leather Sofa or Bonded Leather Recliner Sofas set ever since you step into the furniture showroom, then you should at the very least ask the retailer or salesman to show you a sample piece of the bonded leather so that you can examine it closeup. Ask them for the test sample reports showing the results for Light Fastness, Abrasion (Resistance), Flammability and Crocking (Color Transfer Test). Even if you are unable to interpret or fully understand the test results, the very fact that they are able to produce a report would at least indicate to you that this is probably a somewhat better quality Bonded Leather Sofa Recliner.
But whatever you do, you will be doing yourself a huge favour by staying far away from that Bi-Cast/Bycast/PU faux leather sofa that is calling out to you in that corner of the showroom, enticing you with its visually alluring fake leather appearance to part with your hard earned money to bring it home with you. DO NOT FALL FOR THE SCAM! Don’t even bother to ask questions like “Does PU Leather Last?”, “Does Anybody Know PU leather?” “What Does PU Leather Mean?” Just stay away from these awful fake leather stuff that cost as little as US$1 PER METER!
What if you’re only interested in real leather furniture?
Now, if you are only interested in real leather furniture and are giving all the fake ones a wide berth, you would be hard pressed to be able to distinguish a real one from a fake as even professional leather experts are not able to correctly identify real leather visually most of the time.
How then can you be certain you are getting the real deal when you are just an ordinary consumer with only layman knowledge and no expertise? Well, there is one layman method that can be used to tell right away if you are looking at a fake leather furniture but the main drawback though is that you will still not be able to confirm conclusively it is real leather.
The Common Sense Test
If the particular design that you fancy has exceptionally large panels or come across as a single large continuous piece, then it is highly unlikely to be real leather as there are no bovine animals in existence that are big enough to yield such large usable hides. Although the average maximum length of the largest hides are around 90-99 inches, the average usable length is only around 72 inches (52″ W x 72″ L) because of its irregular shape and resulting wastage. Also, single large pieces cost significantly more than smaller cut pieces, so if the retail price on display is nothing out of the ordinary, that should set off alarm bells ringing in your head. This method is ineffective if the design of the furniture piece does not utilize unusually large panels that would put you on the alert.
The Fingernail Test
This is one other quick and handy method to check if you have real leather in front of you. If you pressed the edge of your fingernails into your arm or thighs, you will see a temporary imprint on your skin the moment you lift your fingers off. Likewise, if it is real leather, you will see a similar temporary imprint of your fingernail on the leather surface. Unfortunately, this test does nothing to alert you about the quality or type of leather.
Which Sofa Suits You
A quality sofa – one that stands up to daily wear and tear – is an investment, so take time to consider…
- Function: is it a sofa for formal entertaining, relaxed family lounging, an extra bed for guests?
- Size: does it fit your room and is there space for everyone to sit? Are there any access issues with your home that might hamper delivery?
- Shape & Style: are you looking for a tailored finish or a plump, slouchy design? How supportive a sit do you want or need?
- Upholstery: fabric or leather? And of those, which type?
How are the Seats Supported?
The ‘Seating Deck’ is the industry term for the seat support system. The 3 most well known Seat Support systems are 8 Way Hand Tied, Sinuous Steel ‘No Sag’ Springs and ‘Pirelli’ Webbing.
The 8 Way, Hand Tied Springs again take us back to the old world way of constructing furniture. When you see a $5,000+ Leather sofa advertised, it will almost always have 8 way hand tied coils. Dozens of these helical springs are quite literally tied by hand, eight times to each other and to the frame. This is a very labor intensive method that is superior to most every other type of suspension. However, the higher costs involved, the fewer skilled laborers available and the improved quality of other reliable seat suspension systems have made this a shrinking segment of the furniture business. While 8 way, hand tied coils may be considered the ‘Rolls Royce’ of springs, a Cadillac (steel sinuous springs) or the Ford (Pirelli webbing) will also get you around town comfortably.
Sinuous Wire ‘No- Sag’ Springs are the Most Common Seat Support System in American Made Furniture. This system involves a crowned Steel flat spring that zig zags it’s way from the front seat rail to the back rail. The Springs are attached with padded frame clips that hold them in place. Connecting these Springs are Horizontal flex cords (running from Arm to Arm) that hold the springs steady, stabilize the seating and providing a uniformity in your seating experience.
‘Pirelli’ Webbing is almost a generic term for any rubberized Nylon Bands that are interwoven across the seaing deck area and stapled in place. With much the same look as a common lawnchair, this method of support is a low cost option that offers the least desirable long term support. This method was popularized by Natuzzi leather and many of the Chinese imported brands being sold at the Big Box stores. The light weight of the bands versus steel springs makes this an attractive, money saving option for factories shipping large volumes of furniture over long distances.
TOP TIP #3
Match the seating spring construction to your lifestyle. The 8 way hand tied coils are for the customer that will have heavy use and intends to re-upholster the frame and keep it for 10+ years. Steel sinuous wire springs, the most popular method of the 3 types, have proven themselves as durable and capable suspension for most every active family. Pirelli webbing can be used for the active family, however, it may need replacement webbing over the years.
