How to Test for Real Leather on Furniture


When it comes to upholstery, it may be difficult to tell the difference between genuine leather and man-made imitation leather. Bonded leather, one of the most frequent types of imitation leather, is really made out of scraps of leather that have been glued to a polyurethane base. When you are unsure as to whether or not the leather upholstery is real, there are a few different tests that involve the senses that you may undertake to verify authenticity.

Labels and Price

Check the tag on the piece of furniture to see whether it describes the materials used for the upholstery. Tags on the furniture’s upholstery that state it is made of real leather, nubuck, pure aniline, semi-aniline, or coloured leather are indicators of a piece that is made of genuine leather. Upholstery made of pure aniline leather is of the highest possible quality and has not been processed in any manner, including being dyed, having its surface buffed, or having a protective topcoat applied to it.

According to Coffee Cake Kids, a piece of furniture with a tag indicating that it is made of imitation leather can use phrases like “faux leather,” “naugahyde,” “plether,” “bonded leather,” or “leatherette.” The price of a piece that is upholstered in genuine leather is often quite a bit greater than the price of a piece that is upholstered in imitation leather.


Examine the marks on the leather carefully to determine whether or not it is genuine. The animal that the hide originates from is responsible for the natural patterns, grain qualities, and “fat wrinkles” that appear on the hide. The term “fat wrinkles” refers to genuine wrinkles in the leather that are created by the fat deposits of the animal. These wrinkles lend an extra attractive quality to the leather. According to Leather Shoppes, high-quality leather is full grain. This means that the leather is coloured with clear aniline dyes so that it maintains the illusion of having a complete natural grain.

The seams and margins of the upholstery may also be used to establish whether the leather is authentic or manufactured. Edges that are rough and uneven are more common in real leather, whereas smooth and perfect edges are more common in fake leather. Faux leather edges tend to be flawless. It is quite probable that the furniture is fake if it is covered with a huge piece of upholstery material that is one continuous piece, since this would be far too enormous for a typical animal to cover.


In genuine leather, you should be able to feel what are known as “fat wrinkles,” in addition to a delicate softness and a somewhat uneven texture. Because it does not “breathe” like genuine leather, which has pores with uneven shapes, fake leather often has a chilly temperature and a smooth texture when touched. It’s possible to produce fake leather with a texture that appears like pores, but closer inspection reveals that the pattern is very uniform and repeated. When compared to synthetic and artificial materials, genuine leather furniture is cosier and more malleable to the touch when sat against.


The smell of genuine leather cannot be replicated in imitation leather since genuine leather is a natural product. To evaluate the genuineness of a piece of furniture that has a leather-like appearance, smell it. Genuine leather may be identified by its distinct and alluring odour, which is emitted by upholstered furniture made of the material. Genuine leather that has been subjected to further mechanical processing, such as dyeing, buffing, sanding, and the application of a protective topcoat, produces a scent that is more robust and opulent than that of genuine leather that has not been refined or treated. Because it is made of synthetic fibres, fake leather may also have a chemical odour that is offensive to certain people.