Pros & Cons: Faux Leather Furniture

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(Image credit: Emily Billings)

There are many reasons to buy faux leather furniture. It’s cheaper and animal friendly. And, there are many reason not to buy faux leather furniture. Real leather ages well and looks more expensive (because it is). If you’re thinking about buying new furniture and you’re torn between faux and real leather, here are a list of some of the pros and cons.

Faux leather comes in many forms and some are better than others. There are two main types of faux leather, PVC and any material that starts with poly — most notably polyurethane and polyamide microfibre. Generally, the poly materials are easier to care for, more environmentally friendly and more breathable, while PVC is more difficult to clean and doesn’t breathe as well. There are other forms of faux leather gaining popularity like the Swedish koskinn and more natural products like cork leather from oak trees and ocean leather from kelp. So if you can’t buy leather for reasons of personal ethics or personal budgets, make sure you know what type of faux leather you’re purchasing.

• polyurethane (not PVC) products are recognized as being environmentally friendly, synthetic materials
• No animals are harmed in making the material
• Can be produced in virtually any color, style or pattern
• Poly material is durable
• A high gloss finish can be achieved
• Easily cleaned with a damp cloth
• Requires little maintenance
• Doesn’t crack
• UV fade resistant

• Not breathable — especially PVC
• Doesn’t develop the same luster and patina as real leather
• More environmentally wasteful because real leather is a by-product of cows processed for their meat
• more easily torn or punctured
• Doesn’t have the same hypo-allergetic qualities of real leather

Are there other PROS & CONS we missed?