A Closer Look At Leather

Sales of leather upholstery have increased in leaps and bounds over the last few years and manufacturers have responded to this demand with a wider range of leather types for the consumer to select from.
Leather is a wonderful upholstery material, both practical and luxurious but it is very important when considering leather upholstery that you properly look at leather & that you fully understand the pros and cons of leather and particularly the performance of the different types of leather now available.
It is important to remember that the more natural the leather the more likely that it may display colour variations and natural markings, however, these cannot be considered faults. You should take into account that the softer the leather, the more likely it is to stretch and crease over time, but once again this is not a fault.

Aniline Leather is the most natural looking leather, with the unique surface characteristics of the hide remaining visible. Aniline leather is usually coloured only with dye and not with a surface coating of polymer and pigment, although a light surface coating may be applied to enhance its appearance and offer slight protection against spillages and soiling. Aniline leathers may show scarring, natural markings and some inconsistency in colour.

Semi-Aniline Leather is more durable than Aniline, whilst still retaining a natural appearance. The increased durability is provided by the application of a light surface coating which contains a small amount of pigment. This ensures consistent colour and imparts some stain resistance to the leather.

Pigmented Leather is the most durable and is used in the majority of furniture upholstery and almost all car upholstery. The durability is provided by a polymer surface coating which contains pigments. The surface coating allows the manufacturer more control over the properties of the leather, e.g. resistance to scuffing or fading. The thickness of the surface coating can vary but if the mean thickness is more than 0.15mm then the product can’t be sold as leather in the United Kingdom due to consumer protection legislation.

The grain surface is abraded to remove imperfections before the surface coating is applied. A decorative grain pattern is then embossed into the surface.

The middle or lower section of a hide with polymer coating applied and embossed to mimic a grain
leather. Finished splits should only be used in low stress applications because they are weaker than grain leather.

Pull-Up Leather (aka waxy or oily pull-up)

A leather with a natural appearance which lightens in colour when stretched during wear, producing a worn-in effect with time.


Aniline dyed leather which has been lightly abraded on the grain surface to create a velvety finish or nap. In some cases the grain pattern is still visible. The nap is very fine because of the tight fibre structure in the grain layer.


A split which has been abraded to create a distinctive nap. The nap can vary in appearance, but is not as fine as the nap on Nubuck, because of the looser fibre structure.

All natural leathers have a low resistance to light and humidity. All natural marks that exist in leather such as wrinkles, flat grain due to abrasion, insect bites, closed scars, embossed brands (mostly used on the laterals and the backs of the sofas) will also be visible.

Taking Care Of Your Furniture

Glasswells Staingard Plus is a comprehensive scheme comprising of the best furniture care products and a 5 year cover programme to protect you against accidental damage, staining and structural defects. This added peace of mind is effective as soon as you have received your products.

Staingard’s high performance range of furniture care products lead the way in the furniture industry by offering specifically formulated solutions, creams and cleaning cloths which are perfect for protecting, cleaning, stain removal and surface cleaning or polishing.
Each kit contains multiple products which allow you to clean and protect your furniture on a regular basis, so it always looks its best.

Easy to use with innovative storage boxes & simple instructions, Staingard care kits –
whether for Fabric CleaningLeather Master Care or Cabinet Care – each provide special cleansers which help you to maintain the beauty, cleanliness and protection of your furniture week after week.
It’s the ideal way to keep your furniture looking as good as new.

From the minute your new furnishings are delivered, you are covered for the following:

Shoe Polish


Human/animal bodily fluids
Dyes & dye transfer
All other food and drink stains

Frame warpage and breakage

Peeling of veneered or laminated finishes

Lifting or peeling of the hide on leather furniture

Broken zips, castors and buttons

Bending and breakage of metal components

Failure of  recliner mechanisms including electrical motors & associated components

Pet damage (3 claims per period)

Water, liquid or heat marks

You can call the Claim Line at any time, day or night, and receive all the assistance you need. If you can’t remedy the problem yourself using one of Staingard’s products, one of the nation-wide team of professional repair technicians will visit your home and resolve it for you.
If that doesn’t solve it, there is no need to worry! Staingard will replace the damaged or stained part of your furniture.

A summary of things Staingard Plus does not cover:

  • Commercial use
  • Deliberate damage
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Removal of odours

  • Wear & tear
  • Natural characteristics of leather
  • Fading of fabric & materials
  • Accumulated multiple stains

There are several ways you can keep your sofa looking brand new for longer. Just follow these easy steps!

To avoid your sofa cushions creasing over time, gently plump your cushions once a day. This will prevent deep creases forming. The best way is to gently push on the fabric with your palms, and avoid pulling on the corners of the cushions.

Sofas & chairs gather just as much dust as other surfaces, but on upholstered items it is more difficult to see. Remember to hoover/brush fabric cushions, and check underneath the cushions too. Flip the cushions if possible.

If your sofa is in a position in the sun for most of the day, it can be at risk from bleaching. If you can, position items out of the sun. If this is not possible, you can rotate the cushions, or keep your curtains closed. You can always add a blackout lining to your existing pair.