Leather has always been a precious commodity for many people throughout the ages. People have loved and appreciated leather furniture, upholstery, shoes, and bags for a long time.
Perhaps this is the reason why so many people gravitate towards buying leather furniture when it comes to decorating their homes and offices. But like all types of materials, there are certain disadvantages of leather furniture as well.
Leather has always been associated with class and luxury, with leather furniture buyers mostly belonging to the upper and elite social classes.
However, the market for leather furniture is so big that people from all walks of life want to purchase leather furniture to decorate their homes.
But are there any disadvantages of leather furniture? Let us find out.
A Brief Look at Advantages and Disadvantages of Leather Furniture
Before we dwell on the disadvantages of leather furniture, let us not forget that leather furniture has many advantages as well.
The ease of cleaning is perhaps one of the biggest advantages offered by leather furniture. Unlike furniture made up of fabric, leather furniture is easy to wipe off and clean.
All you need to do is to take a wet cloth and wipe off all the stains from the leather furniture. In addition, leather furniture is durable and robust, meaning that it is not susceptible to damage, or wear and tear and can be repaired easily.
However, leather furniture comes with a hefty price tag, which means that it is more expensive than other furniture options in the market.
In addition, it is hard to recognize and distinguish real and genuine leather from light leather, which is prone to damage and wear. Therefore, an expert eye is required to ensure the leather furniture you buy is genuine and durable enough to last long.
Benefits of Leather Furniture
Although there are certain disadvantages of leather furniture that make people think twice before purchasing leather furniture, there are various advantages and benefits of leather furniture, which are listed below.
As stated before, leather furniture has always been associated with class and luxury, exuding a feeling of high-class usage.
In other words, leather furniture is chosen by individuals who value class and luxury in their homes and furniture. In addition, they are more sleek and elegant, with a softer feel and texture, unlike furniture made of fabric or other wood.
The durability of leather furniture is another advantage that compels homeowners to choose leather furniture over all other types of furniture.
Leather sofas and upholstery are designed to last a long time, which means they do not wear down easily and are thick enough to bear low-impact damages.
It does not get frayed like fabric furniture, and you can get rid of scratches on the leather furniture easily by refurbishing it or using leather polish when it gets damaged.
- Easy Care and Maintenance
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Unlike fabric furniture and sofas, the care and maintenance of leather furniture are easy and quick. There is no need to wrap it up with plastic coatings to protect it from spills.
All you need to do is to wipe the leather with a damp cloth when something gets spilled on it. Besides a dust cloth, you can also use a vacuum cleaner to make it look brand new. However, leather tends to dry out over time, so you might need to condition your leather furniture about twice a year to keep it in good condition.
If you have accidentally spilled something on your leather furniture, you don’t have to worry about its cleaning. Leather furniture is easier to clean than fabric furniture due to the highly-durable tanning process that it goes through in its manufacturing phase. Consequently, leather furniture repels most food and beverage spills and only needs a light cleaning with a damp cloth to ensure it is fully clean and polished.
- Repels Dust
Another advantage of leather furniture is that it repels dust and mites and is considered a hypoallergenic material. As it does not let dust and mites penetrate its surface, it is ideal for use by people who suffer from allergic reactions to dust. In addition, leather furniture also dispels mites, pet dander, pet hair, and other allergens that cause irritation and allergy.
Disadvantages of Leather Furniture
Now that we know the benefits of leather furniture let us look at some of the drawbacks of leather furniture and the preventive measures you can take to tackle these disadvantages.
One of the most common problems of leather furniture is that it is prone to discoloration after time has elapsed. This discoloration is mainly caused by body oil and perspiration from human skin.
Cracking and peeling of leather occur when body oil darkens and discolors the furniture from constant or frequent use.
This is also a mark of the genuine quality of the leather–the more genuine and real the leather furniture is, the more vulnerable it is to discoloration.
- Color Fading
When leather is first purchased, its color and texture look luxurious and deep. However, the passage of time can lead to color fading of the leather furniture, particularly when it is exposed to UV rays or heat sources.
Direct sunlight has a discoloring effect, and if the furniture is placed close to a heat source such as a fireplace, there are greater chances of color fading and wearing down the original shade of leather.
Although furniture of all types is susceptible to cracking over time, the process of cracking in leather furniture speeds up when there are fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels.
This is the same as the human skin, which gets cracked and wears down when exposed to seasonal changes. Leather furniture can also get cracked over time if not maintained properly.
In addition, harsh winter or summer smog can dry out the bonds in leather furniture, eventually causing it to crack and peel.
Like cracking, leather furniture peeling can also occur if it is not taken care of properly. This peeling can either occur due to external or internal factors.
For example, peeling occurs when leather gets cracked due to body oil damage or friction, which can cause it to peel off and tear.
Other than that, an improper processing can also lead to leather peeling off in places where the leather is thinly bound.
It is important to note that such peeling typically occurs in faux and combination leather furniture, as these leather types are heavily coated and can easily peel away from the leather base.
It is well-known that leather has a distinct smell when it is first purchased. This smell is mainly due to the tanning process that leather goes through to reach its final form.
Tanning is basically done to stop the rotting process of hide, the main raw material of leather. If this leather is not tanned properly, it may lead to the rotting of the hide, leading to a certain unpleasant smell that has penetrated deep into the leather furniture.
In many cases, however, the smell of leather furniture is due to perfumes and chemicals used during the tanning process.
How to Maintain Leather Furniture
Despite the many advantages that leather furniture offers, the disadvantages of leather furniture are hard to ignore.
However, this does not mean that preventive measures cannot be taken to ensure the longevity and maintenance of leather furniture. Here are some tips you can take to maintain the shine and feel of leather furniture for a long time.
- Gently clean and polish your leather furniture once or twice a year to ensure its sheen is maintained for a long time.
- Regularly condition your leather furniture to restore the balance of water and moisture in your leather furniture, which is important for its maintenance.
- Get your leather furniture dyed once a year or when you notice any discoloration to keep its appearance new and fresh.
- Consider repositioning your leather furniture away from direct sunlight or heat sources to prevent it from discoloration.
- Get cracks repaired through regular polishing. If cracking is spread out to peeling, you can consider changing the leather cover of the furniture altogether.
- Keep your leather furniture away from windows and heat sources
- Regularly polish your leather furniture with a leather polish to maintain its shine
- Restuff or replace the leather furniture foam in case it becomes wrinkled due to use.
- Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean your leather furniture when you notice dust settling on the upholstery.
- Use a conditioning cream to polish and condition your leather furniture to make it look brand new and maintain the original feel and sleek leather.
Leather furniture is undoubtedly one of the most liked and purchased furniture in the market today. With high durability, leather furniture is easy to clean and can last a lifetime if properly maintained.
However, along with the advantages that leather furniture offers, it is hard to ignore the disadvantages of leather furniture.
Nevertheless, with proper care and maintenance, you can ensure long-lasting leather furniture that creates an extra classy look for your home or office.