Chesterfield sofas have been peoples’ association of a comfortable and elegant home since forever. Lately, many people are opting for modern chesterfield sofas, a well-deserved resurgence of this timeless trend that adds up coziness wherever applied.

In the world of couches and sofas, Chesterfields will always be the style kings. Since getting one would be a decent investment, we recommend that you get to know all there is to this luxury brand first before heading to and making a purchase.

How does genuine chesterfield furniture look like? To be completely honest, there is no strict definition of what is and what isn’t chesterfield. According to some designers, chesterfield sofas are comfy couches with buttons, while others have in mind more elegant variants like velvet chesterfield sofas or leather chesterfield chairs. Thing is, the chesterfield arrangement will hardly ever look the same, as there are all sorts of fabrics, colours, and patterns to choose from.

mill-valley-modern-barn-by-tineke-triggs Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Mill Valley Modern Barn by Tineke Triggs

Back in the 18th century, craftsmen used tack and hammer construction methods to come up with premium chesterfield sofas. At the time, they used hand-tied, eight-point, and loose-coil springs, and filled sofas with coconut hair and horsetail to make them more durable. The sofas were then reinforced with lamb wool lining, introducing the first popular reproduction method that can still be found nowadays.

The difference is that today we are not obliged to follow the sample – we have all sorts of modern sofas, upholstery methods, and styles to choose from, and we can easily fit a beautiful chesterfield sofa in all design schemes.

Comfort comes first

To make matters clear from the beginning, getting a classic leather chesterfield sofa does not guarantee comfort. There are many chesterfield pieces that are surprisingly uncomfortable, and where coziness was, in essence, sacrificed for the sake of good looks. At the same time, there are extremely comfortable pieces that preserve the original chesterfield look, and are yet slightly angled backward for extra support.

crafted-minimalism-by-beccy-smart-photography Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Beccy Smart Photography

This means that you will get the low-back support despite chesterfield’s well-known vertical backs, and you won’t even have to purchase large throw pillows to get there. Comfort will also depend on the type and density of foam used to fill the seat cushions. As for linens, it would be a good idea to go for a durable and substantial material such as plush decorated with beautiful chesterfield lines.

A Chesterfield setting

Chesterfield arrangements are memorable, and that’s what we all love about them. Still, a Chesterfield setting will only be as good as you’ve managed to balance it, and found an ideal way to make massive center-spot pieces work with the rest of your decor. Balancing a Chesterfield usually means surrounding it with clean and strict lines and rustic forms, in rooms that also display lots of art, and lots of vibrant colors.

How to align a Chesterfield sofa properly? Most of the time, you will find Chesterfield sofas floating in the center of the room, with a memorable rolled-back look that makes them beautiful even from behind (not many sofas can guarantee that!).

palmer-pointe-road-residence-2-lower-level-family-room-by-martha-ohara-interiors Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples

Image source: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Their backrest is low and moderately angled, so that the sofa won’t be a visual barer for the people in the room, and would make it possible to divide the space into a few distinctive areas, and yet keep the conversation going.

This ability to blend into any scenario is what made Chesterfields popular in the past, and why they still appear in luxurious hotel lobbies and elegant lounges.

Chesterfield sofas in traditional settings

Looking at Chesterfield sofas’ development patterns, one could easily conclude that they work the best with gem tons and dark velvets (deep blues, ruby reds, mushroom browns, and emerald greens), expected and transitional colours, and with distressed, beautifully aging leather.

Chesterfield sofas in modern settings

Chesterfield sofas will also look magnificent in a modern environment, assuming you’ve chosen a brighter, more refreshing colour such as red, orange, or light blue. A contemporary Chesterfield may also come in soft neutrals, including white, linen, and mid-tone grey. In this way, you will ensure that your sofa occupies the central position in your room, but doesn’t overwhelm it with dramatic colours.

living-space-by-leib-designs Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Leib Designs

Tips for a wise upholstery choice

Chesterfield furniture may be a tradition-inspired decor solution, but this doesn’t mean it will bring along the upholstery challenges from the past. Nowadays, you get to pick from an array of advanced fabrics, which will provide you the softness and durability of woven cotton, but yet resist heavy damage and fading. This is how you can afford the luxury of owning a beautiful, lightly upholstered Chesterfield sofa.

The tufts

The specific reason why Chesterfield furniture looks so elegant is the rolled, generous backs and arms, and the deep tufts that grab attention from the very first moment you look at them. It is like this that Chesterfield sofas enrich the looks of every home, as simple as it may be.

