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Leather accents at home

Luxurious in leather that's easy to find

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Add an air of sophistication to any room using leather accents, whether it's a large furniture piece or a small accessory.

  Susan Sublette, sales representative for Maharam, a creator of textiles for commercial and residential interiors, says leather is "inherently a beautiful, natural product." If leather is treated properly, it can provide a lifetime of elegance.

  It's also a versatile fabric that comes from many different animals. Popular products locally available are made of cowhide, alligator hide and even ostrich hide.

  Sublette says an easy to way to determine quality in leather is to examine the back side of the fabric.

  "The color on the front side should be almost the same color as on the back side," she says. "If they are drastically different, that means the leather has been coated with pigments."

  Of course, some people prefer pigmented leather, because it has been treated to alter the aesthetic and color of the material.

  Sublette recommends professional cleaning services and says regular maintenance includes wiping it with a dry cloth in the event of a spill or stain. Keep leather away from direct sunlight and heat, because heat can cause it to dry out, and sunlight can lead to discoloration. With proper care, leather can be a good investment.

  "If you have a good quality piece of leather, it will last forever," Sublette says. "It will patina and age over time, but it will last. It's a lifelong gift."

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