3 Ways You Can Style with Chesterfield Sofas

June 10, 2020


The moment you look at a chesterfield sofa, you know it has an antique history behind its creation; it is a relic of the past pluck that blends surprisingly well within our modern setting.

That’s why chesterfield sofas are so popular: they can adapt to the style and tone of various locations while retaining their own regal identity.

With this in mind, how can you make use of its heritage to style with a chesterfield sofa?

In this article, we will be looking at how chesterfield sofas have been used throughout the past few centuries and how we can use its stylistic flexibility to our advantage.

What is a Chesterfield Sofa?

A chesterfield sofa can be identified by the following features:

  • Multiple buttons pressed into the sofa.
  • Curled armrests that are the same height as the back of the sofa.
  • Trimming along the edges of the sofa.
  • Coverings are primarily made of Leather – though modern chesterfields can be made of soft fabric or velvet too.

But if you were to ask how to define a chesterfield sofa, it gets a bit complicated.

Initially, a chesterfield sofa is defined as a sofa whose arm and backrests are of the same height, creating a small alcove that any guest can snuggle in.

Based on this definition, we can trace the earliest record of a chesterfield sofa back to the mid-eighteenth century. During this time, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Phillipe Stanhope, Phillipe Stanhope, wanted a sofa that would not wrinkle a man’s suit.

Hence, he ordered a carpenter to create a quality leather sofa with armrests the height of the sofa’s backrest and low seats. This sofa did not have its signature buttons as they were only created in 1857.

This design allowed his guests to sit upright in a chair without leaving any creases in their suit. However, because the chair did not have any springs, the chesterfield’s horsehair stuffing made the chair very uncomfortable to sit on.

It was rumoured that Stanhope allowed this design on purpose to chase away unwanted guests!

However, we should take note that chairs and sofas were designed based on practicality rather than comfort during that time so it may be the result of poor design.

But between 1850-1860s, springs were invented and added into sofas to make them more comfortable. To prevent the stuffing from falling out, buttons and trimmings were added to keep the leather in place.

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Mantra / Collection

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Mantra / Collection

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Suede / Collection

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Suede / Collection

This made the chesterfield sofa extremely comfortable to sit on while giving a unique look that became widely popular during the Victorian era.

Ever since then, chesterfield sofas are defined by its patterned buttons and its tucked-in trimmings.

So, don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a chesterfield sofa without buttons or a buttoned sofa without with shorter armrests.

Why are Chesterfield Sofas so Popular?

Aside from its unique design and added comfort, chesterfield sofas became popular because they are timelessly trendy and are adaptable to different environments and eras.

Chesterfield sofas are also made popular by their cultivated identity of high-class and professionalism, an impression hotels and offices make use of till this day.

If Stanhope’s sofa is the first chesterfield sofa, then we can say that the chesterfield’s high-class reputation began when Stanhope’s godson, Mr Solomon Dayrolles, inherited the sofa and showed it off to his guests.

Stanhope was an admired politician, public speaker and writer; hence, people look up to him as a trend-setter. When the guests learnt where the sofa came from, they were impressed and started requesting similar sofas to be made.

Soon, chesterfield sofas became a signature piece of furniture for upper- and middle-class households. Even Queen Victoria had a set of plaid chesterfield sofas in one of her drawing rooms.

Chesterfield sofas are also a popular choice for gentlemen clubs, upping its classy image with a masculine edge.

Due to colonialism, the chesterfield sofa was transported across the globe into English households outside England. As a result, these sofas also became popular in India, Australia and Canada.

In fact, chesterfield sofas were so popular in Canada that chesterfield became a Canadian slang for sofas in general!

Chesterfield sofas developed their professional image from Sigmund Freud, who was searching for the comfiest sofa for his patients. He believes that his clients tend to open up when they are feeling comfortable and relaxed.

Out of all the sofas he tested, the chesterfield sofa was the best furniture for his therapy sessions.

Through his influence, chesterfields are commonly associated with professionalism and are still a furniture of choice for psychology clinics. This is the first sign of a chesterfield’s adaptability.

Ever since then, chesterfield sofas can be found in hotel lobbies, office guest rooms, living rooms and other environments where you can host guests.

To adapt the chesterfield sofa into the tone of these vastly different scenarios, furniture designers have experimented with is stuffing, fabric and colour choice, creating a wide variety of chesterfield sofas that and suit any situation.

Let’s see how these three factors can drastically change the tone of a chesterfield sofa and how you can use them according to your needs.

1.   The Amount of Stuffing

The amount of stuffing within a chesterfield sofa can alter the shape of the sofa, the tone the sofa gives off and the experience of those sitting on it.

For example, sleek chesterfield sofas tend to have lesser stuffing. This gives them a clean, compact look with sharp edges and defined shapes marked by its trimmings and tightly woven covers.

Sleek chesterfield gives off a professional yet comfortable look. Hence, you will most likely see these kinds of sofas in offices and clinical waiting rooms.

