Upholstery Leather India - Ultimate Guide (2018)

Posted by Ravi Mittal 25/03/2018 0 Comment(s)

Upholstery Leather in India: Ultimate Guide (2018)

Nothing gives the richness and splendour to your living space better than exquisite upholstery leather. Its elegance and lustre are that much captivating, making you feel elevated to its intrinsic beauty. Maybe you have a style or taste of your own, but to have a majestic look; you need to get real leather around you in most furnishings (for example: leather for sofa). Being a prized commodity and a target of frequent price wars, upholstery leather has become more creative in today’s global market, evolving a wide range of leather types and qualities. But, selecting one befitting your wallet and aesthetics, either by its finish, color, strength, or scent, is not an easy task as it seems. Getting more familiar with your leather is the only feasible way of knowing what you’re buying and in this guide we will talk about everything related to Upholstery leather and how you can find the best leather for sofas.

Upholstery Leather in India

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Upholstery Leather?
  2. Different types of Upholstery Leather with their characteristics & features
  3. Italian Leather and its merits
  4. How to check the quality of the leather? (The Leather Test)  
  5. Pros and Cons of Upholstery Leather
  6. Which Leather to Buy for What Kind of Furniture?
  7. Upholstery Leather Colors
  8. Buying Leather Upholstery
  9. How much leather do you need for the sofa or any other furniture?
  10. General Leather Care and Cleaning
  11. How to Repair Leather Furniture?

1. What is Upholstery Leather

As you already know, leather is truly natural and is the most durable upholstery material ever known to mankind. The world has been using it for thousands of years, in several forms and applications. It’s an intricate network of fibers, rendering magnificence and robustness. Precisely, leather is unique like your own fingerprints.

What is Upholstery Leather

It’s possible you may find the grain and the markings on leather diverse and in varying amounts. And most often, the manufacturers may develop typical proprietary terms to indicate strength and resilience, even if the material has nothing to do with real leather. The result is you get confused with leather names and qualities evermore in making your choice. The purpose of this guide is to help you overcome such baffling situations.

Ultimate Guide of Upholstery Leather in India

2. Different types of Upholstery Leather

Before going deep into the various aspects of leather, you need to know upholstery leather involves a few classifications, according to how it is tanned, treated, and finished. Let us get acquainted with each one of them so that it becomes easier for you in identifying them.

Also read: Online Fabrics in India: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide (2018)

1. Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is light and flexible and looks like real skin with a more natural visible surface than its counterparts. It can be colored only with dyes, and not by coating the surface with polymers and pigments. It does not undergo any extra processing and finishing that spoil the hide’s naturally soft feel, and that makes Aniline the most supple leather, you can find.

Aniline Leather

Aniline denotes a dyeing process that permeates color into leather, without hurting its natural surface. It is a carbon-based chemical dye, blended with other substances to make it transparent, and capable of producing different colors, without changing the grain pattern or the natural beauty of the leather. The color does not fade at all, as it is added when leather exhibits maximum absorbency, while tanning. Pure aniline leather has no finish coat, while others may have a protective coating.

The appearance of aniline leather is optimized by applying a light surface coating to resist spillages and soiling. The natural markings, such as growth marks, fat wrinkles, bug bites, and healed scars are a few elements that give a great appeal to this leather.

Characteristics and features:

  • Drum dyed with soluble transparent dyes
  • A surface is not covered with the topcoat paint
  • Retains natural surface of the hide (markings and color variations)
  • Has the original skin structure of the animal
  • Average hide-size: 5.0m2
  • Thickness: 1.0 – 1.2 mm
  • Warms to human body temperature quickly
  • Soft and flexible
  • Develops patina with age and use
  • Needs regular cleaning in heavy traffic areas
  • Requires more preventative maintenance
  • Has a porous nature
  • Fades in the sun
  • Prone to stains
  • Classifications: Natural, Pure, and Unprotected

Overall appearance:Aniline has a rich look and feel, but has no protective coating. The finishes allow you to see the natural leather markings on its surface

How to identify:Aniline is easily prone to scratches. Sprinkle a little water on the top of the leather. It will get absorbed into the leather, leaving a dark color and then dry back to retain its natural color. Check the manufacturer’s brown tag and the label “A” to confirm it is Aniline.

