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Buying Leather Sofas: 
 Everything You Need to Consider

If you’re shopping for a new sofa and not sure which kind to get, you're not alone. With all the types of couches and different styles to choose from, it can be an overwhelming task to find the right modern sofa for your living room. 
Whether you're looking for a sofa bed for guests, an ultra-comfy sectional, or a couch with high-traffic upholstery for your furry friends, we've got you covered. Let's get started by discussing why there are so many different sofas to choose from.  
Chinese Takeout on Dark Smoke Leather Ottoman and Sofa

Tips for Buying 
 Leather Furniture

Like a fabric sofa, leather comes in different ranges of quality, called “grades”. While all real leather is made from animal skins, the part of the hide and how it is processed will have an impact on the look, feel and longevity.  

The first thing to consider is the leather grade when deciding which is the best leather for your piece of furniture. 
Man Lying on Whiskey Leather 3-Seat with Chaise
Man Lying on Dark Smoke Leather 3-Seat Sofa

Leather Grades

The first step in creating leather products is for the animal hide to be run through a splitter. The splitter separates it into two parts: the top, which is the highest quality, and the bottom, which may be split further. 

Alternatively, the hide may not be split at all, this is referred to as full-grain leather and is considered the most high-end option of all the genuine leather pieces.
Man Manufacturing Leather for Allform Sofas
Manufacturing Allform Sustainable and Modular Sofas

Types of Leather 
 Used to Make Sofas

Full-Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather because it's less processed and retains the entire grain of the hide including natural markings and texture. Also, full-grain leather absorbs moisture and oil and, over time, develops a patina that actually increases its appeal and aesthetic as it ages. One issue with this type of leather is that it can be very expensive compared to the benefits. We recommend going with a top-grain leather sofa.

Top-Grain Leather

Top-grain leather is another high-quality option. As the animal hide goes through the splitting process, the top-grain is separated from the bottom portion and is then buffed, sanded, and tanned to give it an even look. Unlike full-grain leather which isn't processed, top-grain leather does not absorb oils and water because the pores are closed during the tanning process. All Allform leather sofas are made with top-grain leather, for example. This allowed us to create high-quality furniture at a price point consumers could get behind.

Split-Grain Leather

Split-grain leather is the bottom portion of the hide that is separated during the splitting process. Split leather doesn't contain any of the hide’s natural markings or original grain. One of the most popular split-grain leathers is suede, which is appealing to those who prefer a softer, more pliant material.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is an alternative option for budget-conscious shoppers. It actually isn’t technically leather, but rather a hybrid of leather dust, pieces, vinyl, plastic, glue, and a protective coating that have been bonded together. Unlike top-grain leather, however, it doesn't hold up as well over time.

Aniline and Semi-Aniline Leather

Aniline leather and semi-aniline leather are those dyed exclusively with soluble dyes. While the dye changes the color of the leather, it does not produce the uniform surface you might expect from a topcoat paint or pigmented sealant. The resulting piece of leather retains its natural texture, pores, and natural marks.

Faux Leather

Faux leather, otherwise known as artificial leather or synthetic leather, are like-leather substitutes. Faux leather is typically made of a polyurethane and/or vinyl blend. While faux leather has a similar look and feel to leather, it is not true leather and as such doesn't have the same stain-resistance and longevity of leather.


Suede is a type of real leather with a napped finish, typically created during the splitting of the top and bottom grains of animal hide. Suede is made from the underside or bottom of the animal skin. It is a softer, more pliable grain than top-grain, however it is not as durable or stain-resistant as top-grain due to its looser fiber structure.
Man and Woman lying on Dark Smoke Leather Sofa with Ottoman

Color Migration and Aging

Occasionally, dyes used on leather rub off, or migrate, to other materials. This frequently happens with suede and nubuck leather because these types are sanded and buffed and release excess dust on the surface. This dust can't be completely removed during the process so rubbing it with another fabric, perhaps clothing can cause color migration to the other material. 

Additionally, leather that is oiled or waxed with a pigmented dye can also transfer color when they come in contact with heat which causes the pigment to loosen and transfer. 

From time to time, dye from the back of the natural grain leathers may also penetrate the surface and leave blemishes. This has been known to happen when markings placed on the animal hide to guide the cutting process penetrates the hide and leave visible pigment on the surface. 

Finally, it can occur from adhesives and insoluble dyes that penetrate the leather over time as a part of the aging process. The most frequent cause for this is poorly treated, low quality, and leather substitutes. 
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100 Day Relaxin’ Trial

We want your mind to feel as comfortable as your butt. That’s why we offer an industry leading 100 day return guarantee. Comfy is as comfy does.
100% Free, Fast Delivery

100% Free, Fast Delivery

Paying for shipping is just ridiculous. So is waiting 3-4 months for your order. Our unique modular solution lets us ship your new product to you fast and free.
Forever Warranty

Forever Warranty

You know what a short warranty means? It means questionable quality and durability. We offer a best in class limited lifetime warranty on our frames so you can rest easy.

Sustainably Made in the USA

Each sofa is handmade by skilled artisans in the same factory as some of the leading, high quality furniture brands. We also have a focus on the health of the environment, which is why we use recycled materials, Sustainable Forest Initiative supplied wood, and our entire facility is Certified UL Responsible for ethical sourcing.
Financing Available

Financing Available

Allform and Affirm have teamed up to offer financing as low as 0% APR on qualifying purchases. Just choose ‘Affirm - Pay Over Time’ at checkout. For shoppers with low or no FICO scores, Katapult offers alternative financing.
Three Dogs Sitting on Classic Whiskey Leather Sofa

Buying the Best Quality 

After reading this, you definitely know more about leather furniture. It’s important to ensure the retailers you’re considering give information about their leather and how it is manufactured. 

Allform sources the best leather to create comfortable, sustainable and finely crafted leather sofas. If you're considering leather furniture, whether it's an armchair, loveseat or sectional, Allform is your source for the best quality leather at the best prices. 

If you want to learn more about how we source and create our leather, check out our materials page