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COMPLETE GUIDE:
UPHOLSTERY & LEATHER

When it comes to purchasing furniture, don't just buy based on style. Function is super important! You might really want an all white 100% cotton sofa. But if you have a young family or pets, it's not the most practical option. Perhaps you want to purchase a full grain leather sofa and your only option is to place it by a radiator or by a window in direct sunlight. Again, not the best choice considering your room configuration.

When purchasing a living room set, sofa, loveseat and /or chair, looks and style is important, but so is function. Your household, lifestyle and budget will help you determine which fabric (upholstery or leather) is ideal for your family.

Outside of a home or a car, the next biggest investment you'll make is in your furniture. As a big ticket item, you'll want to consider all your financial options.

One of the most affordable ways to purchase new furniture is through financing. Financing provides you with favourable terms that will work within your budget and schedule.

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What is Rub Count?

Rub count /double rub refers to how durable a fabric is. Fabrics go through abrasion testing to see how long they will last.

Use Rub Count Applications
Delicate Less Than 9000 Pillows & Curtains
Light 9000 - 11,000 Living Room/ Occasional Seating
Medium/Heavy 12,000 - 15,000 Family Room And Pet Friendly Homes
Heavy Duty 15,000 - 30,000 Hotel Lobby, Restuarant Dining Areas, etc.
Extra Heavy 30,000+ Airport Terminals, Public Spaces, etc.

Upholstery Synthetic Fibers:

It's extremely durable and it resists fading and stains better than natural fibers. It's an ideal fabric for households that plan on using their sofa, loveseat or chair regularly.

Upholstery Synthetic Fibers:

It's extremely durable and it resists fading and stains better than natural fibers. It's an ideal fabric for households that plan on using their sofa, loveseat or chair regularly.

Chenille

Chenille is a French word for caterpillar. It refers to the soft texture and touch of the fabric. The base layer is woven with many layers of yarn - loops are woven around the base layer. To create soft texture, the base layer is cut. This technique gives Chenille its luscious soft, fuzzy texture and sheen. Depending on the direction you look at it, the Chenille can look different from matte to shining.

Deluxe Chenille

The difference between regular and deluxe chenille is the composition. Regular chenille is made from polyester. Polyester is low maintenance and stain resistant.

Deluxe Chenille uses more natural fibers like cotton, cashmere and/or silk which gives it a more luxurious quality.

Natural fibers breathe better and adds durability. It can increase the fabric's rub count.

Deluxe Chenille is worth the investment, if you plan on keeping furniture for the long haul, or if you have pets and/or young children.

Chenille

Chenille is a French word for caterpillar. It refers to the soft texture and touch of the fabric. The base layer is woven with many layers of yarn - loops are woven around the base layer. To create soft texture, the base layer is cut. This technique gives Chenille its luscious soft, fuzzy texture and sheen. Depending on the direction you look at it, the Chenille can look different from matte to shining.

Deluxe Chenille

The difference between regular and deluxe chenille is the composition. Regular chenille is made from polyester. Polyester is low maintenance and stain resistant.

Deluxe Chenille uses more natural fibers like cotton, cashmere and/or silk which gives it a more luxurious quality.

Natural fibers breathe better and adds durability. It can increase the fabric's rub count.

Deluxe Chenille is worth the investment, if you plan on keeping furniture for the long haul, or if you have pets and/or young children.

Nylon

Nylon is an extremely durable fabric. It's made from polyamide which is created from a liquid and spun into a fiber. Nylon is extremely strong. It's used in applications such as seat belts, ropes for mountain climbing, etc.

Because of it's durability and resiliency (ability to contract back to it's natural state) the fabric is more expensive.

In furniture, it's rarely used on it's own. For indoor furniture, nylon is generally blended with other materials, to increase the fabric's resiliency. In most cases, nylon is used for outdoor patio furniture. It repels water well.

The disadvantage: it may feel rough/scratchy.


Microfiber/Microsuede

Microfiber mimics the feel of suede with added security of being stain resistant compared to natural suede. It's easy to clean and maintain. In addition to practicality, the fabric looks luxurious and it has a velvety quality.

How Do The Fabrics Stack Up
Affordable Durable Easy to Clean Resists Stains
Cotton
Linen
Silk
Mohair/ Wool
Microfiber
Chenille
Deluxe Chenille
Nylon
Natural Fibers:
Plant Based

Linen

Linen is made from the flax plant and it's very durable. It doesn't pill or shed which is great as an investment. It also resists moisture, which helps wick away any spills that occur. However, linen is wrinly in nature.

Cotton

Cotton is one of the softest and durable fabrics when it comes to upholstery. It's beautiful to the touch and it wears well over time.

However, the disadvantage with cotton is that it wrinkels and soils easily (Which makes it hard to keep clean).

