5 Facts About the Leather Industry

Genuine leather is a product of animal hides, which have been treated with chemicals to produce a soft, yet durable, material. Leather has a long history and many different uses, including living room furniture and home office furniture. Here are five little-known facts about the leather industry:

Leather Is Older than Written History

Leather likely originated as an effort by hunters to use as much of an animal as possible. The earliest tools used for preparing hides are believed to date to about 10,000 years ago and the oldest leather artifacts date to about 2200 BC. Prior to written history, researchers have discovered that humans used leather for shoes, bags, and water pouches during the Ice Age. Tomb paintings have also shown that some of the earliest leather furniture was produced by the Egyptians. The Egyptians also used leather for sandals, gloves, and clothing.

The Tanning Process Has Evolved

The process of making leather has, from the beginning, involved physical, chemical, and biological treatments of hides. These methods were developed over time in order to preserve and soften the hide into a durable, pliable material. Historically, the tanning process involved scraping the hide and treating it with animal fat, tree tannin (which is where the term “tanning” originates), and even animal urine and other body parts. The historical tanning process was so noxious that tanners often had to set up on the outskirts of towns.

Native Americans had been tanning deer and cattle hides in North America long before the arrival of Europeans. Among the first immigrants to North America was an English shoemaker who landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1624. Within about 25 years, there were 50 tanneries operating in Massachusetts. The modern tanning process uses chromium salts and other chemicals to treat hides to produce the leather that we love.

The Modern Leather Industry and Its Uses

Today, China is the world’s largest leather producer. Other major leather producers include India, Brazil, and the United States. Together, China, India, Brazil, and the United States produce over 60% of the world’s leather supply. World leather production is a $40 billion per year industry that employs approximately 500,000 workers.

Did you know that the shoe industry used over half of the leather produced in 2013? After the shoe industry, the largest users of leather were manufacturers of leather clothing, leather furniture, and leather car seats. These four industries consumed over 90% of the world’s leather production in 2013 alone. Other uses of leather include saddles and tackle for horses, belts, bags, wallets, holsters, watch straps, and balls for sports. The National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball still use leather balls in official games.

The Future of Leather

Currently, there are efforts underway to produce a product that does not rely on animal hides and the chemicals used to tan animal hides to produce leather. One effort combines natural fibers, such as flax or cotton, with plant fats to produce a material that has a similar feel and breathability as leather.

Humans have produced leather for thousands of years. Leather remains a huge industry, with leather shoes, leather clothing, leather furniture, and leather car seats consuming most of the leather produced. When you want to invest in this historic product, rely on Urban Underpriced today.

discount furniture

Top 14 Furniture Trends in 2019

According to Furniture Today, a leading online furniture industry news source, furniture sales will continue to grow, reaching $122 billion by 2020. If you’re looking to contribute to those sales, you’re probably aware the right furniture makes all the difference in making a room feel right. Choosing the right bedroom furniture, dining room furniture, or couches can elevate your entire home aesthetic, while mismatching furniture or decor can make everything about a home feel off.

To help you choose the right discount furniture for your home this year, the following are 14 furniture design trends for 2019.

1. Oxidized Oak

While white oak used to be the tried-and-true standard, it’s getting a facelift with blackened oak furniture. Darkened oak pieces provide warmth and a sense of stability. Owners of blackened oak furniture and cabinetry will enjoy its sophisticated look and grounding effects.

2. Upholstered Headboards

Luxe (or upholstered) headboards are coming back in style. A velvet-covered headboard, ideally in a rich, warm color, contributes a noticeable sense of sophistication and elegance to an otherwise uninspiring bedroom.

3. Bold Colors and Contrasts

Gone are the days of the plain white ceiling, cream-peach walls, and brown carpet or wood floor. Today, interior decorating is starting to catch up with the tone of the world around us: bold, exciting, and high-volume.

Include this tone in your choice of discount furniture by looking for pieces with strong and vivid colors, high-contrast patterns, and bold or unconventional materials.

4. Multifunctional Furniture

Seemingly at the opposite end of the spectrum, other consumers are feeling exhausted with the hustle-and-bustle lifestyle of our increasingly-complex modern world. These people want a comfortable and practical space to come home to, rather than decor that may feel like more chaos.

If this is your preference, try finding discount furniture with multiple functions built in, such as chairs with attached drink trays on one side.

5. Handcrafted Furniture

With so much of the world straying towards a superficial, throw-away lifestyle, people are starting to miss the charm and authenticity of hand-built furniture.

It can be difficult to find discount furniture that’s been handcrafted, but if you get lucky enough to discover some it can add a unique, one-of-a-kind aesthetic to your home. This warm feeling is in strong opposition to furniture that’s obviously mass-produced in a factory.

6. Blush Tones

For many design experts, blush has become the new neutral. When combined with grays and natural colors, the result is a quiet, welcoming palette. When combined with more bold colors, it recedes into the background and allows the bold color to comfortably dominate the space.

7. Super-Cozy Beds

According to interior designer Joy Moyler, “beds are going to be more womb-like” in 2019, with headboards and footboards wrapped in soft, expansive fabrics and padding to “feel like a warm hug.”

8. Geometric Patterns

While patterns in furniture and decor have traditionally been calm, straightforward, and perfectly symmetrical, newer patterns are going to be more bold, more extreme, and less symmetrically-balanced. This could mean discount furniture covered in fabrics with shapes almost appearing to be thrown together at random.

9. Natural Materials

Natural materials, like wood and granite, have always held a particular fascination for interior designers. This trend is expected to remain, with new and familiar materials being used in places where you wouldn’t normally expect to find them.

10. Ultra-Curvy Furniture Designs

The rounded furniture of the 1970’s is making a comeback, with rounded-back chairs and couches.

11. Innovative and Unusual Use of Metals

Metalwork in furniture is becoming more interesting, more unconventional, and more popular. While rose gold likely won’t be in style, gold, brass, and blackened metals will. You can find these metals in delicate and lacy styles as well as rough and industrial ones. Discount furniture in these styles will be designed with a rather sculptural-based aesthetic, as the interior design space pushes towards a methodology of art as function.

12. Custom, Hand-Made Furniture

While not usually within the discount furniture lineup, people are moving towards a more individualized approach to furnishing their home with custom furniture. Consumers want pieces that tell a story that means something, if only where it came from and whose hands built it.

13. Little Details

Even little details in upholstery, such as seams, can have a great impact on overall design. Small, unusual details create a sense of uniqueness and perceived value over conventional-looking pieces.

14. Antiques

Like custom and hand-made furniture, antiques are becoming popular again because of their one-of-a-kind appearance and the stories they can tell. Antiques can easily give a room personality and soul.

When you’re looking to bring these trends into your home, you need to go to a retailer you can trust. Contact Urban Underpriced today to learn about the pieces we stock and how they can help fulfill your interior design dreams.