2. Semi-aniline Leather

Semi-aniline Leather

The semi-aniline has the same tanning process of aniline, except that the color covers only its surface and does not permeate through, revealing the hide’s natural features. This leather, being vulnerable to fading, is not suitable for rough use.

The semi-aniline leather is stronger than the aniline leather and has a natural appearance with a minimal exterior coating of pigment. It is processed by aniline-dyeing, initially, and then applying a little amount of protective topcoat that may sometimes provide added color.

Though it is supposed to be stain resistant and color stable, it is still prone to staining and fading to a small extent. You can see the natural markings all the way through the surface coating. However, its color is more uniform than the aniline and is more protected.

Characteristics and features:

  • Drum dyed leather with light pigments and protective finish
  • Retains natural features of leather
  • Highly durable
  • Compatible with high traffic areas
  • Less soft and flexible than the pure and pull up aniline leathers
  • Retains steady surface texture for a long time
  • Quickly warms to body temperature
  • Can be tailored and molded into different furniture shapes

The Semi-aniline has a great look and feel, but maintaining it is a difficult task, as it lacks a protective coating and gets easily stained.

Overall appearance: Semi-Aniline has a smooth and grained finish. The grain pattern is similar to that of the “Protected” leather, except that the pattern is small. The finish is Matte to Semi-Gloss.

How to identify: Place a water drop on the surface of the leather. It will remain there for a while and then get absorbed into the leather, leaving a dark shade.

3. Pigmented Leather

Pigmented Leather

The pigmented or protected leather has a heavy polymer covering and is the most durable one. It is deprived of its natural appearance, due to the added colors, and has no top-grain limitations.

Usually, it is buffed for eliminating the defects in the hides and stamped onto the artificial grain. Though the pigmented leather does not have the original lush feel of aniline, it always retains a lavish look of color and texture. This kind of leather is mostly used in furniture and automobile upholsteries.

Pigmented leather indicates the hide has a surface coating finish that prevents absorption of substances, like dirt and liquids that could stain the leather. Here, the hide’s surface is pigmented with opaque finish materials, displaying its original qualities.

Since the dye is close to the hide’s surface, it will become vulnerable to scratches. Over time, the leather finish needs dyeing again, if you want a new look of the leather.

Characteristics and features:

  • Has a light glossy surface
  • New leather has a matt finish
  • Dirt makes the surface shiny
  • Drum dyed full grain leather
  • Thickly pigmented with protective finish
  • Even color and texture
  • Natural marks, like scars, growth marks, and stretches not visible
  • Outstanding durability
  • Stable surface texture for a long time
  • Different color patterns
  • Water repellent
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Requires re-dyeing to make it fresh
  • Easy to clean
  • Excellent for furniture making

Overall appearance: The protected leather has a smooth and grained finish. The grain pattern may be small and varying, according to the leather design. The finish can be anything from a “Matte” to “Semi-Gloss”.

How to identify: When a drop of water is placed on the leather surface, the droplet will bead up.

4. Pull-up Aniline (Full Grain)

Pull-up Aniline (Full Grain)

The Pull-up aniline leather is drum dyed, but does not have any pigments on its surface. However, the leather surface keeps a top coat of oil or wax effects, displaying a weathered look. It exhibits the natural features of original skin surface with its inherent pores, wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars. Color variations are seen from hide to hide, and also within a hide. It is very soft and flexible, and warms to your body temperature fast. The pull-up aniline leather requires your constant care.

Characteristics and features:

  • Drum dyed full grain leather
  • No pigment on the surface
  • Has a top coat of oil or wax effects
  • Displays a ‘distressed look’
  • Exhibits color variations, scars, growth marks, fat wrinkles, and the like
  • Needs regular care
  • Readily warms to body temperature
  • Very soft and supple
  • Attractive patina and dynamic with age and use

Aniline Wax Pull-Up leather furniture

The Pull-up leather is mostly used in furniture making, as it is durable and easy to maintain, though it is susceptible to scratches.

Overall appearance: The Pull-up leather has a distinct “finished” look, and displays a heavier feel than the unprotected leather. It also has a separate patterned effect.

