Your Guide to Buying Leather

Shopping for LeatherNothing feels more luxurious than leather. Whether it’s a rich sofa, supple sectional or trendy club chair, leather furniture is timeless and classic. It also improves with age, developing a beautiful patina over time. From urban to traditional to modern and casual, leather also fits any style décor. And with a variety of grades and finishes, there is a leather option for virtually every budget.

If you’ve never shopped for leather furniture, here’s a quick guide to help you understand the terminology:

Aniline. Leather that is treated in an aniline dye bath so that scratches won’t reveal a different color beneath. This leather is very soft as only the best hides are used for this process.

Antiqued. Leather that has been dyed twice in a lighter and darker color to give an aged distressed appearance.

Bonded. A leather-like material made from leather scraps, polyurethane and cotton layers. This leather is less expensive and is created for durability.

Embossed. Leather that has been imprinted to create a texture as a design element.

Full Grain. Leather that includes one-of-a kind natural markings or irregularities from the cowhide.

Nubuck. A top-grain leather that is lightly brushed to create a short, plush nap that feels like velvet and is resistant to scratches.

Pigmented. Leather treated with a pigment to give it a more uniform color. This is a less expensive, stiffer type of leather, and it’s more resistant to stains and scratches, which is great for family use.

Pull-up. Leather that is treated with anilines to create a weathered or distressed look.

Sauvage. Leather that has been treated with a two-toned effect to create a marbled design.

Semi-aniline. Leather that has a small amount of pigment added, which provides better protection against stains and fading.

Split Grain. The layer of leather found beneath the top-grain layer. This type is usually given an embossed or surface treatment, and it’s usually less expensive than top grain.

Top Grain. This leather comes from the outer surface of the hide, which is considered to be strongest section. It can be left natural or embossed.


“Born” in the USA

With the Fourth of July, the Summer Olympics and the presidential election all on the horizon, patriotism is riding high. Did you know that Art Van Furniture – an American company and Michigan tradition – carries several products that were Made in the USA?

Take a look at these brands that were made in America, maybe even in your back yard or by your friends or family:

Gascho BedroomL.J. Gascho

Renowned for more than 25 years for its craftsmanship and quality, the L.J. Gascho Furniture Company makes some of the finest solid wood furniture in the world, and they do it in Pigeon, Michigan. Founder Lyle J. Gascho is a local woodworker and fourth-generation chicken farmer who had learned woodworking techniques from Amish and Mennonite craftsmen. With a passion for quality and detail, he started making furniture as a hobby. An Art Van executive and buyer saw one of Lyle’s tables, and asked if he’d sell his pieces at Art Van Furniture stores. Lyle’s hobby quickly became a thriving business. Today L.J. Gascho has grown into a company with 115 employees, but the mission has stayed the same: “to produce high quality furniture that will become heirlooms to be passed on from generation to generation.”

Aspen AlderASPEN

ASPEN has evolved from a small family-owned home entertainment business based in Phoenix, Arizona to an award-winning full line furniture company specializing in thoughtfully designed innovative products for the way people work, play and relax at home. The company offers collections for the bedroom, dining, home office, home entertainment and occasional furnishings. While some of the materials have been sourced from around the world, ASPEN furniture is “Assembled with Pride in the USA.”

Southern MotionSouthern Motion

Southern Motion is one of Art Van customers’ favorite recliners and motion furniture makers, and the company was founded in 1996 in Pontotoc, Mississippi, with one mission: manufacture only reclining furniture and make it better than anyone ever had. The owners took the name from a painting by a Birmingham, Alabama artist. It served not only as the inspiration for their moniker; it embodies the spirit of the product that epitomizes relaxation and comfort. Today the company employs 1,200 people, and each component of the furniture is produced by southern craftsmen/women.


