What leather is best for my furniture?

Leather is one of the few natural materials that really suggest luxury. Indeed the texture feels of expensive and luxurious. Depending on your taste, some leather even looks good when it is slightly worn out. However, not all leathers are created equal, some of them are more expensive than others. You can use leather to cover furniture, a lining to your joinery, it can be on walls, door handle, it can be applied almost anywhere. Below are a few descriptions of leather to help you understand different characteristics and applications.

Here are a few things you need to understand before specifying a type of leather:

  • Full Aniline: This uses non-toxic aniline dyes with no top coat to protect it. That is why it can quickly absorb natural oils and develop a rich patina. These dyes are transparent, hence natural markings like healed scars, and will be visible.
  • Semi-Aniline: This is very similar to full Aniline but with a thin layer of matched pigment applied. This is to even out the colour. This is applied with a spray of top coat to give the maximum protection against stains. Basically to look like a full aniline. Unlike full aniline, natural markings such as scars and insect bites are subtle. Most upholstery uses this one.
  • Pull-up: this is a type of semi-aniline with a silky wax top coat. This is also called distressed leather as topcoat can easily get scratched
  • Hand-rubbed: this is another type of semi-aniline that is finished by rubbing layers of aniline dyes to full-grain leather until colours are right.
  • Pigmented leather: To give a rich and uniform colour, a layer of colourants are sprayed into the hide. To protect it from spills and stains, a protective topcoat is applied. This is the most common type of upholstery leather. This is commonly used in automotive purpose.
  • Nubuck: This looks and feels like suede but is so much stronger. This is covered with a top coat for protection against stains
  • Embossed Leather: This is just an extra step added to stamp the leather with a pattern or texture.


This is the typical leather thickness available:

If you are re-upholstering a piece of furniture, this is the guide in estimating how much Leather you need:



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