Article - Debunking False Notions About Western Leather Furniture

There are several misconceptions about western leather furniture that might cause some people to shy away from using it. This article explores different aspects of western leather furniture and helps to set the record straight about false impressions such as: it is too expensive, it is too hard to maintain, it should not be used in homes with children and pets, as well as the mistaken notion that it only fits in with certain styles of home decorating.

Leather, especially tooled leather, can be used for decorative trim on cabinets and even on tables, but this article will focus on the type of western leather furniture that is used for seating, such as sofas and sectionals as well as all types of chairs and ottomans.

Leather is a natural material and it has all of the qualities that make it ideal for sofas and chairs; it is supple, flexible, and extremely durable. Plus, it has a unique appeal unmatched by other materials. In addition to being long-lasting, good quality leather can actually improve as it gracefully mellows with age and regular use. Leather can be used on all styles of furniture from classical to western and rustic to contemporary, and everything in between. It goes well with any decorating style in informal or formal settings.

Perhaps it would help to identify the main types of leather made from cowhides:

* Full-grain leather is only made from the best hides. The grain is left in its natural state, except for the removal of the hair, and this allows it to have the best strength and durability. Over time, full-grain leather develops a natural patina that adds to the beauty as well as the appeal. The most common finishes for full-grain leathers are aniline and semi-aniline. Aniline means the leather is colored by dipping it in a dye bath and semi-aniline is where a matching pigment layer is added to even out the existing color.

* Top-grain leather is where the top or outermost layers have been left intact. It is made from lesser-quality hides and is usually smooth on one side and fuzzy on the other side. The smooth side is where the hair used to be and the fuzzy side is where other layers were separated or split from the hide.

* Split leather is made from the inner layers of a hide. It has been split away from the top layers, also known as the grain layers. Most often used in the form of suede (see below).

* Suede is a type of leather that has had the grain removed or it is from an inner split of the hide. It is often used for clothing. Many pieces of suede can be split from a single thickness of hide. Something called reversed suede is grained leather that has been used on an item of clothing with the grain facing away from the visible surface and this is not a true form of suede.

There are some processes and techniques that can make suede appear to be full-grain leather. So, be careful and pay attention to the terminology. If you want 100-percent full-grain leather, be sure that is exactly what you are being offered.

The initial cost of full-grain or top-grain western leather furniture may be a little more than a sofa and chairs made of other materials, but it certainly provides the best overall value due to the natural beauty and remarkable durability. Plus, it is surprisingly easy to care for since it requires less maintenance than other materials. Another great thing about leather is that it "breathes" and will adapt to the environment. This means that the leather upholstery will not be hot and sticky in the summer nor will it be cold in the winter months. That certainly makes leather user-friendlier than materials like naugahyde or vinyl.

In most households, even ones with children and pets, regular cleaning of your leather furniture can be done by using the crevice tool of a vacuum in between and under the cushions and on the bottom. Dust the furniture with a clean, soft, dry cloth. Many people would be amazed at how difficult it is for a stain to be left on leather upholstery. However, it will stain if a spill is left sitting there for hours. A clean, damp cloth or sponge will take care of most water-based spills. More detailed care instructions should be provided at the place of purchase when you get your western leather furniture, or other preferred style. You will probably want to avoid using things like solvents, abrasive cleaners, detergent soaps, or ammonia water on the leather.

There are various saddle soaps and conditioners for different kinds of leather, but it is best to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer and/or distributor for your specific type of leather furniture. Also, you might want to consult a leather-cleaning specialist for tougher spots and spills, such as ink marks, grease, blood, urine, wax, or gum. Check your local yellow pages or business directory to find someone offering those services.

Leather furniture is durable and resists tears more than other materials. In normal situations, it is able to withstand things like the claws of your dog or cat. If anything sharp is pressed against the leather, the leather will stretch to a certain extent before the sharp object can poke through or rip the leather.

Even the best leather furniture tends to fade over time when exposed to direct sunlight, as will almost any material. Also, it is best to place western leather furniture, or any type, at least two feet away from a heat source such as a fireplace, radiator, or a heat vent to avoid possible damage from the heat or dry air. Actually the same is true for almost any piece of furniture, but you seldom hear such recommendations.

From a comfy leather sofa to a wood rocker with leather upholstery on the seat and seatback, no other material can offer all of the advantages of leather. It has proven to be the strongest and most durable material used for furniture upholstering. Just like the natural appeal, the value is unmatched. Leather furniture is available in a wide variety of styles and designs. In other words, there is something to fit right in with every decorating style as well as every kind of lifestyle.


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AnnaRae Mills loves informal home decor; especially the western, rustic, southwestern, country, and lodge styles. She has dozens of great decorating tips to share with you. Plus, see more than 375 pictures that show why casual home decor is more popular than ever. Go to http://www.Western-Home-Decor.net


AnnaRae's articles are freely available for use in ezines, newsletters, as well as on websites and blogs... as long as all of the content remains intact, including the resource box with a clickable link.

  


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