What is Genuine Leather?

25th February 2016

Recovering or purchasing leather-covered furniture is a long-term option, so the quality of the leather is a critical point in its durability. We’ve had a number of enquiries recently for re-upholstering leather covered furniture where the “leather” has peeled away.  Real leather will not peel off even after many years of constant wear. The product misleadingly labelled “leather” and often called “bonded leather” or “bi-cast leather” is a mix of leather shavings bonded onto a fabric base with a coating of polyurethane over the top. This top “leather” layer seems to start peeling as early as 6 months after purchasing.  Understandably this is very disappointing and the only long-lasting option is to recover the item either in genuine leather or fabric.  

For custom upholstery in the showroom and workshop we use genuine leather; full grain or top grain where each leather hide will have individual characteristics, and natural markings that are a result of the animal’s life in the paddock. These are not flaws but are further indication of a genuine leather product. This leather requires very little maintenance – wipe it down regularly with a damp cloth and protect from direct sunlight and it should last for years.  

If you’re interested Kate Browne from consumer organisation Choice has written an article about the pitfalls of buying leather furniture in Australia where we have no regulation as to what actually constitutes leather, or that it is labelled in such a way that clearly states what is we’re buying.  

If your "leather" couch looks like the below, unfortunately its only bonded leather and not genuine leather.

If you need any advice on reupholstering leather furniture or purchasing genuine leather products please call us on 02 9550 2365

bonded leather