How to identify: Place a water drop on the leather surface. The water will “bead up” and remain there. After a few minutes, the droplet will be absorbed into the leather, creating a dark spot.

Another way to identify this type of leather is to scrape gently on it with your fingernail. A light scratch will appear which can be removed, by applying a leather conditioner for top coated leather. Rubbing the conditioner over the scratched area will replace the disturbed wax or oils of the leather.

Nubuck and Suede

There is not much noticeable difference between Nubuck and Suede, except that Suede is generally produced from split leather, while Nubuck is made only from grain leather. Let’s have a closer look at them.

5. Nubuck

Nubuck Leather

The Nubuck is a Top-grain drum dyed aniline leather, having its surface buffed to give a fine, suede like appearance. This leather is awfully soft and lush, and is stronger than the suede. It displays all of the natural features of skin, such as scars, stretch marks, and the like.

The Nubuck is vulnerable to fading and soiling, and has a tendency to grow an aged patina sooner or later. The leather needs regular care and a protective coating, making it a liquid repellent. This sort of leather is not at all recommended for areas where the traffic is high.

The Nubuck leather surface undergoes a buffing process to give it a feel of suede, but with only poor durability. It can be identified from others, through the manufacturer’s blue tag that has a label “N”.

Characteristics and features:

  • Drum dyed aniline leather
  • Surface grain is buffed
  • Has a protective coating to repel liquids
  • Needs regular care
  • Suede like finish
  • Created by the sanding process
  • Color variation from hide to hide
  • Displays scars, growth marks, bug bites, etc.
  • More prone to soiling and spillage
  • Not fit for heavy traffic areas
  • Cost is comparatively very high
  • Durability is good
  • Low fragility

Overall appearance: Has a brushed surface on the grain side of the leather. The texture is velvety. Has a more uniform appearance.

How to identify: Very soft to the touch. It will scratch very easily, Absorbs water drops and darkens the spot initially. It will return to its original color on drying.

6. Suede

Suede Leather

Suede is made from the base of the skin of animals, like cow, goat, and deer, and is softer and more flexible than their outer flesh layer. Desired leather thickness is achieved through sanding. Suede has a great feel, but less durable as compared to other leather.

The softness and pliability of suede, make it fit only for delicate uses. Because of the nature of its texture and open pores, the suede has a great affinity to dirt and liquids. When manufacturers make suede, they usually take the grain out in one piece. Thereafter they grind the surface of the skin, so that it features a consistent texture and thickness.

Characteristics and features:

  • Less durable
  • Very soft, thin, and pliable
  • Has a porous surface
  • Has a signature velvety feel
  • Created by the sanding process
  • Suitable only for delicate uses
  • Has a protective coat
  • Provides excellent finish
  • Absorbent to body oils and soiling
  • Difficult to clean
  • An inside out-leather (the hide’s inner surface is the suede’s exterior surface)
  • Needs brushing to maintain the shape of nap

Overall appearance: Has a brushed surface on the grain side of the leather. The texture is velvety.

How to identify: Very soft to touch. It will scratch very easily. Absorbs water drops and darkens the spot initially. It will return to its original color on drying.

7. Top-grain Leather

The top grain hide is smooth and glossy, and is the most natural leather suitable for high quality furniture upholstery. It comes from the outmost top surface layer of a cowhide, and is graded either as aniline or as semi-aniline.

The top grains are the strongest part of the hides and cherish the original skin surface with its inborn pores, wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars. They do not need any major processing, and are softer to be utilized in their most natural form. The Minimally processed and the Semi corrected-grain leathers are the two different types of top grain leather.

Top-grain Leather

Characteristics and features:

  • Second highest grade
  • Smooth, soft and glossy
  • Strong and durable
  • Split from the top layer of blemished hide
  • Sanded and refinished
  • Does not age with use
  • Contains 12-14% water
  • Acclimates fast to body temperature
  • Has natural skin surface

Overall appearance: Smooth, supple, and natural.

How to identify: Top-grain leather is soft and displays natural character. It will become wrinkly, under pressure, just like a real skin. Smells like skin. Place a very tiny piece of the leather over a flame for 5-10 seconds. It will smell like burnt hair.

