Buying Guide: Leather and Leather Sofa Types

Leather Sofas to Suit Every Living Space

Nothing says luxury for your living room like a leather sofa. Leather furniture is a favourite for sitting rooms of all styles thanks to its fantastic combination of sophistication and durability — obviously leather looks incredible, but it’s also a fantastically sturdy option for busy lifestyles thanks to a material that is resistant to water and dust and stands up to wear and tear.

When you’re considering leather sofas for your home, with plenty of terms and options to choose from the selection may seem overwhelming. Read on for our guide to this popular upholstery type and everything you need to know when you’re choosing a leather sofa for your space. 

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Leather furniture history

Leather is an ancient and traditional material option for everything from armour to footwear, luggage to tools, sports equipment to clothing. And, of course, leather is often used in furniture. There are many leather sofa types and other forms of leather furniture that appear in homes dating back thousands of years, and the use of leather continues through to today’s contemporary interior designs. 

The leather used in furniture comes from many different animal sources and is created through a variety of processes that help to determine its quality, appearance, and category. While leather does tend to be one of the more expensive options for furniture upholstery, there is still a range of leather that will suit most budgets, and it’s also certainly an investment-worthy material thanks to its long-wearing, durable characteristics. 

Leather varieties

When you’re searching for leather sofas to buy, you will encounter a variety of terms that describe the construction and quality of the upholstery. Here you’ll find an explanation of a number of leather varieties you will be able to choose from when shopping for leather furniture: 

  • Full-grain leather is the highest quality of leather when it comes to sofas. Full-grain leather retains the original texture, colour, and condition of the hide. Because of the minimal processing involved, only the highest quality leather can be used, which also makes this the most expensive option. Full-grain leather softens with use and can be cleaned easily or oiled to maintain a lustrous look. 
  • Top-grain leather is one of the most popular types of leather when it comes to leather sofas and other leather furniture. The creation of top-grain leather uses machines to buff away surface imperfections and create a smooth, soft, polished texture. It’s usually finished with a protective top coat that makes it incredibly durable and easy to maintain. 
  • Aniline leather refers to leather that has been dyed with water-soluble pigments that change the hue of the leather but allow the natural grain and markings of the leather to remain, creating a beautiful organic look. Aniline leather almost always uses full-grain leather, making an aniline leather sofa a high-quality investment piece that can match your living room decor in style. 
  • Split-grain leather is also a very common option for leather furniture. Split-grain leather comes from the hide layer below top-grain leather and is therefore slightly less durable and smooth, but is also a bit less expensive and offers a soft, suede-like feel that is often very appealing. 
  • Bonded leather is a great option if you’re looking for leather sofa types on a budget. Bonded leather uses leather scraps and other fibres, blending them and pressing into a large sheet that is then used for the upholstery. Not only is this one of the most inexpensive leather couch options, but it’s also easy to maintain.
  • Faux leather is manufactured from materials such as rubber and plastic to create a facsimile of genuine leather. You may opt for a faux leather couch because of its budget-friendly nature or to get the leather look without using animal products. Faux leather quality has improved greatly over time and often provides an accurate reproduction of real leather in its look and feel. 

Leather sofa types, designs, and styles

While you can find bed frames, dining chairs, and other furniture upholstered in leather, the most common use of leather upholstery is in sofas and armchairs. For the most part, you will have the same options for sofa styles that are leather upholstered as you will in fabric-upholstered couches and chairs. 

While leather is often used for tightly-upholstered sofas or those with tufting (the Chesterfield style sofa is a classic option) to show off the grain of the leather and the shape of the sofa, you may also opt for a plush, squashy armchair or seater with a leather finish. 

Similarly, dyeing and pigmenting processes allow you to choose from leather couches in a variety of colours, ranging from the natural hues of brown or tan leather to more vivid shades like red, blue, or white. 

Buy beautiful leather sofas at Corcoran’s

At Corcoran’s we have a gorgeous selection of leather sofas in designs both classic and contemporary, available to buy in-store or online. Whatever type, style, or design you’re after–be it a traditional Chesterfield, a comfy recliner, or a bold, modern piece to upgrade your living room, we have sofas to suit every style and budget. Some of our leather sofas and armchairs can even be custom made to order to your exact specifications. 

And if you need help finding the perfect leather sofa for your space, our team is also available to help you choose the right leather upholstery to suit your design dreams and your budget. Simply get in touch here or by clicking the chat button, or of course you can visit us at our Kerry and Limerick stores to talk to our sofa experts and learn more about the best leather sofa options for your home. 

Lauren Mateer

Lauren Mateer

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