Design Classics: Chesterfield Sofas

Design Classics: Chesterfield Sofas

Dabney Frake
Sep 10, 2012

Even if you don't know what it's called, you surely recognize this sofa. Worn leather Chesterfields used to conjure images of smoke-filled libraries filled with books and well-heeled aristocrats. Over the years the Chesterfield made its way into all types of rooms, and been reinterpreted in countless ways. Today, we see them upholstered in posh velvet, basic linen, bright colors, and even patterns like the Union Jack. Chesterfields are huge statement pieces, appealing to men and women alike.

Jonathan Adler is clearly a fan. In the above photo, a leather Chesterfield balances an otherwise retro vibe, creating an upscale eclectic space that's perfect for The Parker, Palm Springs hotel. The sofa's durability also makes it ideal for hotel use.

Looks aside, the thick rolled arms and low deep seat are also comfortable and sturdy. All that tufting keeps innards in place and ship shape, so there's none of that lumpiness plaguing other sofas. When added, details like nail head trim or buttons easily take it up a notch on the elegance scale.

Even if he can't take full credit for the sofa as it looks today, the Earl of Chesterfield was clearly on to something. Any piece of furniture that's been widely used since the 18th Century isn't likely to go out of style anytime soon. Chesterfields aren't cheap, but these classic sofas are safe and sound investment pieces. It's a rare combination: a quality showstopper that doesn't get old.

1. The sofa turns luxe when upholstered in gold velvet (via


6. Kimberley Renner uses it in Texas to ground a bolder striped chair (via Martha Stewart).
7. The sofa does just fine in a bright color as well (via Dust Jacket Attic).
8. Chesterfields make welcome foils for more modern furnishings (via The Handmade Home).
9. They are especially interesting when paired with sofas of opposing styles, as in this David Jiminez living room (via Dalliance Design).
10. More sofa combinations (via La Dolce Vita).

(Images: Lead photo: Lisa Goulet Design. The rest, as credited above)

Inspiration: Chesterfield Sofa
Comfortable and Chic: The Chesterfield Sofa
Unsolved Mystery, The Obscure Origins of the Chesterfield

moving--truck moving--dates moving--dolly moving--house moving--cal Created with Sketch. moving--apt