Category Archives: Leather Furniture Buying Guide

Tips and Information to Help You Make the Most Informed Purchasing Decision. We’ll discuss the different cuts used in manufacturing leather furniture, and some of the different processes used in finishing leather.

What is all this talk about Grain with Leather Furniture?

This can be one of the most mystifying things when looking for leather furniture but it does not have to be. It’s actually a very simple concept, when it’s explained:

Top Grain Leather Sofa at

Top Grain Leather Sofa at

Cowhides are often too thick to use, so they’re split into two layers that result in a few different types of leather. When leather is split the resulting cuts are:

Top Grain Leather refers to the surface layer when leather is split. This is the strongest most supple part of the hide.

  • Full Grain leather is leather from surface layer that is not mechanically altered. Natural grain and markings are left intact.
  • Corrected leathers can be produced from the top grain surface layer as well. These leathers have had natural markings lightly sanded, or buffed and are embossed with a uniform grain finish.

“Splits” or “Split Leather” is used to refer to the lower, fibrous layer of the hide once the top grain surface layer has been removed. Splits are generally stiffer and less suitable for seating areas where flexibility is necessary. On some Leather Furniture splits will be used on areas of furniture that you don’t touch. Splits are also used to create suede.

Allergy proof your home!

We know fabrics can harbor dust mites and allergens, and in the Mayo Clinic’s piece about how to Allergy-proof your house, they write:

“Consider replacing upholstered sofas and chairs with furniture made of leather”

Read the full “Allergy-proof your house” piece on the Mayo Clinic website here

The Arizona Leather Sectional by Leather Trend

The Arizona Leather Sectional by Leather Trend

Leather Furniture is Healthier!

We knew it!

In Prevention® Magazine’s “Healthy Home” series in which they breakdown the best ways to have a healthier home, they recommend a leather sofa for the living room, stating:

“Unlike upholstery, leather and pleather won’t trap allergens, such as dust and pollen, and are easier to wipe clean.”

Read more about how to have a healthy living room in this series from Prevention® Magazine here

The Dexter Leather Sofa at

The Dexter Leather Sofa at

What is the advantage to purchasing leather furniture?

Leather is a beautiful material, but its wide popularity in furniture was not built on appearance alone. Leather is specially tanned, colored and treated to withstand even the most active households.

The Reno Leather Chair

Leather has several properties which make it superior to other upholstery materials. It will not tear or easily rip, even along seam lines, unlike many fabrics used on upholstered sofas. When leather is dyed, it absorbs colors, which won’t fade, or rub off. Leather is fire resistant, and won’t emit toxic fumes, even when exposed to intense heat. Also, modern leather will not crack, or peel; instead it stretches and retains its shape without sagging.

There’s nothing quite like the rich smell and feel of leather. Leather will breathe and assume body temperature rapidly making it comfortable quickly. Leather also ages well, is simple to maintain and doesn’t require any special solvents.

It’s healthier! Fabric can attract allergens and dust mites, but leather does not. Leather is recommended by many experts, including Prevention Magazine® as a healthier alternative for your home.

Leather is a natural product, so each hide’s grain is unique, much like a human fingerprint. Natural markings such as wrinkles, scars and grain variations add character and style to leather furniture, and are indications of its natural origin.

What type of leather is best?

One of the most confusing things when looking for new leather furniture can be all the terminology involved. Here is a breakdown of some of the most pertinent terms used to describe leather.

Antique Roan Artisano Leather by Leather Trend

Antique Roan Artisano Leather by Leather Trend

Full aniline leather gets its name from the type of dyes that are used to produce the leather’s color. Leather hides are soaked and tumbled in large stainless steel drums containing the translucent dye. This dye is absorbed by the pores of the leather and permeates without covering natural markings, or grain variations. Leather hides dyed this way will have variations in the intensity of color because of the simple fact that some hides, or even portions of the same hide, will absorb more dye than others. Surface finish is not applied, and because of this, full aniline leathers are more absorbent, and will age differently than others. Over time, the leather will develop a rich patina finish, giving your leather furniture a natural character and beauty.

Semi-aniline leather is dyed the same way as full aniline leather, but then enters an additional step. The surface of the leather is micro-pigmented to achieve more uniform coloration and create color consistency from hide to hide. Next, a protective topcoat is also applied to provide additional resistance to soiling and fading. There are a wide variety of colors available in semi-aniline leathers and they exhibit much of the softness associated with full aniline leathers.

Corrected Semi-aniline leather are leathers in which naturally occurring imperfections are buffed, or lightly sanded before embossing the surface to achieve a more uniform grain. The dyeing process is the same as semi-aniline leather, however some softness in the leather is sacrificed as a result of the buffing process. These leathers are easy to maintain and have great fade, soil and wear resistance.

Why Should I Buy Leather Furniture Online?

Brentwood Leather Furniture -

The Brentwood Curved Leather Sectional at

The selection at is the biggest advantage to buying your leather furniture online. We’re able to offer more styles than a local showroom and have teamed up with some of the best manufacturers in the business to bring you high quality leather furniture at great prices. All of our leather furniture is delivered by white glove delivery providers that specialize in furniture delivery. Items are picked up factory-direct and pre-inspected by the carriers before being released for delivery to ensure your product arrives in good order. All of our product pages feature detailed descriptions, images, and dimensions. On most styles, you can request a swatch to see just how the leather will look and feel. Our trained representatives are knowledgeable about our leather furniture and can assist you in making the best, informed decision.

Convenience is king with buying leather furniture online. Unlike traditional furniture stores with limited business hours, you can access information at anytime, from anywhere.

