Leather sofas and chairs are considered the highest quality furniture available. However, quality levels vary between each piece and from brand to brand. Understanding how to compare the quality between leather furniture will help you purchase the best product for your money.
- Learn the difference between the three methods used to dye leather furniture.
- Pigmented is typically the cheapest option, and is only dyed directly on the surface with a protective coating mixed with dye. Although a good budget-friendly option and very durable, it often does not have that buttery feel that people want from their leather furniture and can look unnatural.
- Aniline is dyed in a drum, the color permeates the entire piece of leather, providing a lasting finish. This is considered the best of the best and has that soft, pliable texture many love about leather.
- Protected aniline is finished with a protective sealant to prevent staining, but this top coat can make the leather stiff.
- Go to a high-end furniture store that either specializes in leather furniture or has a large inventory. Ask to see sofas in the leather style of your choice: aniline, aniline protected or pigmented. Ask questions about each piece, including the type of wood used for the frame of the sofa — softwood is less durable and will often warp over time. Ask about the types of coils used for support as well — tempered steel is best, and any other option should be researched to determine the pros and cons.
- Avoid any sofas that are a combination of leather and vinyl. While this can suit many people’s tastes aesthetically, over the long term, the leather will outlive the vinyl and you’ll have to reupholster parts of the couch or purchase a new one.
- Sit on each sofa and rock side to side, press backward into the frame, and fall naturally from standing to sitting on the couch (imagine plopping down after a long day for some much needed reading or television time). If there is any movement or squeaking, the frame underneath the furniture is likely of poor quality or construction.
- Check the stitching on each sofa. A high-quality leather piece will not have any fraying in the stitches, and each one will look extremely tight, almost as if it’s glued to the leather.
- Finally, shop around at other stores. Now that you understand all of the basic components that make up a high-quality leather sofa, you’ll be able to compare specific styles and brands to find one that’s perfect for you.