A Guide to Different Types of Leather Used in Furniture

By on July 11, 2019

Leather furniture always looks lush and luxurious in any room. If you are a fan of the classic appearance of leather, there is so much you need to know before choosing the perfect living room set for your home. Salespeople will use unfamiliar words, and if you do not understand what you are looking for, you may end up buying the wrong kind.

Different types of leather used in furniture

Not all leather furniture is of the same quality. You need to carefully research the material used to make each piece of furniture to know that it is worth the investment. For example, a leather sofa Italia may be made from a variety of leather manufacturers use today. Here is what you need to know about the terms used by furniture salespeople and what they mean.

  • Bonded leather. This type of leather is considered the cheapest alternative to real leather. Since this material is processed, only around 17% of it is genuine leather. Bonded leather is made from leather scraps put together using plastic. This material is considered similar to ordinary fabric and is cheaper to use in furniture upholstery.
  • Bicast leather. Another term for bicast leather is PU leather which is made using thin or flawed cowhide sealed with polyurethane. It is better in quality than bonded leather but is nowhere near the same as natural leather.
  • Split leather. Split leather is processed from the lower layers of cowhide; hence, because of processing, does not contain the same desirable qualities as top-grain leather. Processing also removes some of the natural properties of leather such as texture and appearance.
  • Leather-match. Leather matching is the process of using top-grain leather on some portions of the furniture and using another material (usually vinyl) to cover the rest of the less-exposed parts such as side panels and back panels.
  • Top-grain leather. The highest quality leather material used in furniture is made from 100% cowhide with the smoothest, most natural, and supplest qualities. Since leather is natural, it will acclimate to your body temperature.

Furniture made with the highest quality top-grain leather may be more expensive, but it is worth the investment if you care for it properly.

How does the leather furniture age?

Exposure to sunlight will damage leather. If you want to keep leather furniture looking its best, you need to keep it away from direct sunlight. Leather is easy to clean, but you may need to condition the leather with polish from time to time. You can also put a throw over the furniture for additional protection.


Leather furniture is elegant and timeless but buying a good quality piece is not always easy. You need to know what you are looking for by asking the right questions. Check the reputation of the manufacturer and read customer feedback if you plan to buy online. There is a lot of fake and shoddy quality leather furniture out there; do not be fooled by the flowery words of the salesperson. Do your research first before you buy.

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