The ornate legs

Chesterfield sofas are also known for their ornately styled and turned legs, accompanied by diverse bun feet, either fluted or with casters. For a more modern appearance, designers occasionally add some square tapers, and experiment with the length of the legs (3 to 6 inches) to meet the needs of different rooms. An interesting possibility is to choose a matching shade, and paint the legs alike your upholstery instead of sticking to their wood stain colours.

traditional-living-room-by-alder-and-tweed Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Alder and Tweed

The size of the sofa

Chesterfield sofas are centerpieces, and as every other centerpiece, they have to be large and impactful. The back and the arms should be rolled and elegant, relatively low compared to classic sofa solutions, and add up to 11 inches of length on both sides of the sofa’s body. Shallower and shorter options are also available for homeowners with limited space, who nevertheless insist on having a robust, tufted sofa in their living rooms.

Get a sofa in a vibrant shade

Another common feature of statement furniture samples is their dramatic colour, which makes us think that a beautiful mustard Chesterfield, for instance, looks more intriguing than a neutral one. Other trendy colours you can consider are deep grey, purple, teal, and fuchsia, depending on how you’ve painted your room.

Focus on buttons

Since you’ve already decided on couches with buttons, why not introduce similar buttoned pieces around them? Continuity will make the room feel even more welcoming, especially by choosing delicate pieces such as banquettes, ottomans, and stools. With an open floor plan in place, you can also think of spilling the looks across your dining room.

wimbledon-by-leivars Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: LEIVARS

The tufts

Midcentury settings

Chesterfield sofas are among those design & style icons that tolerate multiple accent pieces around them, even when those don’t date from the same era. For instance, a heavy and chunky Chesterfield sofa will be the ideal counterpoint to midcentury furniture with spindly legs, especially with modern blinds and curtains that will refresh the look.

Replicating the colour of the wall

An interesting trick is to choose sofa upholstery in the same colour as its background wall, in particular for those homeowners who wish to expose their artwork galleries. To avoid having the same, blended look across the room, choose chairs in opposite colours and fabrics.

Corner designs

Modern Chesterfield sofas often feature a sociable corner nook, so that they will optimize the space you have available. To support its curvy structure, you can also get an ottoman, a curvaceous chair, or a cute, rounded coffee table.

Industrial settings

Within an industrial and modern loft, leather chesterfield chairs and sofas create a relaxed and distressed atmosphere. This is because of their power to mark separate areas in open-floor plans, and to look beautifully regardless of the angle you’re looking from. In a scenario like this, you can even save a few bucks and get a muted, second-hand leather sofa, ideally upholstered in brown, blue, or green. As an alternative coffee table, you can use an old suitcase or a chest.

new-items-at-bliss-home-by-bliss-home Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Bliss Home

The ornate legs

Exposed brick walls

Another ideal position for a luxurious Chesterfield sofa is an exposed brick wall, but only for as long as you manage to soften the look with cozy accessories. We recommend large and fluffy rugs, and lots of throw cushions that will give it a more inviting look.

A Gentlemen’s club of your own

Bothe Chesterfield sofas and gentlemen’s clubs are timeless, and you can’t go wrong by making them work together. To achieve this effect, tone the setting with autumnal shades (greens and creams in particular), and finish up with hunting lodge-inspired elements such as chandeliers, sheepskin rugs, and antler mirrors. An idea could be also to pick a few classic tartan armchairs and place them around your beautiful sofa.

Don’t forget symmetry

Another Chesterfield arrangement that will keep you in the safe side is getting two matching Chesterfield pieces, and placing them opposite each other. According to some designers, this arrangement can also be considered as more formal and official, but we still recommend it in traditional homes rich with visual details and beautiful artwork.

hamptons-e28093-dalkeith-by-oswald-homes Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Oswald Homes

Plus, it is the most social placement you could possibly think of, and one that will ensure the family is engaged in conversation, rather than watching TV and spending time on their phones.

Chesterfields in the bedroom

There are many compact Chesterfield versions available to buyers nowadays, so why not get a cosy sofa to enhance the luxurious feel in your bedroom? In fact, a small Chesterfield sofa can be the perfect replacement for the chaise lounge at the bottom of your bed.

Chesterfield styles and properties

Chesterfield furniture is elegant and gracious, and will convey the message of a pleasant and organized home faster than any similar piece. It comes with multiple personalities and functions, and usually features unique details like rolled arms and quilted upholstery. This is why we believe it can upgrade the looks of every room, and make a distinctive presence even in the simplest, most neglected room.

city-projects-by-amanda-nisbet Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: amanda nisbet

Eclectic Bohemian settings

In this case, you’ll have a classic Chesterfield sofa that attracts attention with unexpected and patterned upholstery, which nonetheless works perfectly with worldly treasures and ethnic memorabilia.

