What are the alternative leathers used in furniture?

Alternative leathers used in furniture


Most common furniture retail stores will carry leathers like bonded leather, PU bi-cast, air/gel leather, faux leather, leather match, and genuine leather. For many occasions, it's usually better to forgo genuine leather for comparable alternatives to save cost on furniture you will eventually outgrow. Also, cat claws and playing children wouldn't bode well for one! Below we'll be outlining some key factors of alternatives.

Faux Leather
Let's start with faux leather... other names include: pleather (plastic leather), artificial leather, imitation leather, leatherette, leather substitute and synthetic leather. It's faux because the fabric is artificially created as a leather-like material using chemicals and synthetic substances like plastic, rubber and fabric. Technology has progressed quite a bit since faux leather first came out in the early 1900s and it's gotten very close to the look and feel of actual leather. Faux leather is great for less traffic items, for example benches/ottomans, backs and sides of sofas and some bed frames. Many are still very critical of faux leather, claiming they don't like the feel of it and peeling on high traffic items like seats and the backs of sofas.

The quality of the faux leather like everything else depends on the price, and we at Aseon avoid carrying low quality faux leather that could unfortunately create conflict with our treasured customers.

Bonded Leather
Next up is bonded leather, sometimes known as: reconstituted leather or blended leather. When cutting up genuine leather to create the perfect form fitting cover, there are lot of bits and pieces left over. Bonded leather is when those bits and pieces are bound together using adhesive substances. The actual amount of leather in bonded leather is about 15-20%, and often price dependent. Bonded leather is a good alternative leather if you're trying to save some cost and still have a relatively similar feel.

Many unethical companies with use a lot of cheap fillers in their bonded leather to cut cost by sacrificing quality which leads to bonded leather gaining a bad reputation for flaking and peeling. We try our hardest to carry higher quality bonded leathers furniture so they last longer and remain fresher.

PU Bi-cast
Bi-cast leather also sometimes known as bi-cast, by-cast, PU leather, and vinyl. Bi-cast leather is made up of the layer of skin that wasn't suitable for genuine leather and then bonded together and sealed with a layer of polyurethane to give it that nice smooth feel while still remaining within budget. Bi-cast is another great alternative as it is used in many affordable furniture and the feel can be quite soft and comfortable.

Air Leather
A new type of leather that's been gaining a lot of attention, you may have seen this type of leather pop up if searching for furniture, sometimes named leather aire, air fabric, fabric leather, or gel leather. If the idea of using animal leather feels uneasy for you all together, you may enjoy this alternative. Air leather is made specific types of fabrics woven together to simulate the look and feel of leather. Sometimes the fabric is sealed with a layer of polyurethane to simulate a gel like feel of leather, also referred to as gel leather. This mixture has become a very popular choice for both consumers and suppliers because, not only is it very affordable, the quality can get very intricate in high end products as well. Durable material can last for a very long time especially if taken care of. The texture of air leather is very similar to genuine leather, so much so that some retailers will lie about a product claiming their air leather to be genuine to make a sale and the customer wouldn't know the difference.

Lastly, since air leather is a woven fabric it is more porous and breathable than actual leather keeping the products temperature controlled and cool during summer days. An amazing alternative to leather and a possible direction to a more sustainable leather upholstered products.

Leather Match
When shopping around for sofa sets you'll often run into the term "leather match" and it can be unclear to its actual purpose. When buying a leather match sofa, it's seats, backs, arms, and pretty much anything actually touching your skin will be genuine leather, all else including the sides, backs and under layer will be synthetic leather. The leather match will very closely mimic each other or at least be a stylish contrast.Genuine leather is expensive and in reality you're only really using the seats arms and back on a sofa, so why not cut some cost and put synthetic leather on the sides and back since you're never going to really feel it anyway? That's where leather match comes in, the best of both worlds.

Genuine Leather
This is a topic so complex that it can have several blog posts dedicated to it on its own, but for our current sake we'll keep it short. Genuine leather is real animal leather. While there are different grains and grades and variety of quality, it will have the least tampering and synthetics in its production. Often times, genuine leather products will come with an authenticate certificate.It's great for solid feel in either soft or rough textures, it's one of the most versatile materials. It is also highly durable and, with proper care, its nearly indestructible!

Final Thoughts
Now that we've gone through most leather types used in furniture and their features, we hope this helps you develop a sound knowledge foundation when heading into your next potential purchase. It's also worth taking note that each leather has their own methods of maintenance and repair to last as long as possible. In future blog posts we'll go into detail on how to sustain and clean your leather products and keep them feeling as fresh as possible.


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