Used to produce everything from cowboy boots to car seats, leather is a popular material across Australia. Known for it’s combination of practical durability and sleek, classic style, it’s also one of the most popular furniture covering materials. Leather is a great option when buying a new lounge or re-upholstering an old chesterfield, but first, it’s important to understand the differences between types of leather in order to make an informed decision – you want to make sure you get value for your money. At first glance, when browsing a showroom or looking for furniture online, leather lounges that look relatively similar to one another can be priced quite differently. The reason for this is simple.
In fact, many products we think of as “leather” aren’t even made from leather at all. This is particularly true when looking at cheaper leather lounges.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types and styles of leather used on affordable furniture:
There is a massive industry out there that capitalizes on leather’s popularity with imitation or faux leather. Made from synthetic materials like plastic and rubber, faux leather is the cheapest style, as it is entirely man-made. It mimics the distinct look of leather quite well but can feel different from genuine leather and is less durable. Faux leather lounges are not necessarily bad…but they are also not leather
Like faux leather, bonded leather is man-made, but the process incorporates a pulp made from leather scraps and fibres. Sometimes referred to as blended leather, bonded leather is supposed to contain at least 17% authentic leather, but products don’t always hit that threshold, particularly when manufactured overseas. Due to it’s mixed nature, here is some debate in the industry as to whether bonded leather should even be considered leather. Bonded leather is environmentally sound, as it re-uses scrap leather. It can be considered a cost-effective substitute for genuine leather in some cases, but when it comes to lounge upholstery it doesn’t quite match up to the real thing.
Also known as bi-cast leather, PU leather is genuine leather that has been sealed on top with a layer of polyurethane. Bi-cast is produced from real leather and can look quite nice, but the outer layer of polyurethane changes the way the furniture feels. By incorporating genuine leather that is too flawed to be used on its own, bi-cast produces the appearance of leather at a significantly reduced cost. Like bonded leather, PU leather is coated in plastic which, to it’s credit, makes it very easy to wipe and keep clean. With that said, the plastic coating also makes PU leather lounges crack with age, and as great as the furniture may look, it simply doesn’t feel like real leather.
GENUINE TOP HIDE LEATHER
Like the others types of material, genuine top hide leather can sometimes be priced at affordable rates. Unlike the previously mentioned styles, however, genuine top hide leather is, as the name suggests, 100% genuine leather. While the above options are cost-effective substitutes or by-products of leather, genuine top hide leather is several steps above all three, making it the perfect option for those who want to balance high quality and affordability when buying furniture. In contrast to the other options, genuine leather looks, and feels, like the real thing…because that’s exactly what it is.
Looking for an affordable leather lounge, chesterfield or ottoman in Australia? All of our leather products are made with 100% genuine top hide leather and come with a 5-year warranty. Check out our current selection here: Leather Lounges