Leather furniture is an investment that fits well in any home with any aesthetic; however, it can be rather costly. Leather match is an option that will provide the same look but is less expensive. I will discuss what lather match is and how it’s a good choice for some furniture pieces.
Leather match is a piece of furniture with both real and faux leather for comfort and cost. Various materials, including top grain, full grain, suede, PU/PVC, and vinyl. Leather match is often used for couches, loveseats, and recliners and comes in many colors and finishes.
Are you looking for new leather furniture but not sure what types of materials are available? Do you want leather furniture but think it’s out of your price range? Let’s explore leather match and why it’s a useful material choice.
What Is Leather Match?
Leather match is a piece of furniture made from top grain leather and faux leather. The high-touch areas like the seat cushions and armrests on a sofa are real leather, while the no or low-touch areas like the sides and back are perfectly matched faux leather or another material.
What We’ll Explore
- Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
- History of Leather Match
- Leather Match Overview Table
- Characteristics of Leather Match
- Is Leather Match the Same as Bonded Leather?
- Popular Leather Match Furniture Pieces
- Cost of Leather Match Furniture
- Pros of Leather Match
- Cons of Leather Match
- How Leather Match is Made
- Tips for Purchasing Leather Match Furniture
- How to Maintain Leather Match
- Alternatives for Leather Match
- My Personal Research Into Leather Match
- Helpful Leather Match Insights
- Key Takeaways
Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions
A misconception regarding leather match is that it is more durable than full, real leather. This is untrue because real leather is more durable than faux leather in the leather match, plus the material ages differently.
Another misconception is that the leather and faux leather materials on leather match furniture require different types of care. The fact is the materials may be different; however, their care is almost identical.
History of Leather Match
Leather has been around since the Ice Ages, but faux leather has only since the early 1900s. Leather match was first used in couch making in the 1970s to save money while creating a truly luxurious look. Leather match use has since expanded to include larger furniture pieces like sectionals and often used pieces like recliners to broaden the availability of leather furniture to more budgets.
Leather Match Overview Table
|Materials||Real leather: top grain, full grain, genuine, and split-grainFaux leather: vinyl, polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), suede, and microfiber|
|Sizes||Real leather no larger than 3’ x 6’, various sizes of faux leather|
|Variations||Dye colors, embossing, finish options|
|Uses||Chairs, couches, sectionals, loveseats, recliners, ottomans|
Characteristics of Leather Match
Materials used for leather match include real leather (top grain, full grain, genuine, split-grain) and faux leather (vinyl, PU/PVC, suede, microfiber).
The size of the leather match depends upon the furniture piece. A leather match recliner usually has less faux leather than a full-size sectional; however, some furniture is made with additional faux pieces, including the armrests and footrests. Real leather pieces are generally no larger than 3 ft by 6 ft due to the animal’s size, while there’s no limit to the size of faux leather pieces.
Many variations exist when it comes to leather match. Some pieces will have such a close leather match that it’s difficult to tell the difference. Other leather match items will have different colors in the same family for contrast. There are choices of dye colors, embossing, and finish.
Leather match is frequently used for:
Is Leather Match the Same as Bonded Leather?
Leather match is not the same as bonded leather. Bonded leather is a material made from a combination of real and faux leather. When the term leather match is used, it is different because the material used for the parts where one sits and touches is real leather, and the other parts, like the sides and back, are made of faux leather.
Popular Leather Match Furniture Pieces
Leather match is a popular choice for furniture because it gives the look and feel of real leather all around and saves some money. Combining these for leather match furniture is often done for:
Cost of Leather Match Furniture
Using leather match to make furniture can save money on a luxurious-looking piece. Faux leather materials cost about $12 for a square yard, while real leather material costs $90 or more for a square yard. For comparison, a leather match sofa ranges from $1,000–$3,000, while a genuine leather couch can start at $2,000 and go up to $4,000 or more.
Pros of Leather Match
Leather match furniture gives the look and feel of luxurious leather and costs less. It can be very challenging to distinguish between real and faux leather. Caring for the real and faux leather in leather match is the same.
