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A beginner’s guide to luxury leathers & suede fabrics for home theater seating

When it comes to choosing the right leather or suede fabrics for home theater seating, it’s wise to take some time to consider all the options. It’s easy to get distracted by gorgeous colors and buttery-feeling swatches; ending up with chairs that are impossible to clean and fabric that looks shabby within a year.

Often, designers use the seating as a jumping-off point, letting the fabric-color and texture inspire other elements of the room. It makes sense, as cinema chairs are generally the focal point when the lights are on.

Recommended reading: You asked, we answered. A guide to luxury home theater design.

How to choose the right fabric for the custom home theater experience

Cine-suede is durable, easy to clean, high-quality home theater fabric

1.    Check out the cleaning and maintenance guidelines

All luxury fabrics come with instructions for care, especially when dealing with high-quality leathers and suedes. Cleaning instructions should make maintenance sound easy as keeping theater seating in top-notch condition means tackling spillages and the wear and tear of regular use. Look for fabrics that it’s possible to clean with common household cleaning agents like mild soaps. All chairs will need additional treatments every few years, so pay attention to the day-to-day cleaning guidelines.

2.    Ask about abrasion testing and how many rubs the fabric can endure

As a rule, luxury fabrics should undergo a whole battery of tests. The most important one to pay attention to is abrasion or the number of rubs the fabric can withstand before wear starts to show. Choosing materials that are durable and strong will extend the longevity of the theater seating. Brands should be happy to share the results of fabric testing. If they aren’t, that may be an alarm bell.

3.    Get swatches and samples

It’s not always practical to visit a showroom, but that shouldn’t get in the way of getting to see and feel the fabric up close. People like different things and seeing colors in person and feeling the texture is one of the easiest ways to figure out if a fabric suits. Contact chair companies and ask them to send out samples of different fabric types and color, so that you can make an informed decision.

4.    Make sure the fabric is customizable and fits the aesthetic

Don’t settle for second best when it comes to fabric and color. People often fall in love with a texture only to find they can’t get the exact color they want and end up compromising one for the other. All our fabrics are fully customizable, so it’s possible to get a chair upholstered in both the color and texture of your dreams.

5. Consider using darker shades for a truly immersive experience

Although it’s not essential for comfort, darker colors are the smarter option for the full home theater experience. Light colors tend to reflect light, and a white leather chair may cause an unwelcome shine in the room. That doesn’t mean dull! There are plenty of vibrant colors and options that won’t cause any distraction.

Investigate Elite’s luxury leathers and suedes

At Elite, we upholster our custom theater chairs with three fabric types that all come in just about any color. All three come with a 5-year warranty, so you can be confident any chair you choose will stand the test of time. Our emphasis is always on quality and durability and as you will see in the specs below, our leathers and suedes surpass industry standards.

Silk Leather

Our silk leather isn’t technically real leather, but it is designed, engineered, and handcrafted with softness, beauty, and durability in mind. Crafted for the senses, this leather-like fabric boasts revolutionary breathability that means you can sit comfortably for hours on end. Soft and supple, you won’t believe it, until you feel it. At a time when the environment is of the utmost importance when it comes to any decision, you can rest assured that this is the sustainable choice, as out Silk Leather is Greenguard Certified.

Custom home theater design by Madison Hudson Design

Performance is in the details

Texture: Soft, smooth and buttery leather-like fabric

Fabric Style: Original, distressed or fresco

Color Availability: Any. If you can imagine it, we can create it.

Abrasion: 300,000+ rubs

Breathable: Extremely

Testing: Has undergone rigorous testing and surpassed industry standards for adhesion of coating, abrasion, hydrolysis, tear and breaking strength, air permeability, antimicrobial standards, and sound absorption.

Taking care of Silk Leather

  • Wipe up spills as soon as they occur
  • Clean with soap and water or alcohol-based cleaners
  • Sanitize using disinfectants such as (1:5) bleach/water solution
  • For stubborn stains, wipe off with isopropyl alcohol as soon as possible
  • Thoroughly rinse all solution residue with clean water
  • Air dry

Valentino Leather

Our Valentino leather is top-grain Italian leather that is smooth and consistent in appearance and soft to the touch. True-luxury is instantly recognizable, and it’s impossible to see a chair upholstered in this leather and not recognize its quality and value.

Valentino leather for luxurious custom-built theater chairs

Performance is in the details

Texture: Authentic leathery feel

Color availability: custom colors with a wide range of warmer hues like espresso and dark cherry. 

Abrasion: 1,000 cycles

Testing: Has undergone rigorous testing and surpassed industry standards for flexometry, tear resistance, and abrasion.

Taking care of Valentino Leather

  • Regularly dust, and clean with water and mild soap, using a cotton cloth.
  • Avoid using household cleaning products (VIM, Windex, detergents, etc.).
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • Elite recommends Lexol cleaner and conditioner on the seats, and the treatment be applied at least once a year.

Cine-Suede

For those that love the soft velvety feel of suede, our cine-suede is a durable option that you will want to curl up in for hours. Customize to the heart’s content and design a custom chair that captures the personality of any design.

Valentino leather for luxurious custom-built theater chairs

Performance is in the details

Texture: Soft and velvety to the touch

Color availability: custom colors, particularly good for statement colors and bright, eye-catching chairs

Abrasion: 100,000 Double Rubs

Testing: Has undergone rigorous testing and surpassed industry standards for flexometry, tear resistance, and abrasion.

Taking care of Cine-Suede

  • Clean with Mild Soap and Water
  • With a sponge or soft brush, rub gently in a circular motion
  • Let dry.
  • Once it has completely dried, brush lightly in the direction of the nap.

In addition to our three fabrics of choice, we will also upholster any of our chairs with a fabric/leather of the customer’s choice. The only caveat is that this fabric will not have gone through our rigorous testing process, so we won’t be able to give it the 5-year warranty.