What are the Seat Cushions Made of?
Seat Cushion Foam is measured by density. A lower priced piece of furniture will typically be a 1.5 density foam (1.5 pounds per cubic foot). A more plush, dense foam core will measure 2.0 density. The better cushions are then wrapped with a bonded polyester fiber wrap for loft and comfort. The popular choice in density for a sofa today is 1.8 density foam which provides a middle ground between the too soft and too firm cores.
Down Blend Cushions will typically have a 1.8 density foam core with the same bonded polyester wrap. The cushion is then encased with a ‘Down Jacket’. The jacket should be sewn out of a down proof ticking. A blend of fibers and down feathers are blown into channels on the top and bottom to provide the ultimate comfort, quality and crown.Down Blend cushions are a premium priced option.
Inner Spring Cushions have the advantage of having metal spring coils immersed in the foam. These Cushions will typically sit a bit firmer than a tradional ‘all foam’ seat cushion. It will outlast the standard ‘foam only’ cushion as well. The innersprings will provide a bit more bounce back and loft over the years. Inner Spring Cushions are also a premium price option.
TOP TIP #4
Seat Cushions should be removable and should have zippers for future access. Leather funiture will outlast Foam and pillow stuffing, but the ability to re-stuff and rotate the cushions means that you will have and enjoy your furniture over many more years.
TOP TIP #5
Leather seat cushions are never leather on all 4 sides. The seat cores need a breathing panel of fabric underneath to allow the cushions to compress and restore easily.
TOP TIP #6
Cheap cushions will feel very firm …at first. The common 1.5 density foam cores found on low priced imported furniture sit firmly in the store, but fairly quickly lose their shape and firmness with daily use in your home.
Is Leather resistant to animals?
Many people love to share their furniture with their beloved pets. This can create a problem when you are trying to keep your furniture clean and fresh. Leather is more resistant to animals than fabrics, as leather does not absorb pet smells. Where upholstery fabric has an open weave that can more easily collect dirt, hair and dander, leather has a smooth surface that avoids these problems. Many people with allergies, or folks with children that have allergies, will only buy leather furniture.
Cats, Dogs and Birds can damage your leather furniture. Leather is very fiberous and durable but it is not made to repel the sharp claws and beaks of animals. I overheard a very colorful southern gentleman refer to this problem as “gnaw’n and claw’n’. Kids and Pets are the most popular reasons that people buy leather furniture. If you do have a problem with pet damage, there are repair services that can do wonders on some of the more common types of problems.
What is faux leather?
- Faux leather can also be called artificial leather, meaning that it looks like leather, but doesn’t have any percentage of cowhide in it.
- Is faux leather cheap or bad quality?
There are a lot more alternatives for 100% leather than there used to be, and they vary in look and durability as much as the different varieties of 100% leather. A cover made entirely of vinyl will eventually crack and peel and is generally the lowest in price and durability. Modern blends of fibers like polyurethane and polyester are used to create Performance Fabrics that mimic the look of leather and give your furniture a high level of durability and cleanability that’s more affordable than true leather.
Does real leather stain easily?
Nowadays, due to the leather tanning process, leather doesn’t damage as easily from bodily oils. Most leather finishes (except the most high end, natural leathers) are safe from the oils in your skin and hair.
Is it difficult to maintain?
While generally easy to maintain, Leather can be damaged (much like fabric) by ink and oil-based stains. Most dirt and stains can be cleaned fairly easily from leather, but watch out for greasy lotions, cooking oils, motor oil etc. See store for more information about how to clean mild and harsh stains from your leather.
Is leather furniture suitable for pet owners?
100% Leather is the most durable of all upholstery materials, but its not invincible. It doesn’t stand up well to being clawed, chewed, or urinated on by the family pet. Generally, 100% leather is easier for pet owners to clean and maintain, since it does not attract or absorb pet hair like fabric. But a word of caution for pet owners: If you have your heart set on a high quality leather sofa but you’re not sure if you can keep the dog or cat from tearing the leather, look into investing in a protective cover for your sofa that’s designed specifically for pet owners. Bonded leathers are not ideal for pet owners. A sofa cover is especially necessary for a bonded leather sofa.
Are cows really killed to make leather furniture?
No! Leather is a by-product of the beef industry, cows are not raised specifically for their hides.
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.
So, TOP10 of leather sofas:
- №1 — Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa
- №2 — Sofa Sleeper Convertible Couch Loveseat Chair Recliner Futon Black
- №3 — Ashley Kennard Leather Match Power Reclining Sofa in Cream
- №4 — Espresso Bonded Leather Reclining Motion Sofa
- №5 — Ashley Furniture Signature Design
- №6 — Homelegance Double Reclining Loveseat
- №7 — Homelegance Double Glider Reclining Loveseat with Center Console
- №8 — Large Classic and Traditional Brown Bonded Leather Reclining Corner Sectional Sofa
- №9 — Homelegance Double Reclining Sofa
- №10 — Kennard Collection Power Reclining Sofa
by Don Oliver | Last Updated November 1, 2017