Nuvo Leather is a budget covering for sofas that resemble real leather. It is the term used by United States furniture giant Flexsteel to refer to the covering of a certain range of their sofas. It is made out of recycled leather and is significantly cheaper than real leather allowing those with a tighter budget to still have a sofa with the look and feel of leather without breaking the bank. But how good is it compared to the real deal?
Nuvo Leather is generally not good and almost any other covering would be preferable. Nuvo Leather is known to peel or stain relatively easy. It is an attempt at creating a leather substitute using recycled leather while also distancing itself from well-known and disliked similar leather substitutes such as vinyl.
Nuvo Leather looks good in the showroom but it will almost certainly end up peeling and become an eyesore in your home even with the proper care. Salespeople will gladly sell you the idea that Nuvo Leather is better than leather alternatives like vinyl but I will show you that it is not. After you have seen how it is made, its lifespan, and what it looks like after a few months of normal use you will think twice about such a purchase.
What Type of Fabric is Nuvo Leather?
Nuvo Leather is the name for a type of cover choice for lower-end sofas offered by Flexsteel. Its exact composition is unclear but references in the sales literature use terms like ‘recycled leather’.
It is similar to bonded leather but with some differences. Bonded leather is generally seen as an inferior substitute to real leather and is actually a mixture of leather and plastic. In total there is less than 20% real leather in it.
Scraps left over from leather manufacturing are rolled together and mixed with an adhesive such as polyurethane or latex and put onto a paper or fiber backing. This can then be imprinted with patterns to make it look like genuine leather and other treatment is carried out such as dyeing. Common names include leather soft, faux leather, and vinyl.
Nuvo Leather is a slightly newer technique for making fabric similar in appearance to leather but without cost. Nuvo Leather coverings have a fabric backing as opposed to paper. But it also includes a polyurethane top coat which gives it more of a leather feel and is supposed to make it last longer than bonded leather.
Generically it is referred to as ‘leather-like fabric’ and various manufacturers have taken the same base product and rebranded it as their own. Flexsteel have taken to calling it Nuvo Leather while competitor Lane is calling it Endure.
Fundamentally, there are different grades of leather. However, when businesses are selling products containing materials like Nuvo Leather, they will often try to use certain phrases to hide the fact that it is not full-grain leather. The wording used when describing these products does not tell the full story.
Phrases such as ‘Made with Genuine Leather’ may sound good, but this can mean the leather content is only actually 20% of the product. The key phrases to look out for are ‘Full Grain’ or ‘Cow Hide’ or the like.
How do you Clean Nuvo Leather?
Nuvo Leather being similar to bonded leather is cleaned in the same way. First, it should be dusted and then wiped with a slightly wet cloth. This should be repeated every few weeks.
If something is spilled on Nuvo Leather, use a soft cloth to blot the material rather than trying to wipe. Wiping will rub and spread the material into the fabric which will turn it into a deep stain that will be hard if not impossible to remove.
If the cushions are removable, they should be fluffed every few weeks to prevent creases that can become permanent.
Given that there is still some leather content, specialty leather conditioner can be used alongside frequent dusting and wiping.
If peeling starts, try using a leather repair kit (also known as leather filler) to patch up and dye problem areas.
Is Flexsteel Nuvo Leather Real Leather?
Nuvo Leather is not real, 100% pure leather. It is a leather substitute often used by furniture manufacturers that allows them to create products that look like genuine leather products and even feel similar to leather without the high price point that comes with leather.
Nuvo Leather will almost certainly end up peeling. Real leather does not peel and it is important to realize there are cheaper but much more durable fabrics that will hold up for decades.
The definitions of what leather is vary, but the standard is that you start with a raw hide, which is 100% leather. To get to a finished product there has to be some processing of the material, especially when considering that hide such as that from bovines is extremely thick in places and would therefore be unsuitable for certain applications, like handbags. This processing, which is in essence just shaving or cutting it down to size, has some impact on the leather grade as it is removing parts from the hide.
However, products like Nuvo Leather are not created from lengths of hide but instead use the offcuts and scraps produced when full-grain leather is processed. This process involves pressing and rolling these scraps together and then combining them with adhesives and substances. The nature of its construction means that over time there is a breakdown of the adhesives that can occur even with minimal use.
Although genuine leather furniture will make your friends envious, if the cost is too much it is much better to look into other fabrics rather than buying Nuvo Leather, a decision that you will almost certainly regret 18 months later.
What Colours can be used in Nuvo Leather?
Nuvo Leather can be dyed in a variety of colors. Flexsteel has a wide range of colors from red, white, various shades of brown, charcoal, champagne, and many more. The aesthetics of leather come from the natural variations, creases, and profile of the hide.
Given that the manufacturing process of Nuvo Leather, particularly the rolling and bonding of leather fragments with adhesives that preclude these patterns from forming, a variety of colors or imprints are used instead to substitute.