8. Corrected Grain Leather

Corrected Grain Leather

Corrected grain leathers are top grains treated with more chemicals and colors, as well as buffing, to get rid of the original texture and imperfections. The surface of the hide is then embossed with a faux grain, so that the tanneries become rough. This process converts the top grain into beautiful pigmented leather that is robust and uniform in look, with a great finish.

Corrected leather is consistent in texture and its price is comparatively low. Due to its excellent sturdiness, the corrected grain leather is mostly used in recreational rooms and other places that need durability.

Characteristics and features:

  • Drum dyed leather
  • Natural grain removed and pigment layered
  • Has a protective coating with uniform finish
  • Exceptional durability
  • Wide range of color palette
  • Easy to clean
  • Needs regular care
  • Creates a consistent look and texture

Overall appearance: The surface grain is partially removed.

How to identify: Scratch the surface with your fingernail. If it is corrected grain leather you won’t see a scratch. Place a drop of water on it. The water will not be absorbed.

9. Split Leather

Split Leather

Split leather is the lower layer of the fibrous part of a hide, underneath the top grain, obtained after separating the top-grain and drop split of the rawhide. During the tanning process, it is essential to reduce the thickness of the hide to the desired level, to meet the requirement of the upholstered products. To facilitate this, the drop split is again separated into a middle split and a flesh split, if thickness still remains.

In solid hides, such as the hind portion of animals, the middle split is divided further into multiple layers, until the hide becomes thin. This is real leather, but lacks the natural surface and strength of top-grain leather, due to the differences in the tanning processes.

The surface of the split leather is treated with pigments and stamped with an artificial layer, embossing a leather grain onto it. Quality suede is generally developed from grain or flesh splits, after shaving them to the preferred thickness.

Characteristics and features:

  • Softer
  • Imitates higher-quality leather
  • Does not retain suppleness over time
  • Average wearing time 10 years
  • Cost less than other leathers.
  • 90% usable and less than 10% wastage

Overall appearance: Has suede like appearance and is not strong.

How to identify: Not water resistant. It lacks the marks of natural leather.

10. By-Cast Leather

By-Cast Leather

These leathers are similar to protected leather. It is the most inexpensive leather. By-Cast Leather is made in sheet form, using leather scraps and adhesives. It has a top coating of PU that colors and conceals the underlying material, making it stain proof.

Overall appearance: It has a smooth, grained finish, which varies according to the leather designs. The grain pattern is very small, and the finish is “Semi-Gloss” to “Glossy”.

How to identify: Place a water drop on the leather surface. The water will “bead up” and remain there. By-cast leather will display a stiffer and harder feel. It will neither bend, nor fold. The finish will tend to peel.

Now, having learned about the different types of leather and how to identify them, let’s have a brief look at Italian leather, which is known to be the best leather produced in the world.

3. Italian Leather and Its merits

Italians have been producing leather for thousands of years and their leather is regarded as superior among all other leathers. It is because they procure only the best hides of cow, lamb, and other bovines, for making leather, and that too after making repeated quality checks.

Most of the Italian leather is Full-grain taken from the best raw hides, without any sanding or removing imperfections. These leathers are the strongest, and as they age, they provide a beautiful sheen. Due to their unique quality, the cost of Italian leather is six times the price of the other quality leathers.

Italian Leather

The tanning techniques of Italian craftsmen are special, and are closely protected, being passed down over generations. Since the leather is handmade, it takes longer to produce them.

The natural vegetable and plant based dyes, applied in the tanning process, give their leather a consistent, durable, and long-lasting effect. It is their commitment in using these conventional dyes and tanning methods, as well as their traditional craftsmanship, makes the country the world’s leading leather manufacturers.

Vegetable tanning

Vegetable tanned leathers were instrumental in the development of human civilization, through its trading in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India. The trade guilds of the European Middle Ages retained the secrets of the tanning process, making them the tanning masters. Yet, the present tanning process has transformed into a combination of traditional and modern tanning techniques, leading to the production of more refined leathers.