Minimal modernist settings

While it is true that Chesterfield sofas look the best in traditional settings, they have a number of distinctive advantages when applied in a modern scenario. They will look surprisingly well in light and refreshing tones, with their comfy tufts accompanying a collection of sculptural details.

Industrial Antiquarian settings

Chesterfield pieces upholstered with brown leather develop worn-in patina over time, which makes them look even more homey and vintage. To obtain this look, you can even consider visiting a flea market or a second-hand shop, and get a cool sofa half price.

Feminine and Traditionalist settings

Soft pastel and neutral linen sofas ground feminine and slimmer silhouettes, which makes them perfect for a traditional and relaxed arrangement.

family-house-in-east-sussex-by-georgina-gibson-interior-design Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Georgina Gibson Interior Design

Accessorizing with colourful cushions

Cushions are not absolutely necessary for a Chesterfield sofa to feel comfortable, but they can nevertheless exhibit a great beautifying effect. Plus, you can use them to add a splash of colour in an otherwise neutral room, and support the sofa’s role of an accent centrepiece.

You can choose any bold colour you want, depending on the sofa’s original upholstery. A brown sofa, for instance, will look adorable with few crème, lemon, and white cushions.

For a more dramatic and bolder look, go for blue, green, or even red cushions. You can even get golden ones to beautify a brown/crème sofa, or even one that has been upholstered with gold leather. Whatever you’ve decided, limit the number of cushions, as they may hide the genuine beauty the sofa already has. In fact, you won’t go wrong placing a single cushion in the middle.

If the sofa is larger, scatter three beautiful cushions on one side, and leave the other one empty. This, however, is not an absolute rule, and you can think of your own fun ways to compliment a beautiful Chesterfield sofa.

hamptons-country-house-by-cezign Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Cezign

Midcentury settings

Craft your own conversational area

The only more spectacular thing than a Chesterfield sofa is two Chesterfield sofas positioned opposite each other. This way, you can create a unique and cosy conversational area, especially if the sofas are placed on the sides of a beautiful fireplace, surrounding a small and pleasant coffee table. This effect can be achieved with almost any type of Chesterfield sofa, and will please both your family and your guests.

Support the classic look with wooden furniture and lamps

Chesterfield sofas are many people’s synonyms for traditional and family-oriented homes, and they immediately imagine those surrounded with luxury bookcases and wooden furniture. This means that you can easily turn an ordinary living room into classic and stately home, by simply introducing a wooden book case, and two tall lamps on each side of the sofa.

Giving your Chesterfield sofa the role of a centrepiece

Chesterfields take little time to adjust to any living room scenario, as they take over its appearance and charm as soon as brought inside. They are diverse and dominant by nature, and will easily match all decor styles. This is a good thing to know while working on your large room makeover, where a good Chesterfield sofa can even be a break-up element between different areas. To let the sofa attract as much attention as possible, position it centrally, and let it do its magic.

ritz-carlton-baltimore-by-patrick-sutton Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Patrick Sutton

Place a rug for extra cosiness

Chesterfields and rugs are simply the perfect combination, as they invoke a truly Victorian look when brought together. With this being your initial idea, you should start looking for a larger, interestingly patterned rug, and use it to create a cosy area for your family and your friends. In a more contemporary scenario, you can get a boldly coloured rug, and place it either under or in front of the Chesterfield sofa.

How to recognize a genuine Chesterfield sofa (and avoid cheap replicas)

Odds are good that you already have the answer. Think of how you’ve imagined Chesterfield sofas each time someone spoke of them? Did you also think of an elegant, dark leather piece with intricate detailing and elegant, rolled arms?

Did it come to your mind how awesome it could look in the centre of a grand living room, ideally opposing a roaring fireplace and an ornate coffee table? This great reputation of Chesterfield solutions is well-deserved, as they’ve been used for hundreds of years to inject some British class within every home.

Class, as you know, doesn’t only refer to good looks, but also to quality. An ultimate Chesterfield sofa will be handmade and produced with the finest leather and wood, a rule accounted for both in the past and today.

traditional-living-room-by-kim-radovich Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Kim Radovich

This is why, more often than rare, Chesterfield sofas are an expensive delight. Unfortunately, Chesterfield furniture was not surpassed by the mass production trends of today’s competitive market, which is how we come across various

Chesterfield-like pieces that look amazing, but aren’t made of premium materials and by the hands of experienced craftsmen. This is why we cannot expect the same properties by every Chesterfield sofa we encounter these days, and we have to be really careful with how we’re investing our money.
This may even involve asking for professional help, because cheap and high-tier Chesterfields look very similar at first sight.

