When buying leather sofas it is important to understand the difference in leather hides. Here are the different variations that we advertise here at Furniture Lifestyle.
- Full Grain is a type of leather that has the least artificial work, and the leather closest to nature. It will show imperfections on the hide such as insect bites, and scars. It is treated with a dye rather than paint, making it much higher maintenance than other leathers often much lower priced. These leathers are know as aniline hides, or if they have a protected layer they are know as a semi aniline.
- Top Grain is the leather most commonly used, and can differ in both quality, and price depending on the way it is treated, and finished after the raw material is used. A leather hide is quite thick, and the top part is separated, and used on sofas as it is the strongest part of the leather, and it is also soft. It is usually painted, which will allow for choice of colours, and will give the leather protection.
- Corrected Grain is normally a lower priced leather, as it is the part taken from the hide that has suffered the most damage. The leather is then buffered to remove all scars, and imperfections. The next step is to created a leather grain using a tool. A thick coat of paint is then used, making the leather much stronger than other types of hides.
- Split Leather is the bottom part of the hide, and is usually only used on the frame, or any of the non wearing parts of our sofas, and chairs. The reason for not using it on the cushions, and other wearing parts is the split leather is not strong enough to take the wear of the top grain. We do not use split leather on any wearing parts of any of our furniture.
- Leather Match is synthetic material that is used in the same way as a split hide, but is usually made from either pvc, or polymer material. Sometimes it is advertised as faux leather, and is used on the non wearing parts to help lower the price of some models of sofas. It is used on our dining chairs, and on some of our bedsteads, as it is 100% water proof, and much more hygienic in both the dining, and bedroom.
There are lots of fabrics available for many different products and furniture is no exception. Hopefully some of the information can help you to find the right one.
- Chenille is still as popular today as it was over 100 years ago. It is made using cotton through out are product range (unless stated) and is created by using two short piles, twisted with the core pile. It is very popular in upholstery to use a chenille on sofas, and beds as it has a sophisticated look, and by twisting the separate piles together makes it remarkably soft. It is still a hard wearing material despite being gentle to touch.
- Dralon is a man made material that has been in production since the 1950's. It is an acrylic material, which is made using polymers. It will have a composite of anything from 35% up to 85% acrylic, and then mixed with wool, or cotton. It gives a shiny look to the furniture it covers, and is lightweight, providing an amount of warmth to the material. It is washable so is a practical solution when having bright colours, as maintenance is not as challenging as some other fabrics.
- Polyester Yarn is becoming very popular within the furniture industry. It is sometimes called Leather Air, but we do not use this name as it has no leather in the material so prefer to refer to it as a polyester yarn. It has some similarities to Dralon, as it is mainly man made. The polyester provides an excellent source of protection against stains, as it makes the material more water resistant than other fabrics. It does not allow the liquids to saturate through as quickly as most cotton based fabrics allowing you to avoid your furniture becoming badly stained if treated in time.
Foam is one of the main materials used to determine the comfort of your sofas. The two different types of foams used are natural foam, which is a high density foam that tends to be much firmer than other foams. it is generally very robust, and does not soften over time although it will dip slightly after extensive use, as will all foams. The other foam we use in our sofas is a latex or gel based foam. Much softer, and often preferred, as the latex allows for the foam to recover and retake its shape once you have got up.It will over time dip, but can be manageable if the cushion is 'worked' (massaged) on a regular basis. In the back, and arm cushions we also use dacron, which is a fiber often compared to a very strong cotton wool.
Pocket Springs are being used more frequently in seat cushions as it will deter from the seat to dip more than by just using foam. It will make the seat much firmer, and unlike most foams will recover when you are out of your seat. The pocket springs are small plastic springs placed inside foam channels, and sealed top and bottom with foam base, and lid.
Seat Suspension is the materials used to support the seat cushions. There are typically two types of suspensions systems used. The first is a zigzag spring, that stretch depth ways across the frame, and give ample support. In more recent time a webbing has been used to suspend the seats. The strong material is a very good method, and provides a good foundation for supporting the seat cushions of our sofas.