While the quality of leather is one of the factors to consider when buying a leather sofa, other factors, such as the quality of construction, attention to detail and suspension, also deserve consideration. In addition, it is important to consider how and where the new sofa will be used.
Leather comes in many different types. Top grain leather offers the longest wear and has had the animal's hair removed, exposing the epidermis. The quality of top grain leather is determined by natural scars and imperfections present. Split grain leather comes from the inner surfaces of the skin and is weaker. While nubuck leather and suede look similar, nubuck leather is a brushed top grain hide and suede comes from split grain leather, making it less durable. Pigmented leather is less expensive, and the process to produce it results in a more even and long-wearing finish that shows fewer blemishes. Embossed leathers are low quality hides that the manufacturer imprints with a pattern using a stamping process.
Before buying a leather sofa, it is a good idea to consider if leather fits into the desired lifestyle. Young children and pets are often incompatible with leather furnishings. In addition, leather products require placement out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources to prevent fading, drying and cracking.