Restaurants and leather – How to make it work

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Restaurants and leather

How to make it work, without breaking bank

Lets face it – leather is an expensive material to work with.

Lets also face this: When it comes to high traffic places like restaurants, its proven time and again to be the best looking, most durable and easiest to maintain upholstery choice there is. It is also the most comfortable to sit on and there’s no easier way to make any restaurant look and feel upscale, that adding a dash of leather.

Coming back to the cost factor, time and again, several restaurants end up using PU instead of leather to achieve the ‘leather’ look. However, the furniture ends up looking more plastic, feels sweaty to sit on and here’s more, it starts peeling and tearing in no time. More often than not, the cost of leather is equivalent to the cost of the frame+foam+upholstering charges. But by choosing to substitute leather with PU or fabric, that requires reupholstering every 2-3 years, one is only compromising on the ambience of the restaurant, as the economics just don’t add up. In the long run, one can save money by investing in leather.

Here’s why: Leather ages beautifully. With time, the space only starts looking more and more comfortable and beautiful. Leather adds a lot of character to a space. When you’re in the restaurant business, to have people coming back time and again, you need to ensure that the customer’s overall experience is more than satisfactory. This includes seating. 

So, is there a way to use leather in a restaurant without breaking the bank? YES!! Below are some inspiring images with my notes – Enjoy, and feel inspired!

Option 1: Use leather on smaller pieces of furniture

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If your restaurant has a booth and chair combination, then use leather only on the chairs to save costs while still bringing in the classy and expensive look. On the bigger pieces, be sure to use fabric instead of PU. Choose a nice contrast color so that both the leather and fabric can stand out in their own special way and compliment each other.

Option 2: Use leather on big seats and let it stand out by itself

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If you want to indulge in more leather and use it on the bigger seats, no problem! Leather has the ability to stand out all by itself, so you can make do without art on the wall or other treatments. Make sure you choose a color that will stand out against the wall and not merge. In the above pic, you can see how wisely leather has been used in an extensive way. The unfinished wall behind and the simple chairs let the leather booths take all the attention, making the place look expensive without spending a whole lot. What’s more – the customer that sits on the couch will be a happy one!

Option 3: Combine with laminate, choose color wisely

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Leather combines beautifully with a variety of materials including laminate. If cost is of concern, use leather on the ‘contact’ areas and laminate on the ‘non-contact’ areas. Make sure that the laminate is nice contrast color or has a wood finish, so that it doesn’t take away the oomph factor. Steer away from using PU, as it can make the whole furniture look cheap. 

Option 4: Get clever with the design

Find ways to use little leather to cut costs, while still basking in the glory of using leather and adding to the comfort level of the seat. Above pics are very clever examples!

Option 5: Use leather only on the seat with fabric on the back

Image credit: yatzer

Even though this won’t let the leather stand out very much, it will still keep your customer comfortable, and add life to your furniture, while cutting your leather costs in half. But be very careful when selecting the fabric – A wrong choice can be hard to undo.

Option 6: GO ALL IN!!!

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Go all in with leather even if it means you have to compromise on everything else like wall paint, plastering, lighting, art or anything else. Leather has the power to still make your restaurant look beautiful! The above pic says it all 🙂

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