Material is one of those things in furniture that feels personal to the homeowner, especially when it comes to a material as controversial as leather. Many are moving away from leather because of its association with the meat industry. Many people think faux leather, however, is a faux pas.
I want to talk about the pros and cons of both real and faux leather, so that you can make a well-informed decision for your home.
Let’s get started!
What is real, what is faux?
Leather is made from animal hide through the process of tanning, while faux leather is made of synthetic materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane, or polyamide microfiber. Faux leather is usually made up of plastic, then other materials are mixed in with it.
Texture wise real leather goes softer with time, and attains a “lived-in” look. Faux leather tends to crack, due to a high plastic content. That being said, maintenance is a big factor for both. Leather cannot dry out so one must use a special moisturizing cleaner, for it to last long. Faux leather can crack within months, but if you use a faux leather conditioner, some faux leathers can last for decades!
Which one is environmentally friendly and the healthy choice?
Out of the different types of faux leather, PVC is notoriously bad for the environment AND your health, due to the chemicals used to make it. Other types of faux leather are more greener (and better for your health), as some manufacturers use mixed fibres made of plastic mixed with another synthetic or natural fiber. As long as you steer clear of PVC, your footprint will be much reduced.
It has been argued that real leather is better for the environment, since it doesn’t use as many chemicals as faux leathers, but this is ignoring the fact that tanning still uses a good amount of harmful chemicals just as some faux leathers do.
As mentioned, PVC uses chemicals that are infamously bad for your health, but otherwise, faux fur is generally safe. However, if you find yourself having a much longer allergy season around faux leather, real leather may be the antidote, because it’s hypoallergic! Faux leather has an unfortunate habit of collecting dust mites.
What about my family?
If you have kids, you need to consider what their habits are before you invest in either material. Consider that real leather is considerably more expensive than faux, due to its lack of mass production and that every hide is different! If you have kids that gravitate towards sharpies or have an edge for clumsiness, faux leather is probably a more cost-effective choice.
That being said, leather is harder to stain and more adaptive with time, so as long as you can trust your kids – or pets – to more or less behave around the leather, investing in real leather might be the better long-term option!
Leather, real or not, is a beautiful style choice and really elevates class and style. There are pros and cons to both sides, so it’s up to what you value in your lifestyle to choose! I can only hope that either way, your furniture makes your space come together, and you a lot happier.
Are you looking to completely transform your space? Ensure the careful smart planning you need from day one, and contact Dvira Interiors! We look forward to incorporating our vision, scope, technical expertise and industry connections to make your home’s design/build experience as positive and rewarding as possible.