Why We Use Aniline Leather

Why You Should Run—Not Walk—Away from Bi-Cast or Split Grain "Leather"

At first, leather seems simple. It's just cow hide (or some other type of animal). But when you start looking for quality leather dining chairs there's a lot to consider. All leather is not created equal and if you're going to pay a premium for genuine leather you should ensure you're getting the best.

All Leather Is Not Created Equal

Why are you choosing leather? What made you pick leather over vinyl or even a traditional fabric? Is it for one of the following reasons?

  1. The feel. Nothing comes close to leather for being soft and supple
  2. The color. A leather dining chair can warm just about any room.
  3. Luxury. Nothing impresses more than real leather.
  4. It lasts. A quality leather chair not only lasts longer than many other types of upholstery--it often looks better with age.
  5. Ease of care. Cleaning leather is fairly easy if you take the right precautions.
  6. The smell. You're probably not picking it for this reason, but the wonderful aroma surely doesn't hurt.

To ensure you all these benefits you need to make sure you get the right type of leather. What should you look for?

Aniline Leather - Soft and Supple

You have 3 basic choices:

  1. Aniline — Leather soaked in aniline dye. No other finishes or pigments are added.
  2. Semi-Aniline — These types of the leathers have a small amount of coating or pigment.
  3. Pigmented — Leathers that are fully treated with surface color.

Which one is the best? It really depends on the application, but at Carrington Court we've decided to go with Aniline and Semi-Aniline. Full aniline leather can only be made for the best hides. The reason behind this is simple: since there is no pigment added, all imperfections are visible. Semi-Aniline gives a consistent look without compromising the sought after qualities that people want in a leather. Pigmented leathers cover up imperfections with paint, but in our opinion masks many of the great qualities of a tog grain leather.

You may be wondering what is wrong with covering up imperfections. When you add pigment it makes the leather stiffer--negating the suppleness that many prize. It also takes away some of the natural character. The more pigmented it is, the harder it is to tell from vinyl. As aniline ages it increases in beauty like a well-worn bomber jacket or wallet. The downside of aniline is price. Since aniline leather requires the best hides, it costs more.

Other Considerations

One other factor to consider is the leather grain. You'll want to get a dining chair with top-grain leather. Top-grain is the leather that comes from the desirable outer surface of the hide. Leathers that come from inner surfaces all called "split grain" and they are much weaker and less resilient.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other leather textures: Nubuck, suede, pull-up leather and even embossed leathers. That's what so great about leather--Choice. You're sure to find one that matches your unique taste and style.

If you want to learn more about leather, you may want to check out this great video from Saddleback Leather explaining the differences in leather grains.

See What Our Customers Say:

Given this is my first experience in ordering furniture online...it was absolutely wonderful. So easy and so quick.

Upon the arrival of her Camel Back Parsons Chairs in Remy Cabernet fabric.

Jill - Greenwich, CT

I was very pleased with my purchase. I was a little nervous...but I know I made a wise choice.

On her new Camel Back Parsons Chairs in Fern Natural Fabric.

Kathy - Arlington, VA