Leather sofas are undoubtedly one of the most timeless furniture pieces. They can instantly and effortlessly give your room a touch of elegance and sophistication. Are you thinking of buying a set of stylish leather lounges for your home?
Selecting a leather suite sounds simple enough. After all, you only need to know the style, design and colour that you want, right? While this may be so, there’s another factor you need to be wary of: determine if they’re actually made of genuine leather.
You’ll agree that this can easily be one of the most important considerations. There’s nothing as frustrating as saving up all year for your leather lounge suite only to realise you’ve bought a fake.
If you don’t possess any basic knowledge on the subject, we’re here to shed some light. We outline a few tips that you can use to determine if you’re buying the real deal and avoid being ripped off.
Check the Price Tag
It goes without saying that genuine leather furniture doesn’t come cheap. So, the price tag can give you an indication of whether you’re dealing with the real thing. If the lounge set is surprisingly cheap, chances are it’s not genuine leather.
The last thing you want is to fork out thousands of dollars for a fake leather lounge set. That’s just daylight robbery. But the reality is that you can never be too careful and can’t put it past fraudulent furniture dealers.
With that in mind, we don’t recommend that you base the authenticity of the set solely on the price because it can be deceiving too. For this reason, consider a few other factors outlined below.
Check the Back
With many leather imitations on the market, it’s difficult to discern what’s real and what isn’t. It doesn’t help that at first glance real and faux leather sofas appear almost identical. Before concluding your purchase, you want to start by checking the back of the sofa.
Here’s why: on average, cow hide is approximately 3’ x 6’ in size. Since it’s available in relatively small sizes, it means that the back of the sofa must have several pieces of material stitched together. The moment you find one large piece of ‘’leather material’’ covering the entire back of a big couch, chances are that it’s fake.
Check the Label
Most leather lounges have labels that give a brief description of the type of leather used. Make sure you read these labels to ascertain if the sofas are indeed made of leather. If the label states full-grain, top-grain or genuine leather then it’s most likely real.
On the other hand, if the label has terminology such as faux, bonded or blended leather then know that they’re fancy names for fake leather. Feel free to ask the shop attendant for more information if you need clarity.
Check the Texture
Don’t be afraid to check the texture of the leather. Feel it to determine its authenticity. Ideally genuine leather is soft and relatively warm to the touch. But note that this depends on the type as we’ll explain later.
Take a closer look at the material and inspect for variations. Real leather is made up of distinct variations and flaws, unless of course it’s been dyed or shaved. The moment the material appears very uniform it’s probably fake.
Check the Reverse Side of the Material
If possible, you must check the reverse side of the material. This can be done by having a closer look at the seams. Authentic leather is unfinished at the back and as a result has no colour. In addition, the bottom is usually rough and looks slightly rugged.
If the back has the same colour as the front or if the bottom looks well-tailored, then that’s a huge red flag.
Check the Aroma
Aside from the texture you also want to smell the material by using what is known as the smell or “sniff test”. Genuine leather lounge suites will have a distinct and rich aroma. The same can’t be said about faux leather which exudes an unpleasant chemical smell because of all the processing it undergoes.
Check the Type
If you’ve never known the different types of leather available, now is the time to learn them. This will help you know what to look for and what to expect. We’ll briefly explain the basic types:
- Aniline leather: This type of leather features a clear organic stain. When you touch it, the hide is left warm and soft to the touch.
- Pigmented leather: This type is covered by an extra transparent protective coating. This is the type to pick if you want leather that’s extremely durable, because it’s designed to last long. You’ll appreciate how the opaque coating is also stain resistant. Your sofas will be looking as good as new for a long time. Just make sure you keep it away from the hot sun’s rays because it fades in sunlight. Unlike Aniline leather, this type is cold to the touch.
- Semi-aniline leather: This type is made up of a combination of Aniline and Pigmented leather and is a common favourite among many consumers.
Are you ready to go leather sofa shopping? From the above, it’s clear that to pick a genuine set you must indulge your sense of smell, sight and touch all at once. We promise that it’s really not a daunting exercise. Just keep our checklist in mind and you’ll make the right investment.