Likewise, the production technique of Italian vegetable tanned leather was inherited from Egypt, Rome, and Greece in circa 1500 B.C. Italy still cherishes the tradition. Italy’s vegetable tanning process involves using the natural tannins to provide the leathers with a distinct color and identity. These tannins convert the protein structures of the hides into a more durable and enduring leather. Normally, an Italian tannery takes up to 40 days for tanning and drying the leathers, in order to get the desired quality.

Merits of Italian leather

The Italian hides are not treated with a heavy coating of pigments. Because of this, the leather acquires a beautiful hand feel, though it still retains a small blemish or scar. The surface of the leather is usually uneven, making it more natural. This sort of leather will become gorgeous over time and start developing a rich patina.

Why is Italian leather so special?

Italian leather is one of the most classical ways to produce leather through the process of vegetable tanning. Vegetable tanning involves using natural tannins found in the inner layers of tree bark that's extracted and mixed with tanning recopies to give leather it's distinct color and personality. 

The goal is to alter raw protein structures of animal hides into something more durable and long-lasting. Compared to other processes that involve chemicals, vegetable tanning is known for it's natural process and craftsmanship. If often takes a tannery up to 40 days to lime, soak, dye, and dry the leathers before it's sent around the world to be manufactured into shoes, bags, or accessories like wallets.

Italian vs Indian leather 

Indian leather

Italian leather tends to be considered of the very high quality. Mostly, just because the climate and growing conditions are more suited for growing a healthier hide. In Italy, cattle are often grown specifically for hiding whereas, in India, it is a byproduct of the beef industry.

Italian cows grown specifically for leather are kept very carefully as even the slightest cut from a piece of barb wire can mar the hide. They are also fed and housed differently from beef cattle. The leather from beef cattle is more of a salvage operation. 

4. How to check the quality of the leather? (The Leather Test)

The best way to know whether an upholstery material is made of leather, you just poke the back or jab the seat of the furniture with your finger. If many rivulets spring up from the finger's indent, it is real leather. Materials that are not leather will never generate such marks. Additionally, you can subject the material to the following test.

Magnifying-glass test: Look at the material/leather through a magnifying glass. It will reveal what sort of finish is applied to the leather.

Water-absorption test: This test will help you identify whether your leather is cleanable or has the quality of the finish on it.

Visual test: Real leather has natural markings and color.

Touch test: Feel the leather. If there is softness, smoothness, and grain pattern you can confirm it as real leather.

The Common Sense Test:

Suppose, the design you fancied is made up of a single large continuous piece, or has unusually large panels, then you can confirm the leather is not a real one, as no bovine animals are that much bigger to yield such wide hides. Normally, the length of the largest hide is about 90-99 inches, and the usable length is only around 72 inches (52″ W x 72″ L).

Identifying Quality Upholstery Leather

Quality leather will give you years of comfort. It is up to you to select the leather to fulfill your expectations and enjoyment. While doing so, you must not expect the sales person or your designer telling you, this leather would stain or that one would fade and tear. The problem is, no one could fully assure you how long each fabric you find in leather form, would last.

Likewise, you cannot take it as granted, when the vendors say how easily a leather can be cleaned or how convenient it can be repaired. Vast differences exist in the price, quality, flexibility, and durability, and assessing them is more a task for you, as even most of the salespersons are less conversant with leather types, finishes, and other lots. To alleviate the situation, you need to get informed about the quality elements of leather.

The present times are the days of globalization, and everything that relates to production, ends up in outsourcing. Leather upholstery is not at all an exception to this. Most often, a leather company may outsource their production, thinking they are using only quality leather, and they pay for the same to the outsourced factories. It may happen that the factories are buying cheap leather, instead of quality leather, and send their products to the company. Not knowing about the cheating, the company people might accept them as genuine leather products. Who is to blame?

The bottom line of it is that you may find it hard in telling the difference when you see a painted or a sewed corner. This does not mean that it is the case with all. There are quality leather companies, who finish the edges, giving their leather a refined look.

Quality leather mark

Leather markings are natural and do not affect the durability of leather. There are seven such markings on leather. They are the graining, branding, neck wrinkles, scratches, urine burns, and the backbone.

