WHY ARE CHESTERFIELD SOFAS SO POPULAR? / by Tash South

Chesterfield sofas have adorned royal palaces, luxury homes, businesses and even restaurants for centuries. Its close association will elegance and sophistication is probably why this humble item of furniture manages to be anything but humble. Handcrafted Chesterfield sofas are as highly desirable today as they were in the 17th century with demand for ones with retro personas in faded and degraded velvet appealing to younger generations.

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A Brief History of the Chesterfield Sofa

It is believed that the Chesterfield sofa dates back to the 17th century. Philip Stanhope, the fourth count of Chesterfield, demanded a seat with quilted leather upholstery, a low seat base and deep buttoning. Others have questioned the story, but the fact remains, the design has changed little over the centuries. However, in the early years, the emphasis was on ensuring that a gentleman’s clothing wouldn’t become creased instead of providing comfort and relaxation.

The Original Leather Sofa and Modern Versions

The original leather Chesterfield sofa is still synonymous with upmarket gentleman’s club, but in regal homes, velvet is frequently used although, the distinctive buttoning and design remain. It is a form of seating that is now internationally recognised and demanded by different generations. The desire for elegance and style will always continue to help the Chesterfield to become a timeless classic. Today, the retro persona of faded and degraded velvets is appreciated to the same degree as luxury leather pieces.

Encapsulates the Imagination

The traditional image of the Chesterfield sofa is a 19th century English gentleman sat smoking a cigar and drinking a whisky in a Gentleman’s Club in London. The Victorian era was when the chairs became common in upper-class homes where they were viewed as an essential piece of furniture and represented social standing. In the 21st century, the handcraft Chesterfield sofa features in luxury interior design catalogues, blogs and features.

Design and Quality

Any skilfully handcrafted furniture will be a high-quality piece of furniture with proud artisans demanding excellence with their attention to detail. The handcraft Chesterfield sofa is the same. It will be constructed using the finest wood for the frame along with superior leather or fabric for the upholstery. So, what makes a high-quality Chesterfield sofa different from the rest?

1. The Frame

A highly-quality hardwood such as oak will always be used and never softwood or even chipboard which are used on cheaper types of furniture. The screw-fixed corner blocks are for strengthening purposes and will ensure that the sofa retains its shape. Furniture held together with dowelling, glue or staples should be avoided as it will quickly lose its form.

2. The Upholstery

The upholstery will consist of different types of foam. The seated area will be softer with back containing higher density foam. The foam (or another textile in older models) will be of a high-quality to retain shape and comfort.

3.      Suspensions

Handcraft Chesterfield sofas will use highly-durable suspension. The suspension will provide the right balance in terms of support. It won’t be too stiff, which may cause discomfort nor too soft, which would not offer support.

4. Leather

The leather must high-quality and undergone the correct tanning process to up suitable for a Chesterfield sofa. Artificial leather is becoming increasingly common and harder to recognise, so you should always look for a pattern that isn’t equal. Fake leather will have the same patterning throughout which isn’t possible on an animal. Also, beware of manufacturers being able to replicate the smell of real leather, which make give a false impression of quality.

5. Detailing

Deep buttoning is synonymous with handcrafted Chesterfield sofas. The buttoning is a complex operation that can only be completed by highly skilled craftsmen. Each button will be added precisely and by hand with care been taken to ensure continuity. Mass-produced chairs can’t replicate this accuracy, nor can they affix the buttons deep enough.

Where to Seek Advice

When you are looking to purchase a handcrafted Chesterfield sofa, you will want to know the best manufacturers and the most skilled artisans. Obtaining this knowledge and information is difficult with the internet providing a dearth of accurate information on the subject. A professional design company such as South Place Studio will be able to give you all the advice you need when it comes to designing and furnishing your home.