Toughen up with leather!

Toughen up with leather!

Toughen up with leather!

Don’t shy away from making leather an integral part of your home decor. While it may be a tad expensive, the results will surely blow you away, vouches Vipul Amar.

It is widely acknowledged that leather is all about class and richness. Though there are many fashionable leather products in the market today, the trick is to have leather in places where it will age well. 

Ensuring quality

For a layman, it’s difficult to spot differences between good and bad leather in a finished product. The change in technology has brought in top finishes which can look similar to high quality leather. A simple fact is that if you are buying a leather jacket in the market within the price range of Rs 20,000-30,000, you will get a basic quality with good finish. Top international brands use what is called top grain leather.

In India there aren’t many companies which use top grain leather as it’s very expensive. Any bag or jacket within the price range of Rs 5,000-10,000 does not have top grain material. Most mid-level brands in India use split leather as the pricing becomes easy. A customer should always ask about the origin of leather and whether or not it is top grain. 

The quality of leather can be assessed by keeping in mind few things like:

l Where the hide is from (Hides coming from South India, Europe , US and UK are best options.)

l Checking for stains and spotting and if it is top grain or split or mix. Top grain or full grain hides are the best in terms of richness and strength. When the hide is in its raw form, it is split into two parts. 

The top part is the skin and hair, and the lower is the inside of the skin. The top layer is known as top grain. Though split leather is also finished as full grain nowadays, there is no way of checking it in a manufactured product. The split is much weaker and non-durable in terms of strength and dries out quickly and the leather starts to chip off or get scarred soon.

l Going for a natural veg tan, which is the most natural way to process the leather hide. Natural colours from trees, leaves and other organic matter are used to tan the leather and no harmful chemicals or dyes are used. Also veg tan leather will age beautifully.And here are some innovative ways of using leather at home once you make a fine purchase:

l Use old leather jackets to create wall hangings, name tags for your luggage, coasters (by sticking the leather on cork board) and bookmarks.

l Use old leather belts to make: suspending straps to hold small wall shelves; covers for bins or planters by covering them with old leather belts.

l Use old leather bracelets as curtain holders. 

l A personal favourite is making a simple base bed out of leather for your mattress: Take two ply boards and cover them with sponge. Make sure the boards are at least 12 inches bigger than your mattress from three sides. Cover the borders with leather using brass pins. Similarly, create a backrest. With use, the patina created on the leather will improve its shine and colour.

You could also incorporate these latest trends in home decor:

l Leather is now being used as an integral part of interiors. It is used to panel walls, closet doors, bars, powder rooms in different colour options and prints. High-end designers are now getting leather customised for panelling work. 

l Gold leaf leather embossing on rich and pastel shades is back. For instance, a beautiful office desk top and drawers crafted in leather with old-fashioned embossing work makes for a classy statement and adds life to the furniture.

l Exotic prints on leather like crocodile, reptiles and snakes are the happening trend in furniture.

Wallet factor

People usually get intimidated thinking that they cannot do their whole house in leather as it is expensive. In such cases, adding small touches of leather can enhance the look. 

A good quality leather piece of furniture is a worthy investment. It will last you for decades and will bring class to your home. It is not important to do your entire house in leather. Start by making small investments in single pieces that you absolutely love.  A small nice table in leather aesthetically placed in the hall or a nice chair, which can be placed anywhere, will uplift the entire setting of the house.

Maintenance

Today the leather hides for upholstery are mostly top-coated. Hence, it does not require much maintenance. But a quick buff with dry cotton or hosiery fabric is important every week. 

One must use a good leather polish or conditioner on a dry cloth and polish the leather to give it a new shine and look on a fortnightly basis.

The most important thing about leather is that it’s an investment you make for decades.
 If you buy the product or get it made by a genuine brand or individual, then a nice piece of furniture or home decor will last you for a good 15 to 20 years. Leather always brings that sense of ultimate richness to one’s personal space. And unlike any other material, it has a long and rich life. And as we all know, there are few things more satisfying than to sit on a well-aged leather Winchester chair.
(The author is managing director,The V Renaissance)

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