Checking the leather quality

Graining is distinct to individual hides, like your fingerprints, and that determines the quality of full-grain leather hides, whereas the hide’s branding marks will disappear when the hide takes the form of finished furniture. The neck wrinkles are formed naturally in the hides when an animal stretches and contracts its neck.

Checking the leather quality

The scratch marks you see are clues how the cow has been reared, and if such marks are fewer, the hide becomes more expensive. The urine burns are nothing but the acidic burns on the leg portions of the full hides. If the natural furrows are seen along the hide’s backbone area, it is a proof the leather is real Full-grain. Similarly, the stretch marks formed, during calving of the animal, will tell the genuineness of the hide.

Leather identification chart

5. Pros and Cons of Upholstery Leather

There are several reasons why most consumers prefer buying leather upholstery over other materials. One reason is it becoming a synonym for luxury and a higher price. Therefore, before making your purchase, it is better to learn more about the pros and cons of leather and the other fibres, to decide how they suit your lifestyle.

Pros of upholstery leather

Cons of upholstery leather

1. Real leather is considered an extravagance and its possession is a matter of prestige for many people. It is expensive and has a better resale value, as there is no significant depreciation. Real leather acclimates quickly, has a distinct smell, and becomes softer when it ages.

1.Real leather furniture is costlier than any fabric upholstery. When exposed to  sun  for a long time, real leather will lose  color , due to fading. Since it is an animal product, most vegetarians may shun it. Leather material is tanned, and so it will split and crack, when compared to the fabrics.  Leather  is harder and is less comfortable. It may stick to your  body,  if the air is warm and humid. In cold, you feel it chilly to the touch.

2. The fabric is cheaper than real leather and is available in any  color  and texture. The cost of repairing it is very low, and replacing a damaged one is not expensive. It has a great appeal that attracts fashion designers, who want to try new ideas. Fabric upholsteries can be cleaned and maintained  easily,  and is less vulnerable to fading in UV light. Lastly, it does not use any animal products.

2. The fabric is cheaper, and as  such  you cannot boast about it, honestly. Most of the fabric materials do not  acclimate,  and will cause discomfort on your skin. The fabric is difficult to clean, as it absorbs stains and  odors , and is prone to dust mites, and other pests. Fabrics easily absorb substances to generate bad smells, and over time they get cracks along the stress points. Overall, fabric materials are  non-biodegradable,  and are harmful to the environment.

6. Which Leather to Buy for What Kind of Furniture?

Do you want to buy some stylish, comfortable furniture, which improves with age? Then go for leather, and invest in it, so that your furniture remains durable, colorful, and trendy. However, make sure that you have a flexible budget to make it easier for you to grab your choice. It is because when you buy a high quality furniture, above 60% of its cost is shared by leather alone.

Falling in love with your choice and then making a poor decision may not be wise, so, you need to set your priorities in choosing your furniture. It is vital for you to imagine how long you want your chair or sofa to last and how it should look like. The type you select must reflect the amount of traffic your furniture is going to take and reveal how you are going to use it in your home.

Pure aniline leathers are very expensive, luxurious, and need special maintenance. Therefore, selecting home furniture that has a protective coating and requiring your least care is always good. For high traffic areas, such as dining room chairs and stools, you can settle with bonded leather, as they are both durable and sleek.

Even so, if you care for the soft feel and beauty of leather, and more of the hide’s natural markings, while expecting only moderate use, it is wise you pick up Aniline leather for your sofa and loveseats. Choose Semi-aniline, provided you want to cherish the softness and texture of leather, despite having frequent use, as in the case of chairs.

The Nubuck will adore your home, if you have enough provisions for maintenance and care, whereas, Full-grain and Pigmented leather are the best ones for making tough and durable furniture. If there are children and pets in your house, these two leather types will not create problems for you, as they can remain looking great and long-lasting.

7. Upholstery Leather Colors

Selecting the right colors for your upholstery is a daunting task, because you know it will determine how your furniture makes the much wanting aesthetic look, which you have been nurturing in mind. The color should suit your general mood, while leaving a long standing impression on your friends, guests or clients about your attitude and outlook on everything around you. It should be harmonizing the nature in your office or home, bringing the desired charm and tranquility.

