The 6 Most Important Types of Leather

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Leather is made from the skin of animals. That much is probably known to everyone. But do you also know which part of the hide is used for which purpose? The selection of different types of leather is large and sometimes not easy to understand.

With this listing we bring light into the jungle of the many different types of leather.

#1 Split Leather

Split leather is the term used to describe the layers that are created when the leather skin is split. Most often, the cleaned hide (the pelt) is split into two layers. The bottom side is the flesh split. The upper side is the scar split. If the skin is very thick, it may also be split into three layers, resulting in another core split. How thick each layer is cut depends on its further use.

Scar Split

The grain split is more resistant to tearing due to its denser fiber structure and is therefore considered to be of higher quality. However, higher-quality furniture leathers such as nappa leather are made from the grain split. As a rule, the thickness is 0.9 to 1.2 mm.

For thick leather, a particularly strong grain split with a thickness of more than 1.4 mm is used. It has a grainy, valuable look, especially if it comes from buffalo, but it cannot be used for all upholstered furniture. Its limited malleability due to its thickness sets limits to its processing.

Meat Split

After tanning, meat split is known as split leather, split suede or suede. Due to the rough surface on both sides, the collective term suede can also be used. Split leather is often coated, with one side being smoothed. This gives the split leather the appearance of the higher-quality grain split.

With appropriate refinement, split leather is also quite suitable as an inexpensive furniture leather.

#2 Full Grain Leather

The naturally grown surface is not altered or rejuvenated in thickness or substance. Of the many hides that arrive at the tannery, in less than 20% of all hides, due to individual, natural differences, the grain is so beautiful and firm that it requires no processing. Only the very best hides are therefore processed into full-grain leather. With full-grain leather, the grain remains completely intact.

Full-grain leather can also only be made from very good natural hides, but any minor irregularities are evened out by lightly sanding the surface. In essence, however, the naturally grown grain remains intact even with full leather. If more extensive equalization work is carried out on the grain, the leather may not be referred to as full-grain leather or full leather.

Finishing of The Leather Surface

The visible surface of the leather hide is what the leather expert calls the grain. The more perfect the grain is by nature, the higher the quality and more beautiful the leather will be later.

To influence the surface of the leather after tanning, it is dressed. In order to be able to offer the widest possible range of color shades, the leather is dyed. Various techniques are used, which can also change the appearance of the leather and are therefore of interest to the customer.

#3 Smooth Leather

Smooth leather is genuine leather in which the outer side of the leather, the so-called grain side, has been processed. It is either pigmented or muted colored. The surface of smooth leather is therefore quite insensitive.

Typical smooth leathers are described below:

Aniline Leather

Leather that has been dyed through with transparent dyes is called aniline leather. Quite deliberately, this dyeing technique does not cover the visible skin pores and the surface of the leather. Thus, the natural grain pattern and breathability are almost completely preserved.

Aniline leather can be described as the softest and best leather, as its open-pored and high-quality surface has a very natural character.

Aniline leathers are therefore ideal for those who love the natural, pithy character of leather. However, since only naturally very regularly grown, full-grain leathers are suitable for such further processing methods, aniline leather already has its price due to the necessary selection of the starting product. In addition, it makes special demands in terms of care.

Covered Leather

The counterpart to aniline leather is covered leather. Here, a fully opaque layer of strong pigments and surface-sealing materials is sprayed onto the leather surface. These bond firmly to the surface of the hide. This perfectly covers all irregularities of the leather surface and creates a very smooth, evenly colored surface that is also very easy to care for. However, the leather loses its natural appearance and, since the pores have been sealed, it is no longer as breathable. The covered finish is mostly used on split leather or heavily sanded leather.

Semi-Aniline Leather

Semi-aniline leather is a synthesis of aniline leather and covered leather. Thin surface coatings are applied to full-grain or grain-corrected leather, which do not completely cover the natural skin surface, but compensate for irregularities. This allows you to still enjoy some of the natural leather look without having to sacrifice too much in terms of ease of care.

Nappa Leather

The name Nappa leather stands for a particularly soft leather quality. Originally, the term referred to the leathers from the tanneries in California’s Nappa Valley. Today, the term “nappa” refers to a high-quality leather with certain properties precisely defined by means of a RAL standard (060-A2):

Nappa leathers are particularly soft. This is achieved through particularly elaborate tanning, further processing and finishing. Originally, this softness could only be achieved with the help of chrome tanning. In the meantime, however, this can also be achieved with other synthetic tanning materials, which is why the term “chrome-free nappa leather” is frequently used in recent times.

Nappa leathers are basically full-grain leathers. The grain with the natural pores must be completely preserved and must not have been altered or reduced by sanding or other processes. However, this criterion is not always taken into account to the full extent when the term “nappa leather” is used. Sometimes, therefore, leather is advertised as “nappa leather” which, strictly speaking, is not nappa leather.

