Leather upholstery runs the gamut from pricey, high-quality material that feels luxurious and delicate on down to low-income products touted as leather even though they are made mostly from synthetic materials. Top-grain leather is actually the maximum quality leather available, having the least amount of flaws. It’s also the least expensive and priciest.
Ideal Chair Leather
Top-grain leather, made in the outermost layer of cowhide, is actually the most natural, least processed of all sorts of leather. High-quality leather seats are produced from top-grain leather. Top-grain leather solutions include full-grain or even corrected-grain leather. Total grain shows all texture variations including hair follicles, skin wrinkles and natural imperfections, while corrected-grain leather has been buffed to give it a more consistent look. Both are durable solutions ideal for chair upholstery. Top-grain leather that is aniline-dyed has the very natural and thorough pigment, while the coat on semi-aniline and permeable leather is much more like paint placed on the leather surface; this coat may chip or peel over time.
What to Avoid
Damp fabric known as “secured” or “combined” leather isn’t true leather at all; it is made of a polyurethane product stamped and tinted to look like leather upholstery. The polyurethane sits atop a layer of fabric, followed by sprayed-on leather particles. The top surface of secured or combined leather is manufactured and may chip, peel and crack; it isn’t nearly as durable as true leather.