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11 facts you need to know about leather furniture

Leather furniture holds an important place in the echelon of our favourite designer classics. The Barcelona chair and daybed and Eames lounge chair and ottoman, for instance, are admired by design enthusiasts around the world for their quality workmanship.

Known for its elegant yet tough quality, leather's durability and low-maintenance needs make it a popular option. Here are some facts you should know about the beloved leather:


(design: Design Rebirth)

  • Leather doesn't generate heat - One misconception about leather is that it can feel "hot" on the skin, especially after you sit on it for a while. Truth is, leather doesn't generate heat. Since it is a natural material, it "breathes" and only warms up to one's body temperature, staying cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold.
  • High-quality leather is very porous - This makes it cooling to sit on, contrary to popular belief (refer to first point). 
  • It's easy to clean - Due to its non-absorbent character, leather is easy to clean and therefore a recommended option for those with dust-allergies. You also don't have to worry about spills.
  • It is durable - In fact, it is four times more durable than fabric, with a pH level close to human skin.
  • It takes three hides of an adult animal to make one leather sofa.


(image: Beefbar)

  • Leather repels smells from cigarettes and cigars - This makes them a popular option for gentlemen's clubs. 
  • The animal's origin determines its quality - Hides from animals living in the Southern hemisphere are widely available, and tend to show more blemishes and defects. Consequently, they also have to be manually altered and repaired, and are not as supple. Hides from the Northern hemisphere, where climates are cooler, are less abundant but typically better in quality.
  • Different parts of the animal vary in characteristics - Certain parts of the hide are more suitable for use as upholstery. Most leather sofa producers perfer the back and bottom parts of the hide as they have the most tightly packed fibres. 
  • Genuine leather isn't perfect - It is normal for them to have scars, insect bites, wrinkles and veining. Some parts can also be darker than the rest. Older animals tend to feature pronounced marks in the neck area and subtle bands across the hide. 
  • Discolouration of leather is caused by sunlight - or a heat source such as aircons! 
  • Leather is prone to absorbing body oil - This can stain the leather and weaken the fibres. Look out for areas with the most contact, such as the backrest and seats. Find out how to maintain your leather furniture here.
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