Pop quiz: Is your sofa past its prime at 15+ years old? Does your bedroom unintentionally resemble a different decade? Are the cushions on your patio furniture falling apart and fading? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to upgrade the upholstery inside and outside your home.

Purchasing furniture for your living room, bedroom, or patio can fall under several categories: a) intimidating, b) exciting, c) overwhelming, or d) all the above. However, at Creative Leather, we take the frustration out of design and décor challenges by turning them into opportunities for comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing furniture.

Even if you know zilch about custom furniture, the processes involved in making custom furniture, or what we call our “leather lingo,” we’re here to put your mind at ease! As an expert in custom leather furniture with more than five locations throughout Arizona and Colorado (Chandler, AZ; Scottsdale, AZ; Gilbert, AZ; Glendale, AZ; and Centennial, CO), Creative Leather is committed to handcrafting the finest quality and most diverse leather furniture on the market today.

Now, if you’re looking to invest in quality, custom leather furniture, there are a few things you need to know about choosing the right leather for your unique lifestyle and individual needs. There are four different types of leather we offer at Creative Leather. In this blog, we’ll go over full aniline, semi-aniline leather, nubuck leather, and pigmented leather.

Full Aniline Leather

Full aniline leather is currently the finest leather available, as it is made from premium quality, top-grain hides. This means that the surface of your furniture’s full-grain hide was not mechanically altered, resulting in a soft, luxurious, and natural-looking appearance. While full aniline leather is generally more expensive than other types of leather, it’s quality and beauty is unsurpassed, making it a highly sought after material for products that will stand the test of time.

So, is full aniline leather right for you? As we mentioned previously, that depends on your lifestyle and needs. This leather is a natural beauty, but it’s more likely to fade and stain. While that may sound unappealing, this could be a major advantage depending on your personal style, as full aniline leather will feature noticeable range marks, barbed wire scars, wrinkles, scratches, and brands, making it appear more rustic.

Full aniline leather is also un-retouched, which results in subtle color and shading differences from hide to hide. This is what makes the custom furniture business so fun to be a part of – every client of ours receives a stunning, completely unique piece of furniture that no one else in the world has – how cool is that?

Let’s recap. Here are the characteristics of full aniline leather that may or may not impact your purchase:

Full Aniline Leather

  • Finest leather available; always made from premium quality, full top-grain hides
  • The softest, most luxurious, and natural-looking leather
  • More likely to fade and stain; featuring noticeable range marks, barbed wire scars, wrinkles, scratches, and brands
  • Un-retouched; subtle shade differences and markings from hide to hide
  • Typically more expensive than other types of leather

Semi-Aniline Leather

Semi-aniline leather shares many of the same qualities as full aniline leather, but it’s generally less expensive, making it a much more affordable option for clients who desire the look and feel of full aniline leather without the price tag. It’s also soft and beautiful like full aniline leather, but it’s more durable and practical for daily use.

At Creative Leather, we often recommend semi-aniline leather furniture to clients who want their furniture to have a slightly more uniform color and texture. Why? Because this leather is often coated with a clear sealant to enhance its resistance to stains, and it tends to have fewer noticeable range marks.

So, is semi-aniline leather right for you? It may be the right product for you if you’re a first-time leather buyer who’s looking for a high-quality piece with a more uniform look and feel. On the other hand, you may be looking to create a truly authentic piece with unique markings that naturally change over time. In that case, full aniline leather may be right for you. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which leather product will leave you the most satisfied, and we can educate you on the care and maintenance of both so you can feel confident about your final decision.

Let’s recap. Here are the characteristics of semi-aniline leather that may or may not impact your purchase:

Semi-Aniline Leather

  • High quality, high-value leather
  • Soft and beautiful; durable and practical
  • Often coated with clear sealant to enhance stain resistance
  • Slightly more uniform in color and texture than full aniline
  • Fewer noticeable range marks
  • Generally less expensive than full aniline leather

Still not sure what leather is right for you? Don’t worry – we’ve got two more options to choose from: nubuck leather and pigmented leather!

Nubuck Leather

So, our first rundown of leather products was a bit of a doozy, we know that – but it must be nice knowing that, as a custom leather furniture buyer, you’ve got choices! Nevertheless, we mentioned earlier in the blog that full aniline leather and semi-aniline leather are high-quality leather products that are made from the most desirable part of an animal’s hide – the top layers. The biggest difference between full aniline and semi-aniline leather is how they are treated and dyed, which is why you may choose one over the other based on your aesthetic preferences.

Fortunately, you’ve got a third leather option for your custom furniture that uses full top-grain hide, similar to full aniline and semi-aniline leather. It’s called nubuck leather.

Nubuck leather is a top-grain cattle leather that is sanded or buffed, resulting in a velvety, suede-like finish. Similar to other leather types, proper care of nubuck leather is crucial to maintain its quality; nubuck leather is more likely to fade and stain, which can cause noticeable range marks, barbed wire scars, wrinkles, scratches, and brands.

So, is nubuck leather right for you? While nubuck is considered an expensive alternative to suede (a type of leather that is sanded from the inside for a cleaner appearance), it is often more durable than a true suede product. Plus, nubuck leather offers more character in its overall appearance, as the sanding process creates natural markings and “imperfections” in the leather.

Let’s recap. Here are the characteristics of nubuck leather that may or may not impact your purchase:

Nubuck Leather

  • High quality, full top-grain leather buffed or sanded to a velvety, suede-like nap
  • More likely to fade and stain; will feature noticeable range marks, barbed wire scars, wrinkles, scratches, and brands
  • Soft and beautiful, more durable than a true suede that is produced from lower quality split-grain leather

Pigmented Leather

Lastly, the team at Creative Leather Furniture offers pigmented leather for clients who want a custom piece that is not only beautiful, but is also wear, stain, and fade resistant. Often referred to as “finished leather,” pigmented leather is sanded and altered to create a faux embossed pattern, a process that guarantees a highly uniform and consistent texture.

Pigmented leather is typically dyed with an opaque dye to ensure a rich, uniform color before it’s coated with a clear sealant to boost durability. Because this leather is much less susceptible to wear and tear, it is often recommended to leather furniture buyers who have children and pets.

So, is pigmented leather right for you? It’s important to note that while pigmented leather has excellent durability and requires minimal maintenance, it’s usually not as soft as some of the other natural leather products we offer. If this is going to be a deal breaker for you, then you may want to consider full aniline leather, semi-aniline leather, or nubuck leather.

Let’s recap. Here are the characteristics of pigmented leather that may or may not impact your purchase:

Pigmented Leather

  • Least likely to fade or stain
  • Sanded surface and a faux embossed pattern create a highly uniform and consistent texture
  • Coated with clear sealant to enhance stain resistance
  • Opaque dyes create rich and uniform coloration that minimizes natural marks and scars
  • Excellent durability with minimal maintenance

Evaluating All Leather Types

Now that you’ve been through the ringer with this blog post, it’s time to make a decision, right? Well, not necessarily. At Creative Leather, we understand that all of the extensive, leather-buying blogs in the world can’t replace seeing and touching the product in-person. That’s why we encourage our current and prospective clients to visit a Creative Leather showroom near them! There, you can see and feel what makes our custom leather furniture the best in the industry.

If you can’t visit a store, no problem! Call 877-337-3307 to speak with a member of our team. We can go over the leather types we offer and recommend the best one for your lifestyle needs. Call us today!