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Leather in interiors – Is it worth it?

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classic  by LUCY retrò & chic, Classic
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Interiors that stand a class apart are bound to contain elements in leather. There is something about leather home interiors that add a timeless quality. If you are looking for a long term investment in a piece of décor, leather will stand the test of time for you. It may look as amazing as the day you brought it even years later.

Yes, it does need extra maintenance and care. Yes, it does need a keen eye to know you have buying only that which is genuine and high quality. But doesn’t that hold good for most luxury items?

The best part about leather is that it can go from classic to provocative just by changing the furniture style. It suits most home styles and endures changes in colour, décor and even needs.

Different types of leather

Some leathers are obscenely expensive than the others. To the untrained eye, they may look similar but here is a quick understanding of different types of leather, their quality and what makes them cheap or costly.

Categories of leather:

Aniline leather: Closest to natural leather with visible surface characteristics but lower resistance to dirt.

Semi-aniline leather: The midline option, this is less natural in appearance and is made slightly durable with surface coating

Pigmented / protected leather: Made durable with polymer coating and commonly used in upholstery

Types of leather

Look out for the leather type when you buy. It is either mentioned on the label or you can ask the salesperson for info.

Full grain leather: This leather comes from the top layer of the animal hide and hence has all of the grain. It contains natural marks of endurance that only enhances with use. A word of caution: Some leathers are spray painted to look like full grain. Others mention that their product is “made with” full grain leather but what they don’t mention is that it may be only partially used. Only an estimated 2% of all leather items are made with it, so it is expensive.

Top grain leather: The second highest quality of leather, it is split from the top layer and sanded and refinished. It is strong and durable and made to please the eye.

Genuine leather: This is the third quality of leather that remains after the full grain and top grain are removed. This leather is usually spray painted to resemble higher grade.

Bonded leather: These are the leftover scrap leather that is bonded, glued and pressed and do the rounds of the world markets in truckloads, often spray painted to resemble its high-quality counterparts.

Leather colours

The leather is available in a variety of colours and textures. Black and chestnut-brown are all time favourites and easily come out as classics. Black, especially, is one colour you can’t go wrong with (mostly) if you use it well to jump start your leather home decor. From bright red to lime green, leather can allow you to make a statement. Some of the best leather colours that go well with almost everything are cognac and maroon.

Most people refrain from making a bold choice in leather as they buy it for its durability and you never really know how your house is going to look after 5 years or will a crazy coloured couch fit with a relocation or rental. Which is why the white leather sofa set can never go out of fashion.

Types of leather furniture

classic  by Locus Habitat, Classic
Locus Habitat

Chesterfield Sofa & Leather Furniture from Locus Habitat

Locus Habitat

Though the obvious choice, leather is not restricted to just your couch. An ottoman or two in a bright shade can add a wonderful tone to the room when used as a colour mismatch with the main couch. You can also have a single leather chair in black by a window or a recliner in an unexpected corner. You can also have matching leather chairs by the fireplace to add to the warmth.  

A neat touch would be a leather bean bag placed casually in the room with other types of upholstery. The bright colour and texture add a new dimension altogether. Using leather with warm neutrals like a brown sofa with ivory single seats and matching ivory walls gives a wonderful finish look to your leather home decor.

How to clean it

classic  by Locus Habitat, Classic
Locus Habitat

Leather Chesterfield Sofa

Locus Habitat

One of the good side effects of leather is that it is easy to clean. You can start with a dry cloth dusting and wipe to clean the surface of visible dust. Next, use a moisturising soap with a damp cloth and lather the leather well. Don’t rinse. Just wipe off. Use very little olive oil on a cloth and give a finishing touch for a nice shine.

Tip: Before your actually start swiping down your couch with any chemical / soap, test it in a small area that is on the back side and out of sight. If it doesn’t leave marks and actually cleans, you can use it for the whole couch.

This exquisite piece of leather furniture is from the house of Singapore-based Locus Habitat

Leather maintenance

classic  by Locus Habitat, Classic
Locus Habitat

Chesterfield Back Leather Armchair

Locus Habitat

The leather is great if you have kids or if you are a dog person. But cat persons should refrain from it. There really is no remedy for shredded leather and the broken heart that follows. Upholstery leather should be kept out of direct sunlight and should be cleaned regularly. To keep leather supple, use a home solution of one part white vinegar and 2 parts linseed oil, apply it on the leather surface, leave for 12 hours and wipe off. Your specific leather upholstery will come with clear cleaning instructions so do follow them carefully for long-term leather maintenance.

How much does it cost?

classic  by LUCY retrò & chic, Classic
LUCY retrò & chic

Chesterfield Sofa 'Old Fashion' model

LUCY retrò & chic

Leather sofa sets can cost anywhere between HK$10,000 – HK$25000. Leather ottomans can range anywhere between HK$700 and HK$3000 depending on the brand, finish and design. Most online sites or salespeople don’t miss out on mentioning the type of leather and the specific finish that actually lets you gauge if the price is right. The more exotic or unique the shape, the higher the price of the leather furniture.

The fact that remains about leather is that it induces a love affair for a lifetime. It actually is a better investment than other fabrics which may not stand the test of time. Be a class apart with unique leather home interiors. Yes, it is worth it.

Read more about Leather furniture and accessories.

Which idea from here inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments!
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