To spot the crucial differences, you’ll have to look at them very carefully. And while investing a smaller amount of money sounds like a reasonable decision at that moment, you have to be aware that those differences will eventually come out, and that your sofa won’t be as durable as you expected it to be.

To make the selection process a bit easier, we’ve assembled the main quality criteria into a compact guide for prospect Chesterfield buyers. We expect our tips to help you make an informed decision, and purchase a top Chesterfield sofa that will match your needs and expectations.

transitional-design-by-jeneration-interiors Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Jeneration Interiors

Reasons not to purchase a cheap Chesterfield sofa

Imagine that you’re looking for a beautiful Chesterfield sofa, and a local manufacturer comes up with an incredible low-cost offer for a piece he claims to be an excellent quality one. At the same time, you’re not well informed and you can’t spot any major difference, so you may as well let the discount blind you out.

In this case, you should be prepared that what you’re paying may not be what you’re about to get. Certain manufacturers make use of people’s limited knowledge on furniture to purchase second-hand pieces from the Far East and sell those as their own, asking for a price that reflects nothing else but the poor quality of the product.

This doesn’t mean that Europe- and US- produced furniture is necessarily a good one, as there are also manufacturers that surpass quality standards, and produce pieces using cheap materials and inexperienced workforce. As a result, the sofas they sell are not durable, and that usually shows after only few months of using them.

Mass production of Chesterfields and other furniture is a process devoted to quantity rather than quality, and it involves semi-skilled to unskilled workers that don’t really specialize in what they are doing. As a result, the final piece looks quite similar to an actual Chesterfield, but it was put together in few hours, and it will reveal some serious flaws.

l-o-f-t-by-all-nxthing Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: ALL & NXTHING

Of course, we can’t deny the fact that buying low-tier Chesterfields softens the difference in your bank balance, but the truth is you won’t be saving that much. Instead, you will give up the comfort, iconic style, and durability of a truly handcrafted Chesterfield, and be forced to shop for a new one before long. Before you decide, keep in mind that low quality furniture cannot resist the test of time, nor the day-to-day tear and damage.

How to notice poor-quality Chesterfield sofas?

Inspection time is up! The first thing you should be looking for is whether the corners are cur with rough materials, as this is how most manufacturers cut production costs. With time, you will be able to see a lot of similar measures, and discover flaws you couldn’t possibly have spotted at first sight.

There are many differences in the quality of poor and good Chesterfield sofas, but unfortunately, most of them are well hidden under the upholstery. From what is actually there to see and inspect, we assembled a number of features you should confirm are there before making a decision.

The frame

High quality Chesterfield sofas

The frame of a money-worth Chesterfield sofa will ideally be made of seasoned breech wood, and have chunky rails to sustain the effects of day-to-day use. Manufacturers opt for breech hardwood due to its solid and straight grain, and are thus able to guarantee even a lifetime of use.

In addition, they put screw-fixed corner blocks to strengthen the sofa, and to give it a genuinely Chesterfield shape.

bordley-by-thompson-custom-homes Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Thompson Custom Homes

Poor quality Chesterfield sofas

Cheaper Chesterfield sofas will have frames made of cheaper board panels (mixed timber most of the time), and very thick rails. This means that the frame won’t be solid, and its thickness may skimp with time. To fasten pieces together, these manufacturers will often use glue and staples instead of dowelled joints, so don’t be surprised if the sofa cracks as soon as your kid jumps on it.

Cushions and filling

High quality Chesterfield sofas

When a Chesterfield sofa is genuinely good, you can recognize it by its foam cushion filling that secures maximal comfort. The padding over it will combine several foal densities, and ensure a softer outer feel and an impossibility to detect the frame under it. This makes quality Chesterfield sofas both cosy and secure.

Some manufacturers fill Chesterfield sofas with polyester fibres and feathers, again providing enough volume for an unparalleled and pleasant sitting experience. In the best scenario, you will get a combination of feathers, fibres, and foam, and enjoy a more hybrid cushioning.

Poor quality Chesterfield sofas

The lower price of these sofas usually reflect the limited amount of materials used to build them, and what manufacturers there sacrifice the most is the density of the cushions. In fact, they will go for the minimal padding possible until the feel of sitting on that sofa becomes acceptable, but don’t let feeling the frame underneath surprise you. With time, these sofas will only become less and less comfortable.

study-by-elizabeth-reich Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Elizabeth Reich

Don’t forget symmetry

The manufacturers will not only invest less in the external looks of the cushions, but also fill them with inferior quality materials. For instance, they will push in cheap foam that doesn’t have the same ability to restore its original shape, and will end up looking smashed and overused. This is another reason why you shouldn’t expect an inferior Chesterfield sofa to be comfortable.


