Sometimes you just need to make a real statement with your new living room furniture, and nothing stands out more than a classic Chesterfield style icon. It’s that amazing look you get from the tufted leather back without the sofa being too bulky that makes this such a great choice for all types of interior designs. Before you browse our handsome leather Chesterfield sofa collection, let me tell you a bit more about what this classic style is all about. And I also have a short history lesson about the origins of the Chesterfield traditional style.
Chesterfield Sofa Design Features
To understand what makes a leather Chesterfield sofa so unique in the furniture markets, I want to provide you with a few details about the visual impact.And it all starts with the appearance of the leather.
One of the real dapper design strikes you’ll immediately notice is the deep diamond button tufting. These are not subtle or just small indentations. What you’re looking at are design features that are made to stand out as much as possible. The classic button tufting also provides wonderful geometric patterns, and the color and type of leather add even more to the visual effect. I’ll get to leather material recommendations shortly, but let me just point out that with a completely natural full grain aniline leather, you’ll find that every single sofa is a truly unique masterpiece. Natural shades and imperfections will stand out even more in the tufting. And it provides an amazing feel making it a very comfortable sofa.
Low Back Design
A classic Chesterfield sofa is also very different from other classic styles from 19th century France and Britain. Rather than making the furniture very large and bulky, you’ll notice that a Chesterfield sofa doesn’t have that typical high back. With that lower profile where the back cushion goes about midway up your back, it still provides great comfort and support without being too imposing. That also means that such a sofa is also suitable for a smaller living space where you don't want a single piece of furniture to become too dominant.
Another thing that stands out with the classic Chesterfield silhouette is the rolled arms. This is a purposeful design feature that allows for a sofa to have a much more gentle flow and integrate with the rest of your furniture and room decor. This is possibly one area where you’ll see the biggest differences between Chesterfield sofas, as the level of detail in the arms can vary substantially. If you’re looking for such a style icon that really stands out, then check for large and ornate rolled arms to give you that wow factor.
This is a feature that people either love or hate, but it is a common feature on the classic Chesterfield sofa design. The reason it works so well on Chesterfield sofas is that it can perfectly tie in with the button back tufting in the leather. When you have a beautiful pattern in the seat and back cushion, it can almost seem like there’s something missing on the arms and front of the sofa. Having the detail of aged brass nailhead trim can complete the entire look and feel, and it will make your sofa become a centerpiece that draws your attention.
Real Wooden Legs
The final thing to draw your attention to is the leg material. In some very rare cases, manufacturers sometimes use metal for the frame and legs, but this is a much more modern look and feel than what a traditional Chesterfield sofa is about. What you should be looking for is wooden leg material with a nice natural grain and varnish that matches it to the leather sofa. Walnut is a classic type of hardwood that has a nice symmetrical pattern in the wood. But oak and maple are also great options for the exposed wood sections and ideal for carved patterns as well.
History Of The Chesterfield Design
The reason the Chesterfield sofa is still such a popular style all comes down to its history and how it was a real change in mindset for how people looked at furniture. And it all starts with British royalty.
Where Did It Get Its Name From?
While there are no official records of the true invention, the history of this traditional leather sofa has been tied back to Lord Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, in the 17th century. He was a nobleman and politician, and it is said that he was tired of uncomfortable seating furniture that always ended up creasing his clothing. See, until that time, it was frowned upon to have furniture that provided comfort. In a society driven by Puritan beliefs, you were not supposed to spend your earthly life in comfort. And that meant that furniture was purely functional, even in royal palaces. But Lord Philip Stanhope changed all that by commissioning local furniture makers to come up with a sofa design that provided comfort and stopped his suits from creasing. It’s also said that as soon as all the gentlemen of his court and other visiting royalties experienced this completely new way of relaxing on a sofa, the new design style took off. Royalties around the UK all commissioned their own Chesterfield sofa, and so the scene was set for many new versions to evolve into what is now such a classic style.
A Unique Style For The Time
If you ever visit medieval British castles, you’ll immediately notice how different their furniture was. Even the wealthiest kings didn’t seem to put much value in much comfort at all. Those royal thrones you see the Queen sit on for formal events today are very different from what they were like hundreds of years before. You simply weren’t allowed to have any kind of living comforts that would make life easier. Imagine going shopping for a new sofa, and your top priority was to find one that was as uncomfortable as possible.
A Style That Travelled The World
Surprisingly, you’ll find Chesterfield sofas all over the world in vastly different countries. And that’s down to the fact that by 200 years after the Chesterfield sofa design had first spread through royal homes, it also followed the British Empire as it expanded. By the late 19th century, the British Empire covered all parts of the world, controlling about a quarter of the entire population. And at that stage, people no longer favored uncomfortable sofas but rather the comfort of seat cushions and thick padding on a leather Chesterfield sofa.
