The frame of a piece of furniture is like the foundation of a home. Buying leather furniture that has a good frame will give you a piece of furniture that will last you for years. Having great leather on a sofa that has a broken arm would be rather disappointing to say the least. Solid hardwood or metal will give you a piece that will stand the test of time. Generally you can tell a good piece by the weight. Ask your sales person or get literature. As a last resort try lifting the piece, if it feels to light for its size it probably has plywood or pine frame.
We have so many customers that contact us asking if we fix Naugahyde. We tell them we only repair leather and they say “isn’t naugahyde leather?”. Naugahyde is a version of vinyl. Watch out for descriptions that use words like faux, simulated or leather like, they mean not the real thing.
Next make sure that the entire piece is upholstered in leather. Vinyl and simulated leather do not have the longevity of real leather. The vinyl will split and tear long before the leather even begins to show signs of wear.
Beware of Bi-cast leather. It is relatively new on the market and is a very low quality leather. We have had calls from customers that have had bi-cast less than a month old and it is splitting. We have seen bi-cast leather furniture in some of on the large discount chains. So be careful.
When buying leather furniture, if you want it to look good and feel good for a long time, buy top-grain finished leather. Tags will generally say top grain if it is. Top grain is the very outer layer of the skin and all the strength of the leather is in the top gain. Finished leather is leather that has a protective color coat that adds increased protection to the leather. It allow for spills that wipe up and great wear and tear. The general rule of thumb is if you can mark the leather with your finger nail the leather is too delicate for everyday use. The high end leather is usually very delicate. Buy delicate we mean it will stain, mark and fade very very easily. Not a good choice if you would like your leather to look good after a year of use.
From 25 years of experience one company that stands out from the crowd in design and durability is American Leather. Their stuff is amazing. Toms Price Furniture is the local dealer for them in Chicago (click link below)
Check out Toms Price Furniture
Or go to American Leather