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Chesterfields are the granddaddy of the sofa world. In fact, the word Chesterfield was originally used as a catch-all term for what we call sofas today, and in some parts of the world, this usage is still retained.  And when it comes to classic, enduring style, the leather Chesterfield is king.  The image of a deep brown, soft antique leather, button backed sofa is synonymous with luxury.

Typical leather Chesterfield Sofa

But even the stately leather Chesterfield sofa must move with the times.  Maybe you’ve dismissed it on the basis of wanting a more modern sofa or contemporary couch?  Take a second look at the Chesterfield – upholstery in feature colours, stand-out fabrics, or even Swarkovski detailing can all bring a solid classic bang up to date.  But how do you narrow down the options? Well, you work out exactly what YOU want and what the room needs.  Here’s the most important criteria to look at, whether choosing a leather Chesterfield sofa or something a little different.

Size matters

What kind of space do you have? Big, small, rectangular, irregular.  One that needs dividing perhaps, such as a lounge/diner. The traditional Chesterfield is a very precise shape and fits beautifully in regularly-shaped rooms. More modern Chesterfields designs however, have added curves that soften their shape. What other furniture or features (windows, radiators, fireplaces) will it need to fit in with?


The traditional leather Chesterfield is a lovely, continuous shape, with arms and back the same height.  You need to think about the balance between appearance, available space and comfort.  Chesterfields can have very comfortably deep seats, but if that means you’re banging your knees against the coffee table, you may need a shallower seat.  Maybe you prefer a slight recline on the back, or maybe your aching back needs a more upright support?


Following on from shape, you need to think about how your sofa is going to be used.  Do you like to kick back and watch TV, or will you be sitting tensely upright to concentrate on gaming?  If you plan on entertaining, how many guests do you need to be able to comfortably seat? Do you need to fit more social seating around the sofa? Will your toddler be eating their snacks on it (and then wiping their fingers on it…)?


Oh, so very important!  Colour ties into the space you have – do you want it to blend in or stand out; the shape you want – a large graphic print might overwhelm a two-seater but look gorgeous on a four-seater; the everyday use of the sofa – pets, children, how often you want to clean it; and of course, the style you want to achieve; contemporary, traditional, eclectic, minimalist….  Colour can turn a simple leather Chesterfield into a focal feature of the whole room.


A subset of colour, the appearance can be altered by a number of other choices.  Despite the image of the classic square-backed Chesterfield sofa, there are plenty of modern variations, such as a more curved back, a chaise longue style, raised back, turned legs, solid arms, curved arms…there are as many variations as there are personal tastes!  The great advantage of the traditional leather Chesterfield sofa shape is that the low clean lines of the arms and back can make it much less imposing in a small space.

So, you’ve worked out what you want, what you need, what it will look like and what works for you and the room.  There are two final tips and they are very important! Firstly, measure out the space properly.  Do it again and again and even make a paper cut out that you can move around the floor.  If you get this wrong and your sofa doesn’t fit, you will be very upset!  Secondly, do send for swatches.  Get various fabrics; get the colour you think you want, the shade lighter and the shade darker as a minimum.  And finally, when you take delivery of your beautiful Chesterfield sofa, sit back and be glad you got it so very right.

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