Leather is one of the most stylish, durable and long-lasting materials used for the upholstery of home furniture. There are many variations of leather in the market based on grains, coatings, and textures, so understanding these characteristics can help you find your perfect piece.
What is Leather?
Leather is made from cured hides and skins. The curing process, also known as tanning, produces the same quality of leather, but it’s the finishing applied afterwards that differentiates various types of leather.
When choosing a leather lounge, shoppers face a careful balance between aesthetics and ease of maintenance.
Types of Leather Used in Furniture
There are three popular types of leather used to make furniture – pigmented leather, aniline leather, and semi-aniline leather.
- Pigmented Leather
Pigmented leather is the most popular type of leather upholstery. It is favoured for its longevity, which comes from the polymer surface coating.
This surface coating makes the material resistant to fading, abrasion, and grime. This type comes in various finishes, such as embossed, plain, and printed.
- Aniline Leather
Aniline leather is the closest to natural leather in terms of appearance. Pure aniline leather has no coatings – it is exclusively coloured with dye. However, a light non-pigment is usually added to improve its look and protect it from dirt and spills.
If you purchase a lounge covered with aniline leather, you should expect to see a variety of shades and a few natural marks on the material. This type of leather is affected by sunlight and absorbs water quickly. For these reasons, it is hard to maintain aniline leather lounges in high-traffic homes.
- Semi-Aniline Leather
Semi-aniline leather is a blend of pigmented and aniline leathers. It has the natural look of aniline leather but offers more durability.The added longevity comes from the pigmented light surface coating applied on semi-aniline leather. Also, the coating ensures that semi-aniline leather is less susceptible to marks and has a consistent colour.
What is Leather Grain?
The grain is the upper layer of leather and can also refer to the fine embossed lines on the superficial layer of finished leathers.
There are three kinds of grain – full-grain,corrected grain, and split.
- Full-Grain Leather
Full-grain leather has an intact uppermost layer. Besides having a smooth surface, it usually has natural marks.
- Corrected Grain Leather
The top layer of corrected grain leather has an excellent polish that hides natural marks. Such leathers often have an embossed finish to mask all blemishes.
Corrected grains are prevalent in pigmented leathers, while full-grain is used for aniline leathers. Semi-aniline leathers use both.
Split leather comes from the splitting of treated hides. It is used for making suede products.
How to Clean Leather
The gentlest and most effective way to clean a leather lounge is by vacuuming. With a brush applicator on your vacuum, you can quickly remove dirt and other debris. Make sure your brush applicator does not scratch.
In addition, you should wipe down your lounge regularly with a damp cloth to remove spills and other marks that may stain the appearance of your piece.
Leather lounges are a stylish addition to any home. If you take proper care, you can enjoy the comfort and style of this material for many years to come.