What type of leather should I choose for my new sofa?

You may wonder why some leathers are more expensive than others?  The answer is that leather is a natural product and most good leathers are cowhide, and each hide has it’s own characteristics.  Gender, age, origin breed, environment and food supply, leads to individual wrinkles and indentations (caused by insect bites and barbed wire scratches) which make each hide unique.  The quality of the hide then determines the level of treatment required.


Aniline leathers

Only a small percentage of hides are good enough for manufacturers to convert into pure aniline leathers, which are the best quality and the most expensive option for your sofa.  The hides have not needed to be sanded or had their grain corrected, and their natural markings have been left intact. This results in a unique leather, supple and extremely soft to the touch.  We would recommend those people with families or pets take extra care with aniline leathers, as they can be more easily marked.

Semi aniline leathers

Semi aniline leather lies in-between corrected grain and pure aniline in price, as it is a full grain leather which contains only a small amount of clear pigmented finish which makes it practical and allows the natural characteristics of the leather to show through.  The semi analine is our most popular leather as it is protected but still retains most of it’s natural beauty.

Corrected grain

Hides with many imperfections are “sanded”, and a “corrected grain” is embossed by machine in the tannery. This leads to a hide which is uniform and less expensive than many others, but it is serviceable and has a protective finish which makes it suitable for young families.


Lotus sofa from fama – corrected grain leather (also available in semi aniline leathers)

Split leathers

Manufacturers can split Hides to produce more than one layer of leather. This means that the resulting material is thinner and less durable than a full hide. Split leathers are sometimes used on the sides and backs of sofas and chairs to lower the cost. However, those areas which experience more ‘traffic’ like seats and back cushions will last longer if a full hide is used.

Bycast leathers

Bycast leathers have a polyurethane coating applied to a split leather. This makes the resulting leather easy to wipe down and maintain, without the soft feel of a more natural product.  From our experience bycast has a shorter life span and is less easy to repair if a fault does arise.

How do I clean my leather?

Vacuum regularly and use commercial wipes and care kits, as recommended by your retailer. We offer a couple of leather care kits for our Fama, Italia Living and Conform, sofas and chairs.  Our leather care kits are not recommended for split leathers or nubuck.  For more information on cleaning your leather take a look at our blog: how to clean my leather sofa

Leather clean and protect easy leather care kit