The chesterfield sofa is one of the most iconic pieces of shabby chic furniture you can incorporate into your home. The rounded arms and tuft backs give these sofas an air of elegance, nobility and old world style.  Chairs and loveseats can also be found in the chesterfield style, but the size and space that the sofas take up in a living room impart a grandness that the other pieces cannot.

A deep, rich leather chesterfield sofa sets a tone of masculinity and strength that is rare in shabby chic decorating.  Combining this type of sofa with luxurious soft white blankets and pillows provides an unbeatable juxtaposition of the male and female in a home. These sofas are often chosen by men without even realizing they are decorating in the “shabby chic” style, which they surely would not admit to, even if they knew! Chesterfield’s can also be great compromise pieces for a couple who cannot agree on the level to which to take the style. They can tone down what some see as the frilly and overly girly aspects of the shabby chic style.

When the style originated it was common to find a velvet chesterfield sofa in the home of the wealthiest citizens, accompanied by other grand pieces of French furniture and Italian furniture. Velvet is much less practical today than it was back in the 1700’s when the Earl of Chesterfield (of whom the sofas are named) was exporting his favorite English styles to the new world with his officials.

The more traditional sofas in the chesterfield style have wooden feet and sit slightly off the ground, while some of the more modern versions will sit almost directly on the ground.  The number of cushions will vary depending on the design, anywhere from one to three across.  Some designers have incorporate the Chesterfield style into l shaped sofas, increasing the space they occupy in living rooms.

Chesterfield Sofa

Chesterfield Sofa

Other items such as headboards, ottomans and chaise lounge sofas often include tufting and are referred to as being designed in the “Chesterfield Stlye”. While these pieces do incorporate the tufting that traditional Chesterfield sofas are known for, they are merely an offshoot of the design. Sofas were the only items originally designed specifically in this style that was favored by the Earl of Chesterfield and therefore are the namesake.

Much like other shabby chic furniture and décor pieces, these sofas can be found in vintage and antique stores as well as at estate sales. However, vintage pieces that are still in good condition go very quickly and can be very pricey.  Many modern furniture makers and retailers carry Chesterfield sofas at reasonable prices.  When searching online sites such as eBay and Craigslist, include tuft and tufted sofa in your search criteria to pull in any listings from those who may not realize the traditional name of the sofa.  As always, with eBay, be sure to only search within the radius which you are willing to drive to pick up the sofa.

Pieces that are not in great condition, particularly if the fabric is worn and/or torn, can be purchased at a discount and taken to a furniture upholstery store for repair.  Before you make a purchase, call ahead and talk with the upholsterer about the type of furniture you are interested in (style, fabric type, size, etc.) to ensure they are experienced and comfortable with what you are interested in. Although many will be reluctant to give you a price estimate without seeing the actual piece of furniture to be repaired, try to get as much information as you can in order to consider the cost of the repair when purchasing the item.  What may seem like a great deal could turn into an extremely over budget new sofa if the repair is extensive.  If you have the opportunity to take pictures before purchasing to show the upholsterer, that would be best.

Whether you choose a new or used, leather or fabric (or velvet!) Chesterfield sofa, it will make a great and grand addition to your living space and set the tone for a chic space that appeals to all.



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