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From the Blog

Leather, Selecting the Perfect Hide.

October 30, 2019 5:30 AM | Michelle Minner

written by Taylor Souder, B.S. in Textile Technology and Fabric Specialist at Greenhouse Fabrics

Just like fabric, leather comes in many textures and color variations. Greenhouse Fabrics is a proud supplier of high-quality leathers suitable for use in high-traffic areas and the automotive industry. All of our leather orders are placed by the square foot in whole-hide form only. A fabric specialist will verify the average hide size and do their best to accommodate your min/max square footage needed (Hint: 1 yd. = 18 sq. ft.). All current leather SKUs are stocked at our vendors’ warehouses for a 7-10 day lead time to us.

A couple questions that come up often regarding using leather for an upholstery project are how much leather should I order and what’s the difference in quality? Here’s is a helpful guide to help illustrate the usable square footage. There are also several different finishes and grains to consider when choosing your hide.

Country of Origin:

Italian hides
  • Very clean with little defects
  • Average hide size: 50 sq. ft.
Argentinian and Brazilian hides
  • Produced from Brahma bulls (will have a hole in the neck area from hump)
  • Insect bites, brands, and healed scars may be apparent
  • Average hide size: 55-70 sq. ft
US hides
  • Clean hides with little natural characteristics
  • Insect bites, healed scare, and scratches may be apparent
  • Average hide size: 48 sq. ft.

Leather Finishes:

Pull up aniline
  • Has an additional oil or wax applied giving it a distressed look
  • When pulled tight or scratched, the color will change. Rub the oils from your hand on the spot to blend the wax/oil to the lighter areas.

  • Most natural-looking leather
  • A transparent dye penetrates the hide allowing the natural grain to show
  • Includes pores, scars, and fat wrinkles


  • Hide is treated to age the appearance, giving it a rugged, older look

  • Same as aniline but more durable
  • A thin protective top coat is applied to protect from wear and staining

Protected leather
  • Fully sealed after the dying process with a clear top coat offering protection against scratches and normal wear
  • Greenhouse Fabrics now offers Purely Protected Performance leather
  • Resists moisture and stains, high-traffic and user friendly, high color fastness

Pigmented leather
  • Finished with a solid pigment or “paint” for consistency of color and texture
  • Pigments cover imperfections as well as add protection to the leather

Leather Grains:

Full grain
  • There has been no plating or correcting of the grain of the hide
  • This is the natural grain of the animal and will vary on different portions of the hide

Top grain
  • The outer layer of the hide, the strongest part for upholstery use

Corrected grain
  • The hide has been manually “corrected” or embossed with a pattern to give a consistent appearance from all angles

Greenhouse also offers hair-on-hide leathers. These are great for rustic and urban furniture applications (they also make great rugs). Typically, these run anywhere from 30-45 sq. ft.

HOH002 Black White Salt Pepper

As you can see there are many things to consider when choosing the right leather for you project. There’s no need to be intimidated, if you have questions, our customer service reps have you covered.

For more information or to become a dealer, call us at 866.755.5000 or visit our website at

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