Chesterfields are elegant, timeless sofas that add a touch of elegance to any living room and are characterized by their button-tufted upholstery (which gives them their famous ‘overstuffed look), and their curved or ‘rolled’ arms.
They are traditionally made with leather and are studded with nail heads along the lower frame.
The origins of the Chesterfield are quite mysterious and vague, but it is believed to have its roots in 18th-century design with the Earl of Chesterfield being its namesake.
His real name was Philip Stanhope, he was the 4th Earl of Chesterfield and a British diplomat who commissioned a deep-set, button-tufted seat so he could sit up straight while not wrinkling his clothes.
But Chesterfields are not just favored by British aristocrats anymore and have become timeless pieces. In fact, their modern updates have revitalized the Chesterfield while keeping it as charming as ever.
So now that Chesterfields are not just the preserve of the wealthy, it’s understandable that people would want to give their living rooms an elegant upgrade by purchasing them.
But it’s hard to know where to start searching, and more importantly, it’s hard to know where to find a good quality sofa. Below, we have picked some of the best, taking color availability, price point, and suitability for family life into account.
We also have a handy buyer’s guide that tells you how to distinguish a good Chesterfield from a bad one, and FAQs that will hopefully answer any lingering questions you may have.
OUR TOP PICK
Available in Petunia pink, Bora Bora blue, and a range of greens including Tropic and Emerald, this Lyre Chesterfield from Anthropologie is our pick for the best color options, and is a perfectly modern update for a classic silhouette.
As you would expect from a Chesterfield, this sofa features plenty of button tufting along the back, arms, and front and is loved by customers for its sturdy build and luxe appearance.
Not only that, but it’s made-to-order, with every detail from the couch width to the material type and color, and even the leg and nailhead finish customizable.
Speaking of which, you can choose the material too, from velvet, slub velvet, wool, leather, or Belgian linen to create your dream sofa. You can also choose from a 7 or 8-foot-long silhouette.
What’s more this sofa comes with white-glove delivery and assembly service. The fee for delivery is $149.
- Comfortable: A common worry among those who are interested in a Chesterfield is their comfort, but there is no need to worry about discomfort with this sofa.
- Delicate: This sofa is lightweight and not bulky.
- Durable: The lightness of this sofa by no means detracts from its durability, and the material can even withstand pets curling up on it.
- Easy to clean: Spills and accidents happen from time to time but there is no need to worry about this sofa, as it is easily cleaned.
- Easily stained: Some customers have reported that the fabric stains easily but this is not noticeable unless you look close, and as mentioned above, the fabric is easy to clean.
Our pick for the best linen upholstery, this spacious four-seater Chesterfield sofa compliments any living area thanks to its brilliant construction and crisp tailoring.
The usual nailheads are replaced by a piped design on the classic rolled arms and bun-style couch feet. The cross-hatched linen upholstery is available in two shades of gray and is incredibly durable.
The sofa is supported by a wooden frame and is also easy to assemble. All you need to do is screw the legs on and you’ll be enjoying your new sofa in no time! Shipping costs $55 and only covers delivery to your driveway or front step.
- Durable: The linen upholstery is long-lasting as well as incredibly comfortable.
- Classic style: The timeless design of this sofa is perfect for Chesterfield lovers.
- Stylish color: Grey is not only a neutral, versatile color that goes with practically everything, but also helps to create a contemporary look for your living area.
- Easy assembly: You’ll be enjoying your new sofa in no time with its easy set-up.
- Not large: This sofa does run small so may not be suitable for those who want a grander sofa.
This understated sofa forgoes nailheads and sculpted couch feet, but what it lacks in these finer details it makes up for in coziness.
This sofa is much loved for its comfortable, plush seat cushions that are also reversible and detachable to make for easy cleaning. While this sofa is very comfortable overall, the tufted arms and back are a little firm.
This sofa also comes in a veritable rainbow of colors - 15 in total! From traditional beige to bold blues such as aqua and also red tones, no matter what your taste this sofa is sure to have a color that matches it.
