Getting to Know Upholstery Leather

written by Taylor Souder, B.S. in Textile Technology

Just like fabric, leather comes in many texture and color variations. Greenhouse Fabrics is a proud supplier of high-quality leathers suitable for use in high-traffic areas and the automotive industry. All Greenhouse Fabrics leather orders are placed by the square foot in whole-hide form only. A fabric specialist will verify the average hide size and do their best to accommodate your min/max square footage needed (Hint: 1 yd. = 18 sq. ft.). All current leather SKUs are stocked at our vendors’ warehouses for a 7-10 day lead time to us.

Country of Origin

  • Italian Hides
    • Very clean with little defects
    • Average hide size: 50 sq. ft.
  • Argentinian and Brazilian Hides
    • Produced from Brahma bulls (will have a hole in the neck area from hump)
    • Insect bites, brands, and healed scars may be apparent
    • Average hide size: 55-70 sq. ft.
  • US Hides
    • Clean hides with little natural characteristics
    • Insect bites, healed scare, and scratches may be apparent
    • Average hide size: 48 sq. ft.

Leather Finishes

  • Pull Up Aniline
    • Has an additional oil or wax applied giving it a distressed look
    • When pulled tight or scratched, the color will change. Rub the oils from your hand on the spot to blend the wax/oil to the lighter areas.
  • Aniline
    • Most natural-looking leather
    • A transparent dye penetrates the hide allowing the natural grain to show
    • Includes pores, scars, and fat wrinkles
  • Distressed
    • Hide is treated to age the appearance, giving it a rugged, older look
  • Semi-Aniline
    • Same as aniline but more durable
    • A thin protective top coat is applied to protect from wear and staining
  • Protected Leather
    • Fully sealed after the dying process with a clear top coat offering protection against scratches and normal wear
  • Greenhouse Fabrics offers Purely Protected Performance leather
    • Resists moisture and stains, high-traffic and user friendly, high color fastness
  • Pigmented Leather
    • Finished with a solid pigment or “paint” for consistency of color and texture

    • Pigments cover imperfections as well as add protection to the leather

Leather Grains

  • Full Grain
    • There has been no plating or correcting of the grain of the hide
    • This is the natural grain of the animal and will vary on different portions of the hide
  • Top Grain
    • The outer layer of the hide, the strongest part for upholstery use
  • Corrected Grain
    • The hide has been manually “corrected” or embossed with a pattern to give a consistent appearance from all angles

Greenhouse Fabrics also offers hair-on-hide leathers. These are great for rustic and urban furniture applications (they also make great rugs). Typically, these run anywhere from 30-45 sq. ft.

For more information or to become a dealer, call us at 866.755.5000 or visit our website at greenhousefabrics.com. Subscribe to our blog for more inspiration.