Brighter colors might provide a cheerful atmosphere to any room, but warm color tones can excel in giving a relaxing atmosphere. You may also want to assure yourself that you are choosing patterns and colors you love; because it is this furniture you are going to see every day in your life, afterwards. Take caution: an error in selecting your pattern and color can bring havoc in your peaceful life. The choice is yours!

Common colour options

White is clean and pure. Check whether the upholstery has a stain-resistance rating, and if not confirm its viability for cleaning or bleaching.

Cream offers flexibility. It can adapt to any environment, such as navy, red, or gray.

Tan or camel is warmly neutral and works well with blues, black, red, tartan, and monsoon colors.

Brown is classic and makes a style of its own in any space, whether it is home, office, or workplace.

Light Gray will be a delight against the wood tones or white walls.

True Gray has a great affinity to merge with black and white, creating a pleasing design.

Muted colors

Soft blues, greens, and the like are Nature inspired, making you a pro-environmentalist. Stay away from violent colors, such as red, yellow, and other hot colors that clash, you want to change the look at times.

8. Buying Leather Upholstery

Watch this video to learn how to buy leather for upholstery

Leather upholsteries offer a wide range of styles and prices, and determining which one is the best for you depends on your need and affordability. When making a decision, you must remain assured that a durable leather upholstery does not always mean it is an expensive one. Also, keep in mind, the costliest among all leathers is the full-grain, which is the least processed natural leather.

Leather Thickness/Weight

Generally, leather thickness is measured millimeter (mm) and weight in kilograms or grams.

Conversion from Running Metre to Sq. ft

Leather is commonly measured in square feet. If you know how much fabric is required on furniture then it is very easy to convert metre into other sqft, the following steps are helpful.

Pattern measurement:

1m of 54" fabric = 1.37 sq mt
1 sq mt = 10.76 sqft
So 1m of fabric = 1.37×10.76 = 14.75 sqft
Add 35% to it = 5.16 sqft
Therefore, the total leather required = 14.75+5.16 = 19.91 sq. ft. say 20 sqft for 1 meter fabric of 54 inch width.
(The addition of 35% is to adjust wastage, imperfections, holes, and loss in cutting).

Therefore, a project estimate that calls for 6 meters is 6×20=120 sq. ft. When it is converted into square meters, the result will be (120/10.76) = 11.15 sq. m.

9. How much leather do you need for the sofa or any furniture?

How Much Leather You Need for a Furniture?

From the below-given furniture quantity guide, you may know the quantity of leather you want to buy for making furniture of your choice. Though the charts carry measurements in meters and feet, The chart gives you rough estimate about the sizing.

Leather for sofa and furniture (Quantity Guide)

Leather furniture sizing Chart

10. General Leather Care, Cleaning and Repair of Leather Furniture

Leather is a natural product, and in spite of its durability, it can become prone to scratches, stain, wrinkle, and stretch. The finish can dwindle from prolonged nearness to any chemicals, including hair gels, hair sprays, skin lotions, and cloth dyes. It is wise to take preventative measures to see that your furniture will remain the same for a lifetime. The following precautions will help you with this.

Leather care:

  • Do not keep leather in the sun.
  • Keep a distance of 80cm between the source of heat and furniture.
  • Keep sharp objects away from leather.
  • Always keep your leather clean and dust free.
  • Wipe off the spillages immediately without rubbing it hard.
  • Avoid using oil or solvent based chemicals on the surface of leather.
  • Use distilled water to damp the cloth for cleaning.
  • Do not dry the soaked parts with a hair dryer.
  • Apply relevant leather cream to aniline, semi-aniline, and protected-leather finishes.
  • Treat high-stress areas with more cream to keep them soft.
  • Use only recommended products for your furniture finish.

11. How to Repair Leather Furniture?

Leather is an organic product, and furniture made out of it is quite expensive. Sometimes, despite your regular caring, some wear and tear can happen to them, leaving you wondering how to restore them back to their original style and look.

Don’t worry! You can easily repair many of such scratches and cuts, using proper techniques and materials. Appropriate leather kits are available now to keep your leather back to their original condition.

