Leatheris widely used in an array of different products. Book covers, all kinds ofbags, purses, clothes, upholstery material, shoes, belts, and even wallpapersare popular products in which leather is used all around the world. Thedurability and flexibility of leather makes it an excellent alternative toother covering materials. The quality of leather to keep cool in summer andwarm during winter makes it the top upholstery material.
Leather being obtained from cows, goats, sheep, pigs, are some obvious sources and some rare sources like ostriches and stingrays; they can have different finishes and appearances. Depending on the kind of usage and wear and tear requirements of the furniture, the type of leather is chosen. Chairs, sofa sets, recliners, stools, bean bag, car seats, and cushions are products that use leather upholstery. However, the following are commonly used kinds of leather products in furniture upholstery.
Anilinedyed leather is known to be themost expensive and of the best quality. The leather retains the natural texturewith its unique surface characteristics. The surface being natural in nottreated or coated with pigments and polymers. The hide and the color of theaniline leather is the same throughout i.e. in the back and in the front. Avery thin layer of coating is added to such leather to prevent it from damagescaused due to spillage and soiling. The soft, supple, and comfort of theleather make it the most preferred choice for luxury products. The fact that itretains the details of the hide makes it special and hence also derives thename naked leather because of it. But due to weak soil resistant, it cannotstand high wear and tear.
Semi-anilinedyed leather is aniline hide dyedin pigments however not necessary partially unlike the name. Additionalfinishes are also applied to semi-aniline leather once the dyeing is over. Thisgives it the specially required effect for instance an antique finish. Finally,the last layer of coating gives the leather a matte or a glamorous glossyfinish. The semi-aniline leather provides some resistance to soiling andstaining. It also gives a consistent colour to the product. The only drawbackis that in treating hide with pigments and adding of a protective layer doesnot retain the natural markings and uniqueness of that found in anilineleather. Hence semi-aniline may be less natural in appearance but acquiresbetter wear and tear resistance.
Protectedleather also referred to aspigmented leather is widely used as upholstery in furniture and cars. Thissignifies that it is the most durable kind of leather. Pigmented or protectedleather has a protective polymer coating on it which consists of pigments whichmakes it resistant to scuffing and fading. The thickness of the surface coatingdecides the durability of the leather.
Top grain leather is usually of two types corrected grain and full grain. Each hide comes with its own markings and natural scarring. The full grain leather is just that without any processing and hence is of the highest quality. While in corrected grain the scarring is reduced by buffing or embossing the leather. No two animals even of the same breed have the same markings, which are usually caused due to cuts, insect bites, neck wrinkles, and stretch marks. Hence every piece of leather is unique and is one of a kind. This makes leather a very attractive product and the full grain kind extremely desirable in the industry.
Nubuck is a kind of aniline leather which are distressed or buffed for creating an open nap. The tight fibre structures in the grain layer make the nap extremely fine. This kind of leather has a soft and velvety finish. Though, Nubuck being the silkiest among all leather is prone to scratches, fading, and staining quite easily.
Suede is one of the most rarely used forms of leather in furniture. It is used in making luxury furniture pieces. The texture of the leather can be identified due to its rough nap finish and by brushing hand over the surface layer of the leather. When brushed in a certain direction, the leather sports a darker color, while brushed in the opposite direction of the former; it shows a lighter shade of the leather.
Antique leather also popular as distressed leather, is treated with dyes in order to obtain the aging appearance. For achieving this effect, the leather is first dyed in light color and next in a darker color. Antique leather is extremely popular currently in all kinds of furniture sets.
Leather is undoubtedly the best choice for furniture upholstery because it lasts up to five times more than fabrics. It can resist stains, wear and tear, and spills. The natural glossiness of the material makes it more desirable. It is easy to maintain leather and with time it only becomes more durable.