Leather Furniture Buying Tips

Once you’ve tried leather everything else seems second rate. There’s no question, leather has a look and feel all its own. You want the best leather to suit the conditions of your home.

But Leather furniture is more than just the leather that covers the piece.

Let’s take a look at the different qualities of leather furniture. (Actually, many of these points pertain to all pieces of furniture.


  • 100% Top grain leather.  8-way hand tied (or machine tied) spring unit (approx. 27 coils per sofa) (The difference between hand tied and machine tied is that machine tied coils are tied with metal rather than twine.
  • Heat tempered springs.
  • Webbing suspension may be used.
  • Cushions come in two basic types…
    • 2.0+ density polyurethane foam core with poly-down fill encased by muslin type wrap.
    • 2.0+ density polyurethane wrapped innerspring variety.
  • Solid hardwood kiln dried frames…glued, doweled and corner blocked.
  • Frames are padded heavily to keep fabric from being stressed against the wood frames.


  • Top Grain/Split hide, much like the above, only the Top grain leather where you sit, split hides where you don’t.
  • High gauge and high quantity sinuous coils, more springs per seat and tighter turns/curves in the coils.
  • Drop in spring systems are also sometimes found in this category.
  • Heat tempered springs.
  • Cushions are 1.8+ density polyurethane core with Dacron wrapping that has been encased in muslin type fabric.
  • Kiln dried hardwood used in the for the frames.
  • Light padding used on the frames to keep fabric from direct exposure to the wood of the frames.


  • Vinyl/Top Grain match, Top grain leather where you sit, vinyl where you don’t.
  • Low gauge and low quantity sinuous coil springs, fewer springs per seat and looser turns/curves in the coils.
  • Non-heat tempered springs…may sag over time.
  • 1.5+ density polyurethane foam core with unattached Dacron wrap.
  • Air dried frames (removes 70% of the woods moisture content, the process takes about 6 months).
  • The type of wood used varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and sometimes even within a line of furniture from a given manufacturer. Price and availability are the deciding factor.
  • Frames are stapled and glued for the most part.


You get what you pay for!

Furniture Buying Guide

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