They are also suitable for small apartments since their minimalist shape design does not take up a lot of space.

These sleek chairs are designed to keep seaters alert as they are guided to sit upright, feet firmly planted on the ground. Hence, they are comfortable seats for work if you are looking for a change of pace or waiting for your name to be called.

On the other hand, some chesterfield sofas have thick stuffing, giving off a sense of comfort and relaxation instead.

In some designs, the stuffing would be so thick that the buttons create deep crevices in the fabric, giving the sofa a bumpy, pillowy look.

Because of the thick stuffing, these chesterfield sofas tend to have curved edges and a less defined shape. They also tend to have much more buttons and trimming to hold down the fabric and to prevent the stuffing from bursting out.

Thick chesterfield sofas are often best placed in hotels and living rooms as its comfy looking exterior helps guests to relax and feel comfortable when entering a new environment. They are also good places to curl up and read a book after a long tiring day at work.

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Mantra / Collection

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Opaline / Collection

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Opaline / Collection

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Opaline / Collection

2.  Choice of Fabrics

Chesterfield sofas are usually made of leather; hence, they give off a clean, shiny and sleek appearance.

With this neat design and pricey material, it is no wonder why chesterfield sofas are often associated with professionalism and high-class. It can also give off a minimalist impression.

Since all classic chesterfield sofas are made of leather, leather chesterfield sofas are also known to give off a more traditional, antique look. This works well for regal room designs and wooden furniture.

Leather chesterfield sofas are also often associated with masculinity because of their use in gentlemen clubs.

Unfortunately, natural leather would only come in shades of brown and black, limiting the number of creative, stylistic options.

But if you want a greater variety of colours, you can try opting for a faux-leather sofa. Not only will you be more environmentally friendly to animals, but you will also have access to unnatural yet tame leather colours such as red and green.  

If you want greater creativity in fabric choices and design, you can try out a fabric or velvet chesterfield sofa.

Thanks to the creativity of modern designers today, we also have fabric and velvet chesterfield sofas that provide a softer, more welcoming impression for guests.

Although they are more of a hassle to clean compare to leather sofas, they do offer a greater variety of colours and patterns.

Fabric chesterfield sofas also give a cosier, homely feel, making it an ideal place to sit down and watch TV after a long day of work.

Velvet also gives off a similar comfort with added royalty as its reflective sheen and furry texture makes you feel like a ruler of your own home.

If you are looking for a good fabric for your chesterfield sofa, check out Fireguard’s extensive array of stainless, eco-friendly fabrics.

FibreGuard has a wide range of fabrics and patterns to choose from. Each type of fabric has at least 30 colour options. All fabrics from FibreGuard can also easily remove stains with a simple spray of water and a few dabs of a dry cloth.

Find out more about FibreGuard’s selection here: Fibreguard

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Opaline / Collection


3.  Choice of Colours and Textures

Different colours and patterns will give off very different vibes for your chesterfield sofa. Hence, the colour of your chesterfield sofa should be an anchor point of the room’s overall vibe.

White and Cream Colours

Whites give off a warm and welcoming vibe to the chesterfield sofa, which is a refreshing look from the typical blacks and browns. Creams give off a similar effect but are give off a more rustic feel.

They often work well in chic hotels, spas and other places of relaxation. To complete its relaxing aura, pair it with minimalistic furniture and gold furnishes.


Pastels give the hard-edged chesterfield sofa a much softer, delicate vibe. It also makes the sofa a feminine touch to a piece of normally masculine-themed furniture.  

With such delicate overtones, you may choose to compliment the sofa with fur rugs, plenty of pillows and nature-themed wall art. Plants will also work just as well.

Bold Solid Colours

If you want a more artistic vibe to your room, choose solid bold colours. This makes your chesterfield sofa stand out as a piece of feature furniture while also giving you a colour scheme to work with.

To prompt your artistic direction, try pairing the chesterfield sofa with abstract art and small geometric furniture.

Natural and Textured

If you want a touch of Mother Nature, choose textured fabrics with subdued browns, blues or greens for that soothing outdoor vibe without stepping out the door!

To complete this rustic look, arrange plants, wooden furniture and clear open spaces around the chesterfield sofa.

Greys, Browns and Blacks

Of course, if you want a simple, professional look for corporate or regal settings, stick to the classic and neutral blacks, browns and greys. Let the couch’s design speak for itself!

Final Thoughts

Chesterfield sofas can easily blend in any kind of environment regardless of tone, location or time. At the same time, they can also be the centre of attention due to its rich history, comfy exterior and timeless style.

So long as you apply these three ways of styling with a chesterfield sofa, it will be easy to adapt this regal sofa into your ideal environment.

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Velvo / Collection

Looking for quality sofas with creative fabrics and easy maintenance? Find the nearest showroom at acaciasofa.co
If you are searching for the perfect curtain to express your personality at home, find our nearest boutiques at acaciacurtain.co