What are the recommended types of natural leather for upholstery sofas?

Following a study, we discovered companies that sell exclusively natural leather products. Each item benefits from hundreds of years of experience of Italian tanners, as well as innovative technologies used by manufacturers to ensure superior product quality at an affordable price.

What are the types of leather used to make furniture?

Depending on the model, the pieces of furniture can be made of different leather types. Some products can be made of a softer leather, while others need a more rigid leather type to give a certain structure and utility to the model. If a product is not made of the type of smooth leather that most of us are used to, this does not mean that it is not made of natural leather. With the development of technology, tanners have taken leather processing to another level, so furniture manufacturers now have a wide variety of leather models from which to make luxury armchairs and sofas.

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How to process a raw leather in finished leather?

The processes by which a raw leather becomes a suitable one for making various pieces of furniture are different nowadays, depending on the destination of the product. The most important process in this transformation is tanning. Tanning is the process by which a raw skin becomes one that no longer has the property to transform biologically. Depending on the agent used in this process, different types of tanned skins are obtained. Tanning agents can be salts, vegetable tannins or synthetic agents. The multitude of options regarding the tanning agents used, which a tanner has in this process, has led to the diversification of the types of natural leather for upholstery.

What are the advantages of natural leather?

The advantages of using natural leather are numerous, among them being found the hygienic properties of the material, flexibility, durability, breathability and adaptability to a wide range of uses. The skin goes through certain processing processes depending on the purpose for which it will be used in the end. Natural leather is used to make furniture items, including professional, leather goods, upholstery for furniture or the interiors of cars, planes or yachts.

Natural leather types

Blanc leather - is a type of leather processed by vegetable tanning, which is finished on the skin, thus gaining shine.

Nubuck skin - has a velvety appearance and is obtained from the upper layer of the skin by sandblasting. It looks like turned skin, but differs from it in superior strength, processing and properties.

Aniline skin - can be considered the best quality skin. It is soft and pleasant to the touch. Aniline leather is obtained by tanning, without being sanded.

Suede leather - is the second layer of leather obtained after cutting the top. Suede leather is also known as velor leather because of its high fiber appearance. It is a cowhide, tanned and pigmented, which is most often used to make shoes.

Innovations in the leather industry have made it possible to obtain special effects on natural leather. One of these is the Saffiano leather model, made of calfskin. Saffiano leather is practical, durable and very easy to maintain.

The way Saffiano skin is made is punching. Saffiano is a leather with a granular texture, obtained by pressing with the help of a machine and painting in depth with pigments of vegetable origin. This process prints a pattern of crossed lines on the material, arranged diagonally. The finishing is done with a wax treatment, which gives the resulting model scratch resistance, durability, easy cleaning and, why not, an extra charm and elegance.

Genuine imitation crocodile leather

The natural leather with crocodile pattern is made with the help of a similar procedure. The skins are subjected to a pressing process which results in a pattern that mimics the relief of crocodile skin. Models of crocodile leather sofas or furniture are not sold as original crocodile leather products. There are only models that attest to the mastery and degree of professionalism of the tanners who made them and who put the material in value.

Pony skin is obtained exclusively from cowhide. In the process of treatment, tanning, tanning and processing, the hair is not removed. The resulting material is painted in several steps, meaning that it is first painted white, after which the other colors are added successively or the final pattern. Given the more complex technique used to obtain this type of skin, products made of pony skin have a higher cost. Animal print leathers are similarly obtained.

How do you recognize natural skin?

Innovations in technology have also made it possible to obtain synthetic materials that mimic natural leather very well. Whether they are called eco-leather or synthetic leather, products made from such materials do not have the quality or durability of natural leather products. So, if you want to buy a sofa or a piece of quality furniture, made of natural leather, you must know how to distinguish it from imitation materials.

There are several ways in which natural leather differs from synthetic leather, so if you use the recommendations below you will be able to make the right choice.

The regulations in force oblige the furniture manufacturers to label the products with the specification of the materials from which they are made. So you must first check the product label in the field where the material from which it is made is specified. You can find here the specification: natural leather or the symbol that designates this material internationally. The pores on the natural skin are arranged randomly and must be visible to the naked eye. Instead, the pores on the synthetic skin are arranged symmetrically or are not visible at all.

Natural leather has a specific, pleasant smell, while synthetic leather does not smell. The weight of the product may be an indication. A natural leather product will always be harder. You can check a leather product by scratching the material lightly. If the skin is natural, after scratching you will remove a thin layer from the surface.

The pieces of furniture upholstered with natural leather can also be checked with the help of a lighter flame. In the case of natural leather, it does not catch fire, while the synthetic one wrinkles or even melts. The small imperfections of the natural skin make it much easier to recognize. Synthetic leather has no imperfections.

Ways to maintain natural leather for sofas?

Depending on the type of leather the product is made of, it is cleaned and maintained differently. Blank or boxy skin wipe off dust with a soft cotton cloth. If the natural leather product has been subjected to adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow, do not dry it near a heat source because the material will become rough. Allow it to dry at room temperature. Do not leave a skin product in the sun for a long time because it risks discoloring and becoming crusty. Colored natural leather can be cleaned with a cloth soaked in a little raw milk. Then wipe with a soft cotton cloth. Suede or nubuck leather products, which shine in places, are wiped with an eraser, then cleaned with a brush for suede. Then use a cloth soaked in a little white vinegar.

To avoid the tendency to harden the skin, it is greased with fatty substances, which are applied in a thin layer with a cloth.


All skin care treatments should be performed with great caution. For a good result, before applying on the entire surface, any maintenance product will be tested on a small surface, in a less visible area. Aggressive cleansers will not be used for skin care. Use special care products for every skin type!

December 10th, 2022