Leather vs. cloth upholstery

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Handy, Feb 20, 2002.

  1. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    OK, here is the deal. My wife and I can't seem to agree on the type of furniture to buy for our living room. I am in favor of leather because it is more durable and looks a bit classier.

    My wife argues that leather looks too pompous, is not as comfortable, and will not work well with our cats, saying they will rip right through the leather.

    Can anybody shed some light on this to help my wife and I make the right decision? Our cats are not the worst scratchers in the world, but they do like to put their claws in things from time to time. Thanks!

    Jason
     
  2. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I prefer cloth, for most of the reasons your wife mentioned.
     
  3. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo

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    The cats will destroy the leather. Yes, I've seen this in 2 of my sisters' homes.
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Compromise. Get a cloth sofa and loveseat and a leather la-z-boy!!! Make sure the La-Z-Boy is in the sweet spot!![​IMG]
     
  5. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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  6. Tom-G

    Tom-G Screenwriter

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    I used to house-sit for my boss and her and her husband had leather furniture. I didn't like sitting on it as much as I like cloth. Not to mention, their cat destroyed the recliner which they paid about $1500 for! Even if they do it in moderation, the cats will rip through the leather, so I would go with the cloth.
     
  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    My experience is just the opposite. My cats scratch on cloth but WON'T scratch on leather. I just converted my furniture over to leather about a year ago for this very reason. Plus cat hair cleans up from leather much more easily. I'm guessing cats don't scratch on leather because there is no warp & woof (or whatever they call that) for them to start their claws into.
     
  8. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Leather is ususally not classier. Its quite showy, and in a very very conventional, joe 6 pack sorta sense, it is classy. Don't get me wrong, leather can be classy but it needs a lot of care to be done up as such. Same thing with a sectional, they can exude class, but you'll have to work on it. Not that there is anything all that wrong with them, but they aren't the classiest thing in the world. I'm specifically talking about the ones with the coolers and the phones built in.
    Anyway. Sure, you can get classy leather stuff, but most of it appeals to the not so classy crowd same as zebra striped dressers with mirrored headboards (I recently saw this very ensemble). I recently went shopping for a sofa/loveseat and found that leather was cheaper than the fabric I puchased and no doubt quite a bit less durable.
    About the cats, I'm not sure if they would tear into the leather or not. If they are declawed then its no worry. And if the "declawing is mean" crowd comes around, they better have a problem with leather too! [​IMG] This will sound odd, but find some sorta sofa forum, or better yet, a cat forum and ask there.
    If you find this post a bit elitist, and perhaps think I'm an arogant, snobby bastard then I say to you, Good Call! No really, I just have opinions like everyone else.
    Jon
     
  9. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

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    I love leather furniture. I find it a lot more comfortable than fabric (but they vary, so sit on a bunch of different ones.)
    As for kitty destruction - it depends on the cat. Some cats like leather and will put pinpricks all over it. Other cats like fabric and will shred it. I've seen far worse damage with fabric than leather. However, it need not happen in either case.
     
  10. ikiru

    ikiru Stunt Coordinator

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    I dont like leather because I sweat when I sleep on them. As far as classy, that is subjective. There are some really good looking cloth couches out there.

    -ikiru
     
  11. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    I am torn. The one thing I hate most about cloth furniture is that the upholstery looks awful once it has been worn down. Over time, sweaty palms on the armrests change the color of the fabric and make it look threadbare.

    I disagree that leather only looks classy to J6P. Most of the leather I have seen is very unassuming, which is what makes it look classy to me. The cloth furniture with all the loud patterns looks tacky to me. Leather has fewer color choices and they are mostly neutral, earth tones. This makes it easier for the furniture to match any decor.

    I am not a fan of the crazy brass rivet furniture because that makes me feel like I need to start smoking a pipe and accent all my rooms with mahogany. No, simple yet elegant.

    It looks like the take-home message is that leather is not necessarily an automatic failure for people with cats, and it is mainly personal preference. The real decision to make is whether leather is superior to cloth if you ignore the cat factor.

    Jason

    P.S. Julie, thanks for the great URL reference!
     
  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Leather is uncomfortable to me. I don't like it.
     
  13. TimDoss

    TimDoss Second Unit

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    I have had a cat tear up the side of a leather couch...

    soft paws should be able to take care of that though.

    The reason I won't buy anymore leather furniture is the

    sweat factor... bare skin on leater tends to sweat, be

    that your legs when wearing shorts, or all of you when

    you're naked.... ewwww, bad visual..... I've heard that

    depends on the quality of the leather, my experience is

    with a fairly expensive Ikea sofa.
     
  14. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Sitting on the sofa naked, regardless of the fabric type, is bad naked!
    I really like leather, and if I ever get a room big enough to use couches and theater seats, I'll move my seats to the back and get a nice leather sofa. I like the feel, as well as the fact that I like a firm, supportive, yet comfortable couch; most leather sofas are designed to be all of the above.
     
  15. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    A few things to consider:

    1. With pets, cloth will eventually take on their smell (usually their worst one?). In my experience, leather doesn't seem to.

    2. Furniture guy told me leather wears 4-to-1 to cloth (meaning leather lasts longer). I'd say that depends, but generally speaking, he's right- cowhide will outlast pretty much any furniture cloth.

