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Everything you need to know about leather shopping

It’s hard to surpass the beauty and durability of leather. Once a luxury purchase, leather furnishings are now available in a variety of colours and styles for every budget. Adding leather to a room is an easy way to create instant warmth and character. Plus, it’s one of the few home purchases that look better as it goes.

Start with these 3 TIPS to find the best leather furniture for your budget, taste and lifestyle.

  1. GET TOUCHY –FEELY

Shop in person and take your time

Don’t be embarrassed to test-drive the product. If possible, run your hand across all the surfaces of the piece, not just the armrest.

Wear comfortable clothing when you shop, sit and stretch out and recline as you do at home.

***LEARN THE LINGO

Everything you need to know about leather shopping

The best way to ensure your purchase satisfaction is to know what you’re buying. Try and study to decipher the leather industry terminologies.

‘LEATHER LINGO’ GLOSSARY

  • TOP-GRAIN: – It is the strongest, supplest, most durable and valuable layer of a hide. Cowhide is often separated into two or three layers and the outermost layer is the ‘Top gain’. The layers below the top grain are known as ‘splits’.
  • SPLIT GRAIN: – This portion comes from the bottom layer of a hide and it is just durable as Top -grain leather, though not supple.
  • CORRECTED GRAIN:- This is top-grain leather that has been sanded down to reduce some of its natural markings and characteristics, then embossed with a consistent graining pattern that is pressed into the leather.
  • ANILINE: – It refers to leather that has been dyed with transparent aniline dyes that protect the leather while allowing the natural grain to show through. Only the finest hides are chosen for aniline finish leather. It is one of the highest –quality types of leather.
  • PURE-ANILINE: – Sometimes referred to as naked leather, this is the softest and most supple of all leathers, and the richest in natural colour. Pure aniline also has the least natural resistance to stains, so it is not ideal for households with young children or pets.
  • SEMI-ANILINE:-Sometimes called protected aniline, this is Top-grain leather that has been coated for added protection, while retaining the softness and natural beauty of the leather.
  • DISTRESSED: – It is sometimes called antiqued, but it is a technique that artificially creates the look of natural age and wear leather.
  • Pigmented
  • PULL UP: – It is a look associated with quality leather in which full grain, aniline-dyed leather is waxed or oiled and then pulled, producing lighter and dark areas that add an aged patina and depth of colour.
  • BONDED LEATHER: – It is designed to be an affordable alternative as bonded leather mimics the look and feel of all leather. It is a blend of polyurethane, polyester/cotton and leather bonded to the back of the fabric. It offers a soft feel, beautiful texture and lasting durability.
  • LEATHER -VINYL MATCH: – It is an affordable alternative to all-leather furniture. Leather vinyl match pieces are typically created using Top-grain leather on the seat and arms and matching vinyl on the sides and back, rendering the piece less expensive.

***THINK OUTSIDE THE SOFA

Leather bar stools

While sofas and recliners are perennial favourites, also consider leather ottomans, benches, bar stools and dining room chairs. And don’t miss the array of leather-covered cabinets, headboards and accent pieces that may be available.

Leather furnishings begin with a labour-intensive process, called tanning which transforms cowhides into soft supple leather suitable for upholstery. The result is a range of leather grades and types that influence the price, usability and longevity of each piece. So, there you go. Arm yourself with these 3 TIPS and you are now ready to go leather shopping.

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