Insider's Guide to Furniture & the Home Furnishings Industry

Jeff Frank is a 40 year veteran of the furniture industry who is happy to answer your questions about furniture! Ask your question today!

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What are the Pros and Cons of Bonded leather furniture?

Pros: It looks like leather but costs a lot less.

Cons: There are many reasons not to buy bonded leather furniture.

Dozens of articles have been written about this topic. None of them defend the use of bonded leather. None claim that it is superior to Polyurethane or Vinyl faux leathers.

Bonded leather is a flawed, unstable product.

The only purpose of bonded leather is to fool people into thinking they are buying “real” leather furniture at cheap prices.

The only “real” leather in the product is ground up leather scraps. These have been mixed with adhesives and other chemicals and then used as the backing of the material.

Everything you see and touch is synthetic vinyl or polyurethane.

Polyurethane “faux” leathers and even vinyl furniture with woven cloth backings are superior products. Often they cost less than “bonded leather” materials.

Bonded leather concerns are discussed in this NBC video and article.

This is an interview with the CEO of a major (and highly reputable) furniture retail chain. He is asked about bonded leather in response to a customer complaint made to the local NBC affiliate.

The CEO is asked if customers are to blame for the many complaints of peeling bonded leather. His response: “I’m not saying they did something wrong, what I’m saying is that it’s delicate.”

One of the primary reasons for purchasing leather furniture is the perceived durability.

I can guarantee that no furniture salesperson ever advised their customers that bonded leather is a “delicate” fabric.

Customers freqently think that Extended warranties protect them from "everything" that can go wrong. They do not!

In fact extended warranties may actually invalidate retailer or manufacturer warranties.

The customer whose complaint initiated the NBC interview stated that he “paid extra for an extended warranty.” He later learned that the extended warranty does not cover peeling leather.

Furniture Today, a furniture industry trade publication, published an editorial discussing bonded leather.

The editorial reviewed the many problems associated with bonded leather. These included numerous lawsuits.

The editorial suggested support for an industry-wide voluntary ban on the use of bonded leather fabrics.

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