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A Designers Guide to Leather Furniture Styles

Buying furniture can be time consuming and stressful. Not all couples are able to agree on style or color for their new living room sofa set. Here are a few things to look for and terms that can help while trying to find the perfect furniture group. Hopefully before you hit the computer or start driving to shop this will be helpful and take some of the stress out.

Leather far outlasts fabric buy up to 5X. Leather is odor free and great for folks with allergies. Leather furniture will also always remain at room temperature. Like fabric you can by leather furniture in many different grades, colors and price points.

Fabric or cloth furniture can be mixed with leather and is completely etiquette. Patterns and solids are great together as long as you have something else to blend or pull the two together. Throw pillows or a rug are an excellent way to accomplish this.

Choosing the perfect sofa style to fit your style

Next step you need to decide how much seating you will need in the room you are furnishing. If you only need 3 seats then you only need a sofa. Perhaps you’re a family of 5. Then you will need at least 5 seats just for those who live in the home. Now consider having company over. Now the original 5 has turned into 10 so you may require a sectional sofa. Once you have the number of seats figured out now it’s onto the fun part of choosing the style. Keep in mind most sofas have matching or companion pieces available like a loveseat, chair, sofa sleeper and even a recliner. Although mixing and matching of styles is okay in most circumstances.  

Choosing a sofa style

Three over three is the most popular style, the Bosworth for example.   As the photo shows there are 3 back cushions and three seat cushions. This is so popular because it gives three guests each their own space and leaves no one sitting on a crevice. Popular then and still popular today. The box cushion just shown or another choice is the T cushion like on the Carrado. A pro to the box seat cushion is that these cushions can be moved around while the T cushion cannot. There is not one that is more popular than the other it is simply personal preference.

The next type of sofa is two over two. Not as popular as the three over three but another option. Having only 2 seat cushions tends to make the length seem shorter visually like on the Gilbert leather sofa.  Also visually there are not as many breaks perhaps you will like that better.

The third option is the bench seat, for example the Biltmore. This is a solid seat cushion. There are no breaks, so you are not visually guided to sit in a certain spot. Extremely comfortable for lying down. You might want to have this covered with another leather or fabric color and flip this solid cushion over on occasion. It’s like getting a bonus look.

A tufted seat cushion is another option used for traditional sofas and loveseats upholstered most often in leather as shown on the Chesterfield.  

If you choose a love seat size the cushions will be the same with the exception of the three over three that will only have the two cushions instead of three like the larger sofa.

Choosing the right sofa back

First – The loose pillow back as shown on the Pioneer, means the back pillows where your back rests are not attached to the frame of the sofa. Whether this is three over three or two over two. Although it is referred to as loose they are mostly attached with Velcro. Loose meaning the back pillows are removable or able to be changed around as long as they are not T cushions

Semi attached – This refers to the top of the back pillow being attached usually with a flap or piece of leather or fabric depending on which cover you have selcted. These pillows are not removable but will lift up for cleaning or access to the zipper at the bottom (if applicable) to remove or add fiber filling.

The tight back – For those looking for a firmer more polished look. No cushions to straighten or fluff. Tight back sofas are perfect for those who enjoy proper sitting and are not really recommended for a casual look. This style back will sit firm with no squishing.

Bustle back – Two pillows stacked on top of each other. These are always attached at the top. You can lift them up for cleaning and to access the zipper for adding fill. This is good back and head support along with being plush and polished. This type of sofa back can be found on traditional sofas or loveseats as well as some modern styles. A very popular choice used for club chairs and even office furniture. A tufted sofa back is a cross between a tight back and a semi attached back, the Coleman for example. Firm but not that firm depending on the degree of tufting. There is a loose diamond tuft or a tighter tuft. The degree of firmness will depend on the leather or fabric you select. Softer leathers will have more give while stiffer leathers will not. Heavy weight leathers are usually not used on tufted pieces. Only high end leather manufactures are able to tuft these type of leathers because the leather mush be skived so it will adhere to the button for tufting properly.

Choosing the right sofa arm style

There are four basic types of arms that are used when manufacturing furniture. The English arm is a classic style that is typically used with a T cushion low and gently rolling best describes this timeless arm style. Next up is the rolled arm .  A fairly traditional look especially if nails are applied to this handsome arm style. This style is also used on more modern looks and transitional styles.

Now onto the track arm. Generally square and most often used with more of a square back rather than round. This arm can be lower or the same as the back height. The last arm style is the tuxedo arm or tufted arm like on the Chippendale sofa. These arms are always the same height as the back and can actually be a great visual break or divider for you room.

Wooden furniture legs

Any of the wooden sofa leg styles are available in your choice of wood finish. The bunn foot named this I assume because of its similar look to the hamburger bunn, as shown of this Button Tufted Sofa is a favorite for traditional styles of furniture. The block leg, shown on the Castle Rock, doesn’t draw attention from your piece of furniture at all. This leg serves as a place for your sofa or chair and ottoman to rest.

The caster or roller feet like on the Denver Chair & Ottoman, fit up underneath the piece of furniture and are hardly noticed unless you get a caster on a fluted leg as shown on the Edenburgh.  People who move their furniture a lot whether it be for cleaning or just easy movement tend to gravitate towards the roller caster. Always look at the legs as the finish not the start. Select your covering either leather or fabric then nails or any other special features then look to the feet. I always look at this final decision like I would frame a picture. Choose the color to blend with what you have selected, don’t try to take away from the main subject. Here is a good example. You select a dark brown leather sofa because your floor is whitewash you choose a whitewash finish for the bunn feet. Seems right? It’s not going to look right because your sofa is sitting on a darker multi colored rug. So the first thing that you see when you walk into the room is your eyes drop to the floor because the contrast is so great between the dark rich chocolate colored leather and the almost white wooden bunn feet. Keep it simple, don’t over think it! Blend your wood with your upholstery and it will be fine. 

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