Leather Glossary

Understanding Leather Terminology.

At LeatherGroups, we believe that buying leather furniture should be a fun, stress-free experience. With that in mind, we’ve put together a glossary of leather terms in order to make the process more enjoyable and help you to make the best, informed decision.

Leather Glossary

Leathers come in a wide variety of finishes

Aniline Dyed

The preferred method for adding color to leather using non-toxic aniline dyes. This translucent dye does not conceal markings that are part of the natural beauty of leather.


The process by which leather is made to appear aged. Usually done by hand, using techniques such as lubrication and sanding as well as hand staining with aniline dyes.


After deliming the leather, enzymes are used to add softness and flexibility to the hides.


Full grain leather will breathe and adjust to temperature.


Process for correcting leather and eliminating natural imperfections in the grain. Often times light sanding is performed, after which a more consistent grain is embossed on the leather. Buffing is also used to remove the grain to create nubuck or suede.

Chrome Tanning

A tanning process chromium sulfate and other salts of chromium, producing a more supple leather than vegetable tanning.

Combination Tanning

Leather tanned with multiple tanning agents, usually a combination of chrome and vegetable tanning, combining the benefits of both.

Corrected Grain

Leather in which the surface has been sanded, or buffed to remove imperfections, then micro-pigmented and embossed with a more uniform grain texture.


Leather that has been treated to age the appearance.

Eight-Way Hand Tied Coils

Heavy gauge coils which are individually tied to one another from front to back, side to side and diagonally (eight ways) to provide a high level of quality, comfort and durability. An expensive process that can only be done by hand.


The process of applying an artificial uniform grain to the surface of leather after imperfections have been lightly sanded, or buffed out.


Application of any number of effects to leather after tanning, such as aniline dyeing, buffing, embossing, antiquing, distressing, etc.

Full Aniline

Leather which gains all of its color from being tumbled and soaked in large stainless drums with translucent aniline dyes.

Full Top Grain

Considered the best, this is leather which has been aniline dyed, but has not been mechanically altered. Natural characteristics and markings such as scars, barbed wire marks, and wrinkles are left intact and are considered to be what adds character and beauty to premium leather.


Term used to describe the patterned texture, either natural or embossed, on the surface of leather.


Used to describe the feel of softness or fullness of upholstery leather.


The application by hand of a darker color over a lighter color in order to create a unique aged effect.

Leather Match

A lower cost alternative to 100% leather, leather match combines top-grain leather seating with skillfully matched vinyl on the sides and back of the furniture.


The process of softening the hand, or feel, of the leather by tumbling it in a rotating drum.

Natural Markings

Naturally occurring marks on most hides such as wrinkles, scars, scratches, and insect bites. These markings are part of the natural beauty of leather and indicate its natural origin.


Leather in which the grain has been removed by buffing or sanding, which creates a nap, similar to suede. Because the grain is removed, Nubuck is unprotected and more susceptible to staining than other leathers.


Over time, and with use, full aniline leather will absorb moisture and oils forming a rich patina finish, much like a well worn bomber jacket.

Pigmented, or Micro-pigmenting

A type of dye that is rolled, or sprayed onto the finish of leather to provide more uniform color and protection from fading.

Protected Aniline

Aniline dyed leather which has has had the surface micro-pigmented and sealed with a transparent synthetic protective coating.

Pull-Up Leather

Leather that exhibits bursts of lighter color when stretched, or scratched, as a result of the waxes, or oils in the leather.

Pure Aniline

Leather which receives all of its coloration from tumbling and soaking in drums with aniline dyes with no surface pigmentation performed.


An effect achieved by any of several techniques, after which the leather exhibits a two-tone or marbled effect that creates depth to the color of leather.

Sinuous Spring

A sturdy suspension formed from heavy gauge “S-shaped” wires that run front to back, tightly spaced to one another, and secured to the frame.

Split Grain

The bottom layer of a hide after the top grain has been removed. It is also used to create suede.


A process which converts the protein of the raw hide or skin into a stable, non-perishable material. Without tanning, leather would dry into a hard inflexible material.

Top Coat

Application of synthetic, transparent resin as a protective coating. Can be either a high gloss, or matte finish.

Top Grain

Leather hides are split into two layers, with the strongest, most supple part of the hide being the top layer, called “Top Grain”.

Vegetable Tanning

A method of tanning that uses tannins from vegetable matter, such as bark, instead of chromium salts or other compounds.

Vegetable Tannins

Tannins that are extracted from the wood, bark, and leaves of trees and are used during the Vegetable Tanning process.


The thickness of leather, typically given in millimeters.

What are the different types of suspension used in Leather Furniture?

There are several different types of suspensions used in the construction of leather furniture.  We’d like to cover some of the most common for you here:

Drop in Coil Suspension

8 Way Hand-Tied Coil Suspension - Before being tied

8-way Coil Suspension refers to a drop in coil unit with a comfortable yet supportive feel. This suspension type minimizes the load on the frame.
Sinuous Spring Suspension is comprised of S-shaped wires also known as “S coils”, which are fastened with clips and nails to the frame. These “S coils” are aligned every few inches from front to back under the seat cushion, or top to bottom under the seatbacks. This is a durable suspension that provides a somewhat firmer support for your leather furniture.
Pocketed Coils Pocketed coils are inside the bottom seat cushions of some of our leather furniture. These are pocketed coil units, or “marshall” coil units. Each coil is encased in high density, specially designed fabric which is ultrasonically welded to the other encased coils in the unit. These units are used in the seat cushions of our flagship products in addition to 8-way or S coil suspension to enhance support and stability.