Hear ye, hear ye all Design Lovers: Lowest cost leather furniture is basically crap tied in a bow. You may as well run your money through a paper shredder now and get the pain over with.
ABC news in Chicago reported on complaints from trusting furniture consumers about leather furniture that began flaking and peeling in as little as 1-2 years after purchase!
As it turns out, these design consumers were led to believe that they were purchasing a special leather product that was even stronger than 100% leather. Some even thought they were buying leather.
In certain cases, people spent $2500 for a leather sofa. In others, they spent $2500 for a 2-3 piece upholstery set. Imagine how infuriated you’d feel to part with $2,500 on anything and see it fall apart in 1-2 years.
The first product in the ABC news story is called Durablend, made of a mixture of 7% polypropeline, 59% PVC, 17% Poly cotton blend and17% leather. 17% leather! It’s basically a pulp made of mostly man made materials.
While Durablend is made by Ashley Furniture, the ABC news story also sited similar complaints against leather product from Simmons Upholstery, Lane Home Furnishings and Jackson Furniture.
And here’s an image I found on-line simply by googling complaints about leather furniture from a super popular furniture cataloger. (Hint: They are so popular that their name has become a description for a design style.) This image shows a massive problem with their leather furniture – terrible manufacturing quality.
Genuine leather is more challenging to work with than fabric. Poor quality manufacturing processes won’t cut it on leather.
Why do retailers bring low quality product to the market?
Because many of you will buy it.
Because in reality, making a quality leather sofa costs more than you want it to or think it should.
Because of aspirational shopping; wanting something that is out of your price range, but wanting it anyway.
Because the furniture-shopping public is unwilling to believe that long-last goes hand-in-hand with the quality of materials and manufacturing practices used.
Because some of your Design Loving brothers and sisters want the lowest cost “deal” no matter what.
Your Take Away:
- For high performance leather, you MUST verify the leather is “top grain” or “full grain.”
- Tight on cash? Choose fabric. The same sofa done in an entry level but durable fabric will cost half of what a basic “top grain” or “full grain” leather sofa will.
- RUN away from leather sofas that cost less than $4,000
- FYI: A quality leather CHAIR can start at $2,500 – NOT $2,500 for a sofa, loveseat and chair!
- Like all things, even full grain leather comes in variety of qualities, which is why leather upholstery prices can get pretty steep.
The old adage “you get what you pay for” is never truer than in the furniture world. It’s easy for furniture to look good the day it’s purchased. Think longer term: what will it look and feel like 2, 5 or more years after the purchase?
You can see the full video of the news story here.