The Chesterfield sofa is one of the world’s most iconic, recognizable sofa styles, and is easily adapted to both a traditional or transitional interior. This style sofa – deep buttoning, attractive nail head studding, and rolled arms at the same height as the back – is both simple and sophisticated.
But, don’t mistake simple or sophisticated for boring! Although the Chesterfield sofa has been around for centuries, the look is still relevant today in both style and function. The addition of a Chesterfield goes a long way to creating beautiful and timeless décor.
The origins of this classic piece are somewhat murky. Anecdotal evidence maintains that the Chesterfield sofa was invented when the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope commissioned a similar sofa in the mid-18th century. And, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, by the 1800’s, the word Chesterfield was commonly used in England to describe a leather couch.
In fact, the quintessential Chesterfield is upholstered in a dark leather, with contrasting nail head trim, a look that is the perfect addition to a traditional paneled library or den. But, this adaptable piece also makes a statement in a sleek Manhattan condo paired with a Lucite coffee table and modern art, or a rustic thatched country cottage, nestled beneath rough hewn beams.
In addition to traditional leather, today, there are many more original takes on the sofa. A more modern look, using upholstery (especially in a shocking, bright velvet), can vastly lighten up the clubby original.
Pricing a Chesterfield sofa can be challenging. Bespoke couches (and chairs) from Distinctive Chesterfields will stand the test of time (in fact, your great grandchildren could possibly inherit them, they are so well made). But if your home isn’t as grand as Downton Abbey, there are plenty of affordable options to suit.
For example, Wayfair offers a traditional look with the Harlem Chesterfield Sofa. The couch is an imposing 86″ and comes in genuine leather for only $1,325.99.
The Monk Chesterfield Sofa is a more transitional piece and is available in three luscious shades of soft velvet (wine is a personal fave). This sofa retails for $679.99 and packs a real design punch.
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Named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com, Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to style for the way you live. From must-have fashion and accessories, to stunning interiors and gorgeous gardens, plus the latest ideas for chic parties, you’ll find it here. Editor Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!