Introduction to Leather 101



Leather furniture has always been a popular feature in homes for its durability, comfort, luxurious feel and for being a renewable and natural resource. Whether looking for something stylish or a spacious sectional to fit all your family and friends, leather is a great go-to for a timeless piece that will last for years. If you have ever been confused over the different types of leather or you have too many choices, this blog can help you make the perfect choice for your home!


Full Aniline Top-Grain Leather


Full aniline top-grain leather is the topmost layer of the hide of an animal. It is treasured for its uniqueness and is sought after due to its high quality and appearance. This leather is the most natural-looking and has markings on the hide, like scratches, barbed wire marks, or insect bites that would appear during the animal's life. It is essential to understand that this leather will not look the same if you buy a furniture set, as it could be from an entirely different animal. Also, full aniline top-grain leather refers to animals whose hides are the cream of the crop. The pricing of this leather is on the higher end but can be seen as an investment, as this leather tends to last longer in good condition than faux leather.


Aniline dye is used for dyeing the leather as it is a translucent, water-soluble dye that colors the leather without producing the uniform surface of a topcoat paint or insoluble pigmented sealant. This leads to the leather being able to develop a patina over time and being both soft and supple due to the lack of extra processing and coatings. The patina creates an array of light and darkness on the leather from wear and absorbing body oils and moisture. If you are looking for furniture with a worn leather bomber jacket look after a few years of use, then full aniline top-grain leather could be for you! The Hancock & Moore Monaco Top-Grain Leather Recliner is an excellent example of how the patina develops over the years for a rustic look.


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Hancock & Moore Monaco Top-Grain Leather Recliner


Semi-Aniline Top-Grain Leather

Semi-aniline top-grain leather also comes from the uppermost layers of the animal's hide like full aniline top-grain leather but is more pigmented. The aniline dye is used to cover up leather scarred more than usual to create a more consistent color and feel of the hide. This leather is seen more in furniture sets with matching sofas, loveseats, and recliners. Semi-aniline leather can be preferred over full aniline top-grain leather if you are looking for furniture that does not have a patina.


Most of our leather selection here at Weir's Furniture is semi-aniline top-grain leather. It can be the perfect choice for families or pet owners, as it is more durable and stain-resistant than full aniline top-grain leather. The Oberon Top-Grain Leather Power Reclining Sofa is a great choice and is one of our many selections of semi-aniline top-grain leather furniture.

Split Leather

Split leather is generally used for the back and sides of leather furniture. Higher-grade leather (top-grain) is used where body contact usually occurs. This comes from top-grain leather that is split on the bottom half of the leather. It is commonly used for shoes, purses, belts, and more. This leather tends to be more susceptible to visible damage as scuff marks and will not wear as well over time as top-grain leather. If a piece of furniture is made of split leather all around, it tends to be more affordable than furniture made with 100% top-grain leather. 


Faux Leather


Faux leather, also called synthetic leather or vegan leather, is a material that is manufactured to resemble, in feel and appearance, genuine leather. This material is durable and can be found all over, or on the back and sides of some furniture, like split leather, to keep costs down, making it often more affordable and easier to clean than genuine leather. If you are on a budget but still want the look of high-quality leather in your home, faux leather can be a great choice. It is more affordable than furniture that is fully upholstered in top-grain or full-grain leather. The Bradley Power Recliner showcases how furniture can be upholstered in faux leather but still have the look of genuine leather and be affordable. 


Bradley Power Recliner


Leather Care


Caring for your leather furniture is essential, as it can help keep the dye/finish from fading. Make sure not to place leather furniture, especially full aniline top-grain leather, in direct sunlight or close to an artificial light source as that could lead to the leather fading in certain places and creating a uniform look. Be careful with drinks and food to avoid stains on your leather furniture. If you spill something on your leather furniture, use a damp towel and rub softly in circular motions to lift the dirt out of the fibers. Please do not rub hard; you can remove the dye/finish. If you are worried about protecting your leather furniture, consider asking one of our salespeople about our ProtectAll Plan. Your leather furniture is an investment in your home and comfort and should be treated as such.


Overall, many types of leather furniture can provide you with the look you want, whether a beautiful patina that changes over the years or durable and stain-resistant furniture. The most important thing is to buy a piece of furniture that will meet all your needs and wants to enjoy your furniture to the fullest. Weir's has plenty of choices for finding something that satisfies all your requirements. Plus, our salespeople are always happy to help you make your selections.