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8 Reasons Why a Chesterfield Sofa Doesn't Have to be Leather

  • Chesterfield style sofa
  • fabrics
  • Model 09
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Ed Hawes
leather chesterfield sofas

The Chesterfield sofa is a quality design that is as much about durability as it is about style. They are larger than most, which means they require more craftsmanship, materials and time. But they are built to last. So, if you’re looking to invest in a quality sofa that has a timeless iconic design, you can’t go wrong with a Chesterfield. 

That aside, they are also infamously known to be made with leather. Chesterfields and leather go together like a sofa and an ottoman, or a living room and a coffee table. It’s a pair that harks back to the sofa’s inception. But times have moved on – interior design styles have evolved and the fabric options we have to put on our sofas are now limitless. A Chesterfield sofa no longer needs to come in leather, which opens up the iconic design to a new audience, colour palettes and interior styles. 

So, we’ve come up with 8 reasons why a Chesterfield sofa doesn’t have to be bought in leather.  

  1. Aesthetics – leather has a classic look
  2. Cost – leather can be expensive 
  3. Comfort – sticky in summer
  4. Ethical reasons –  leather is an animal product 
  5. Maintenance – leather can be harder to maintain  
  6. Durability – synthetics are as durable as leather 
  7. Allergies – you might be allergic to leather 
  8. Versatility  – leather can be limiting 

Aesthetics – the look and feel 

First thing’s first: aesthetics. Leather is not for everyone. Yes, it’s grand. It demands attention – and looks great in a traditional setting – but most of us don’t live in Downton Abbey. And leather can be a limiting fabric to incorporate into styles that don’t fit into the realm of ‘classic’. 

That being said, if you want to create a sophisticated, luxurious style, there are other fabrics that can portray a similar look and feel, but are more varied, modern and more comfortable. Velvet and eco-velvet, do just that. Subtly elegant with a beautifully soft touch. A versatile fabric that’s cheaper than leather and will look great with most colour schemes. 

Cost – leather can be expensive

Why are Chesterfield sofas so expensive? A question asked by many. And right so, it’s a valid point. Chesterfield sofas are typically more expensive than other sofas because of its elegant and sophisticated design. Chesterfield sofas’ are usually associated with Lords and stately homes – with that comes a higher price (we’d assume) – and an iconic design, that’s timeless and demands a higher price. 

However, leather is an expensive fabric. And Chesterfield’s are usually made with high-end leather. Even if it's faux leather, it’s high-end. 

But how can you beat the price? The easiest way to make a modern Chesterfield sofa affordable is to make sure the fabric is anything but leather – or faux.

By choosing another fabric, the cost of a Chesterfield sofa would be, should be, greatly reduced. 

Chesterfield leather sofa

Comfort – sticky in summer

Leather can come into question when talking about comfort. Why? Because it absorbs temperature – and that’s not always a good thing. In winter months, leather is notorious for being cold to touch. That makes sitting on a leather sofa like taking a plunge into a glacial lake. The opposite can be said for leather during summer. It's hot and sticky. Much like sitting on a radiator.   

The answer to these problems is to simply choose another fabric. Cotton, wool and linen are fabrics that come with an abundance of natural properties – all of which fight against extreme weather and help regulate temperature. In short: they drastically reduce the chance of hypothermia, dehydration, heat stroke and third-degree burns. 

Ethical reasons –  leather is an animal product 

Vegan, vegetarian or impartial? Whatever your stance on animal consumption, there is a large consensus who shun the use of animals in furniture production and, or owning products made from animals. 

And for good reason: why own leather when faux-leather is just as good.    

Maintenance – leather can be harder to maintain  

There are two arguments here. The first being that leather naturally requires more time and energy to maintain. General upkeep needs to be attained in order to reduce the risk of cracks in the fabric. The second being that leather is hands down the easiest fabric to remove stains and spills. It’s water repellent and stain resistant, making the day-to-day maintenance easy. 

In the long run, a non-leather fabric might be more practical. But it’s entirely down to your style and lifestyle. 

Durability – synthetics are as durable as leather 

Don’t you think that leather has an air of durability about it. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of leather (not that I do) is ‘high durability levels’. 

Leather can withstand anything – false. Leather can withstand most things – true. But so can other synthetic and natural fabrics. 

Trust us, most fabrics can hold their own against leather. Fabrics have to go through relentless rounds of tests before they hit the market – and those tests are focused on durability and ensuring the fabric can withstand anything the household might throw at it. 

If durability is one of the reasons why you might sway to leather. Think again. 

fabric chesterfield sofas


You might be allergic to leather. You might not. But, worth considering. Nothing worse than sitting down, on a beautifully crafted leather Chesterfield sofa, and immediately turning a blood red followed by a repetitive sneezing-strain. 

(Sorry, the ideas are wearing thin).

Versatility  – leather can be limiting 

Choosing to own a fabric Chesterfield sofa, as opposed to a leather one, opens up a world of interior-related possibilities. A fabric sofa is much more versatile. Linen, cotton, velvet, wool, and chenille are some, of many, fabrics that can be used to create a modern Chesterfield sofa. 

The fabrics come in an array of colours that can be worked into a multitude of colour palettes. Each fabric has its own unique characteristics with different comfort levels, textures and overall styles. A fabric sofa will not only look good, but it will modernise an old classic design. 

The variety of styles that lie beyond leather are limitless. To be honest, the idea of a fabric Chesterfield sofa is a liberating thought. Much like a jail-broken iPhone. 

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