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Understanding Distressed Leathers

Distressed leathers are absolutely beautiful but you need to really understand what you are buying. These leathers are awesome but before you buy a distressed leather think about your lifestyle and just make sure you have a full understanding about these types of leathers. They are high end and gorgeous when used for furniture upholstery. Many of us are used to seeing these types of hides used for garments like the worn bomber jackets or worn looking bags. Now more than ever distressed leathers are used for making furniture. From sofas and loveseats to tufted leather furniture like a chesterfield wing chair and even recliners these type of leathers are more popular than ever and why not, they are spectacular and no two hides are ever the same. It’s your one of a kind piece!

The Vintage Furniture Look

Hides that have been treated to age their appearance are called distressed. This is very common on clothing from belts to pants but although distressed in appearance these are not the same leathers used for furniture upholstering. Leather sofas and loveseats require a heavier weight of leather to be used for furniture making. Not only are there different kinds of distressed leathers but different ways to archive the look. There are some really bad distressed leathers out there. The subpar distressed leathers feel hard and actually look like they have been cracked and are not pleasant at all for your skin to touch. These bad leathers will also fade with or without direct sunlight, even reflective sunlight will do damage to this leather. These leathers are not tanned for the long haul. I like to compare them to bonded leathers or vinyl’s which you can expect to last only a few years. Wellington’s sells only premium leather hides that are distressed so don’t stress we’ve got your back.

Some Things Get Better With Age

Wine, cheese, scotch, and leather all get better with age. Like your favorite pair of leather shoes the more you wear them the better they get. The same with leather furniture. The last mentioned is the most important for this article. The distressed premium leathers we use for our furniture are sophisticated and finished with supple finishes and the quality of the hides is exceptional. Buttery soft and the surfaces have a napped feel that keeps the furniture cozy and inviting. Your new leather furniture can act as a timeline; with natural markings and markings you give your furniture just through everyday use. The markings you make are represented of your family’s lifestyle. Each natural marking and color variation is considered the hallmarks of fine leather furniture and is part of each hides' inherent beauty. All of the distressed leather we use are full top grain and are of premium quality. They are durable, breathable and buttery soft.

Wellingtons Has High Standards

Leather furniture always creates a focal point to any room. Distressed leather is never mistaken for vinyl. You just can’t duplicate the natural signature of a distressed leather hide. No two hides are ever the same. Whether the hide is distressed by hand or by machine. Brown distressed leather is by far the most popular for homes and used for office furniture, although there are many other colors of distressed leather available. Light into chocolate browns are the most sold distressed leathers. Leather is dynamic and distressed leather is even more so. No matter where you choose to feature your leather furniture, its timeless appeal will be welcome in any room setting. When you choose to purchase high quality distressed leather furniture, you are investing in a natural material that not only offers superior durability but also shows signs of a well-lived life.

Hand Distressing vs. Tannery Applied

For those of you looking for beautiful hand applied leather distressing it will cost some extra money but your furniture will truly be unique and a conversation piece in your home. This process is applied after your new leather furniture has been built. Another wonderful way to customize your furniture with the amount of distressing you want. Tell us how little or how much color you would like and where. It is actually hand wiped by skilled craftsmen to create the perfect balance of color for each style this process is applied to. This adds another day or two to the production of your new leather furniture as each step requires time to dry before moving onto the next process. I have added some pictures to show this process from start to finish. The leathers that have been distressed at the tannery are ready to ship right after upholstery. You will notice the end result is different with the two different styles of distressing. I have also provided a few photos of these leathers. Keeping in mind these hides will lighten with scratches and use but will bring the color back with additional use and as your families body oils work into the hide. Part of the beauty of these distressed hides is the movement that occurs. I think of it like a piece of granite with all the natural movements across the entire piece. Always beautiful to look at and extremely durable. The tick tack toe game and the words on the hides are to show what can actually occur. As mentioned with use these things fade back into the hide.

Hand Antiquing Leather

Distressed Leather


My first photo shows the hand wiping process and my second photo shows that you can actually write on these hides but then as your body oils touch these or these hides take in the water or moisture in your home these markings go away. Also, in the second example these leathers are all of the same color name and pattern, although there is pronounced differences throughout each example. Note the extreme variation in the shading of these hides. You can also expect this kind of variation in your leather furniture.

Distressed leathers can have a western look and even are often used in a formal living room. They are simply the cream of the crop and should be respected for what they are.  

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