Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Ultimate British Sofa

As a young teenager I would really look forward to visiting one particular set of relatives who, to me then, were the height of sophistication.  This being the eighties, with shoulder pads de rigueur, my aunt dresssed like someone out of Dynasty, and to my eyes was impossibly glamorous and sophisticated, rivalling Krystle and Alexis Carrington in the style stakes.  Swathed in brightly coloured, gorgeous tactile fabrics, and leaving a cloud of Rive Gauche perfume in her wake, this was the height of womanliness!

Even more on trend (for the time!) was their home, all chrome and black furniture, with the ubiquitous flashes of primary colours.  Like something out of a film, it seemed to me.  But amidst all this trendiness was a classic of British styling - a bottle green leather Chesterfield sofa.  Looking completely at home in the Eighties decor, this much-loved piece has passed the test of time and still has pride of place in their home today.  Yep, the very same sofa is still going strong, although thankfully the chrome and black decor which surrounded it has been superceded by something more modern and stylish though!!

Synonymous with British home furnishing, worldwide the Chesterfield is the epitome of British style.  The first leather Chesterfield sofa was commissioned by Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield in the first half of the 18th century.  Its typical characteristics are deep buttoned quilting, with arms and back of the same height, and it is traditionally upholstered in leather. During the nineteenth century, the Chesterfield became associated with British colonialists, who took their beloved sofas to far flung corners of the world as a comfortable reminder of home. Perhaps that is why the typical style of the Chesterfield is known worldwide to this day.

Indeed, in Canada the term 'chesterfield' was widely used to refer to any couch or sofa, although this use is apparently becoming less common amongst the younger generations of Canadians.  Interestingly, this use is also prevalent in Northern California in the US.  I can only imagine how those huge American interiors might incorporate something like these stunning white leather or fabric corner suites!

Today's modern designs of Chesterfield incorporate real diamonds and pearls, setting the trend bar high in countries as diverse as China, Russia, India and Brazil.  Many of these nouveau riche obviously view this British homes icon as a totem of style and sophistication, just as my aunt and uncle did way back when.  For an idea of how this style icon has evolved, and to see traditional and modern versions of Chesterfield sofas visit the british retailer at

What I find fascinating is how such a classic design has changed over the years, now being available in luxurious velvet, chenille, linen, cord and even 100% natural cotton.  I think this glorious purple velvet version would be beautiful in a bedroom, or very stylish sitting room.

Researching this post, I have been surprised by the evolution of this very classic design, and I can really see how a fabric Chesterfield sofa would fit into any modern interior.  And, just like that classic green leather number, it would be sure to stand the test of time.


  1. That purple one is amazing! My friend had one when I was growing up - a big green leather one - thought she was very posh! She was!

  2. Oh my goodness I am L O V I N G that purple sofa! That is my ideal wardrobe room sofa.

  3. Surely purple sofa is amazing. I also liked the other designs that you've added to your post. Especially the dark white leather corner suite. Modern design truly have changed the definition of style and pattern. You may not like the design but the look your guest will appreciate will make you feel good. It's like a true story for me. I didn't liked the corner design very much, but not I kinda like this pattern. It's good that you are sharing your posts, people should know what we are currently have in trends. Thanks for sharing the post.


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