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Leather Upholstery Buying Guide

You’ve heard the term ‘leather upholstery,’ but did you know that it can actually be divided into several different categories? Learn the differences between faux leather, leather match, top grain leather, leather seating and 100% leather and exactly what each type means.

What Is Faux Leather?

Also called synthetic leather or artificial leather, faux leather is a material that is manufactured to resemble, in feel and appearance, genuine leather. Faux leather materials (polyurethane and vinyl among them) are often more affordable and easier to clean than genuine leather.

faux leather upholstery
grain leather upholstery

What Is Top Grain Leather?

Top grain leather is one of the highest quality forms of leather available. In top grain leather, the only part of the hide that is removed is the outermost (and this is done only done to make the leather easier to work with). All other components of the natural hide remain untouched and intact.

leather upholstery match

What Is Leather Match?

The term 'leather match' refers to a recliner, sofa or chair that features real leather on the armrests, backrests, seating and any other place that would normally come into contact with a person who is sitting on the furniture piece. All other areas, such as the backing, legs and sides, are made out of faux leather or other material designed to resemble leather.

leather upholstery seating

What Is Leather Seating?

Similar to leather match, 'leather seat' is defined as a piece of furniture in which only the seats are made of 100% leather. All other areas of the furniture piece are made out of a material designed to resemble leather.

What Is 100% Leather?

In furniture, '100% leather' means the item is made entirely from real leather (genuine animal rawhide).

100% leather

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.