Leather Sofas - Leather Choices
Leather types and characteristics
Leather sofas were once the extravagant purchases of stylish bachelors and affluent businessmen. Today, the range of leather sofas available on the market is so extensive that virtually anyone can afford to have one in their lounge or living room. From aniline leather sofas to brushed leather sofas to bycast leather sofas, the list is positively endless. With so many options to choose from, it is often difficult to determine precisely which leather couch is best suited to your needs and budget.
To make your decision easier, we have compiled a list of the main types of leather used to cover leather sofas and the basic characteristics of each:
Natural leather: otherwise known as full aniline leather, this type of leather is highly prized and as a result also exceptionally costly. Full aniline leather couches will be soft, luxurious and cool to the touch. The surface of aniline leather couches remains natural and uncoated, making it susceptible to moisture stains and damage. If you are worried about dirty hands and paws, then it is best to steer clear of natural leather couches and rather invest in hardier varieties of leather.
If you're looking for the best; it's difficult to beat an Italian leather sofa; world renowned for being soft, smooth and durable.
Pull up aniline leather:
Pull up aniline leather is almost identical to full aniline leather with the exception that it has been treated with a special layer of wax and oil. This process is designed to cause leather to wear unevenly over time, resulting in a subtle contrast of light and dark hues. While not quite as valuable as natural leather couches, pull up aniline couches are nevertheless still fairly costly. Like natural leather couches, pull up aniline couches are also quite delicate and tend to stain easily if you are not careful with them.
Semi aniline leather:
Semi-aniline leather or protected leather is dyed with a special pigment and sealed with a thin finishing layer. This type of leather tends to have an even, consistent color and slight shine. The advantage to semi aniline leather lies in the fact that it is far more durable than natural leather. The finishing layer protects the leather from stains and watermarks and makes it far easier to clean.
Pigmentation treatments are predominantly used on hides that are blemished or flawed. The surface of the leather is polished to remove marks and imperfections, after which the leather is treated with a special opaque pigment. The pigmentation process improves color consistency and protects leather against fading and damage. Like semi aniline leather sofas, pigmented leather sofas are also easy to clean and durable. If you know that your sofa is going to be subjected to sticky hands and dirty paws, then it will definitely be worth your while to look at investing in a pigmented leather sofa.
Otherwise known as chaps, stonewashed or distressed leather, nubuck leather is actually aniline leather that has been brushed to give it a soft, velvety feel. The grain surface of the leather is broken open to make it softer and give it suede like appearance. The breaking up of the surface fibers of the leather also makes it extremely absorbent and sensitive to heat and moisture. Nubuck leather is by far the most difficult type of leather to keep clean and stain free, even more so than natural leather.
Black, White, Red or Brown Leather?
Once you've decided on which style of sofa you want, and which type of leather to use; you'll then have to turn your mind to the tricky (but fun) part of choosing the right color. Today's technologies mean that leather can be dyed to almost any hue of color that you choose. Black, red, white and brown sofas remain eternally popular, but there's a growing market for more unusual colors such as green and orange.