    3. Body "fluids" (sweat, baby puke, etc.) will discolor some leather goods.

    4. Personally, any leather furniture worth having will cost a LOT. I haven't seen any exceptions.

    Whatever you buy, make sure you take it for a "test sit." And, spend the extra to get decent, well-crafted furniture (good frame construction, 8-way hand tied springs, high quality cushions, etc). For instance, Rooms-To-Go is NOT good furniture (I speak from experience here). I'd stick with Broyhill, or Thomasville ($$$). We bought our cloth living room set from a Broyhill shop here in Orlando (it's actually made by Rowe). After nearly 6 years, it still looks new. We chose a solid color for the couch, and a floral pattern for the two chairs. Both in a sort-of earth tone motif. The two patterns compliment each other well.

    If I had to do it over again (which I won't for 10+ years, based on current wear), I'd consider a nice brown, glove-leather set, in addition to the cloth. But overall, we're satisfied.

    Email me if you'd like pictures. I can take some if you like.

    Todd
     
  16. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    Todd,

    Thanks for such an informative post. I am in agreement regarding buying quality furniture. I think a lot of people fail to appreciate the fact that good furniture costs good money. And the worst part is that it is really hard to tell construction quality based on seeing it in a showroom. My wife and I avoid the discount furniture stores mostly because we would rather spend a few dollars more to get a respected name brand and not worry about it.

    I did not realize that leather was easy to stain; common sense tells me the opposite. Cloth furniture soaks in any liquids and the stain really gets into the fiber, whereas leather furniture is more moisture resistant (in the short-term "spill" sense of the term).

    Well, my wife ws happy to hear I had changed my tune today about furniture. I think we are going the cloth route. Last question, though: do cloth upholstered furniture pieces have specifications that help the buyer determine quality? For example with bed sheets, there is a thread count to ley you know how much cloth went into the contruction of the sheets.

    Thanks

    Jason
     
  17. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Let me clarify- it's not like leather is going to get a ruinous stain on it. But, if you drop $2500-3000 for a COUCH, and then a little baby spit up lightens the leather a bit (not major, mind you, no different than spilling something on a leather jacket), maybe you would be upset. I wouldn't, as I like how leather weathers and ages, and besides, I buy stuff to USE, not keep wrapped in plastic to stay in mint condition.
    Having said that, the leather we liked was a bit out of our price range. We went with the cloth, and are happy with it. Sometimes, our dog's scent gets into the furniture a bit (as he sits on it all day- see USE rule above[​IMG] ), but it's nothing that a little Febreze doesn't take care of.
    A good furniture store should be able to show you the quality somehow. Our sales person showed us a brochure that explained how our line of Rowe furniture was constructed. I had previously learned about the various types of furniture construction at a seminar (for an American Lung Association "Healthy House" presentation).
    Todd
     
  18. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    Todd,

    How have you dealt with stains on your cloth furniture? Are there effective methods for getting stains out of a couch? That is really my main concern, because we have people over sometimes that can be considered "sloppy eaters and drinkers", and I can just see it now: getting a great cloth couch, only to have it completely ruined when someone spills red wine all over the cushions.

    Bear in mind that up until now, my wife and I have been using hand-me-down furniture that already has some nice stains on it. But we don't worry because it has alreay had its use. This new stuff, however - we would like to keep it in the family for awhile and I am paranoid about visual stains. Thanks

    jason
     
  19. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I agree with some of the peoples comments so far about the classiness of leather. I think the only kind of leather that looks classy is that brown hard smooth antique leather. The kind of leather that you see on most furniture today (the stretchy looking kooshy leather) does not look good to me at all, and is the kind of furniture I see in posers houses, if they want to look upper class. (not to say everyone with a leather sofa is a poser)
     
  20. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Jason, I have two cats and a leather sofa. I love the sofa and would not trade it.

    Very comfortable and I really like the look. It is not a traditional leather sofa with the big padded overblown cushions that you often see. It is from the Pottery Barn catalougue and has a post-modern look to it (no longer offered though). Anyway, just letting you know that there are many different varieties in leather sofas. I personally do not like the thin leather you see in many leather sofas with the almost overstuffed back pillows etc. Ours does not even have back pillows - just the curved back support. Just giving you a few details to let you know how this particular sofa has dealt with our cats.

    Anyway, my cats have had their front paws declawed but still have the back ones. I do not beleive cats will use the leather sofa as a scratching post with their front claws. HOWEVER, all cats will run through the house, jump on the sofa, and use their back claws to gain support. There is no way to stop it - your cat(s) will scratch the leather. This is a deffinitive statement. No way around it.

    Now, the leather on my sofa is thick and all they do is create abrasions on the surface of the leather. A quality leather balm has succeeded in removing most of the abrasions. However, there are still raised fibrous marks where the scratches once were. So you will get some marks that are nothing more than what you would see after running a fingernail over it, and then there are others that will never be completely removed - the fibrous marks I was referring to.

    Anyway, this will undoubtedly reduce the life of the sofa, but I am willing to pay for it. It is simply worth it to me. Again, I am not sure how a thinner leather would take it. I would think they could puncture it leaving holes.

    I really don't understand people regarding anything as pompous. If you like it, enjoy it, and can afford it, get it! Just like my dad who would not buy a BMW this past year because he felt it was pompous - would not even look at them.

    I was not completely sure that I was going to lounge around on a leather sofa. However, it would be hard for me to go back. My wife, and I love it, and it goes so well in the theater room where most everything is black and white.

    Oh well, hope this helped,

    C. Ryan

    Looking at Charles' post above, I think he and I were on the same wavelength as to what we find unattractive. Basically, cheap overstuffed overly-pleated leather looks cheap IMO. I like simple straight lines with long runs of ungarnished leather.
     

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