Different Types of Leather

When it comes to choosing the right type of leather for your furniture or fashion items, understanding the various types available is crucial. From traditional full grain leather to modern alternatives like vegan leather, each type has its own unique characteristics and benefits. In this guide, we'll explore some of the most popular types of leather, including PU leather, nappa leather, and more.


What is Full Grain Leather?

Full grain leather is the highest quality leather available. It is made from the outermost layer of the hide and retains all the natural grain, making it the most durable and long-lasting type of leather. Full grain leather develops a beautiful patina over time, adding to its charm and character. It's commonly used in high-end furniture, footwear, and accessories.

At Larkwood Furniture we use Full Grain Leather for our leather furniture. Combined with our heat treated colour system, this ensures colours gets absorbed into the hide. 

What is Nappa Leather?

Nappa leather is a type of full grain leather that is known for its softness and smooth texture. It is made from the top layer of the hide and is often left uncorrected to retain its natural characteristics. Nappa leather is highly prized for its luxurious feel and is commonly used in high-end products like car interiors, handbags, and premium furniture.

What is Genuine Leather?

Genuine leather is a term that refers to leather products made from real animal hides but not necessarily of the highest quality. It typically comes from the lower layers of the hide and may be corrected or embossed to improve its appearance. Genuine leather is more affordable than full grain leather but still offers the durability and natural look of real leather. It is softer than full grain leather and is easier to work with but has a shorter life span.

What is Bonded Leather and Blended Leather?

Bonded leather or some may call it reconstituted leather is a blend of leather. Sometimes done to lower grade leather, damaged leather or scrap leather, mixed with an adhesive. 

Very similar to blended leather in which is the same process but mixed in with an adhesive such as Polyurethane to bond the tiny pieces together to create a sheet similar to any type of leather. 

Both Bonded Leather and Blended Leather is less durable than Genuine Leather, but in most cases cheaper. Depending on the type of processes this is waste effective but not necessarily environmentally friendly with materials or process.

What is PU Leather?

PU leather, also known as polyurethane leather, is a synthetic material made by applying a polyurethane coating to a base fabric, typically made of polyester. PU leather is designed to mimic the look and feel of genuine leather while being more affordable and easier to maintain. It's a popular choice for furniture and fashion accessories due to its durability and water-resistant properties.

What is Vegan Leather?

Vegan leather is an ethical alternative to traditional leather, made without the use of animal products. It can be created from a variety of materials, including polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and innovative natural materials like cork and apple peels. Vegan leather is gaining popularity among consumers who prioritize sustainability and animal welfare.

What is Faux Leather?

Faux leather, also known as synthetic leather, encompasses materials like PU leather and PVC leather. It is designed to look and feel like real leather but is manufactured using synthetic materials. Faux leather is often used in the fashion and furniture industries due to its affordability and versatility.

How is Leather Made?

All this talk about what each type of leather, how exactly is real leather made? 

Leather production involves several steps, starting with the procurement of animal hides, usually from cows. These livestock are usually meat cows, as to not waste. The hides undergo a process called tanning, which converts the raw skin into durable leather. Tanning can be done using various methods, including vegetable tanning and chrome tanning. After tanning, the leather is dyed, finished, and sometimes embossed with textures to achieve the desired look and feel. 

Each company may do this differently, each to their own techniques. Some are more delicate than others, as to reduce the amount of holes in the leather hide before the tanning process. Reducing the amount of waste made when cutting for a specific purpose. 


What type of leather does Larkwood Use?

Full-Grain Sage Leather Woven Armchair - Dining Armchair - Larkwood Furniture

We use Full Grain Leather in all our Leather products, unless stated otherwise if we end up finding a high quality faux leather that follow the same quality standard as our current Full Grain Leather. Either one layer or two glued together depending on where it is used on an item. Take our Full Grain Leather Woven Dining Chair our seats have an extra layer of straps underneath to reduce stretching and our back have 2 layers of leather to do the same as well.

Sage Full-Grain Leather Woven Counter stool - wooden Leather woven counterstool - Larkwood Furniture

The leather we get we colour and stain whilst heated to further absorb the colour into the hide. This diminishes the chance of the colour chipping on wrinkles and in day to day uses. 

Here our left over hides are used by other companies to make smaller products or reuses to make blended leather and bonded leather. 

We ensure that all our actions always have our environment and those around us  in mind. Our founder has always had a strong space in his heart for this earth and every single employee is trained to do the same.

If there is anything you suggest we can do increase our actions in do so please bring them to our attention, there is always room for improvement in everything! 



Understanding the differences between these types of leather can help you make informed decisions when purchasing leather products. 


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