Fully-finished leather furniture and auto upholstery

There are many types of leather, and leather jargon can be very overwhelming to people trying to figure out what kind of leather they have and want to buy.

What makes one type of leather different from another?

Leather is often sorted by the type of finish it has.  The three main types of upholstery leather finish are fully-finished, aniline and semi-aniline.  All of these terms are indicative of the type of dyes and protective layers used on the hide, and each surface reacts differently to cleaning products and damage.

What does fully-finished mean?

When tanneries make fully-finished leather out of hide, they put a dye and protective layer on it that will make it more resilient to damage than other types of leather.  You can think of this process like putting paint onto drywall.  It actually forms a thin barrier between the hide and the air.

Fully-Finished Leather Couch

Fully-Finished Leather Couch

What does fully-finished leather look like?

Fully-finished leather is usually glossy with a little bit of a shine to it.

Fully-finished leather car seat

Fully-finished leather car seat

Where will I see fully-finished leather?

Fully-finished leather is one of the most popular finishes for upholstery leather due to its durability.  It is used in almost 100 percent of auto leather and makes up a large percentage of furniture leather.

Furniture brands like Lazy Boy, Palliser, Natuzzi and Elite use a lot of fully-finished leather.

What are the benefits and down sides of fully-finished leather?


  • Fully-finished leather is excellent for pieces that need to withstand some wear and tear.  That’s why it’s so commonly used in cars.  If you have kids or pets, fully-finished leather is probably the way to go with furniture leather as well.
  • It is usually less expensive than other types of leather.  Because the layer of dye on top of the leather covers imperfections in the hide, manufacturers can use hides that aren’t naturally as pretty as those they have to use with other finishes.
  • It is easy to clean up.  After something spills on fully-finished leather, you usually have time to wipe it up with a damp cloth and dry it before it is damaged from the spill.
  • Professionals can usually clean and repair fully-finished leather without much trouble.


  • Fully-finished leather is not as natural looking as aniline and semi-aniline leather.

Questions about fully finished leather? Comments? We’d love to hear from you!

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5 Stars
“I had just brought my new car home from the dealership, and it was a long drive, since I purchased out of state.  It was at the end of a business trip, so I had placed my leather briefcase/satchel on the passenger seat next to me, where it sat for the drive home and then overnight. In the morning when I took it out of my car, I found that the satchel's leather dye had leached into my new cream-colored leather seats in large areas. I tried briefly to remove the stain with several types of leather cleaners, but nothing worked. I thought for certain that I had permanently stained and ruined the seats. I called the car dealership, and they had no help to offer, just suggesting that I go to the auto parts store and try an off-the shelf cleaner. I called Bucky and in very short order he returned the seats to PERFECT new condition. Very grateful to Bucky for his excellent work and more than reasonable pricing.”
- Bob - South Chesterfield, VA


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