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New furniture ... please be honest ...

Waaaay Down South, GA

I'm trying to decide what kind of den furniture to buy. We don't have a lot of small children coming around, so it won't be abused ... no pets that get on it ... we don't eat on the furniture, although I do take my coffee and sit in my recliner if I'm not on DG in the a.m. Of course, this is rare. LOL I have a table in between 2 chairs one of which is my recliner. :)

Now what we're thinking about is leather ... 2 recliners and a sofa. I've found a gorgeous leather!

Who has leather furniture, and which of you would do it all over ... and which of you wouldn't? And tell me why! Be specific!

Thanks! This furniture will probably be my last! :-)

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

My husband has a leather armchair -- He loves it. It it is well made with 'baseball' stitching. Good quality leather. The chair is soft and you sink into it. He also has a leather desk chair - more of a rigid feel because the leather is pulled tight. A friend has a similar chair with not so good quality leather (but it is leather) and the leather has not held up as well. It shows scratches where ours --the scratches can be softened out (I know that doesn't make sense) but with a leather creme the scratches go away. With hers, we have tried the cream- unsuccessful. So recommendation is to get a good quality leather.

Our Rosie is no longer with us now, but when she was alive she would sneak up on his chair. Her hair came right off of the leather - no issues. Oils are another issue. Where hands rest on the arms - the leather darkens --I am assuming it is oil from the skin etc. My husband has a wool throw on the back of the chair --so I have no personal experience, but I have seen leather chairs that are darkened where the hair comes in contact -- so again oils can darken. I have used a leather cleaner etc, on the arms, but I don't really see improvement. So if you consider it a "patina" I guess it would be ok, but if not, then I suggest you use a throw. I like leather enough to make it the covering choice for my next sofa.

Waaaay Down South, GA

Hmm, I didn't realize the leather would darken like that? I do love the feel of good leather, though. I'm still thinking ... I don't want to make the mistake of buying the first thing I fall in love with.

Natural Bridge, VA

I have a medium brown leather sofa with matching easy chair that I have never noticed any darkening patches on. (no throws used on it.) Later on, got a dark leather recliner. I think that leather is fairly worry-free and looks great. We have 2 cats, no dogs. The cats have managed to put tiny holes in the leather due to their claws gripping when they race around the room chasing each other. But they don't shred the furniture like on upholstery!
A sales person once recommended that if you have several pieces of leather furniture that you also have an upholstered one to break up the monotony, and I like that idea. (she actually said "monocony!")
hope this helps.
toni

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Hmmm well --maybe it isn't oils. I wonder what then. Honestly, I don't notice that my husband rests his hands much on the edge of the arms of the chair..he isn't a big guy and I imagine it isn't comfortable for him to sit all the way back and yet still manage to have his hands rest on the farthest edges of the arms. But I always assumed it was oil from the skin -since my spouse never eats anything when watching TV (...NOW if that were my chair --- who knows what the heck I would have spilled on it!!) Anyway, whatever it is ..it doesn't come out with the leather creme/conditioner cleaner the chair came with. It doesn't look bad at all it is just a darkening on the edge but since you asked, I figured I'd say what was my least favorite thing about the leather. As I said, I'd definitely get a sofa in leather. The chair is a medium to dark brown with a bit of russet tone.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Is your leather lighter colored? I could imagine that skin oils could stain leather, but I would expect it would show up a lot more on light colored leather than it would on darker colors.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

No - it's med- med dark brown. Sort of a reddish brown.

I was curious so I got a white cloth napkin and rubbed it on while the cloth was dry and then wet it and did the same thing. No dirt came off the leather. So, what can it be but oil? I don't think of the skin as oily but I know there are oils there.

My husband is the original Mr. Neat and so - I know there wasn't any food spillage or anything like that. He doesn't use any cream lotions or anything like that on his hands either --just plain soap.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Could it be wear instead of dirt? If he repeatedly rubs against the same areas of the chair they could end up with a slightly smoother texture than the rest of the chair which could make those areas appear a different color.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Good point but no -- I don't think so the leather is as thick appearing and well grained and soft etc., as the rest. I will try to upload a photo - but maybe the flash will not allow the edge of chair to be seen with what I think is oil stain.

