Leather is renowned for being durable and stylish. However, in recent years, leatherette and faux leather have gained much popularity due to their affordability and versatility.
Leather has always been considered as the most luxurious material for furniture. Quite naturally, leatherette comes across as a cost-effective alternative to leather furniture. If you are looking to save money, leatherette is definitely the better choice because it is cheaper than genuine leather. Leatherette also has several advantages over other types of fabric upholstery because it can easily be styled and cleaned the way you want it to be. It can withstand heavy use and still stay in good condition for a long time. And if it gets damaged by accident, it can be repaired quite easily without burning a hole in your pocket.
Leather is a wonderful material to use and we would recommend it wherever possible. However, there are a large number of imitations that can be bought at a considerably lower price (and sometimes higher), but it is important to know what you are buying, as they are very different materials.
The most commonly used imitation is what is known as ‘leatherette’ or ‘faux leather’. These are materials made to replicate the look of leather but without the cost. This can be done through the use of cheaper materials such as bonded leather (consisting of small pieces bonded together into one sheet) or polyurethane (a plastic coating). It all depends on the manufacturer as to which method they choose to use.
Leatherette and faux leather are both used for making wallets, purses and shoes. The materials look alike and are used in similar ways. Both are man-made fabrics that have the look of leather but cost less.
In most cases, leatherette is a type of faux leather. However, there is some overlap in terminology between leatherette and faux leather. Some people use the terms interchangeably while others reserve “faux leather” for plastic-coated fabrics while they use “leatherette” to describe embossed or printed fabric.
Leatherette has a consistent texture on both sides of the fabric. Faux leather has a smooth side and a rough side. The rough side is the underside of the plastic coating that is brushed onto the fabric base.
Leatherette is made from plastic or vinyl coated with a finishing layer that gives it texture and colour. When purchasing leatherette by the yard, you should be able to see this finish in person at the store or online in pictures that show close-ups of the fabric surface. This material can be embossed with an animal print design like crocodile skin or printed with any number of designs to resemble suede or other textured leather looks.