Nappa leathers are dyed throughout. They have a uniform color tone throughout their thickness. Exceptions to this are leathers whose color after tanning is within the tone-in-tone range of the desired final color. In this case, through-dyeing would simply be superfluous.

Patent Leather

The grain-free leather has been coated on the surface with a high-gloss film. A mirror-smooth film is also frequently used.

Typical applications of patent leather: shoes, purses

#4 Rough Leather

Rough leather is the umbrella term for all types of leather with a buffed and thus velvety roughened service side.

Along with aniline leather, suede leathers such as nubuck and suede are among the highest-quality and most expensive types of leather. They are characterized by high breathability and a soft feel.

All suede leathers have the characteristic “writing effect” in common: if you wipe over the leather, visible light or dark traces remain, because the fibers of the surface are laid in one direction. It is obvious that not the most beautiful, flawless hides are used for suede. After all, it would make no sense to sand their scars! However, this does not necessarily mean that the hides used for suede are inferior in terms of density and strength to hides that become full leather.

Nubuck leather

Nubuck leather is the name given to buffed suede leather. For this purpose, a grain split is used, which is lightly sanded on the originally smooth upper side. In the process, the grain and the natural pore structure remain intact and visible.

Typical applications of nubuck leather: upholstered furniture, handbags, clothing and shoes.


In common parlance, leather types with a roughened surface are called suede. However, suede is actually the collective term for leather from animals such as deer, antelope, kangaroo, gazelle, elk, reindeer, buffalo and chamois.

For suede is also sanded from the grain side, but the grain is completely removed. Suede is therefore always rough from both sides.

Typical applications of suede: shoes, bags, clothing

#5 Blank Leather

A class of its own is the so-called blank leather, which is traditionally tanned purely vegetable. For this purpose, the entire, unsplit hide is processed in its full natural strength. It is particularly suitable for “self-supporting” processing, especially for covering unupholstered chairs such as cantilever chairs. It is also used to make the highest quality saddlery. Blank leather is usually too inflexible for use as a sofa cover due to its thickness.

Typical applications of blank leather: Chairs, e.g. cantilever chairs

#6 Saffiano Leather

This type of leather is made from goat skins and is very fine in appearance, shiny as well as firm. It was named after the Moroccan city of Safi. During processing, care is taken to leave the grain in the material natural. Often it is also artificially grained. Saffiano leather is often dyed on one side, but in no case varnished. Characteristic of this type of leather is the “crunch”.

Typical applications of saffiano leather: shoes, book covers

Types of Leather For Sofas

Sofa leather comes mainly from cattle. However, it is not the entire hide of a cow that is suitable for quality leather, but specifically the uniformly strong and dense middle section, also called the core. In a normally grown (the expert says “normally posed”) cowhide, the core takes up about 50% of the hide. However, this value varies depending on the breed, age, sex and attitude.

In addition, these factors also influence the structure of the grain (the visible surface of the leather) and the quality of the entire skin. For example, the hide of cattle raised outdoors tends to be better than that of cattle raised indoors.

Similarly, hides from cattle bred for high performance in meat or dairy production are less suitable than those from dual-purpose breeds. In addition, buffalo hides occupy a special place because of their characteristic grain pattern.

How to Mix And Match Pillows on a Sofa

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matching pillow

Pillows are an easy way to accessorize any sofa, but pairing colors can be tricky. Choosing the right colors for your sofa pillows and cushions, as well as knowing how to mix and match throw pillows, can make a huge difference in the overall look of your living room.

The good news is, you do not need to be an ace interior designer in order to achieve professional results. All you need is a little knowledge of colors and matching styles, and you are good to go.

Further, you can read our guide below that suggests just some of the many things that can help you mix and match pillows on your sofa:

Steps to Getting Matching Pillows For Your Sofa

1. Define Your Style

faux fur

First, you need to define the style it is that you want for your room. If your sofa is elegant and decent, then you might want to go with silk or velvet pillows in neutral colors like beige, taupe, gray or black. A contemporary look would be best achieved by adding brightly colored pillow covers to your sofa.

2. Consider The Style of Your Sofa

geometric patterns

Another essential factor to consider is the kind of your sofa, as this will determine which pillow combination you can go with and which ones are best avoided for that particular room setting. For example, if you have a traditional sofa in mahogany or walnut finish, then it would be advisable to avoid using bright colors with it. Instead, you can go with a traditional style of pillows in neutral shades.

3. Stick to One or Two Pillow Styles

organic patterns

While playing around with pillow styles is definitely fun, know that keeping things simple will always look more attractive and balanced. In fact, one or two pillow styles is all you need for an inviting and cozy room. For example, if you have a contemporary sofa with clean lines and simple patterns, you can use one large square pillow as well as a smaller lumbar pillow.

