Big Bad Bonded

In 2010, we were in desperate need of new living room ¬†furniture. We had bought a high-end leather set in the early 90’s and needless to say, it was done. It held up tremendously well, but the springs were going and when you sat down you feared you might sink into a bottomless pit and never get out. At the time, I was off work on a sick leave and really not up to furniture shopping, but we needed something. We came across another leather set at the Palliser furniture outlet. The set looked quite good, but was being cleared because there were a couple of ¬†inconspicuous areas where the furniture was damaged. The discount was incredible, but we were aware that the quality was not nearly as good as our previous set and the damaged spots may not hold up well. However, our thinking was this…it was a great deal and our kids were at the age where they weren’t exactly “easy” on the furniture. We thought of it as a short-term solution, until we could figure out what we really wanted. Well that was 4 years ago and I can honestly say, the furniture was holding up and life was busy, so we never even bothered to look. I don’t know if it was the weather or just timing, but this winter killed our furniture. I think it was around Christmas when we started to notice that some of the leather was peeling. This had never happened with our previous set and we immediately new that this was in fact “bonded leather”.

What is bonded leather?

This video does in fact explain what bonded leather is, but I have to disagree with his statement regarding the durability. If you do your research, you’ll find that many will report that there is no comparison between genuine leather and bonded. Many furniture stores will advertise “genuine leather” in all the places that touch your body, but bonded or synthetic on the sides and back. This article in the News Tribune provides lots of information and a great comparison between the two. Speaking from experience….I would never buy bonded again. Our leather sofa and chair lasted us almost 20 years and was in great shape for at least 15 of those years. Our bonded (which we did knowingly buy, but don’t really feel slighted because it was so cheap) lasted less than 4 and it really can’t even be sold or used by anyone. As far as I’m concerned it will be trash. The amazing part is how it went from fine to garbage so quickly. It literally just began splitting apart in the middle of the cushions. Currently the furniture is still in our living room. We don’t have a family room or finished basement, so we spend our time in our living room and really have to keep it until we have it replaced. We have done some looking, but the layout of our living room and style of the house have made it difficult to make a decision. We both agree that we will be purchasing another genuine leather set, but it is a big investment and I want to make sure we choose something that we’ll be happy with for many years to come. The only draw back of a really high quality set is that you are making a decision that may last for 2 decades. That’s big!

So, until we can find the hours to shop and make a final decision, we are living with garbage furniture. If you are in the market for new furniture be sure to do your homework and ask lots of questions. When we were looking and asked about genuine leather some sales people told that specific pieces were genuine, but did not admit that synthetic leather (or other fancy terms) covered the sides and back until we specifically asked about it. Don’t be lured by the low price and later disappointed by the poor quality. Our sofa set is an Ashley set which I actually would not have bought even at the great price had I known. I’ve heard many stories about the poor quality of their furniture and the manufacturer is always one of my questions. Furniture can be a very big expense, so shop wisely!

Just for fun, I thought I would show you what we are currently resting our bottoms on! Keep in mind, none of this “damage” was related to the original flaws in the furniture and none of it resulted from a puncture or specific incident.