Thumbnail by missingrosie
Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

another maybe can see better. That wool throw keeps me from 'testing' the oil theory along the back head rest!

Thumbnail by missingrosie
Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

The chair is about 9-10 years old - so likely worn but I don't think the darkened area is 'worn'. Maybe you can see by the edge of the seat cushion near the front where the legs rub each and every time that there is no discoloration and I am sure that the front edge of the seat is more prone to being worn. As I said --my husband's arms are not all that long and I think he likely rests his hands midway down that chair arm as opposed to the edges of the arms. That allows for the flex/bend of the elbow --otherwise I think he would have to keep his arms poker straight to rest the hands over the edge. Oh well, a mystery and not what this thread is really about (sorry 101 - I just wanted to say --in answer to your question ---I LOVE leather but I think it does pick up oils.) Could be when our Rosie was alive (she was living in the same house with that chair for 5-6 years) ----she brushed past it and deposited oil. She was just exactly the right height to do that and she was often right next to my husband's legs.

This message was edited Jan 25, 2009 8:31 PM

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

It definitely could have been from Rosie--I get dark marks on my walls in places that my dog brushes by regularly--only thing that gets those off is the Magic Eraser but I don't know if I'd try it on leather! My only experience with leather is black leather which doesn't show any marks like that, and I would suspect leather that's true brown rather than reddish-brown would probably show dirt/oil less too.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Well..I can't be mad at Rosie. At least the mystery of the dark stain may be solved. 101 --do you have pets??

Waaaay Down South, GA

Yes, I have a lab ... she's not allowed on the furniture but like y'all have pointed out, she'll certainly be rubbing against it. I would imagine that leather might pick up tones from oils in the skin from aging. I don't think that would bother me unless it's excessive ... which it doesn't sound like. I appreciate all the great info and input from everyone. I enjoy the conversation. Sorta feels like we're sitting around the table discussing it? That's what I was hoping for. :-) Like I said in the title of the thread ... I wanted honest opinions from people who had leather. Thanks!

We looked at furniture again this week-end. I still haven't found anything I like. I'm short and am having trouble finding something that sits comfortable. When I sit all the way bac ... my feet don't touch the floor with a lot of the furniture unless I slide down. It's very uncomfortable. Then there's the furniture that lays you back too far. I'm still leaning toward that leather. It's just the right size and is that soft kind. I've got a place out of town I want to check out first. I'll let y'all know what I decide. :)

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

If you look for a sofa with an exposed wood frame -- where the cushions can be leather bottom and back..those tend to be shorter in the seat from back of the knee to the back cushion. Tend to be lower also - but firm enough to allow you to get out of the chair comfortably. Good for petite people. But you got to like the lean look of the exposed wood -- there are usually side arm cushions etc. Not for everybody (the style) but I like it.

Natural Bridge, VA

Missing rosie, your chair looks extremely comfortable, and I like that color leather. I think I can make out the darker area you're talking about, but it's not very noticeable. My sofa/chair are lighter than that and we have no dogs. I'll bet it was your Rosie.
:)
toni

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Toni
You are right it isn't that noticeable - that's why I said it was a 'patina' (fancy word for 'it won't come off and so I will say it is desireable!!" ) But, if it WAS Rosie...well, I guess I will never try to clean it again!! ;0)

Waaaay Down South, GA

Well, I'm certainly not going to let that sway me from leather :) but am trying to keep an open mind, also. So far, I just haven't seen anything else I like, though. I do like that microfiber ... at least I think that's correct? I just haven't found it in what I want. LOL I'll keep in touch. :)

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Microfiber...now you didn't ask about microfiber 101... I know several folks with sofa's/chairs.. ..... it is sort of a chenille or velour (at least the few I have seen) I know the dept store advertised as microfiber because my DS bought a set. ... No way to get the pet hair off even with tools and vacuums. It also shows wear along where the back legs hit sooner than other materials.. that being said.... I imagine there are grades of it / etc. etc. and I don't know what it is (gradewise) that I have seen.