Macy’s in-home delivery and assembly cost $99, but if you buy during the store’s frequent furniture sales you may get a discount.
- Easy to clean: Worry no more about a stain here and there, as this sofa is easy to clean with a little water and a rag. Plus, some customers have reported that giving it a clean like this will bring out the color even more!
- Durable: The sinuous wire spring in the seating and full hardwood frame makes this sofa incredibly durable, and the sides are fully padded and welted for extra comfort.
- White glove treatment: To ensure your sofa is delivered in the best condition possible, it comes with white-glove treatment.
- Luxurious material: For extra comfort and a more sophisticated feel.
- The sofa may not match swatch: While this sofa is available in a wide array of colors, be aware that sometimes the color on the swatch or online may appear different in person.
- Long wait: As this sofa is made to order, you could be waiting up to 8 weeks for your sofa to arrive.
While this sofa is designed with families - and all the possible mess and chaos that involves - in mind, it is no less inviting or luxurious. It’s clad in heathered polyester, with rolled arms and shaped rubber wood legs, as well as button-tufted upholstery.
Not only is it tough enough to withstand a large family home, but at under $800 it is one of the more budget-friendly sofas on the market (shipping is an extra $75).
It is only available in two colors - neutral gray-tweed and smooth charcoal gray - but it is still much-loved for its versatility, inviting deep-set seat, and easy assembly.
- Easy to move: This sofa is easy to move around, and lightweight.
- Sturdy feet: While this sofa is easy to move, it will also stay in place thanks to its sturdy feet.
- Easy in-home assembly: This sofa is stress-free to set up thanks to its easy in-home assembly.
- Good lumbar support: The lumbar support on this sofa makes it even more comfortable.
- Prone to sagging: Some customers have reported the deep-set seats can sag after a while.
With its fluted details, button-tufted back and seat, and shaped legs, this artfully tailored seat is our best sectional pick and is the very definition of a statement piece. This striking Chesterfield has two size options.
You can choose from a standard size of 63 inches or an extra-long 73-inch chaise. But that’s not all, you can also customize the sofa size, leg silhouette, and upholstery material.
As this piece is made to order it can take up to 12 weeks to deliver and has a $129 shipping and assembly fee.
- Durable fabric and stitching: This sofa will look newer for longer thanks to its high-quality stitching.
- Sturdy: You won’t have to worry about this sofa moving around.
- Easily removable covers for cleaning: Cleaning this sofa is hassle-free thanks to the easily removable covers.
- White glove delivery: A sophisticated Chesterfield like this deserves the best delivery service!
- Not comfortable for tall people: While this sofa is generally comfortable, it may not be suitable if you’re over 5’8.”
Chesterfields are synonymous with class and sophistication, and above you will find some of the best on the market. But how do you know if what you’re getting is high quality?
As mass-produced furniture becomes more widely available and budget-friendly, there are many Chesterfields out there that look like some of the high-quality pieces but lack the proper materials and excellent craftsmanship of more traditional, good-value pieces. They often appear identical, which can make it hard to discern the genuine from the fake.
However, if you look closer you will see the differences that set them apart, and you will also notice over time whether your Chesterfield is high-quality or not.
But what features do you need to look out for in order to avoid making a bad purchase? Below we’ll go into detail about what sets a good Chesterfield apart from a bad one.
The frame is the skeleton of the sofa and is what maintains its shape. It supports the rest of the piece, so the frame must be strong and durable.
A bad quality Chesterfield will have a frame made of mixed timbers, chipboard panels, and not very thick rails. This makes for an overall weaker frame due to the inferior timber strength.
Shaping pieces will often be fastened together with staples and glue instead of dowelled joints, which doesn’t make for a very solid sofa.
However, a good quality Chesterfield will have a frame made of seasoned beech hardwood, and thicker rails that can hold up to everyday use.
Beech hardwood is used in Chesterfields for its straight grain which can provide a lifetime of use. To maintain the integrity of the frame’s shape, screw-fixed strengthening corner blocks should be used.
