Living in Comfort and Distinction: How to Choose a Leather Accent Chair

When it comes to revamping your living room, a simple accent chair can do the trick, and nothing offers more style and durability than leather. What’s more, leather is comfortable, suits many types of decor and looks even better with age. Learn how to choose a leather accent chair for your living room.

Types of Leather

Many types of leather are used to create furniture. Each type offers varying characteristics and quality.

Full-Grain Leather

Products created from full-grain leather are made from the top layer of the animal’s hide, which is uniquely marked and durable. While it develops a beautiful patina over time, full-grain leather is susceptible to stains.

Top-Grain Leather

When full-grain leather is sanded and buffed for a smoother finish and more uniform color, it becomes top-grain leather. This finish helps prevent stains from sinking into the leather, but it also removes much of the leather’s breathability.


Suede is made from removing (or splitting) the upper layers of skin to reveal the textured (or napped) inner layers. Because it is usually thinner than full-grain or top-grain leather, suede makes a less durable furniture covering. While this material is breathable and beautiful, it absorbs liquids which can lead to stains.

Corrected-Grain/Genuine Leather

Corrected-grain (or “genuine”) leather is similar to top-grain leather but is less durable because the top skin layer is removed. After the remaining skin is sanded and buffed, it is stamped with a leather-like pattern and painted or dyed. This process offers a smooth, leathery appearance, but lack of breathability can lead to dryness and cracking.

Bonded Leather

To created bonded leather, leftover pieces of the hide are shredded and bonded together over a fiber sheet with polyurethane or latex. The material is then spray-painted to resemble full-grain or top-grain leather. Because bonded leather isn’t as durable as other types of leather, furniture made from it is often less expensive.

Leather Dyeing Process

Leather can also be categorized according to the way it is dyed. Aniline leather is soaked in a transparent dye but does not undergo any other pigmenting or finishing. Semi-aniline leather is also soaked in the aniline dye, but pigments and finishes are added for a more uniform appearance. Pigmented or protected leather is treated with a colored polymer coating for extra durability. Because it looks less natural, it’s less expensive than aniline or semi-aniline leather.

Leather Chair Styles

Living room accent chairs come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure to choose a piece that fits with your existing decor.

  • Barcelona chair: Folding metal frame, cushioned seat and back — modern or eclectic decor
  • Club chair: Cushioned low back and seat, arms at equal height — traditional or rustic decor
  • Lounge chair: Swiveling metal or wood base, cushioned seat and back, matching ottoman — modern or eclectic decor
  • Recliner: Cushioned with reclining back and footrest — traditional or rustic decor
  • Slipper chair: Small, cushioned, high-backed, armless — traditional or formal decor
  • Wingback chair: High back with up-curved corners, covered arm rests — traditional decor

There are many leather accent chairs that could work in your living room, so it helps to know what you’re looking for in terms of price and quality. If you want to give a chair a test run, then browse the living room accents for rent at CORT Furniture Rental, and see what best suits your taste.

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