High quality Chesterfield sofas

When a Chesterfield sofa was produced with care, its suspension system relies on high-grade materials combined for the purpose. There are many different types of suspension systems, but an experienced craftsman will always know how to pick the right ones for the resistance and durability you need.

Plus, original Chesterfields come with an appropriate amount of springs beneath their cushions, as well as excellent webbing that won’t collapse even when faced with severe day-to-day usage.

Poor quality Chesterfield sofas

As it was the case with cushions, the suspension system of low-quality Chesterfields is a minimized one, with a small number of springs and limited webbing that helps manufacturers save more money. These systems will certainly fail over time, in particular when used every day. Luckily, these quality issues are easy to spot, and all it takes is to actually sit on the sofa and confirm it is not that comfortable.

kenwood-parkway-by-laura-potter-designs Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Laura Potter Designs


High quality Chesterfield sofas

The most classic upholstery for a Chesterfield sofa is genuine leather, and you must make sure the manufacturer has used it before you invest your money. Thing is, genuine leather is difficult to apply using mass production manners, and you’ll have to rely on an experienced craftsman person to tack it in, and come up with unique and intricate detailing.

Unlike second-grade imitations, the leather will be full-hide, and won’t resemble any splits. To resemble the classic looks, Chesterfields are often upholstered with other high-quality materials alike tweed, linen, and wool, so feel free to ask where the material came from before you make a purchase.

Poor quality Chesterfield sofas

The easiest way to notice that a Chesterfield sofa is not a premium one is the imitation of leather used to upholster it. If you can’t really differ between genuine and faux leather, look for the natural imperfections true leather usually resembles, and if you find such, chances are good that you’ve found yourself a deal.

Artificial hide, on the other hand, will have the same artificial pattern repeating over it, and will have the antiquing effects sprayed over it for a more genuine look. Unfortunately, this spraying is not constant-moisture or tear resistant, and will eventually be rubbed off making the sofa appear worn out and patchy.

victorian-family-home-dorset-by-coral-interiors Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Coral Interiors

Another type of sofas you will probably come across are semi-leather ones, in which case you will have the back, arms, and cushions produced with genuine leather, but the outback and the underarms covered in vinyl. Leather may also be used on the full sides and off-cut pieces that are sawn to each other to create a larger piece (the so-called ‘demic’), in which case you should know that your sofa may pull loose over time, and form unpleasant gaps constantly covered with dust.


High quality Chesterfield sofas

The reason why Chesterfield sofas have such a lovely shape and style is their deep-buttoning, something that will most definitely be missing on their affordable counterparts. Handmade detailing is a long and very complex process, and requires the skills of an artful craftsman who will position the buttons precisely, and apply just the right downward pressure to make sure all pleats are in place.

At the end of this process, the buttons are tightened and secured on the frame to expand the lifespan of your beautiful sofa.

To add extra detailing on the body and the rolled arms, craftsmen use hand-tucked studs, and push each of those separately through the upholstery in the frame to ensure that they will remain in place. This method cannot possibly be replicated in mass furniture production.

living-spaces-by-lucy-and-company Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Lucy and Company

Poor quality Chesterfield sofas

Second-grade Chesterfield sofas are not sunk deep enough to afford deep buttoning, which is why their buttons are usually sunk directly to the cushions, and attached to the edges of the frame.

This method may cause the buttons to move over time, and even detach completely creating creases and sags in the fabric. With time, the glorious button effect you wanted so much may not even be visible.

Unfortunately, the producers of these sofas don’t have the time or the skills to hand-tack each button, and will complete the task with strip studding attaching and hammering only few of the studs in the sofa’s frame. This is why these studs will eventually float on the surface, casing wear and tear even when there is no visible damage on the sofa.

living-room-by-coveted-home Chesterfield sofa: Leather, Velvet and Modern Examples
Image source: Coveted Home

Minimal modernist settings

Besides, strip studding is a process that, unlike hand-tucked buttons, limits the patterns and styles they can use, which gives you little chance to own a truly unique Chesterfield piece of furniture.

Ending thoughts on the chesterfield sofa

Chesterfield sofas’ old-fashioned and luxurious appearance is captivating at first sight, and it makes them suitable in every decor scenario. Don’t you simply love the details and the tufting? The curved arms? In fact, there is a lot to love about Chesterfield furniture, which explains why it has preserved its attractiveness for so many years!