Waaaay Down South, GA

Oh *thank you*! Hmm, maybe I should have asked what types of fabic people like and don't like ... and why? I had just come home from looking and had that leather on my mind ... Oh well, maybe some other people will jump in. I definitely don't need a dog hair magnet! LOL

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

I have microfiber, dogs and kids. I do NOT recommend it. I spend more money getting my furniture cleaned than I care to admit. :( It wears on the edges and turns dark (I have taupe furniture). It's difficult to remove pet hair and it leaves butt prints (according to my 10 year old).

The next set is going to be nice leather.

Waaaay Down South, GA

LOL ... thanks so much ... We're still looking. Can you believe it? So far I'm not impressed with the microfiber, either, although the furniture companies sure are pushing it. What's with that? Maybe it's because they know it doesn't hold up? One thing the DH and I have both noticed is every time we sit on it, the static electricity is terrible! We always get shocked. Now how crazy is that! LOL

So far I have 2 things picked out and both are leather. I'll probably be making my decision within the next couple of weeks. The furniture stores are having sales here.
^_^

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Sales are down - ask them to throw in lamps or a painting or something like that --- you never can tell......

Gettysburg, PA(Zone 6b)

101 - I have two labs that seem to explode hair as they walk. I bought an upholstered sofa in my pre-dog days and have since bought two leather recliners. NO HAIR sticks to the leather even when they use the edge of the chairs as back-scratchers. I know when I replace the couch I'll be sorely tempted to get leather b/c of the dog hair all over the couch I have now, but I don't like the idea of 3 pieces of leather furniture in the family room with nothing upholstered. But I won't ever have a hairless-household so I might end up doing that.
Forgive my rambling, but my point is, go for the leather!
Dana

PS - the markup on furniture is ridiculous. I'm sure you'd be able to get a better-than-sale price, especially if you pay with check or cash. (stores lose about 3% of the sale when people pay with credit cards)

This message was edited Feb 13, 2009 12:21 PM

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Dana - go for the leather and get some lovely pillows and a throw. You can shake them out at least! (PS - you don't need me to say that the pups are worth it right??? I miss Rosie so much and I don't care if I have to live in hair waist high - if I could have her back, I'd do it in a NY minute!)

Waaaay Down South, GA

I'm going for the leather, y'all! I think I've finally made up my mind. I keep going back to the original set I found when we started looking ... and boy have we ever looked! LOL I'm with everyone else about our 4 legged babies. I just have to take the good with the bad, but the leather sure will make that part nicer. :) I won't forget to take a picture when we get it and get the room fixed up. Thanks, so much ... this has really helped me a lot!

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

I see you've made your pick! I'll post for the future reader who might still be considering however....

We have kids and pets. I wanted leather before we had either though! I grew up with cloth furniture in a dusty old house with lots of kids and pets and phew man you sit down and see the dust fly or the stains or wear from years of use on cloth and when I grew up I knew I had to have leather and I convinced my parents it was the best to so they also made the switch! I hate couch cushions that bunch up or shift and have to be readjusted, not to mention vaccuumed under and over. I don't want a lot of fluff (pillows taking up the seating space) and leather sometimes has built in pillow arms or none and pillows won't sit well on leather because they will slide so for my taste I don't have to have pillows just the furniture! I love leather because it doesn't hold the dust, no cushions to move around, nothing to get trapped under the cushions, hard to stain if at all and wears better than fabric :)

With kids it's been a lifesaver. DD can eat snacks and have sippy cups on it and any minor spill is easily wiped up!

No dogs but have cats and most cats won't lay on leather. Ours occassionally do, especially if a throw is on it they'll lay on that, they have left scratch marks not because they scratch but because they ran to jump off or on but nothing a good leather stain can't patch up and certainly wasn't strong enough to tear the leather.

I've seen leather that has oil/body stains but ours color choice was dark enough by preference not to notice any wear of that sort. I chose a dark burgundy in one room and a dark brown almost walnut color for the other.

We use leather cleaner the furniture store offered as a lifetime freebie with the purchase and they suggested since it is basically leather lotion you wipe it on with your bare hand, the oils from your hand in this process helps to freshen the leather to (so we were told).

Could I be happier? I don't think so. Good luck on your purchase!

