Tahoe home design tips: Spruce things up with leather furnishings | SierraSun.com

Tahoe home design tips: Spruce things up with leather furnishings

Kristen Fencl
Special to the Sun-Bonanza

Did you know that over half the furniture sold worldwide today is covered in leather? Leather furnishings are considered by many to be romantic, extravagant, sophisticated, long lasting and very comfortable. All these wonderful reasons make leather-upholstered items a perfect choice for many of today's consumers.

Leather for home furnishings products comes from around the world. A majority of hides are produced in Europe — particularly Italy — and South America.

Leather is not limited to sofa and chair coverings, but can also be incorporated into design accessories such as leather framed mirrors, picture frames, lamps, lampshades, area rugs and even window treatments!

Before leather covering can be utilized as upholstery for home furnishings and accessories, hides are subjected to a judging and dyeing process. Once leather hides arrive at a tannery for processing, they are hand-sorted based on quality.

The hides with the fewest imperfections are cut into layers. The top layer, called "top" or "full" grain, is the highest quality layer, and is also the layer of the hide that lies closest to the animal. The second and third layers are called "splits" and can also be used for covering furniture.

This is often the grade of leather used in promotional furniture. Once the hides are sorted and cut into layers, the leather is colored by using one of three dyeing methods.

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The highest quality layers of leather are colored using a translucent, pure aniline dye. This dye process renders beautiful color variations in the leather.

Since this process is used on unfinished, top-quality leather, the finished product usually has a softer feel. Another coloring process, also used on top-grain hides, is a surface finish application, called semi-aniline.

This method produces a uniform color look. A third coloring procedure, called pigmented, coats the leather surface uniformly with an opaque color. This durable process covers most imperfections in the leather, and is very commonly used.

Since the purchase of leather furniture for your home can be a long lasting investment, it's important that you make a wise decision about what type of leather furniture will work best for you, and ultimately give you the look and feel that you desire.

And what better way to make that investment than to work with a professional and knowledgeable decorator?

Kristen Fencl is an award winning professional interior decorator and owner of the Decorating Den Interiors located in Incline Village. Visit http://www.decdens.com/kristenf or call her at 775-250-1426.