LH Interiors, Lisa Higgason, ASID, RID
Wood and leather settee

The luxury of leather

Leather is ever present and continues to be the most versatile of upholstery coverings. Leather is now made into a wide range of textures and hues and with proper care, will last three to four times as long as fabric. This is why it is important to buy well constructed leather upholstery pieces. You do not want the wood frame of your sofa to break before your leather is worn.

Leather sofa, bench and ottoman
Detailed views of rich brown leather sofa

We have three basic categories of leather:

  • Finished leather
  • Unfinished leather
  • Suede

Finished leather has been dyed and then an additional finish applied to the surface of the skin. Special top coat effects such as matte, satin, glossy and antique finishes are often added to these leathers as a final step. This pigmented leather is probably the most serviceable and most water based spills will simply bead up and can be wiped off with a soft cloth. A simple solution of water and Ivory soap will clean these leathers the best. Leathers that have been tanned and aniline dyed but have not received a finish coat are very porous and are meant to patina or age over time. Spills should be blotted as quickly as possible in order to prevent wicking and spreading of the stain.

Leather seats on dining chairs
Leather and cowhide barstools

The term suede usually refers to the skin side of the hide which has been buffed to create a very soft even nap. Body oils can cause the suede to darken and the nap to mat, especially in high use areas such as upholstery arms and head rests. A professional cleaning service is usually recommended for suede items.

Many accessories items such as boxes, bowls, and rugs are being made in leather with a beautiful look and feel.

Leather sectional in large family room
Views of leather swivel chairs and sectional

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