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About Chesterfield Sofas
Because they’ve been a design icon for hundreds of years, Chesterfield sofas are perhaps the most recognized pieces of furniture – by both high-end professional designers and amateurs alike.
Thanks to Queen Victoria’s preference for them, Chesterfield sofas were popularized in the early 1700s and soon became the symbol of wealth (this was also thanks to the intricate tufting and expensive leather materials used in the craftsmanship). Over time, their designs evolved to include less expensive upholstery options – and as a whole became easier to manufacture. As a result, more affordable styles became more available to the middle classes, who recognized their practical and aesthetic value – and would continue to embrace the style for years to come. Although many “Chesterfield” sofas come in a range of styles and colors drastically deviated from the original 18th century design, each carries the same timeless comfort and luxe appeal that helped to spring them to prominence.
Features of Chesterfield Sofas
Chesterfield sofas are beloved for their quality craftsmanship, timeless warmth – and, above all, luxurious aesthetic. Here are the features that define them:
- Roll arms: Perhaps the most elegant of all the Chesterfield features (if it’s even possible to decide on such a thing!), the sweeping roll arms curve out on either side to create a softening effect – and bring a timeless grace to any home.
- Button tufting: Another feature that makes them unique is the deep button tufted upholstery along the back. Emblematic of traditional design in general and not just the Chesterfield style, button tufting is made by stitching buttons (or sometimes nail heads) across the back of a chair or sofa, adding depth, texture and character to the piece it adorns.
- Leather upholstery: Just as they were centuries ago, most Chesterfield sofas are crafted in a luxurious leather. The upholstery options, however, aren’t limited; Chesterfield sofas today come in lots of different aesthetics – including variations on upholstery.
- Nailhead trim: In almost all Chesterfields, you can expect to find nailhead trim (in design lingo, it’s the dotted lining of metallic ‘studs’ – similar in appearance to nail heads – stitched into the upholstery); because of the deep button tufting, genuine leather upholstery and other, more defining statement features, nailhead trim is often not the first thing to catch your attention in a Chesterfield sofa – but once it does, brings a delicate touch to an otherwise overpowering aesthetic.
- Dark color: When Chesterfield sofas were first introduced, their design elements were strictly limited to a specific set of features – one of which was a dark coloring. Although today they come in a variety of shades, the term Chesterfield still connotes a warm, rich shade of leather.
- Shelter height back: Also a common feature across mid-century modern styles of sofas, shelter height is a design term used to describe a sofa in which the arms are the same height as the back. The shelter height feature of sofas brings a sleek silhouette – adding elegant definition, and a refined, pulled-together look, to a comfy-cozy furniture piece.