Thinking of introducing some leather to your living space? First, you need to make sure the material is real as the genuineness of leather will determine the true value of your investment. However, one cannot differentiate between leather and synthetic material by simply its feel.
“Genuine leather is similar to cotton. It is a natural fabric which breathes. The material should not be confused with faux or leather-like leather which is just a synthetic version of leather. Within the genuine leather category, there are various grades of leather depending on how the material has been treated. The most natural form of leather feels like real skin which is light and flexible,” says Ved Uppal, a business management consultant in retail in North America and the Caribbean.
Leather is versatile and suitable for Indian weather conditions, provided it is protected from direct sunlight and excessive humidity. Also, it does not harbour dust mites and other allergens. But just because it’s durable, doesn’t mean it is also invincible. Sharing a few tips on how to maintain leather furniture, Harsheen Arora, co-founder of The V Renaissance Brand, says, “Regular cleaning with a dry soft muslin cloth or a soft towel is the easiest way. Homeowners should be diligent about quickly cleaning up any spills. In case of stains, apply some leather shampoo (easily available at a convenience store) by first putting it on a clean cloth and then lathering it onto the stain. To add more shine, rub leather cream or polishing fat. If unavailable, apply face cream for ten minutes.”
Leather furniture comes in a variety of styles such as recliner, dining chairs, wing chairs and sofa-cum-beds. “It is difficult but possible to find a leather sofa set in the range of Rs 1 lakh, though it might not be of the finest quality,” says Uppal.
Leather is also available in various patterns, colours, textures, metallic and embossed finishes. “Its smell and the finish of the furniture make all the difference. While fake leather will have a pasting on the back, genuine leather is skin,” says Punam Kalra of I’m Centre of Applied Arts.
Adding statement pieces such as a chester, ottoman, accent chairs and a large upholstered table can give a stylish look to the living space. “Leather breathes and has a much longer life. However, it is quite expensive and, if kept in closed rooms, it has a tendency to emit a certain smell which disappears over a period of time,” says Kalra. With proper maintenance, leather furniture looks better each year. “It looks chic and timeless at the same time. Leather becomes better with use as it ages gracefully. Since leather is a hardy material unlike fabric or leatherette, it does not tear. It has elasticity that lets it absorb even rough and heavy usage. Also, leather maintenance kits are easily available to keep the leather nourished,” says Manjeet Bhullar of Arteform Designs.
Colours like rich tans, white and off white can give a playful and contemporary spin to your leather collection. “Black is timeless classic and we also develop extensive ranges of metallic shades which complement rich interiors,” he says.