The Chesterfield Sofa

Finding the perfect sofa for your home is an important decision and one not to be taken lightly (especially in my home where we tend to keep furniture for a very LONG time).  When I started my search for a new sofa for our hearth room, I originally thought that a traditional leather sectional was the direction I wanted to go.  But everywhere I shopped, it was the Chesterfield style sofa that caught my eye.  Dramatic and luxurious, I knew it would be an amazing statement piece.  Suffice it to say, I’m obsessed.  If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Chesterfield’,  you would likely recognize the style with its characteristic deep buttoned upholstery, rolled arms, equal back and arm height and nail head trim.  One of my favorites is the Kensington from Restoration Hardware pictured below.


To many, the Chesterfield sofa brings to mind old fashioned parlors where the gentleman of the house and his guests sipped brandy and smoked cigars following a meal.  Its origin dates back to the 18th century.  Although it’s still somewhat a mystery, many sources say the 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), commissioned the first leather chesterfield settee with its distinctive deep buttoned, quilted leather upholstery and low seat base. In addition to being a much-admired politician, writer and patron of Voltaire, the Earl was a known trendsetter. The story goes that the Earl requested a local craftsman construct a piece of furniture that would allow a gentleman to sit upright in the utmost of comfort without wrinkling his clothing.

Decades Home

Today, most people label it as a “lounging couch” since the idea of perfect posture while watching TV isn’t so much a priority.  I’m not sure the evergreen Chesterfield shown above (Higgins sofa from Decades) would have cut it in the Earl’s mansion (he also would be appalled by the idea of draping oneself on it vs. sitting upright) but I think it’s absolutely stunning.

West Elm

West Elm gives it a modern twist with their version of the Chesterfield pictured above.  Their Rochester Sofa has clean modern lines and is upholstered in a sumptuous dove gray velvet

Comfortable and chic, this versatile sofa can come across as traditional and stately or funky and fabulous!  It’s a showstopper that has withstood the test of time.  I’m sold!

Here are a few more of my favorites:

Still want to see more?  This pinterest board I created shows that the Chesterfield really can be a chameleon.

3 thoughts on “The Chesterfield Sofa

  1. Pingback: Weekend bits | my confetti crush

  2. Great blog Kirsten, Being Chesterfield experts you would expect us to say you can’t go wrong with a Chesterfield but you most definitely can. You will be surprised at just how many bad ones are out there. We recommend reading our helpful guide to “what makes a perfect Chesterfield”. It’s a handy guide to make sure you ask the right questions before handing over your hard earned cash. A lot of it is relevant for general sofas/couches too. Here’s the link:

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