Durable, comfortable, luxurious – once a material cherished by the world’s most elite, today, leather upholstery is a staple in households across America. There’s no doubt that leather is one of the most durable, environmentally sound and value-oriented furniture materials known to man. Because of the strong physical nature of leather, it is the ideal upholstery material. It never goes out of style and, when it’s treated properly using the correct tanning process, leather remains supple indefinitely.
What many people don’t realize are the shortcuts manufacturers take to lower the cost of a piece of furniture. When these shortcuts are made, it compromises the essence of what makes leather furniture so divine: quality of hide, reliability of construction and integrity of the furniture’s frame. In addition, these shortcuts also diminish the quality of comfort that leather furniture provides.
Let’s face it; whether it’s a piece of furniture or a new driver, compromise should not be a part of the decision-making process. So how do you identify a quality piece of leather furniture?
Nowadays, the difference can be found in the details. A fine piece of leather furniture starts with the hide. If you want the best of the best, top full-grain leather is the finest quality of hide available. Top full-grain hide requires no buffing or sanding, which gives you the strongest and most durable piece of furniture available.
Beyond quality of hide, a superior piece of leather furniture will have no “splits,” “vinyl match” or “leatherettes.” Splits refer to a segment from the underneath of the hide that has been “split off” from the grain. Split hides will usually be thicker and stiffer, and manufacturers will tout “lifetime” warranties. Beware, however, this quality will not provide a quality product and is known for looking worse over the years.
Vinyl match is a vinyl that has been patterned and colored to match the leather, and would normally be found on the outside backs and arms of a sofa or chair. Furniture that has this treatment could not be described as 100 percent leather. Likewise, leatherette is an artificial plastic or vinyl product used commonly by furniture manufacturers to cut cost. The reason you do not want to have the “vinyl match” is that over time, leather (especially high quality leather) will change and get even softer, but the vinyl will stay the same.
Sometimes people overlook the quality of the frame when selecting leather seating. Keep in mind that leather will last much longer than fabric. In addition to purchasing leather furniture with a quality hide, it’s essential to find a retailer who offers frames built to your exact specifications from the finest lumber available. Undoubtedly, a quality furniture frame can make the difference between a piece of furniture that lasts a couple of years versus one that will last a lifetime. Be sure to select a piece of furniture that is backed up with a frame warranty from a quality company to ensure your comfort is always guaranteed.
Once you’ve selected the finest leather and framing available, it’s time to evaluate the customization options available that will ensure you’re investing in furniture that meets all of your needs.
Today, there are customization options available to make you feel like a superstar. From motorized reclining mechanisms to stainless steel cup holders, in-arm remote controls and hidden storage, the options are truly endless.
Most retailers of fine leather furniture will offer you a plethora of hide options that vary by color, grade and texture. As we know, no two men are built the same, that’s why premium retailers will also offer custom-built furniture to fit your exact specifications. Whether you’re looking for an extended back or extra-long foot recline, custom-built furniture will provide you the ultimate in comfort.
Want to evaluate the quality of your home theater furniture? There is one simple test you can execute. Smack your hand on the side of your furniture (under the arm and above the floor). If your hand meets a solid material like wood, you’ve purchased a quality piece. You’ll know because you’ll hear a solid “smack” on the wood. If your hand meets a hollow spot between pieces of framing wood, you’ve scarified quality.
Ultimately, you don’t have to be an expert to know what you want and what you like. Visit a full service retailer experienced with theater seating where you can experience the difference of high-quality leather. Once you own great leather seating, you won’t want to watch television on anything else.