Leather floor and wall tiles are a relatively new innovation for the decorator looking for a material and product that is somewhat unique. Although leather has been used since the dawn of time, as a floor and wall covering, and in some cultures as the walls themselves, its popularity declined over the years and it is only recently made a comeback.
Figure 1 - Leather floor in bedroom
Leather has always been the material of choice for high-end fashion, handbags, clothing, and shoes; in exotic cars, fine furniture, book covers, and luggage.
The primary reason for the comeback of leather, as a decorating product, is that a new industry has developed that is mass producing leather and floor wall tiles that are easy to install.
The use of leather as a flooring or wall decorating product is enhanced because it is a “green” product. It is a by-product of the food industry. It has the same level of renewability and sustainability as beef. Using it as a decorating medium is ecologically friendly as a steer hide cannot be used, in any manner, as a food product for humans or other animals. If not for the leather industry, steer hides would be delivered to landfills by the container load.
As often happens, the return of leather as a floor and wall covering was initially evident in commercial buildings. Designers and architects began specifying leather products for upscale offices, boardrooms, lobbies and restaurants. The material was used to cover walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, columns, bars and beams, just to mention a few.
With a new industry comes the need to move product and that meant lower prices, which has placed leather as a flooring and wall covering into the realm of homes, for the homeowners who want something somewhat unique with a level of sophistication and class.
Overall leather provides an aesthetic warmth and charm which hitherto was primarily limited to exotic hardwoods. And, it has a wonderful rich aroma!
Leather floor and wall coverings are available in an assortment of colors, styles and sizes, as shown in Figures 2, and 3, including crown molding as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 2 - Leather tiles on wall
Figure 3 - Leather tile glazed and distressed
Figure 4 - Leather crown molding
Of course because the product is leather it can be:
- custom died to almost any color,
While many leather floor tiles are just that, a piece of steer hide, fabricated to be installed as a flooring or décor product. Some manufactures have combined hardwood frames around the tiles, as shown in Figure 5, and 6, which provides another design aspect to a flooring product.
Figure 5 - Red oak with asian buffalo leather floor tile
Figure 6 - Hardwood and leather floor
Leather floor tiles feel warm in the winter and cool in the summer, traversed across with bear feet, it provides a level of comfort that is unmatched by any other flooring material.
Most individuals feel that the constant traffic across leather in shoes, boots or other foot wear including spiked heels only serves to beautify the overall appearance of the material. Leather wears exceptionally well and in the same manner as copper, pewter, hardwood and some non-glazed ceramics over time develops its own unique appearance – a patina.
Leather floors and walls, if properly cared for, will last 50 years or longer.
And, believe it or not, even leather floor tiles that are not embossed or engraved are not slippery!