Leather furniture will cost you more than the typical polyester microfiber furniture store offering, but can be an investment you’ll be proud to own for many years.
Leather is typically a cattle product and is what most furniture companies sell. Lambskin and deerskin are also sometimes used, but when you buy a leather sofa, that material is made from cattle unless otherwise stated.
Much work is done to make leather comfortable and durable before it shows up in leather chairs and other products. The first stage is preparation where the skin is acquired and prepared, relieved of hairs, bleached, soaked and degreased.
In the second stage, leather goes through a tanning process where skins are treated to produce leather, and made more durable. This process also preserves the leather, making it less susceptible to decomposition.
Once the tanning process has been completed, leather goes through crusting. Crusting thins out the skin, where it is restrained and lubricated. Coloring is introduced in this process and that is why you’ll find a full range of colors beyond traditional black, brown and gray. Indeed, hundreds of colors and shades may be available, with various blues, greens, yellows, oranges and purples used.
Before you purchase leather chairs and other leather furniture, please understand that certain care instructions apply. The occasional cleaning of leather surfaces will help preserve your investment and keep it looking great year after year.
Leather furniture manufacturers make this easy to do by providing recommended cleaning codes for your chair, sofa or other leather-appointed furniture. For instance, a "W" code means you can use a water-based cleaning agent. An "S" code is for a mild, but water-free dry cleaning agent. The "WS" represents a water-based or dry-cleaning solvent or a combination of the two. When you buy furniture with an "X" code, no cleaning agents may be used. Instead, lightly vacuum or brush off the furniture. Consider using the services of professional furniture cleaners for expert care.
Now that you know the essentials of leather acquisition, preparation and care, you may be ready to make a purchase. Work with your furniture salesperson or interior designer to find the look that is right for your home. Once you have your furniture in your home you’ll enjoy a look that is elegant, comfortable, durable and long-lasting. Indeed, when cared for properly, leather can outlast fabric furniture by four times as long.