Insider's Guide to Furniture & the Home Furnishings Industry

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Is Leather Match the same as Bonded Leather?

Leather match and Bonded leather are two very different types of products.

Leather match uses a genuine leather made from hides on the seats, inside backs,inside arms and anywhere you would normally touch.

Typically this would be a very inexpensive protected leather that is heavily dyed to remove all flaws and the natural grain of the leather. An artificial grain is then engraved into the dyed leather.

A matched vinyl is then used for the parts of the sofa that are not usually touched. This includes outside backs and arms.

Using a matched vinyl for half the leather on the sofa can substantially reduce the retail price as compared with a sofa that is 100% leather.

Bonded leather is an abortion of a product that should be banned.


The only reason for bonded leather's existence is to fool unknowledgeable consumers into thinking they are buying genuine leather furniture at low prices.

Technically furniture retailers can make the claim that bonded leather is made with 10% - 20% "genuine" leather.

What the salespeople do not tell their customers is that this "genuine" leather consists of leftover scraps from hides that are crushed into tiny particles, mixed with glue and other chemicals and then rolled flat.

This reconstituted "leather" is then used as the backing for vinyl or polyurethane. The "leather" part of this fabric cannot be seen or touched by customers.

Customers who purchase bonded leather furniture think that they are purchasing a very durable fabric. That is not the case.

This is a very delicate material that may literally fall apart under normal use within 1-3 years after purchase.

Furniture warranties are written with specific exclusions for "fabric wear."

Even extended warranties, which customers purchase thinking that they cover everything that can go wrong, will not cover fabric problems in most cases.

There are thousands of complaints and dozens of law suits about "peeling" bonded leather furniture.

For consumers who are looking for lower priced furniture that looks and feels similar to genuine leather there are excellent faux leathers made from polyurethane or vinyl which are excellent.

These faux leathers are far more durable than the bonded leathers. They also are generally more comfortable and cost less.

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