House rules: Caring for Leather

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of leather furniture – I’d choose the fabric option any day, purely because I find it more comfortable. However over the years I have worked in a number of furniture stores selling ALOT of leather, because it’s also no secret that many people DO love leather.

I see many advantages in leather furniture, durability being one of the biggest. A leather sofa or dining chairs can last a lifetime, but the trick is to ensure that it’s cared for. Just like our own skin dries out and needs moisture, so does leather – the same goes for cleaning and for being out in the sun. If you do have leather furniture, below are some tips for how to best care for it to ensure your investment pieces last as long as desired.

1. Keep out of direct Sunlight – Like any upholstery material, leather can fade to some degree if exposed to the sun so protect your furniture from sun and direct light. Keeping your sofa under a window, may look great but it’s getting the Sun’s harsh rays beaming down you may find over time parts of your sofa become discoloured.

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2. When you’re vacuuming, run the soft, upholstery brush over the seats and crevices – Just like everywhere else in your home, bits of dirt, crumbs and other nasties can build up in the cracks and crevices. Every so often while your vacuuming pop on the upholstery brush and run the vacuum over your leather furniture too.

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3. Clean up spills quickly – There’s been a number of times when my favourite leather handbag has been spoiled by water marks or worse, but I’ve learnt over time that if you get to those spills as quick as your feet can carry you they will be much easier to wipe away. Leaving spills, be it water of anything else for a prolonged amount of time can result in watermarks which are very difficult to remove later on.

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4. Clean with the Seasons – There’s a couple of things I do at the start of each season, for example changing my toothbrush or cleaning out the fridge. Making it a point to give your leather furniture a wipe down with a damp cloth at the turn of each season keeps you on track for ensuring you don’t get oil build-ups and that any grim in the leather grain can be cleaned away. Use a circular motion to wipe the leather and be sure to use either products that are specifically for your type of leather or just use water and a clean cloth. Also keep in mind if you have white leather to use a white cloth so the colour doesn’t transfer.

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5. Moisturise – If you do nothing else do this this step. Once you’ve finished cleaning, ensure you condition or moisturise your leather furniture as well. I know for sure if I didn’t moisturise my face every night before bed, my skin would feel tight and dry. Leather doesn’t need conditioning daily, but it does need it at least a few times a year.  This will ensure the hide doesn’t dry out or crack and is especially important if your furniture gets quite a bit of sunlight – which it shouldn’t because… well, refer to point 1.

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Material World – Fabric V Leather

This week’s material focus is fabric versus leather, for sofas, dining chairs, barstools and beyond. Our match up today is more to do with personal preference than one material being significantly better than the other. In the furniture world, salesmen, manufacturers, designers and consumers can all argue their preference for endless amounts of time. In my opinion? I think when it comes to sitting and relaxing, its always best to go with what looks best, is most comfortable and will provide the best value for money for you. However, in order to make that decision, it is always wise to know some important facts about what you are choosing.

Leather: Comes in all different grades, thickness, ages and process types. The most confusing part is that there isn’t really an industry wide standard from one category to the next. Some stores will use Category A – Z, while others use more a numerical system. Vat dyed leather is the absolute most important feature to look for – it means the dye colour goes all the way through the hide. This means that scratches will be far less noticeable (especially if you’re going for that ruby red three seater). Thicker hides will provide a firmer seat, whereas soft or antique hides have a bit more give in them to provide a softer experience and aesthetic. Leather can scratch, and it will most definitely age and need routine cleaning and moisturising to maintain it’s appeal (about every three months).  The bottom line is: leather is a more expensive option, it can last longer and is a great option for children and pets – but that all depends on how it is cared for.

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Liv with Vision | Material World - Leather V Fabric

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Fabric: Similar to leather, there are so many options when it comes to fabric choices, from cords, suedes, linens, knits, velvets or woven patterns  – the options are endless, as are the colour choices. Fabric can be a favoured option because unlike leather, it breathes. Where many people don’t like sitting on a cold couch in winter or sweating it out on leather during the summer, fabric can be an excellent choice. Depending on your selection, most fabrics will also be significantly lower in price than leather options – meaning the investment doesn’t need to be quite so long term. Are you concerned about pets? Suede, Cord or tightly woven fabrics are a great choice. I personally prefer fabric, and with a cat and two fabric sofas so far we have not had any problems. An initial fabric protection (or scotch guarding) and regular vacuuming are the only maintenance required – but it’s also a great idea to get fabric furniture steam cleaned at the same time as carpet or rugs.

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