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Leather Grades: What Factors Influence the Cost of Leather Furniture?

Leather Grade and the Cost of Leather Furniture


When choosing leather furniture, what do you consider first?

Is it the cost? The look and feel of the leather? Or, is it the quality of the leather?

If you’re like most people, you’re not 100% sure what contributes to the cost of leather furniture. 

Here’s what you need to know about leather grades and other factors which contribute to the cost of your next pieces of leather furniture

3 Factors Which Contribute to Leather Grade and the Cost of Leather Furniture 

In short, the price of leather is reliant upon two things: supply vs. demand, and the origin of the leather (though tanneries do play a role). Here’s how the quality of leather, and therefore the cost, is broken down. 

1. The Area Where the Cattle Was Raised  

Higher quality leather is that which has fewer markings or imperfections. To get this type of leather, you need to acquire hide from (typically) Northern European countries or cooler countries. 

While leather is often purchased from warmer climates, the leather from places like Africa, Australia, and South America tend to have more imperfections. What causes such imperfections? Weathering from the sun, as well as injuries from roaming about on the open planes or bites from insects and animals.

When you read about the “grade” of leather, this has to do with where the cattle were raised

  • First Grade: Hide from Europe, particularly Finland, Southern Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Norway. 
  • Second Grade: Leather from The U.S., Northern Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K.
  • Third Grade: Leather from hotter climates, including Australia, South America, Africa, and various parts of Asia. 

2. The Type of Environment in Which the Animal Was Raised  

In addition to the climate, the price of leather also depends on the type of environment in which the animal was raised. 

Some cows are kept on farms, in pens or pastures. Limited space equates to a limited number of cattle with fewer scars and other markings, which increases the price. 

Other cows are allowed to roam free on the open range where there is an abundance of space, thus leading to a higher supply of cows and their hide.

3. The Amount of Time Tanners Spend on the Leather  

Tanners apply different techniques to the hides in order to change the look and feel of the leather. Such techniques vary when it comes to the amount of time, tools, and materials spent on the project – as well as the expertise of the tanner. 

A Note About Man-Made Materials vs. All-Natural Leather  

Some people wonder if they should spend money on leather made 100% from hide or save some money on man-made leather as there is a definite cost difference.   

If you’ve been contemplating this question, consider this: Real leather is like a gemstone. It’s valuable. If you want something which is unique, one-of-a-kind, and will get better with age, you’ll want to invest in real leather. 

Does Your Leather Furniture Company Have a Good Reputation?

One of the best ways to ensure you get a quality piece of leather furniture is to check the reputation of the company selling the furniture. 
You can do this through word-of-mouth inquiries, online reviews, and testimonials. For example, Wellington’s Fine Leather Furniture has received nearly 300 on-site reviews, with an average rating of five out of five stars.  

A company which is committed to selling high-quality pieces can’t help but have a good reputation. You can feel confident choosing a company like Wellington’s, knowing the pieces you invest your money in will be pieces which look great and last for years.  

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