Buying Leather Furniture: Initial Qualities to Consider

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leather furniture initial qualities

Doing your research before purchasing any kind of fine furniture is naturally important, and especially if you’re considering certain specialty materials or related areas. A good example here: Leather furniture, which can be found in several different common home areas, but should also be closely considered during both the purchasing and initial care stages.

At Guild Hall Home Furnishings, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of home furnishings to our clients, including many forms of living room furniture, family room furniture and others that include leather. In this two-part blog series, we’ll begin by going over some initial qualities of a leather furniture piece to consider before purchasing it; in part two next time, we’ll look at some simple tips on caring for leather furniture once you own it. Read on!


When you hear the term “graining” surrounding leather and furniture, it refers to the appearance of a piece’s surface. The graining itself is something that you can see when looking closely at a leather material; it will often have either minimal variation or dramatic level differences, depending on the type of animal that was used in its production.

Some people prefer a more subtle graining in their leather furniture, and you should look for it if that’s what you prefer. A piece with more intense graining will be slightly thicker and heavier, while one with a finer grain tends to look smoother.

Is it Bonded?

In other cases, you might see leather referred to as “bonded leather.” Bonded leather is a high-quality type of leather that’s especially durable, and it’s known to work in high-traffic areas such as home offices, bars and more. It’s also the type of leather that works best in humid environments like bathrooms or kitchens.

Dyed or Pigmented?

Your leather may also be dyed or pigmented. What do each of these mean?

  • Dyed leather: Dyed leather refers to a leather piece that’s colored with dyes only. It will generally be a more consistent color than a pigmented piece, and it has the advantage of being more flexible over time; on the other hand, it also tends to show scratches more easily.
  • Pigmented: Pigmented pieces are treated with a pigmentation coating, which is what makes them more consistent with color, but also less flexible than dyed leather. They’re often more resistant to staining as well, though they tend to be a bit stiffer than some other types of leather.


Another type of leather that’s used in furniture is split leather, which refers to the lower layers of hide that don’t include the outermost grain. Since these pieces are softer, they’re often used as upholstery for seating furniture; on the other hand, a full-grain piece (which includes more of that original layer) can be more durable and hold color better. Knowing the differences here will help you decide which type of leather to go with for your new furniture choices.

In part two of our series, we’ll go over some basics on cleaning and caring for leather furniture. For more on this, or to learn about any of our fine furniture options, speak to our staff at Guild Hall Home Furnishings today.