Recognition of quality in leather furniture...
Throughout the ages, leather furniture has graced the palaces and homes of kings, monarchs and presidents, but it wasn't until recently that it became affordable to a larger segment of the furniture-buying public.
Furniture of any kind represents a major investment, but leather furniture is looked upon as a better long term investment than its fabric counterpart.
According to Furniture World magazine, leather outlasts fabric four-to-one. But leather also carries with it that aromatic prestige of superb quality and richness. And it is said to be cool in summer and warrn in winter.
With all that going for it, there's bound to be a downside. All that feels and looks good may not be of the highest quality. Here are some guide lines to shepherd you through the maze of selecting that perfect leather couch or chair:
- Consider the frame: It should be made of kiln-dried hardwood. If it isn't kiln dried already, it will dry in your home. And that means warping. Also, ask if the frame was constructed with double-doweled corners. This makes the joints stronger to give you noiseless, stable support.
- Look at the suspension system. Look at the seat cushions. Do they have inner springs? Some makers save a buck by leaving them out and inserting instead a slab of foam. At first, you won't notice the difference, but over time, the cushions will lose their shape. It's nice to leave behind a good impression, but not on your leather seat cushions.
- Insist on eight-way hand-tied springs: Bases with real springs act to preserve the cushions they support. Eight-way hand-tied springs are joined together at key points so they can move independently of each other. As a result, your furniture feels more comfortable and supports you more evenly.
- Squeeze the foam. Inferior furniture is often stuffed with shredded foam, a byproduct of the cushion making process. Recycling is a good idea, but not here. Shredded foam tends to break down over the years, making the cushions lumpy and limp. Look for virgin-fiber Dacron, or its equivalent, in all back and side cushions.
Sources: Dinesen's Leather Only Manufacturer, Home & Garden/OC Register, as quoted by Perucci Feriaiuolo in The Furniture of Kings, South County Journal, Kent, WA, November 30, 1996, quoted by permission of author.
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