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What is the Best Leather for Upholstery

What is the Best Leather for Upholstery

Introduction to leather for upholstery

When it comes to upholstery, selecting the correct type of leather is crucial. The choice of upholstery leather hides determines your furniture's aesthetic appeal and classic look, affecting its durability and maintenance requirements. With so many available options, deciding which leather type best suits upholstery can be overwhelming.

This article will explore the qualities and characteristics of various leather types, helping you choose the best leather for your upholstery projects.

The importance of choosing the right leather for upholstery

Choosing the right leather type for furniture and upholstery is essential as it directly impacts the longevity and appearance of your furniture. Leather upholstery offers a unique combination of luxury, comfort, and durability. By selecting the appropriate leather type, you can ensure that your furniture not only looks stylish but also withstands the test of time.

Factors to consider when choosing upholstery leather hides

When choosing high quality leather for upholstery, several factors should be considered to ensure you choose the perfect material for your specific requirements. Let's explore these factors in detail:


Durability is paramount when it comes to leather for upholstery, as it directly affects the longevity and performance of your furniture. Look for high-quality upholstery hides, such as full grain or top grain leather, that can withstand everyday use. Consider the intended purpose of the furniture piece and choose your leather hides accordingly.

Comfort and feel

The tactile experience of real leather is a crucial aspect to consider. Sit on furniture upholstered in different leather types to determine the comfort level and feel of real leather that suits your preferences. For example, some leathers may be softer and suppler, while others may have a firmer texture. Ultimately, choose the highest quality real leather that provides the desired level of comfort and luxuriousness.

Color and finish

The colour and finish of the leather hide also play a significant role in the overall aesthetic appeal of leather furniture. Consider your space's colour scheme and décor when selecting the leather colour. Additionally, decide whether you prefer a natural finish that showcases pure leather's unique characteristics or a more pigmented leather finish that offers uniformity and added protection.


Different types of leather require varying levels of maintenance. For example, natural leather is more susceptible to stains, scratches, or fading. Therefore, it is essential for you to understand the care instructions and maintenance requirements of your chosen types of leather. Regular cleaning, conditioning, and protection measures will help prolong the life of natural leather in your upholstery and maintain its beauty.

What type of leather is best for upholstery?

When determining the best type of leather for upholstery, though, it largely depends on your preferences, budget, and specific requirements. Full grain and top grain hides are generally considered the best options for quality and durability. They offer a luxurious feel, develop a rich, natural patina over time, and have excellent longevity. However, they can be more expensive than corrected grain, split, or bonded leather.

If budget constraints are a significant consideration, corrected grain leathers, top grain hides, or split leathers can be viable alternatives. While they may not possess the same natural characteristics and durability as full grain or top corrected grain leathers, they can still provide satisfactory results at a more affordable price.

Types of leather finishing for upholstery

Choosing a suitable material is crucial when it comes to upholstery for new furniture. Leather upholstery has always been popular due to its durability, elegance, and timeless appeal. However, not all leather furniture upholstery is created equal. Different grades of leather furniture upholstery are available in the market, each with unique characteristics and qualities. In this article, we will explore the various grades of leather for upholstery, shedding light on their features, benefits, and why they are worth considering.

Full grain leather

Full grain leather is widely regarded as the highest quality leather for upholstery. It is made from the hide's top layer, which retains unprotected leather's natural grain and imperfections, giving it a distinct and authentic look. In addition, this type of leather develops a rich patina over time, making it even more appealing. Full grain upholstery hide is known for its strength and durability, as it retains the original fibres of the animal hide. It is also breathable and comfortable, ensuring a luxurious seating experience.

Top grain leather

Top grain leather is another popular choice for upholstery. It is derived from the top layer of the hide, but unlike pigmented leather, it undergoes a different finishing process, sanding or buffing, to remove imperfections.

This leather is still durable and offers good wear and tear resistance, resulting in a more uniform appearance and a smoother texture. It is also more stain-resistant than other hides, making it easier to maintain. Combining durability and refined aesthetics, top grain leather balances quality and affordability.

Corrected grain leather

Corrected grain leather is a type of leather that has undergone extensive processing to remove imperfections and blemishes. This leather is sanded down during manufacturing, and an artificial grain is embossed onto the polymer surface coating, a protective leather coating. This creates a uniform appearance and hides any natural marks or flaws. In addition, it is often covered with a protective layer, enhancing its resistance to stains and fading. As a result, it offers a more cost-effective option without compromising durability.

Split grain leather

Split grain leather is derived from the lower layers of the hide, obtained by splitting the hide into two layers. The top layer is used for full grain or top grain faux leather, while the bottom layer is processed to create split leather. It is less durable and needs the natural grain of full-grain faux leather sofas or top grain faux leather elsewhere. It is often used in suede production, where the flesh side of buy leather is buffed to create a soft and velvety texture. While split leather may be more affordable, it is less wear and tear-resistant than faux leather and may require more frequent maintenance.

Bonded leather

Bonded leather, also known as reconstituted leather, combines leftover leather scraps with a bonding agent. It is then processed and embossed to resemble genuine leather. Bonded leather is more affordable than synthetic fabrics but needs more durability and longevity than synthetic fabrics or other leather grades. However, it is essential to note that bonded genuine leather may contain only a tiny percentage of actual leather, mostly synthetic materials. Therefore, while it may resemble genuine leather, it does not possess the same characteristics or quality as genuine leather hides.

Aniline leather

Aniline dyes leather is known for its luxurious appearance, uniform colour and natural texture. It is pigmented leather dyed using transparent dyes that penetrate the surface of unprotected leather, enhancing its durability. Pure aniline leather has a fine pigmented spray which coats the leather. This light pigment coating results in a smooth covering with no colour variations within the hide.

However, aniline leather requires regular maintenance and may be susceptible to stains. Proper care can offer a good balance of durability and aesthetics. The best leather for chairs, furniture, and sofas of the most used leather for furniture and sofa upholstery is pigmented leather, which is flexible and resistant to scratches and stains.

Nubuck leather

Nubuck undergoes additional buffing to create a soft, velvet-like surface. It is durable and resistant to wear but may require more maintenance to keep it looking its best. Nubuck semi-aniline and aniline leather offer a luxurious feel and can be an excellent choice for those seeking a unique texture.


Choosing the most durable leather for your furniture is crucial for long-lasting beauty and functionality. Full grain, natural origin semi-aniline leather and top grain are top contenders regarding durability and natural beauty. Corrected grain, pure or semi-aniline leather, and nubuck leather are excellent options depending on your preferences and maintenance abilities for leather sofas.

Although less durable, split leather is suitable for specific applications such as suede. Bonded leather is the most affordable option and lacks the durability and authenticity of genuine top grain or semi-aniline leather.

🔗 Shop the best leather for upholstery

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need a better understanding of the regular use of various leather types and grades for leather upholstery, products or leather furniture. Then, we can help you choose the right leather, the perfect leather that enhances your leather furniture's aesthetics and longevity.

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