La-Z-Boy was started more than 85 years ago with the all-American invention of the world’s first reclining chair. Its corporate headquarters are still based in Monroe, Michigan, and today the company makes a wide variety of reclining and non-reclining furniture. La-Z-Boy has five U.S. manufacturing plants and six distribution centers, and it employs more than 6,300 people nationwide. It also has a famous limited lifetime warranty, so customers aren’t just proud to buy American; they can rest assured their comfort will last.

Style CollectionArt Van Furniture Custom Order Collection

Upholstery pieces from Ashley, United, Seminole, Style Line, Corinthian, and Affordable in our custom order collection are Made in the USA. That’s why you can order it in the style, fabric and finishes you want, and receive it in weeks instead of months. From modern to traditional to rustic and more, you’ll find all of the styles that make the US a great melting pot of design.

What Your Upholstery Tags Mean

Before you attempt to clean that spot on your upholstery, check the tags (typically found under the seat cushions) to make sure you’re not jeopardizing your investment. Using the wrong type of solvent could permanently stain or ruin your furniture. This short list will help you decipher the codes:


W = This piece of furniture can be cleaned with water.

S = This piece of furniture must be cleaned with a dry cleaning solvent.

S/W = This piece of furniture can be cleaned with a water-based or a water-free cleaner.

When in doubt, consult the professionals at the Art Van Clean Team. ?We know how to clean anything!

How to Choose The Right Upholstery For Your Furniture

You love the look of a crisp ivory sofa, but you also have toddlers. This might not be a match made in heaven. Instead of running interference with sippy cups and sticky fingers, consider choosing upholstery that can handle these things and more. You want a sofa to be a great addition to your family, not of a source of worry.


Before you buy your next upholstered piece, here are six things to consider:


Durable Fabric


Durability. Families with children or pets will want to pay special attention to the durability of the fabric. Look for upholstery that has a higher thread counts and tighter weave, as denser fabrics are more durable and last longer. You might also consider microfiber or leather, both of which stand up to wear and tear. If your home is adults only, however, you have more leeway when it comes to choosing a more delicate fabric, such as cotton or linen.


You can tell the durability by asking for its double-rub count. This is a number a fabric receives after it’s tested with a pad that moves back and forth over the fabric until it is worn out. Commercial grade fabrics are usually rated 100,000 to 250,000, while residential grade fabrics usually fall between 10,000 to 25,000.


Color Fabric


Color. The driving force behind your upholstery choice is most likely color. Since sofas and chairs are often the largest furnishings the room, they make a statement and can set the tone for the décor. Choose a color that suits your taste and that you can live with for a while. Also choose color based on the needs of your family. If you have small children, a light color might not be the right choice. If you love white or ivory, consider a slipcovered piece that is easily washed. Also think about the mood your color will bring; choose warm or cool colors to add the right effect.


Pattern Fabric


Pattern. In addition to color, pattern has a big impact on your room. First, match the style of the fabric to the lines of your furnishing for a cohesive look. Or go with opposites; a modern fabric in a traditional style chair is unexpected. Also, pair the right type of fabric to the mood of the room. For example, a formal pattern looks better in a formal living room. Also, consider the scale of the pattern in relation to the size of the furnishing as well as to the size of the room. A bold pattern might work better in a larger room. If you have young children, patterned fabric is a great way to camouflage spills and stains. Look for something in dark colors with an intricate design.


Fade Resistant Fabric


Placement. Where you will put your upholstered pieces is also something to consider before you choose a fabric. Does your room get a lot of sun? You will want to pick a fabric that is fade resistant, such as a woven acrylic. Be sure to consult your Art Van Furniture salesperson for advice on the best choices.


Allergy Fabric


Allergies. If anyone in your home has allergies, microfiber fiber upholstery is a good choice. It’s lint free and won’t attract and hold dust like some other fabrics.


Custom Fabric


Custom Order. Finally, get the perfect piece by choosing furniture that can be custom ordered. Choose from dozens of upholstery options, and the best part is that there is no extra charge, and items are delivered in weeks and not months.