4. Match The Decor in Your Room

secondary patterns

The decor in the room where your sofa is located should be another deciding factor for you to choose matching or contrasting pillow styles. For instance, if the walls are covered with paintings and prints, then you can go with pillows of different styles including solid colored ones as well as patterned ones.

However, if your space is decorated in a minimalist way with just a few choice pieces of artwork here and there, then it would be best to stick with matching colors and patterns.

5. Add Fun And Bold Pillows

two pillows

If you want your room to look more lively and vibrant, then add fun and bold pillows and cushions in contrasting colors and styles. For example, if the walls are painted in neutral tones like beige, gray or white, then bright colored decorative pillows will give your room an extra boost of energy.

6. Introduce Contrasting Patterns

small scale pattern

If you just cannot decide between matching or contrasting patterns, then go with both by adding one patterned pillow and another solid color pillow that has a different pattern motif to them. For example, if the large square pillow has striped lines, then try adding one with polka dots.

7. Use Opposites

mix patterns

Another trick that can help you achieve a balanced look is to use opposite colors and patterns on your sofa pillows. For example, if the solid color pillow has dark colored lines, then try adding one with light-colored stripes or dots. It will balance out the overall look in the best way.

8. Spice Things Up With Zebra Prints

larger pillows

Zebra print pillows are a great option if you want to add a bit of drama and glamor to your room but do not want the look to be too bold or overstated. Mix and match with solids for a more sophisticated look or go contrasting colors with them for a more playful edge.

9. You Can Never Go Wrong With Stripes

Striped pillows are another great option to consider if you want your room to look stylish and inviting at the same time. A striped pillow can be used as an accent with solids, or you can even go with stripes on stripes that play with horizontal and vertical lines.

10. Add Texture to Your Room With Pile Up Pillows

If you want to add texture to your room, then go with pile up pillows that add depth and dimension to the overall look. Layer multiple patterns and colors in different textures such as silk, velvet or chenille for an eye-catching visual effect.

11. Use Retro Throw Pillows

Retro throw pillows are another fun option you should consider for spicing up your interior design and the look of your room. Retro cushion covers and pillows take inspiration from old-school styles that were popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s, so mixing them with modern pieces and large scale pattern will give your room a chic vintage look.

12. Go With Square Couch Pillows

Square pillows are another great option to consider if you want your room to look classy and inviting at the same time. They can be used in pairs on one side of the sofa, or they can also be added as accent pieces on end tables for a more complete look.

General Tips to Match Throw Pillows For a Sofa in Your Family Room

Below are some generic tips that might help you match and mix pillows on your sofa further:

  1. Match the colors of your sofa pillows to the colors of your room’s wall and rug or select similar tone of color for a more cohesive look. Color mixing with the right color palette is the key.
  2. Another thing you should do is to choose soft and beautiful pillows for your space. They are more comfortable than the firmer ones that are usually used in other rooms of the house.
  3. Make sure that your choice of color does not clash with the existing colors in the space. Choose patterns and colors that compliment.
  4. You can also add hints of color by choosing pillows that feature a variety of different colors and different patterns on them. Go for three pillows: one with the large patterns, second that appeals to one’s visual interest, and third pattern with some sort of a color story.
  5. Always keep things minimal no matter how much of a color scheme pop you want. Minimalism surely goes a long way.
  6. The number of pillows you use on your sofa should correspond the size of the sofa and style of the frame.


Throughout the years, the sofa has been elevated to a piece of furniture that can help define any room.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for cozy and inviting family room designs or modern and stylish living room ideas; pillows play a critical role in bringing together all elements to create a visually pleasing space that’s complete with inviting appeal.

You can match and mix pillows with different colors, patterns and styles to come up with a look that is perfect for your room.

What Colours Go With Grey Sofa

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A grey sofa is a staple in most homes – but what happens when you need to match it with other colors?

Grey is a difficult color to pin down, because it can be so varied in its undertones. Some greys are cool toned, some are warm toned, and many of them lean blue or green.

If you have got your hands on a grey sofa set and want to style your home around it then you will need to make sure that all of your room furnishings are tonally suitable. We don’t want any clashing in our interiors, do we?

Let’s take a look at some ideas for matching grey sofas with various other shades and see what colors would go best for your grey sofa in terms of carpet, curtains, cushions, and more.

But first, let us understand why giving all of this so much attention matters.

Why Selecting Proper Colors Around a Grey Sofa Matters?

light gray sofa

A grey colored couch set is not just any other piece of furniture that you can throw in somewhere and expect it to compliment the surrounding. To get your grey sofa integrated with the space, you have to play your cards right.