The filling is another key element to a Chesterfield as it’s what makes the sofa comfortable and provides lumbar support. There is a variety of cushion fillings for a Chesterfield, including foam, polyester fibers, and feathers.
Poor-quality Chesterfields often use less material in the building of the sofa. The foam used for padding is usually of the lowest sufficient density. Over time you may be able to feel the frame through the flattening foam fillings, which makes it very uncomfortable.
In addition to less cushioning being used, what is used will be of low quality. For example, the cheaper foam loses its ability to retain its original shape compared to higher-end foams which add to the discomfort.
Meanwhile, a good quality Chesterfield will use an ample amount of foam to make the sofa more comfortable. The padding over the frame should be a combination of different foam densities, which makes the cushion feel softer and puts the frame out of mind when you’re sitting.
The foam padding composite should be fixed in place - preferably by hand - to make it as secure as possible.
The suspension goes hand in hand with the cushion filling to determine how comfortable your sofa will be, and for how long it will stay comfortable.
There is a variety of suspension systems used in Chesterfield sofas, such as serpentine springs, coiled spring units, and high-grade Elastobelt webbing.
A poor quality Chesterfield will usually have fewer springs or lower-grade webbing. Suspension systems that are not up to code will eventually break at some point, especially if used every day.
The sign of a poor suspension system is a hollow feeling beneath the seat, and if it feels particularly springy.
Meanwhile, a good quality Chesterfield will have a suspension system made from high-grade materials.
It is also important to note that different types of Chesterfields will have different types of suspension systems and an experienced craftsman will be able to tell what type is needed and what level of resistance it should offer.
The right amount of springs beneath the cushion and premium webbing will ensure that your Chesterfield is capable of everyday use without collapsing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Chesterfield sofas comfortable?
This is a tricky question, as it is all down to personal preference.
More traditional Chesterfields tend to be firmer, but handmade, modern Chesterfields created by a reputable maker can be just as comfortable as they are elegant.
If you’re looking to buy a more bespoke Chesterfield, it’s worth contacting the designer so they can guide you through the cushioning process, so you’ll have a sofa that is as comfortable as you like.
Are leather Chesterfield sofas durable?
A Chesterfield sofa that is made with real, premium leather should last for years, especially if they are cared for properly.
Furthermore, real leather is inherently water-resistant which means no more worrying about spills! Leather is also less prone to getting dusty, so doesn’t require as much vacuuming as other furniture. In this way, leather has the edge over fabric sofas.
Leather is also tough and can withstand a lot more wear and tear than other materials. In fact, unlike most materials, any scuffs or scratches add character to the leather!
But it is important to note that the dye from non-color fast clothing and garments can transfer onto leather and is more noticeable on light leather such as white, cream, and ivory.
What should I take into consideration when buying a chesterfield sofa?
As we have seen above there is a lot to be mindful of when buying a Chesterfield sofa and a lot of sofas to choose from. We’ll take a look at some important things to consider before you buy a Chesterfield sofa.
Chesterfields are elegant and often the statement pieces to any room, but as much as we love them we have to consider whether they are the right fit for our living space. This is because Chesterfields tend to be big and take up a lot of room.
Their rolled arms need a good 10-11 inches of space on both sides, so if you have a smaller living room consider if a Chesterfield is right for you and if your living room would be too crowded with one.
Color is also important, and sofas like the Lyre Chesterfield and the Martha Stewart Saybridge sofa offer a wide variety of colors.
f course, you should always pick the color you love but if you’re conscious about things matching or colors complimenting each other then you may be wondering the best direction to go in.
A Chesterfield that contrasts the color of your living room can be very effective. For example, if your living room has a modern aesthetic then a bold Chesterfield in blue, reds, or deep pinks provides a nice contrast. Meanwhile, lighter color Chesterfields are nicely suited to darker rooms.
As we have discussed, a lot of people have reservations about Chesterfields, as their traditional look is associated with a lack of comfort.
And while there are more comfortable types of sofas out there, as we have also mentioned a well-made Chesterfield can be quite comfortable indeed. Comfort is the most important factor to any sofa, and it’s better to prioritize that over aesthetic in the long run.