Skip to content
Rated 4.9/5 ★★★★★ Based on Our Customer Reviews.
Click to Call us for Assistance - (800) 266-1049

How To Tell If A Leather Sofa Is Genuine Top Grain Leather

Real Leather FurnitureIf you are in the market for a new genuine leather sofa there are a few things that will make your shopping experience better. First, do your homework and read The Definitive Guide To Buying Leather Furniture. This is a compressive read that will outline from start to finish how to be sure what you are buying is real top grain leather along with other furniture buying tips.

All leather is not equal: The top grain which is the first and top cut from the hide is the most desirable not only for its durability but also its natural life story. The second cut is called the split cut. This is used more often for shoes, belts or parts of furniture that you will not come in contact with as you use your leather sofa or chair. These second cut pieces if used for upholstering furniture are mostly used on an outside back or outside arm. This cut is much less expensive, much stiffer and exhibits more of a synthetic look.

Leather Industry Word Terminology

Over the years the leather furniture industry has come up with some terms for leather that you should get familiar with before your start shopping for leather sofas and sectionals. Authentic leather should have grain, smell wonderful and suede should be on the underside. If you don’t see this then it's time to move on. Some of the words used to describe leather in stores can be bonded leather, leather Ette or pleather. These are not the genuine article. Tricks used on showroom floors can be calling say a recliner all leather when in fact only where you sit, and touch is top grain leather while everywhere else is bonded, split or other. It is true that bonded and split hides are leather but not what you want on your furniture. Nothing wears like genuine leather. Don’t fall for the low price and thinking you will be buying a quality leather furniture piece. You get what you pay for!

Genuine Leather FurnitureIs It Real leather?

Now that you have looked underneath to see if it is suede, did the smell test and checked out the grain and the hand, read the tag. See if it describes the leather. If you are shopping for leather furniture at an honest furniture store it should all be spelled out for you. Ask to see the manufacturer's catalog or pull out your phone and look it up yourself. Ask to see the leather swatches available for the sofa or chair you are looking at. Be sure to ask, never assume.

Another obvious give away will be the price. Real leather furniture is always going to cost more than only leather where you sit. Just as top-quality American made leather furniture will cost more than sofas made outside the USA. This is a practice used by big box stores. You get the flyer advertising a complete leather living room set for a lower price. When you get the facts, it’s made outside of the USA where building standards are much different than ours here and the leather set is indeed not all top grain leather at all.

If you buy this kind of product just know going into it that the different materials will wear differently over time. So the savings you thought was so great, in the long run turns out to cost you more because you will have to replace it sooner rather than later.

Genuine top grain leather furniture can be an excellent investment if you buy a good high-quality furniture frame and premium genuine top grain cowhide. We buy leather furniture to last, so be sure what’s beneath is as good as the top grain leather used to upholster. Leather furniture can be used to charm a room with its casual look or give your room a vintage allure. Leather furniture is packed with personality and if bought right will provide years for family gatherings.

Previous article Sofa Trends - Top 3 Colors

Join Our Newsletter

Join our VIP list for sales, savings, inspiration & more.