Sweater weather simply calls for leather. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. There isn’t another material that can match leather’s style, timelessness, and durability, which is why it’s a staple in so many homes. But this post is not just an ode to our favorite upholstery – it’ll also include some tips and tricks to make the most of the leather pieces in your space, and how to properly maintain your leather. We’ll even cover more unexpected ways to incorporate leather into your decor. So, for the love of leather, let’s begin!
CHOOSE YOUR STYLE
No matter your home’s color scheme or aesthetic, there’s a leather for you. A plethora of tones and finishes exist on the market, so your choice depends on whatever vibe you’re looking for. For example, you could select a tight-back, black leather sofa for a sleek, sophisticated look. Go the route of richness and warmth with a cushion-back, camel-colored armchair in a weathered “bomber jacket” finish. You could even kick up the pizzazz with a tufted chaise in a bright shade of dyed leather, such as red or green. Regardless of which direction you go, we suggest choosing something classic that you won’t get tired of anytime soon. Some versatile shades we love are cognac, caramel, dark chocolate, tan, taupe, and gray.
THE BEST WAY TO RECLINE
Recliners are undoubtedly comfortable, and there’s a reason why these functional pieces are so popular in leather – added polish! We also love reclining sectionals and motion sofas. They knock out the need for additional furniture and save you space. Upgrading to a power-assisted option will even allow you to relax at the touch of a button!
If the leather is especially dark, you may find that your room feels too weighed down by your furniture. This can be remedied by creating an interesting contrast. Paint the walls a light hue and start adding accents like end tables, rugs, throw pillows, and blankets in paler colors. This gives the space an airier feel. Another solution is to not overdo matching furniture in one room. If you have a three-piece set of brown leather furniture, keep the couch in the living room and move the loveseat and chair to different rooms in the house.
OTHER TYPES OF LEATHER PIECES
Sofas and chairs aren’t the only ways to deck out your living room with leather. Here are some other pieces to consider:
- Leather-topped table
- Leather ottoman
- Leather barstools
- Leather-trimmed mirror or picture frame
- Leather-bound books on shelves or coffee table
- Cowhide rug
- Leather-woven storage basket
- Leather throw pillows
NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING
You may be wondering why you should spend more on genuine leather when there are faux alternatives with a similar look. Here are some reasons why it’s worth it to invest in the real deal:
- Every piece of leather is one of a kind with its own character.
- Faux leather is thinner and doesn’t offer as much warmth.
- Leather gets softer with age and starts looking even more gorgeous. Faux leather tends to peel and flake off over time.
- Faux leather is not as substantial – it has about 1/3 of real leather’s lifespan.
And here’s a handy guide to differentiate between the two:
- First and foremost, check the label. “Genuine leather” should be prominently stated. If you see phrases like “man-made materials,” it’s probably vinyl.
- Get up close and personal with the leather in question. Natural leather has pores in inconsistent patterns, while faux leather will have imitation pores in perfect rows.
- Try smelling the furniture. Real leather has a distinct smell, while fake leather will smell more like rubber, plastic, or nothing.
- If you can see the edges, check if they’re too perfect looking or feel foamy. Genuine leather will literally look “rough around the edges.”
UPKEEP AND CLEANING
Leather has longevity on it side. It may be a more expensive option than regular fabrics, but it’s an investment you’ll have for years to come if you take care of it. Your leather furniture should come with care instructions from the manufacturer, so it’s advisable to stick to these recommendations to keep the piece looking its best.
Don’t worry too much about messes along the way. Nothing beats the ease of wiping spills off of leather – not even tossing a slipcover in the wash. Experts recommend using a cotton cloth or natural sponge with distilled water, if possible. Use light, dabbing motions to pick up the offending stain. To banish any solid debris you come across, try using your vacuum’s nozzle attachment. If the leather suffers some scratches (pets, kids… we’re looking at you!), use an aerosol colorant spray designed especially for leather. Just spray on a matching color, follow up with a sealant, and most importantly: wait for your furniture to dry before sitting on it again. Trust us, that’s a mistake you’ll only make once!
LEATHER LOVERS UNITE
What’s your favorite way to decorate with leather? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’ve been left craving some new leather pieces for your home, be sure to check out all the beautiful options at The Great American Home Store.