How to Choose Leather Furniture

Written by louise balle
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If you've decided to go with leather furniture for your home, you are probably looking to achieve a more upscale appearance. Leather is expensive as compared to regular cloth upholstered furniture, but the elegant look and soft feel of this special covering is worth every penny. Don't blindly go into your local furniture store looking for the prettiest couch or love seat that you can find---know what you should be looking for. You could end up saving some money (and time) on your leather furniture purchase due to your knowledge of the options that are available to you.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Choose between aniline (also called naturally finished leather) and semi-aniline leather furniture. The difference is quality---aniline is the best of the two because the blemishes of the cowhide are removed easily, and the colours are more naturally shaded. Aniline is most commonly associated with the phrase "buttery soft leather." Semi-aniline isn't as soft, and the manufacturer is required to buff and colour the leather to make it acceptable.

  2. 2

    Consider waxed or distressed leather furniture. This leather is coated with a special wax to make the furniture look like an antique piece. This is perfect for a rustic decor theme.

  3. 3

    Decide which colour goes best with the general decor of your home. Leather comes in all colours, from greens to reds to yellows and the standard black. In most cases, you can confidently incorporate a colourful piece of leather furniture into just about any decor, but you need to keep your room theme in mind when choosing. For a funky, modern look, you'll want red, yellow or caramel furniture, but for a more serious layout with warm mahogany wood and dark accents, you will probably prefer black or dark maroon-coloured leather furniture.

  4. 4

    Ask the sales representative what the frame of the leather furniture is made of. Most pieces are made from either solid wood or plywood and then wrapped with the leather hides. While some say that solid wood is best (and generally more expensive), others say that plywood is more resistant to warping and can hold up longer.

Tips and warnings

  • Aniline leather furniture should not be placed in a room or area that gets consistent, direct sunlight. Semi-aniline is more durable and resistant to damage. For instance, if you have cats who like to scratch your furniture, choose semi-aniline leather.
  • Purchase leather conditioner along with your leather furniture. This product needs to be used every 6 months to maintain the quality of your leather upholstery.

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