THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING LEATHER


If you're in the market for leather furniture, you'll see a lot of faux leathers at stores, which is fine if you are looking for a more economical way to get the look and feel of leather, but even so, we suggest the prospective buyer checks out a local furniture dealer with a good reputation. When buying leather furniture, it's important to ask the right questions and know what you’re talking about, so a commissioned salesperson won’t think they can pull one over on you.

NuvoItalia has dedicated this page to answer common questions about leather, which we hope will help when deciding to buy leather. 

At NuvoItalia we take leather and quality very seriously. We strongly believe that buyers should know exactly what they purchasing, and the leather type used on a sellers product should be honestly disclosed to the buyer. 

Nowadays, cheaper manufacturers have found savvy ways to throw the word ‘leather’ around while meaning something completely different. Before you buy, make sure you're getting the straight talk you deserve!

Introduction to leather

Split Leather: All hides in their default form are too thick to upholster with, or even to use in other types of manufacturing, because of this the leather hide will have to be split into two hides, a process which entails the hide going into a machine whereby it is sliced in half by a blade. The bottom hide is known as split leather which is the 2nd layer of the hide. After a process of being sanded down or in manufacturing terms corrected, it is then embossed with a consistent grain pattern which is used on the sides and outside back of the sofa, for a slight cost saving to achieve certain price points. It is then finished using the same treatments as the top grain / 1st layer portion of the hide. It is important to note that the Split Leather portion is still 100% leather.

Top Grain Leather: Carrying on from the above process, the top portion / 1st layer of the hide is known as the top grain portion. Areas on the sofa that are generally used and as such have more wear, is where the top grain portion / 1st layer of the hide is used, mainly because the fiber of top grain is more compact than the fiber of split grain. Full Grain is top grain leather that uses the natural grain of the hide. No correction is made to the grain.

Corrected Grain Leather: When Top Grain Leather is sanded down to reduce some visual characteristics. There are different types of correction methods but sanding down completely and removing the natural grain is the most common. After the sanding down process, a consistent grain pattern is embossed on the hide. This gives an aesthetically pleasing look to a modern sofa. When no correction is made and the natural grain of the hide is used, then this is called Full Grain Top Grain Leather.

Embossed Grain Leather: When a consistent grain pattern is “pressed” into the leather e.g a crocodile or stingray pattern, etc.

Pull-up Leather: This is leather that has been oiled or waxed. The leather is then pulled and the wax or oil is separated when stretched making the leather colour lighten. Dyed Aniline Leather is used in this instance.

A very important part of the final product's price is based on the leather's characteristics. As grades of leather increase, the cost of the final product also increases.

However there are many other factors that affect pricing including: dimension, style, leg type and stitching details. NUVO Italia spends a great deal of effort to make sure your sofa is aesthetically pleasing from every angle. So if you decide to place your sofa or sectional in the middle of your room, you will notice the design detail given to the entire sofa.

The origin of the raw hide is one of the main determining factors for the leather grade. Hides come from all over the world and are sorted by the amount of natural characteristics that are present on them. Usually hides with fewer characteristics are more expensive and rarer. They are more suitable for upholstery because they require less processing.

We use hides from the Southern and Northern Hemisphere. From the Southern Hemisphere, the hides are more abundant in the market and also tend to have more of the natural characteristics of leather. They are more rigid than hides from the Northern Hemisphere. From the Northern Hemisphere, generally that is where the higher grade of leather comes. Here at NUVO Italia, we do also sell a few models that are upholstered with leather from the Southern Hemisphere but most of our models are upholstered with leather from the Nothern Hemisphere. 

Genuine leather by nature, will show some variation in color because they do have natural characteristics. Please note that this is not a defect.

Leather Attributes

Leather adapts to the temperature of a room, or while your body is on it because leather conforms to its environment. It will maintain a consistent temperature that will feel good to your skin.

Over time in normal using conditions, leather will not crack or peel. The colour finish that has been applied may crack or peel, this could happen. Usually this can be repaired, think of it like paint on a wall. However in some cases, the finish cannot be easily repaired or the repair may leave scars.

Characteristics of genuine leather are markings such as scars, insect bites, wrinkles and veining. However these are natural and serve as an indication of the authenticity of the leather, and these imperfections should not be considered a defect. Rather, it should be treated as a “mark” of true, high quality, genuine leather.

Should leather be purchased from NUVO Italia, you will see fewer marks because the leather has been protected and finished to create a consistent, uniformed look and feel.

Leather by nature is elastic and its shape will reflect the amount of use an area gets. As with new shoes needing some breaking in time, so does your leather sofa. This stretching that occurs with leather is part of the inherent quality leather itself and not a defect.

The Leather Industry

No. Actually leather is a by-product from the beef industry. The shoe industry is the largest consumer of leather and only about ten percent of the world's hide production is used for furniture.

Caring for your leather with NuvoItalia

We offer several different variations of leather and each variation is available in a variety of colours. Some are thicker, some are thinner, some are embossed and some are smooth. The choice is yours, based on your taste and your lifestyle.

Natural Leather is in its original form, commonly used for saddles and bags. They don't age as well as Semi-Aniline leather and even water will leave a stain on it.

Finished Leathers have less natural characteristics and a more uniform look. They have a layer of pigmentation on them which protects the leather, makes it easier to clean and helps it age better.

With every leather sofa purchased from us, we provide at no cost, a comprehensive cleaning kit, manufactured in South Africa, which on average use should last approximately 2 years (T&C's Apply to offer). Cleaning kits are also available for purchase in our store.

Alternatively, using a soft, dry white cloth to wipe off spots as they occur with a neutral soap diluted with water, is also recommended. Together with the above and simply dusting regularly, are very important factors in taking care of your sofa and keeping it looking good for its expected life span. With that said, don't forget that leather is a natural material that can change appearance as it ages.

We do not recommend any type of conditioners, alcohol, household & other chemicals to be used on your sofa.

Look at the most appropriate leather for a home with pets. You probably should go with Semi-Aniline because it can be easily repaired. Repairs are also likely to be less noticeable because of the colour finishing that is applied to this family of leather.

All fabrics and leathers will fade by some degree over time. Fabrics and Leather directly exposed to sunlight will fade faster. Leather pigmentation will also get damaged with exposure to continuous harsh sunlight.

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