Repairing minor cuts:

Clean the area by rubbing it with alcohol and a soft cloth. This will remove the dirt. The cut can be fixed by applying leather glue to the underside of the flap. Press the flap gently and align it with the leather surface. Wipe off the excess glue with a towel immediately. If the repaired area acquires a different color, apply the leather dye with a soaked sponge and wait a few minutes for it to dry. Do not use a dryer to set the glue.

Repairing tears and deep cuts:

Get a small piece of the subpatch and insert it under the hole. Glue it to the leather and weigh down the tear, and allow it to dry. Clean the spot, and remove the loose fibers around the tear. Place some leather filler and wait for it to dry. Use dye on the repaired area and apply a small amount of leather finish.

Just see the video to see how it works.

Leather History

Like wood, wool, and metals, leather has been considered a valuable commodity throughout the history. In the beginning, the skins procured from hunting and cattle rearing were used to fabricate tents and clothing, and to make them more flexible and stronger, animal fats were applied, which was the first tanning process, as per the Assyrian texts.

The Egyptians and the Romans achieved greater skills in leather processing, and they used it to craft footwear, shields, and straps. And even before that, the Indians had processed leather to produce footwear and other accessories; the evidence for it are found amply in the code of Manu.

Later, that is, prior to the Renaissance period, the Spanish and the English favored and promoted leather upholstery, by developing various techniques for processing leather. In the fourteenth century, leather was used in developing different furniture, and during the 16th and 17th centuries, they decorated all types of furniture with leather coverings in different patterns.

The traditional way of preserving hides and tanning them was a long process, culminating in coating the hides with grease or oil, and then scraping and crushing them. The cattle hides were the main source of leather, due to their availability, durability, and size.

The leather manufacturing process has undergone vast changes since then, and as of today, 70% of the leather produced is used in the making of footwear, 11% in automobile sector, and 8% in upholstery. Clothing and other accessories share 11% of the total leather production, worldwide.

The Making of Upholstery Leather India

It was from the start of World War II, the leather industry began to develop in India. During 1913-14, there were only 25 large leather units, and by 1941, the number of leather units increased to 114. Before 1947, India was exporting only raw hides and skins, but long after independence, through the 1970 Export Policy Resolution, the Indian government gave an impetus to leather export trade.

However, during the seventies ending, the Indian leather industry was still acting as a mere raw leather exporter, rather than a leather product manufacturer.

But, the later years have spurred vigor and enthusiasm in the Indian leather sector, changing its role from a raw leather exporter to a finished leather product exporter. Today, India is the world’s 5th largest leather producer, meeting 10% of the global finished leather requirement, and ranking 8th in the leather export trade.

The Making of leather India

The manufacturing of real Indian leather involves three stages, namely preparation, tanning, and crusting. In the preparatory stage, the hair is removed from the hide. It is then fleshed, de-greased, bleached, and treated in different ways.

During tanning, the hide is converted into a flexible material, initially, which is then treated with the tanning liquid, till it gets saturated. The crusting stage mainly involves softening, lubrication, coloring, and buffing.

Religious and Cultural Aspects of Leather

The leather vendors in religiously sensitive countries usually indicate the type of leather on their product label, so that the buyers could identify the animal from which the leather product was made. This helps a Muslim to avoid purchasing a product made from pigskin, and a Hindu from that of cattle.

The followers of Jainism prohibit the use of leather because it is made by killing animals. Taboos like these necessitate the availability of religiously neutral leathers. That’s why many synthetic leather fabrics have been developed all over, as an alternative to real leather.

The Conclusion:

Now that you’re armed yourself with all the requisite information to make a well-informed decision in buying the leather of your choice, it’s time for us to conclude this upholstery leather guide.

We are sure after reading this guide you can buy with confidence which leather for sofa or for that matter any other furniture.

So, be quick to become a part of the great upholstery leather legend! Make your great historical visit to our online store to grab and cherish your dream furniture.

Let our long array of Aniline, Semi-aniline, Top grain, Suede, Nubuck, Pigmented Italian & Indian leather upholsteries adore your home, office, or workplace.

Just own leather to your heart’s content, and be a part and parcel of our great Indian culture! 

Do you think we have missed something? Please share your comments below. 

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