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Know your leathers from your fabrics

January 06, 2023 3 min read

Know your leathers from your fabrics

Furniture is an essential part of our daily lives. Each person has a unique preference for the furniture they choose to own, which impacts the way they use their home furniture. Their preference may also affect the overall experience that they have with their furniture. For example, depending on the type of leather used to upholster your sofa – the weather can affect the warmth and coolness of its surface, depending on the temperature, while with a fabric sofa, the temperature is more likely to remain stable. Do you prefer lavish leather furniture or fabulous fabric furniture?  

Here's what you should know about the different types of leathers that sofas are upholstered in:

Full Grain, Top Grain and Corrected Grain leathers are some of the most exquisite types of leather on the market while Buffed Leather and Bonded Leather are durable and budget-friendly leather options.

Full Grain – Semi Aniline Leather

This type of leather is made from the strongest, most durable part of the hide of an animal, where the natural grain pattern is found, just below the hair. The leather produced from this hide is called Full Grain Leather. Semi-aniline leather is coated in a protective layer which prevents the deterioration and staining of the leather. In this type of leather markings such as scrapes, scars, insect bites, wrinkles and vein marks can be visible on these hides. Over time full grain leather will look richer and develop a rich patina from being handled.

Top Grain Leather

Top Grain Leather is very similar to full-grain leather. The difference between these two types of leather is that Top Grain Leather is slightly sanded down or buffed by 2mm, to reduce the appearance of imperfections such as scars and insect bites, on its surface. After being sanded down a “finish coat” is applied, which gives the hide a more uniform finish. As long as the finish coat is not broken this type of leather has greater water and stain resistance than full-grain leather.

Corrected Grain Leather

Corrected grain leather is any leather that has been graded to correct imperfections on the hide. Additional layers of pigment are applied onto the hide, and the grain is embossed onto the leather. Corrected leathers are held in great esteem for their consistent colouration and ultra-hard-wearing finish. It is still considered as Top Grain.

Buffed Leather

Buffed leather refers to leather that has been sanded down lightly, to remove hair follicles. After being sanded down it is sprayed with pigment 3 to 5 times and then it is heavily corrected. It is then sanded down numerous times, to reduce the appearance of bumps on its surface and give it a suede feel. This type of leather is highly porous, absorbent to stains and soils, especially oil.

Bonded/Reconstituted leather

Bonded leather is man-made. This type of leather is made from left-over shredded leather and leather “sawdust” at tanneries and workshops. It is glued together with polyurethane or latex onto a fibre sheet. The quantity of leather waste to bonding agent can vary between 10% to 70%. This product resembles genuine leather in smell and feel, and can often be mistaken for leather by the average person. However, it is not as durable as genuine leather.

Sofas and chairs are subjected to heavy wear on a daily basis and therefore, need to be covered in tough, durable, tightly woven fabrics. Fabric blends are used to enhance the feel, performance and durability of the fabric. Fabrics which have a “backing” are less likely to have seam slippage. Our fabric sofas are subjected to the Martindale Rub & Strength Tests. The higher the rub count, the more durable the fabric.

Here's what you should know about the different types of fabrics that sofas are upholstered in:

Polyester Fabric

Polyester fabric is durable, moisture resistant and can retain its shape. This fabric is strong and can last a long time without tearing, peeling or stretching. It is also less likely to wrinkle easily.

Polyester-Linen Fabric Blends

Polyester-linen fabric blends can retain a stable colour when dyed, this fabric blend is durable, moisture resistant and has a soft feel. This fabric blend is easy to clean and maintain.


Remember that when in doubt, research or ask your sales consultant to teach you more about the product and how it’s made. At Leather Gallery, our friendly staff are well educated on our products and will assist you in finding the best product for your needs and requirements.