Leather can be a design foundation

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Leather furnishings are a constant in interior decorating. Whether you see yourself in a rich, traditional Ralph Lauren-type room or a So-Ho contemporary-type town home, leather can fit your décor.

When selecting leather, remember moderation. It is a fabulous foundation but needs to be tempered with textiles. Avoid the sofa/loveseat combination at all costs.

One of my favorite leather vendors, Coopers and Rogers, has introduced amazing leather colors from vibrant orange to sultry lilac. Every shade sets a mood and makes a statement.

For a designer look, consider using the leather as welting on sofas, chairs and pillows. It’s an unexpected element that has the added advantage of durability.

When making a leather selection, remember that all hides are not created equal. As always, do your due diligence before writing the check. The quality piece will still look great and improve with age while an inferior grade will reveal its true self in no time.

Have fun with your leather choice by considering a vibrant color on a traditional frame for an unexpected twist. A traditional dye on a contemporary frame takes you to the edge of modern without pushing you off the cliff.

Although leather is one of the easiest materials to care for, it is important that before doing anything to your leather you always defer to the manufacturer’s instructions. A recent seminar from a Cooper’s and Rogers’s seminar revealed the following care instructions: Most leathers are protected by a clear top coat that seals the surface from moisture and soil.

When your leather piece needs to be cleaned, start with clean, distilled water and a natural sponge or cotton cloth. Use a light touch on the affected area as you don’t want to soak the leather. Doing so will create another, larger stain.  Rubbing the area will spread the stain and push it farther into the material so dab with a light touch. The goal is to transfer the stain from the furniture to the cloth rather than push it around.

If a night of buttered popcorn ends up in an oily stain, it can usually be removed, but you need to act fast. Apply a small amount of cornstarch or talcum powder to the area and allow it time to absorb. Wipe the powder off with a dry cloth and repeat the process until all the oil has been absorbed.

Leathers are forgiving when cared for properly but not all stains and scratches can be dealt with at home. Leather care experts can be your best friend when it comes to a long and lovely relationship with your leather furnishing.


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