A leather sofa, armchair or ottoman is a true statement piece in your home. More than just a comfy place to sit or kick up your feet, leather furniture is timeless and incredibly durable. However, when it comes to deciding between real leather vs faux leather, the choice can be difficult. After all, they look almost identical and there are pros and cons for each. We’ve outlined the differences here to help you decide between real and faux leather for your home.
Authentic leather, also known as full-grain leather, is a premium material. It’s the very thick top layer of animal hide, most commonly derived from cattle. As a natural material, it has natural imperfections unique to each piece, which forms part of its beauty. As real leather is so tough, it can be more difficult for manufacturers to work with, which is reflected in the cost, but this equates to incredible durability in the long run.
Faux leather, also known as PU (polyurethane) leather, is an artificial material made of thermoplastic polymer. It’s often the material of choice for vegans and environmentalists as it’s not derived from animals and requires fewer resources to produce. But there’s more to faux leather than being animal-free. It also has a swag of benefits to rival real leather while looking just as good as the real thing.
KNOW YOUR FAUX
Unlike PVC (polyvinyl chloride), high-quality PU leather looks authentic, is easy to clean and ‘breathes’ so it won’t get hot and sticky in summer. And unlike bonded leather (an amalgam of vinyl, leather scraps, plastic and glue), which is often used to make cheap leather goods, PU faux leather is much more durable and of superior quality.
Real: The price point is usually the most obvious difference between genuine and faux leather. Real leather is a little more expensive as it’s more difficult to produce and work with.
Faux: Faux leather is a more affordable option for those who want the look and feel of leather furniture. Keep in mind, faux leather is generally a little more expensive than fabric options as it’s more durable.
Real: As a natural material, real leather has the most natural appearance, although the texture and colour variations will be unique to each hide. Genuine leather has a smooth, soft texture.
Faux: High-quality faux leather very effectively replicates the look of authentic leather. As it’s manufactured, it’s easier to get a consistent texture and colour throughout, right down to the synthetically created pores.
Real: Genuine leather is very durable. It won’t crack or peel over time, in fact, it gets softer and more comfortable with age.
Faux: Faux leather is a little less durable than real leather, however, it’s more resistant to stains and fading and more durable than fabrics such as cotton and linen.
Real: Some people are put off by the fact that genuine leather isn’t vegan-friendly. Additionally, as it’s more difficult to produce, it has a greater impact on resources.
Faux: Faux leather requires fewer resources to make, but as a plastic-based material, it doesn’t decompose. For either choice, it’s worth investing in something you love that won’t need to be replaced for many years to come.
Real: Genuine leather can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. You should never use chemical cleaners, rather, condition it a couple of times a year with a product like Guardsman to keep it soft and well-preserved. As a natural material, real leather can easily absorb liquid and spills, which can lead to staining if not quickly dabbed dry.
Faux: PU leather, on the other hand, doesn’t absorb liquids and is very resistant to stains. It’s also very easy to clean by simply wiping with a damp cloth.
Visit us online or in-store at Early Settler to see our full range to help you decide between real leather vs faux leather. There’s really no right or wrong choice when it comes to real or faux — ultimately it comes down to your personal preference. And if stone is more your thing, don’t miss our story on marble.