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Seven Tips for Buying Leather Furniture

Today we’re back with Scott’s tips for buying leather furniture. Quality leather furniture is an investment, so you will definitely benefit from considering these tips as you choose your leather pieces and live with them for years to come.

1. Ask the manufacture for details about where the leather originated. Inquire if the skin is natural. You can test this by pressing down into the leather to determine flexibility and stretch. It should return to its original shape if the skin is natural.

Vanguard Furniture Normandy Recliner

2. Sit on the furniture. Quality leather breathes. Unlike synthetic leather, it is cool in the summer and retains heat in the winter. Sticky or clammy leather is sign of poor quality.

Leather Wing Chair by Precedent Furniture

3. Compare cleaning instructions. Good leather furniture is durable and can be cleaned with minimal effort. Quality leather furniture is also fire resistant and emits no toxins even when exposed to high heat.

4. Determine if the furniture is made out of corrected leather. Corrected leather has been sanded and embossed to remove blemishes. It has also been treated with a protective coating to improve resistance to water.

5. Determine if the leather is untreated leather. Untreated leather is usually selected from the best hides (skins). These are chosen according to suppleness and touch. It will develop a natural patina over time.

Vanguard Gwyn Chair in Yellow Leather

6. Some people prefer the natural scarring or wrinkles uncorrected leather provides for furniture. Some products are described as all “genuine leather.” However, that may not be true. Close examination might reveal that the sides and backs, the less visible sections, are vinyl or leather that doesn’t quite match. Over time, the leather can mellow and the vinyl may become brittle.

Precedent Furniture Leather Settee

7. Finally, be careful to keep leather furniture out of direct sunlight! The rays can cause discoloration and/or fading.

All of the furniture pictured in this post is available from Scott’s Creative Home. Contact us today at 515.633.0777 or email us if you are interested in purchasing furniture for your home!

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Comparing Quality in Leather Furniture

Leather furniture is luxurious, supple and one of the strongest natural materials. While leather is a popular choice in furniture, many people aren’t aware of its various types and grades which indicate its quality and durability. Knowing the quality of these grades is crucial when purchasing leather furniture.

Winston Chair & Ottoman by Palatial Furniture

Full Grain

Wrinkles are often found in full grain leather furniture. When the hide is stripped from an animal, there are two layers found: the top layer which produces the higher grade of leather and the bottom layer, which produces the poorer quality. Full grain is one of the top two leather grades which are taken from the top layers of the hide. This leather has been described as elegant and sumptuous. It’s not conditioned—as is the top grain grade—to remove the markings. Such markings in high-quality leather are believed to enhance the material’s texture and beauty. Full grain is the most expensive leather. It is not appropriate for a household with children and/or pets, where hard or-impossible to-remove drink and food spills, as well as scratches, are more likely to occur.

Top Grain

Top grain leather also comes from the top layer of the hide. But unlike full grain leather, it is sanded or otherwise processed to remove the natural markings and imperfections of leather. It’s very strong and durable. In terms of quality, it’s the second highest after full grain. Top grain leather is expensive, and
it has a soft, luxuriant feel. Like full grain leather, it’s wise to avoid purchasing it when children and pets are around and spills and scratches are likely.

Michael Weiss Love Seat from Vanguard Furniture

Split Grain

Split grain, made from the bottom layer of the hide, is not as strong or durable as top grain. It also lacks the textural look of the better grades. But it’s more affordable than the higher quality leathers and is the best leather to use with small children and pets. Sometimes it’s embossed with markings to duplicate the
look of the higher quality leathers. It can also be used on the less visible parts of leather furniture, like the sides and back.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is the lowest quality grade of leather. It’s made from scraps of leather bonded together to make it look like a single piece of leather. It doesn’t have the strength or durability of the single piece leathers. And some furniture experts recommend that it not be bought at all.

Precedent Furniture Round Tufted Ottoman

Pigmented Leather

Pigmented leather is any top grain leather to which a clear topcoat and pigments have been applied. The pigments are what usually give the shiny even top color to the leather. The leather may or may

not be aniline dyed. Sometimes the pigments (color) are applied to a base crust of a different color and in this case the leather in not dyed all the way through. If the pigments are applied to a hide that has been aniline dyed and matched for color then this leather is called a Protected Aniline Leather. Leather is usually pigmented to give it durability and hide its natural blemishes. Pigmented leathers are easy to maintain and have maximum resistance to wear, soiling, and fading from light.