Waaaay Down South, GA

What a wonderful review! Would you believe I still haven't made my purchase? That's why there's no pictures! LOL When I went in with my mind all made up, I was giving it the final once over, and it just didn't suit me as I ran my hands over it. I realized what I had picked out was a cheaper grade leather so I'm back at square 1. I'll not compromise! I do want leather but am holding out for just that perfect one! LOL

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

One tip I was told (who knows if accurate) is that if the back of the couch has smaller pieces of leather sewn on then the back is leather, if it is one solid piece it's vinyl/fake on the backside meaning the piece isn't as high of quality.

Waaaay Down South, GA

Great tip. I'll be checking that for sure. :)

Chaplin, CT(Zone 5b)

We have a large pale yellow leather recliner, brand is Catnapper-used everyday for 8 years by my BF who watches TV and sleeeps in it. Its showing some dirt, but I have not tried to clean it. My Japanes chin walks on it, cats, my beagle, my larger dogs lay against it. No tears, would by again. The padding in this chair is still as puffy as the day we bought it. I am looking to buy a leather couch now.
Howver, my sister in law said her cats peed on her leather all the time.

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

Sometimes cats have those issues if there are to many in one home to. We have 2 cats and have had no issues. One will lay on the leather as is but the other won't touch it.

Phoenix, AZ

I haven't taken the time to read through this thread but I have done my homework when purchasing leather furniture. Leather is not just 'leather'. How its treated, the thickness of the skin, stain not to mention the construction of the leather itself. Some 'color' it actually painted onto the leather. Some stained, some treated etc. Various thicknesses of the skin... some can be VERY very thin. There are US grades to consider... know your grades. Some are international. The acid a person carries in their skin can wreak havoc on the stability of leather. MY X Husband had very acidic skin and the arms of "his chair" deteriorated readily.

Virginia Beach, VA

I had to get rid of my leather furniture in the den because it very cold during winter in Va. We now have 2 person lazy boy recliner and a sofa. Belle

Dahlonega, GA

I know this is an old thread , but let me jump in with my experience. I have a Very high end Drexel Heritage suede couch . Altho the piece will last a lifetime , a drop of water will soak in the leather . It can dry ,leaving a light ring . You can see ,on the left arm side , what sitting , and the pooch sleeping there , how the rubbing ,and oil from the dog , will wear, and smooth the leather . I've had smooth leather b4 and it's treated to not absorb moisture . Not suede . We live in the den and wouldn't get rid of this couch , too expensive (4,000 dollars)and much too comfortable . I just wanted you to know , suede isn't for the faint of heart , if you want to keep a couch or chair looking new forever. I don't care , personally about it wearing the nap off , but would never have anything but leather. Just not suede . digger

Thumbnail by digger9083
Dahlonega, GA

This is the end we sit on and pooch sleeps on . It's like a pair of suede shoes , wears smooth with time and can spot . I keep a throw on this end for the dog to get on but need to train her to use the other end , to even out the wear . lol . digger

Dahlonega, GA

My pic went into space . Try again.

Thumbnail by digger9083
Waaaay Down South, GA

Hi Digger!
Thanks so much for your reply. Believe it or not ... I still don't have new furniture. It's not that I haven't been looking. I guess I'm just hard to please. :-( For the money I have, I'm not liking what I've seen so far. I'll hang on to it, though. I'll know it when I see it. Until then, I appreciate all the responses!

Dahlonega, GA

I know what you mean , When you see it , you know it's yours .If you go with leather go with known manufactures. Then the quality of leather . In my case , I have a membership in a discount purchasing group that lets me buy at manufacterer cost .I visited the showroom in Oklahoma and spotted this . Altho it was real quality , it wasn't meant for use in a den . Much better in an executive suite where it wouldn't get the traffic . But I love it and when I saw it , it was mine .Good luck in your search, you'll find it . digger

Langley, WA(Zone 7b)

I'm not sure what it's called but that suede-type of stuff, microfiber?, is great. We got an overstuffed sofa and it's sooooo comfie. Be sure and sit in whatever you get beforehand to make sure you like it.

Also, measure and be sure it can fit thru your doors. When we had our delivered, it almost didn't fit. It took a lot of pushing and shoving. Once they got it inside, they took off the shrink wrap and -- poof -- it expanded! It's never coming out unless we chop it up in pieces!

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