Monday, December 29, 2014

How to decorate with embossed leather

 Are you looking for a way to give your home a touch of the exotic?   Do you want to add a luxurious texture to your decorating style?  Take a look at some of the beautiful embossed leather patterns I discovered at a local leather furniture manufacturer and beyond.

This platinum leather is spectacular!  
Leathers come in a variety of metallics.  Some even have patterns.
Paisley is a favorite design for embossed leather.  Wouldn't this pattern be fabulous on a chair or barstool?
The colors on this faux alligator hide add a new dimension.
This is one of the most unique "skins" I saw.  It would look outrageous on a sofa!
This collection of "skins" is in a shiny finish that really brings the design alive.
While many embossed leathers replicate animal skins such as lizard, elephant, alligator, crocodile, ostrich etc. there are many designs available like geometric, floral, aztec, and even patterns like those found in ceiling tiles.  You can even custom design your own with a company called Barbarossa Leather.

Circle Tile
This motif is similar to those in ceiling tiles but I have never seen them in  these rich exciting colors!
(Images from )

Leather in a lacey pattern though less exotic would still have a lovely impact where ever it is applied...maybe on a wall?
Let's explore some of the ways embossed leather can be introduced in home furnishings.
Old Hickory Tannery Chair in Teal Croc Embossed Leather
An antique chair upholstered in teal embossed leather with an alligator pattern takes on a whole new look.
Each Brook Street chest is built by hand, lacquered in a six-step hand-applied finishing process and then carefully fitted with crocodile embossed black leather
I don't like to use the word stunning very often but that's what I would call this faux alligator chest by Ralph Lauren.  I would also describe it as elegant and dramatic. It is definitely a statement piece.
Uttermost Yareli accent chair. Wrap-around style frame in embossed, black zebra with chrome metal accents at the base of front and back.
Embossed leather can be found on contemporary furniture like this incredible Yarelli accent chair.

Garry Knox Bennett Chair...the man is a genious!
This artful chair designed by Gary Knox Bennett also incorporates embossed leather on the seat and back.

Executive Chair  Paul McCobb. Crocodile embossed leather, brass plated steel. Mid-Century Modern. United States       c1955
You might think this executive chair is new on the market however, it is a Paul McCobb Mid-Century Modern piece dating from the mid 1950's.

Animal Print # Carved Chair # Embossed leather
Incorporating a leopard patterned fabric with an aged alligator leather certainly lends an exotic feel to this chair.

Gorgeous, vintage, french blue embossed leather and cane side chairs at The Pickled Hutch
Embossed leather does not have to be exotic.  The soft French blue medallion embossed on the chair seats of these dining chairs is so pretty.  
What if you don't want to cover your sofa or chair with embossed leather but you still like the look?  How can it be used in other ways to add interest, texture and style?

A SPANISH LEATHER POLYCHROME DECORATED FOUR-FOLD SCREEN 19TH CENTURY  Each panel embossed with flowers and foliate scrolls within diaper-work cartouches, close-nailed borders 72 3/8 in. (184 cm.) high; 62 in. (157.5 cm.) wide, fully extend
The Spanish screen above is hand painted as well as embossed. 

Detail of hand embossed gilded and painted leather from Spain used to upholster Chairs and to make table tops  @Panted furniture
Here is a close up of a similar handpainted embossed leather. How elegant!

Display a vase of fresh blooms in your foyer or stow table linens in the dining room with this silver-hued cabinet, showcasing 2 faux croc-embossed doors ope...
Sometimes an entire piece done in embossed leather might be overdone, but what if you used it as an accent like the cabinet above?  This would be a fun way to refinish  old furniture.

Above is a console/desk by Butler Specialty that combines wood and embossed leather. Great mix!

Made of fine saddle leather, our sumptuous full-grain ottomans show incredible hand-tooled details and whipstitching along their edges. Using Old-World techniques passed down through the generations, artisans in Peru handcraft each piece over a spun cotton center form. Handmade in Peru.    Cube Ottoman, 17" sq., 15" h.  Storage Ottoman, 19" sq., 15" h.  Jumbo Storage Ottoman, 24" sq., 19" h.
Ottomans like these from bring a warmth and texture where ever you place them.  Add them to a contemporary or traditional style, Use them in an office, family room,  or living room.  They actually remind me of an old saddle.  
Embossed Leather Tables #ParkerFurniture
Though these tables have an antique quality, embossed leather can be used on any table top. 
Ottomans are the ideal accessory to tie your Moroccan decor together.  Hand dyed and  hand-stitched in leather with rich embossed patterns  they create a  festive Moroccan accent, particularly when used  for low seating  around a traditional Moroccan table.
Morrocan painted embossed ottomans are a colorful way to brighten up any space.

Pair of Karl Springer Embossed Lizard Leather Tables image 2
These Karl Springer tables from are sold but I found a pair in red faux lizard at a local consignment shop.  I bet these were a lot more expensive.  The pair my client bought are going in her den as bunching tables in front of a sleep sofa.  Perfect!

Maitland Smith 1753-832 Finely Cast Verdigris Patina Brass Crocodile Lamp with Embossed Leather Shade
I wonder if this croc would be so playful if he knew what that lampshade is made of?
It is not uncommon to find trunks covered in embossed leather but this 17th century antique Spanish Colonial treasure would set you back $5,900 on 1stdibs !  Now that makes me want to dig through my local consignment shops to see if I might find a suitable imposter.  If I came across something that was not so aged or intricate perhaps I could add some shoe polish or color it with paint or stain.  Hmmm....
Urban Eclectic eclectic-home-theater
Look closely and you will see the wall is upholstered in embossed leather.  Brilliant!

Fendi Casa - Exclusively at Saks!
A gold Fendi embossed leather pillow?  It makes a statement all on it's own.

So where would you use embossed leather in your home?  Would you add a few accessories like this pillow, a covered box, picture frame or ottoman?  What about using it to recover the back of a wing chair or the doors or drawer fronts on a chest or armoire, or maybe a headboard?  As you can see the possibilities are endless. Whether your style is contemporary, traditional or somewhere in between; exotic, elegant, fun or fabulous introducing embossed leather is bound to add that one extra layer that will make your space special.

Do you have anything in your home that is made with embossed leather? Are you tempted to recover
something with this unusual material?  
However you might choose to incorporate it, I invite you to share your ideas and experiences in the comment box. You can even email me photos at the address below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

                                        Happy Decorating!

If you would like assistance with a interior decorating project of your own, please email me at

(While the first photos are courtesy of Picture Pretty Interiors, the remainder are courtesy of Pinterest and Houzz.)


  1. Jo Ann T commented: I just love this. I wanted to recover my dining chairs. This might be a great look. What do you think. I would love your opinion.

  2. Hi Jo Ann, Thanks for your comment! I tried to insert the photo of your dining chair into this reply but it didn't copy :(
    Great idea! The when using embossed leather on this kind of dining chair you have many options. You can use it on just the seat, just the inside back or on just the outside back...or all over! I think it is more interesting if you use it in one or two places and not on the entire chair. The outside back is probably where it would be seen the most but anywhere would be effective. Let me know what you decide.

  3. Joanne N. writes:
    I love the embossed leather it is incredible!!!!!!
    My favorite is the green paisley.
    Thank you so much for sharing this incredible find. Happy New Year

    1. Thanks Joanne, it is incredible. It was interesting to find so many different kinds and see all the different ways people use it. Glad you liked it.
      Happy New Year to you too!

  4. Caroline thinks embossed leather is "Cool!"