American Handmade Chesterfield Sofas
Here at Leather Furniture USA, we have spent many years carefully researching and choosing furniture manufacturers to provide our customers with the highest quality Chesterfield sofas. The companies we have chosen are based in North Carolina, and all operate on the basis of taking advantage of handmade craftsmanship that produces a far superior product. These companies are owner and family-operated, and they employ local people. That means that every single purchase you make will support American jobs and families with well-paying manufacturing jobs. But there’s also the quality advantage. Because these companies all focus on using tried and tested handmade processes, you get a Chesterfield sofa that imported products simply cannot compete with. Rather than replace as many processes as possible with machines and robots, they have chosen to continue with handcrafting the furniture. Everything from the solid wood frame to the exceptional detail in the leather upholstery involves people working by hand. And many of those processes simply cannot be recreated by robots. Where other manufacturers compromise to reduce costs, our manufacturing partners have ensured they create a classic design that will last for decades. And it all starts with the careful selection of leather.
Choosing The Right Leather For Your Chesterfield Sofa
With the history and style lesson now done, it’s time to take a closer look at what types of leather you should be considering for your Chesterfield sofa. Let me just say that this is where most people often make a fundamental mistake by falling for clever advertising tricks that make low-quality leather sound better than it is.
Full Grain Leather
Full grain leather is arguably the highest quality leather you can buy. What manufacturers do during the processing of the hides is ensure that the outer grain layer stays intact. They don't sand or shave it away because this layer contains the toughest fibers in the hide. And that means that the leather will stand up to wear and tear from daily use a lot better than other types of leather. This also means that the leather upholstery maintains the natural shades and imperfections that give it a lot of character and total uniqueness. No two full grain leather hides are the same, meaning that your new sofa will also be one of a kind. The other major advantage of using full grain is that it gives you the option of choosing full or semi-aniline leathers. This involves using soluble dyes that penetrate deep into the hide to bring out all the natural shades. That means that you don't have that complete uniform look but natural changes in shades that work amazingly well for handsome spaces.
Top Grain Leather
Another great option for the upholstery on your Chesterfield sofa is top grain leather. While it does mean that you lose the outer grain layer with all the tough fibers, this does give manufacturers the opportunity to spray or roll a protective layer on. And that’s a great option for homes with kids and pets. If you’re concerned about spending a lot of money on a new centerpiece only for it to get stained and damaged, then top grain is probably the best option. It’s also a great choice if you prefer the more uniform look that you get when the natural imperfections are gone, and a dye is sprayed on to give it a slightly contemporary twist.
Avoid Poor Quality Leather
And finally, there are a few types of leather that you want to avoid at all costs. If you see anything labeled as faux or bonded leather, then it’s not going to last. No matter what clever sales people tell you about the great value for money, these highly processed and synthetic materials simply don't offer anywhere near the same durability as real leather. You’ll also sometimes see things advertised as genuine leather upholstery. That might sound like a great option, but it’s still a very low-grade type of leather that is very thin and not suitable for furniture.
Important Structural Features
And the final thing I need to draw your attention to is the structural features that you can’t see. But if a manufacturer cuts corners here, then the best leather in the world won't be able to make up for it.
Solid Wood Frame
Without an engineered wood frame, you could be facing some significant problems in just a few years' time. Some manufacturers compromise by using pine or plywood for the hidden internal frame.The result of that will be a sagging frame that could easily break in just a few years. Ideally, you want a solid oak frame, with maple and walnut being good options as well.
Hand Tied Springs
Once the frame structure is in place, manufacturers turn to attaching and securing the springs. There are machines that can do this, but they simply cannot recreate the process of hand tying the springs. And this is often an area where the structure can fail long before the leather shows any signs of aging.
And finally, there’s the cushion construction. Even with low-quality foam, you’ll find that initially, the seat and back cushions will feel comfortable. But that kind of cheap foam will start to lose its structure and support very quickly.That’s why we only recommend a cushion construction that relies on high-density foam to make sure you can enjoy your Chesterfield sofa for decades to come.
Browse Our Chesterfield Sofa Collection Today
A Chesterfield sofa is quite a statement piece, and the exquisite detailing elevates it to a centerpiece in your home. That’s why we have carefully selected American-made Chesterfield sofas that provide the highest quality handmade craft. You might also want to consider a matching chair to complete the effect. And if you have any questions about our product range, then use the contact number on our product listing. We look forward to hearing from you.