Non-pigmented leather is leather to which no pigments have been applied. These are usually hides of the very best quality and have been aniline dyed for color.

Pure Aniline

Pure aniline leather is top grain leather that is dyed for color without any pigments applied. These hides will exhibit some natural characteristics such as healed scars, scratches, neck and belly wrinkles. Expect color variation from the swatch to the actual leather, due to the fact leather is a natural product and will absorb dye differently within the hide and from hide to hide. This leather will develop a rich patina over time and will fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Protected Aniline

Protected aniline leather is top grain leather that is dyed for color and then receives pigment to ensure color consistency. Without pigment a protected leather is not color consistent. The pigment also
ensures fade resistance and helps the leather wear over time. A clear water based topcoat is applied for additional protection. The natural imperfections of the hide are also less noticeable. Hides average 50-55 square feet. Protected Aniline Leathers are easy to maintain and have maximum resistance to
wear, soiling, and fading from light.

Thom Filicia Rugby Road Sofa for Vanguard


Semi-aniline refers to pure aniline leather that has a small amount of pigment or clear finish thus allowing the natural characteristics of the hide to still show through while offering some of the enefits of color consistency and increased wearability.


Nubuk is top grain leather that has been aniline dyed for color and then polished to create a nap. Since Nubuk leathers have no pigment applied these hides will exhibit color variation from hide to hide and dye lot to dye lot. Some natural markings are visible throughout these hides. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause these leathers to fade.

Palatial Furniture Scottsdale Chair & Ottoman

Other Leathers

Distressed leather is aniline dyed leather with an artificially worn and aged appearance in which the natural characteristics of the hide such as healed scars, scratches, and wrinkles are considered a positive characteristic.

Antiqued leather has been dyed with one color over another to create highlights and an aged appearance.

Embossed leather has been stamped using heat and high pressure to create a pattern or design in the hide. The variety is tremendous ranging from alligator, crocodile, ostrich, flowers, geometric and Indian designs, to name just a few.

Next week we’ll be back with Scott’s tips for choosing leather furniture. Have a great week-end!

All of the furniture pictured in this post is available from Scott’s Creative Home. Contact us today at 515.633.0777 or email us if you are interested in purchasing furniture for your home!

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Tips for Good Feng Shui - Part 4

If you’ve been following along with our series of Feng Shui tips, today, in our final post, we’re using Feng Shui to address the one of the most important rooms in the home - the bedroom. These are my top tips for creating positive energy in the bedroom using Feng Shui.


Occasional insomnia might be the result of unbalanced energy in your bedroom. Try the following suggestions, but if your room design doesn’t permit perfect Feng Shui, be creative. Experiment with variations and modifications of these ideas to find what works for you.

Place your headboard against a wall to ground your power.

Place your bed diagonally opposite the door so you have a commanding view of the mouth of the Chi and will be in the best position to receive life-force energy as it enters the room. Sleeping is a vulnerable state, so it’s important that your bedroom be supportive to your being.

Do not sleep with your head or feet directly pointed at the door. It’s believed this is a disruptive sleeping position because when a corpse leaves a room it goes feet first.

Avoid putting the head of the bed under a window or exposed beam which gives off bad energy and can lead to unbalanced sleep. If it must be under a window, keep the curtains drawn.

The use of mirrors in your home can create energies that are either very good or very bad, and bedroom mirrors are strictly taboo. Believed to cause infidelity and bad luck, avoid them in this room, particularly opposite the foot of your bed. If you must include them, drape them with cloth or suppress the negative energy with plants or wind chimes.

In conclusion…

From fish to wind chimes to crystals, it’s easy to go overboard and become overwhelmed by Feng Shui. But you don’t have to do everything at once, so go slowly and carefully choose what works best for you. Looking for a good place to start? — Learn how to say it (fung shway) and remove clutter. In Feng Shui, neatness definitely counts.

I hope you will embrace the idea of Feng-Shui and apply some of these philosophies to you life. Please send me pictures and comments. I want to know how these changes affect your life!

Tips for Good Feng Shui - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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