Animal Based

Silk

Silk is often used in high quality velvet. It’s soft and luxurious to the touch. However, it’s not the best of fabric if you plan on using your furniture daily. It also stains easily, and it requires a professional to clean it.

Mohair/ Wool

Wool is made with animal hair. It’s very durable. It naturally resists stains and it’s good for long term use. However, for people with allergies it’s not the best option. Most often woo is mixed with synthetic fibers to blend down the costs.

Semi-Synthetic Fibers

Viscose

Viscose Rayon is made from plant cellulose such as wood pulp, bamboo grass, etc. It’s a man-mad fiber. It looks like silk and feels like cotton. It’s versatile and it blends well with other fabrics.

The disadvantage: it’s delicate, it absorbs body oils and water easily. This can result in staining and weakening of the fabric.

De-mystifying Leather

Do you ever wonder why, a leather couch can be so different in price? It's all the same leather right?

Here's a breakdown of the different grades of leather and how it's made.

De-mystifying Leather

Do you ever wonder why, a leather couch can be so different in price? It's all the same leather right?

Here's a breakdown of the different grades of leather and how it's made.

How is Leather Processed?

There are up to four stages in developing leather. This process may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but generally, it goes through preparation, tanning, crusting and surface coating / finishing.

1 Preperation

The skin is treated, preserved and cleaned. It goes through a liming process, to remove the proteins, fats and hair. The hide is split into horizontal layers and different grades of leather are produced. The hide goes through additional limingde-liming and slicking — removing the fat from inside the skin. Before the skin can be tanned, it goes through a bleachingpickling (sometimes de-pickling) which helps it absorb the tanning agents/color easier.

2 Tanning

Once the hide has been cleaned, it needs to go through a stabilizing process —converting the proteins from the raw hide into a stable material. PH levels are adjusted (basification) to ensure the tanning materials adhere to the leather.

3 Crusting

During this crusting process, the leather is dried, softened and colored. It is thinned, re-tanned and lubricated. Depending on the type of finish a manufacturer wants to achieve, the leather may go through a final stage of being sandedbuffed and oiled.

4 Surface Coating

For leathers outside of the Full Grain spectrum, there is an addition step of resurfacing which can include embossingglazing, etc.

Different Grades of Leather 

Full Grain Leather

If money was no object,  then go for the Full Grain Leather. It's the highest-grade leather. It comes from the top layer of the hide and it includes all it's natural grain. The grain may include scars, marks and even some unevenness in color. Even with visual imperfections, this grade of leather is the strongest.

Each piece of Full Grain Leather is unique. The uniquness ears better over time. The leather becomes softer and the patina develops special characteristics specific to that hide. It's natural, durable and extremely breathable.

The disadvantages: it stains easily, and it's high maintenance Because Full Grain is more difficult to work with as a material you'll pay top dollar for it. Outside of the cost of labor, the hide itself is priced at a premium.

Top Grain Leather

The second-best-grade of leather is Top Grain Leather. The leather is thinner than Full Grain because the outer layer has been removed. The Top Grain is sanded and buffed to take away imperfections.

When it comes to furniture, most people prefer the look of Top Grain Leather. Top Grain is produced with even coloring, grain consistency and smoothness. The leather is also treated with a protectant to help prevent stains.

As a material, Top Grain is easier to work with (which is reflected in the price). Top Grain can also be referred to as Corrected or Embossed Leather.

Split Suede/ Finished Split

The Split leather is made from splitting the top layer of leather from the inner layer of the hide. The inner (bottom) hide is used and leather graining is embossed to produce a beautiful finish. Split leather is also known as Genuine Leather.

Bel-Aire Leather

It's usually made with a finished split hide and/or left over leather during the manufacturing process. It's mixed with other properties which may include natural fibers, polyurethane, etc. Graining is embossed onto the leather.It's treated with a protectant to help prevent stains from soaking into the leather. The leather is soft and supple, with a smooth even finish.

Suede

Suede is Top Grain Leather that has been sanded down to expose it's soft texture.

Regular Suede uses the inner layer of the skin and it is sanded down.

Nubuck Suede uses the outer layer of the skin and sanded.

Suede is very beautiful, but it stains and fades easily. Real Suede is rarely used in furniture.

Reconstituted Bonded Fiber Leather

It uses the remains of leather which otherwise would be thrown out during a manufacturing process. The remains are ground up and recycled with other materials such as polyurethane (PU) to give it a leather-look.

How Do The Leathers Stack Up?
Affordable Durable Easy to Clean Resists Stains
Full Grain
Top Grain
Split/ Finished
Bel-Air Leather
Suede
Reconstituted

Buying furniture for your home is a big investement. It's important to choose a piece that's made of quality craftmanship and one you'll love for many years.

MDG offers affordable quality furniture and financing options to help their customers. Regardless of credit history, MDG will do what they can to help you purchase furniture for your home.

Get pre-approved for credit. It's fast and easy. You'll know right away how much you're approved for.

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