The Chesterfield Sofa: A Closer Look at the Classic Piece

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Image: Roger + Chris

The Chesterfield Sofa—or just plain Chesterfield, as some folks will insist—is one of those pieces of furniture that seems to have always been around. And it’s true, since the design was invented in the 1700s. When I see it in popular culture, I am usually transported to a much earlier period; I often have a specific time and place that I associate with the Chesterfield. But, as all good designs tend to do, the Chesterfield has become timeless. I’ve seen this trusty furniture show up more and more often in current rooms, so I thought I’d take a closer look at this classic piece in modern time.

What Makes a Sofa a Chesterfield?

The name Chesterfield comes from its original commissioner, the Earl of Chesterfield (of course that’s where the name comes from; makes me wonder if he was a buddy of the Earl of Sandwich…). The defining features are the deep button tufting and the arms and back of the same height. Everything else, as we shall see, is up to the individual. The example above is a new piece that has all the hallmarks of an original upholstered in charcoal denim.

Classic and Contemporary

The Chesterfield Sofa: A Closer Look at the Classic Piece

Image: Cozy-Stylish-Chic

I tend to think of the classic Chesterfield Sofa as being covered in leather, much like the above example. Seeing any classic furniture piece in a streamlined, contemporary design setting such as this can be a real eye-opener. I think after seeing this image a while back, I never thought of the Chesterfield in the same way again.

Funky and Retro

The Chesterfield Sofa: A Closer Look at the Classic Piece

Image: Design to Inspire

What do you do with an olive Chesterfield with flared arms? Place it in a fabulous ‘70s inspired space like this one, that’s what. And you know what? It’s perfect.

Fun and Fancy

The Chesterfield Sofa: A Closer Look at the Classic Piece

Image: ABCD Design LLC

This formal-looking white Chesterfield steps away from serious. It is plenty relaxed when a few fun throw pillows are added. Wonder what the Earl would think of this?

Are you a Chesterfield fan?

1 Comment

  1. Gorgeous sofas – the chesterfield really is a classic piece of furniture.

    Lauren @

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.