Leather match furniture is durable and lasts up to 20 years with proper care.
Cons of Leather Match
Leather match furniture is not as durable as real leather furniture. However, leather match furniture can last 10–20 years or longer with proper care and maintenance.
How Leather Match is Made
Making leather match begins with the leather and faux leather itself. Animal hides are processed and tanned for durability and preservation, and synthetic materials are bonded and coated with different types of plastic and stamped to simulate real leather.
The material is then cut into shapes and attached to furniture pieces with the real leather on the high-touch areas and leather match on other parts. The furniture is marked as leather seating or L/M to indicate that it is leather match, then shipped to stores for consumer purchase.
According to researchers Kral, Shmel, and Buljan, some leather match synthetic products are so similar to genuine leather that even experts have difficulty identifying whether it is leather or not.
Tips for Purchasing Leather Match Furniture
When purchasing leather match furniture, there are some tips to help make the right choice. These tips are similar to choosing real leather furniture and can save money and time.
1. Look for high-quality real leather, including full, top, and split grain. Bonded and genuine are lower quality and not as durable.
2. Any leather material that is larger than 3 ft x 6 ft without stitching is faux leather.
3. Look for seams that are double stitched as these are stronger and indicate good quality leather furniture.
4. Look at the furniture piece as a whole. The materials should look very similar in color and texture; over time, the real leather will age and develop a patina. A significant difference in appearance will only grow with time.
How to Maintain Leather Match
Leather match furniture should not be placed in direct sunlight as this can lead to drying out, cracking, and color changes. Clean up any spills immediately to prevent staining. Wash with mild soap and water using a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt. Use a leather conditioner every few months to keep the leather and faux leather looking soft and supple.
Check out this video from eHow at-home channel for helpful tips on caring for synthetic leather.
Alternatives for Leather Match
Several alternatives for leather match at varying price points. Full leather is the most expensive and the most durable option for furniture. Faux leather is at the more affordable end of furniture that looks great but isn’t as durable. If sustainability is important, there are leather alternatives, including:
- Coconut leather
- Tree bark leather
- Cork leather
- Recycled rubber
My Personal Research Into Leather Match
Leather match can be found in many stores and websites. So I researched some of the most popular leather furniture pieces to see what types of faux material and most popular colors are used in their leather match.
|Leather Match Furniture||Material||Color|
|Sofa||Top grain leather and PVC||Black, brown, charcoal, cherry, cream, slate, taupe|
|Loveseat||Top grain leather and PVC||Black, brown, charcoal, cherry, cream, slate, taupe|
|Chair||Top grain leather and PVC||Black, brown, charcoal, taupe|
|Recliner||Top grain leather and PU||Black, brown, charcoal|
Helpful Leather Match Insights
What does leather match mean?
Leather match means making a piece of furniture from real and faux leather. The parts on which one sits or rests an arm are real leather, while the rest that doesn’t get much contact are faux leather. Couches, loveseats, and recliners are often designed in this manner.
Is leather match the same as faux leather?
Leather match could be referred to as faux leather, but it’s not always the same. Leather match materials include suede, microfiber, vinyl, and faux leather.
Does leather match hold up?
Leather match saves costs while making furniture pieces look luxurious, but faux leather doesn’t have the same durability as real leather. A leather match can hold up for up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
What is leather gel match cover?
Leather gel match cover is made from leather scraps melted together to create a gel. This gel is combined with polyurethane to simulate high-quality Italian leather. This material is highly durable and looks expensive but is affordable.
- Leather match is a cost-effective way to have luxurious leather furniture.
- Leather match consists of real and faux leather.
- Leather match furniture is durable and lasts up to 20 years with proper care.
Leather furniture is a soft and comfortable way to furnish any home, and leather match makes it more affordable. So many options are available, from couches to recliners; it’s a reasonable alternative to full leather furniture. With the right care and maintenance, leather match furniture can last just as long and save money!