A wrong color combination will not only look odd but also ruin the overall appearance of the room. Having a room or a home that is properly color coordinated comes with its own perks. When you feel comfortable and relaxed, the ambience of the room is enough to give a sense of rest and peace.

On the other hand, if you are simply piling up all sorts of colors and shades around your grey sofa, then you are inviting distress. No matter how beautiful the sofa is, the wrong color combination could mess up with its beauty.

Now that we have got your attention, let’s explore some of the best ways to match colors around a grey sofa.

How to Match Colors Around a Grey Sofa?

living room furniture

Regardless of whether you are planning on matching colors for your flooring and curtains or the cushions and room rugs, you must know that color combination is all about selecting colors with similar undertones.

Grey couch sets are one of the most difficult pieces to style around because they are ubiquitous in nature. You can pick things in colors like navy blue, blush pink, mustard yellow, or hunter green. You can also also go for things like yellow accessories, warm oak coffee table, navy blue or deep blue walls, or bright accents. Let’s break it down in detail below:

Floor Color Options For Grey Couch

charcoal gray

Let us begin with the floor. The carpet or floor around your grey sofa is what we call as a “foundation” and needs proper attention and care and deciding on colors for it isn’t something that you can leave on a whim.

You need to choose the floor colors according to not only the tonalities of your sofa but also that of other furniture pieces as well as accessories around it. Anyway, since we are discussing grey sofas, let’s take a look at two of our favorite foundation options you can consider:

1. Coffee Brown Flooring

If you like the idea of a traditional and classy look around your sofa and love rustic and old-world charm, then coffee brown is what you can go with. This color adds depth to the room and provides it with an antique feel. From its base to its undertones, coffee brown brings in a sense of warmth.

2. Brown Carpets

If you are looking for something trendy and stylish, then go with brown carpet around your grey sofa. Available in both light and dark hues, brown carpet is suitable for any type of house.

Curtain Color Options For Grey Sofa

grey sectional sofa

When it comes to curtains, you have a lot of options ranging from light to dark hues. You can either choose plain or patterned curtains but make sure that both are tonally suitable for your grey sofa and the flooring as well as other furniture around it.

Let us take a look at two of our favorite curtain suggestions:

1. Light Grey Curtains

If you are looking for a color that brings in sophistication and elegance to your living room, then go with light grey curtains. These curtains look great with grey sofas because of its soft undertones and create a nice balance. Also, if you have a touch of brownish carpet around the sofa, it will create a nice contrast.

2. White Patterned Curtains

If you want something that looks fresh and elegant but at the same time, it is more than just plain white, then go for white patterned curtains with light grey flooring and coffee brown furniture around your grey sofa. This particular color combination is going to bring in a lot of cheer to your living room without looking too loud or fancy.

Cushion Color Options For Grey Sofa

dark blue

We know that most people choose lighter shades for the room rugs and flooring, but you can think out of the box when it comes to cushions around your grey sofa. Rather than plain or patterned cushions, you can give it a touch of color by choosing contrasting colors like reds, oranges, yellows or greens. However, there is no way neutrals won’t rock around grey sofas too. So, Let us take a look at two of our favorite options:

1. Neutral Tone Cushions

If you want to go with neutral colors for your cushions and room rugs, then we recommend choosing something in the shade of grey, beige or brown. This is especially suitable if your flooring and curtains are light like cream or light grey.

2. Contrast Colors Cushions

If you want to go bold and brave with your living room, then we recommend choosing contrasting colors like yellow, reds or oranges for your cushions. You can choose rich hues of these colors such as brownish orange or brick red and pair them with grey rugs and grey flooring.

Wall Art And Decor Options For Grey Sofa

dark grey

The right kind of paintings and decor can change the whole look and feel of your living room depending on what you choose. If we are talking about grey sofas, then the rule of thumb is not to go too loud or fancy with it.

However, there is no harm in mixing and matching. Just make sure that whatever you choose, it should harmonize with your grey sofa and surrounding furniture pieces.

So, let us take a look at two of our favorite suggestions:

1. Terracotta Wall Painting

If you want to go rustic but still keep the elegance intact, then terracotta wall painting is what you must have around your gray sofa. This choice is going to provide your living room with a nice old world charm.

2. Black And White Wall Painting

If you want something that is more modern but still adds a touch of sophistication to the room, then go for black or white paintings around your gray sofa. This color combination is going to make a big difference without looking too loud.

Cabinet Color Options For Grey Sofa

cooler shade

When it comes to cabinets or shelving units around your gray sofa, you have a lot of options ranging from wood to metallic colors. However, if you want to go with something simple and traditional for your living room then we recommend darker colors.


light gray

Your choice of colors is going to define the look and feel of your living room. You can also experiment with color combinations, but make sure that whatever you choose for floor rugs, window treatments, seating arrangement and paintings should complement each other. Also, keep it simple and don’t go too loud.