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A Timeless Iconic: How to Style a Chesterfield Sofa?

  • Chesterfield style sofa
  • colour palettes
  • fabrics
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Ed Hawes
How to style a Chesterfield Sofa

The Chesterfield sofa is an iconic, timeless design that is recognised the world over. It’s a style that hasn’t changed since its inception. First designed in 18th-century England, the Chesterfield is believed to be named after the Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope. A quintessentially British design that is loved far beyond Blighty. The Chesterfield sofa has survived the industrial revolution, multiple World Wars, and the age of technology (if only sofas could talk). And will continue to be loved in homes for many years to come.   

Named after an Earl, there’s no surprise then that Chesterfield's aesthetics exude luxury and elegance. A statement piece that knows no bounds. Its deep pulled-buttoned detailing is its most unique and distinguishing feature that sets it apart from other sofa designs. That, coupled with its infamous rolled arms and back complete the sofa’s instantly recognisable look. Whether the Chesterfield sofa is made from leather or fabric the button-tufting is always the same. The stitching is patterned; a diamond or square-shaped tuft, which further emphasises the sense of grandeur and allure. 

When looking at the sofa, its historical and luxurious roots are obvious. Yet, no longer is living in a stately home a requirement for owning one. The Chesterfield sofa has found its way into the middle classes, and in doing so, increased its popularity ever further.   

With that in mind, in this blog we’ll cover everything you need to know about a Chesterfield sofa; how to style, which fabric to choose, and which room in the house to place it in:

        1. How to style a Chesterfield sofa with accessories 

  • Cushions
  • Throws 
  • Rugs 
  • Coffee Tables 
  • Lighting and Wall Art 

    2. Where should I place a Chesterfield sofa?
    3. How to choose the right fabric for a Chesterfield sofa?

How to Style a Chesterfield Sofa

Styling a Chesterfield Sofa

The Chesterfield sofa is a statement piece, rich in history. Using accessories will help turn a timeless design into a contemporary classic. Whether you have a traditional leather Chesterfield sofa or a fabric one, throws and cushions are essential. 


Patterned cushions will not only enhance the visual aspect and interest of the sofa, but can act as a way to pair the sofa with the room’s colour palette. Which is important. Also important: comfort. Add textured scatter cushions to create an extra layer of comfort and a feeling of warmth, especially true for a leather Chesterfield sofa. Positioning two to three cushions at either end of the sofa will create an inviting environment. And without a doubt, result in a beautiful aesthetic. 


Throws should follow a similar style as the cushions - textured and, or patterned. Layer the sofa by adding one throw behind a collection of cushions, or place at the Chesterfield’s centre. Introduce colours that follow the same colour scheme as the room’s palette. This will ensure the sofa is blended in well to the room’s exterior.


Rugs help not only bring a room together, but pair a sofa with its interior. As with the cushions and throws, textured and slightly patterned rugs work perfectly. The Chesterfield is a grand, statement piece - so, a rug will help soften its appearance whilst creating a point of interest. A rug that either promotes the sofa’s colour or contrasts it will work. 

Coffee Tables

Next up, coffee tables. Place a coffee table over a rug to exaggerate the allure of elegance. A wooden or glass top coffee table should do the trick. A glass top coffee table will help create a sophisticated atmosphere, especially if the Chesterfield sofa is velvet. For a leather sofa, a wooden coffee table will blend the sofa’s colour scheme into the room well. 

Lighting and Wall Art

A collection of well-placed floor lamps, side tables and side lamps, and wall art should also be considered when accessorising a Chesterfield sofa. Floor lamps can create the illusion of sophistication and grandeur when placed next to, or behind, a Chesterfield - setting the right ambience. A side lamp placed on a wooden side table, next to a rolled arm, exudes atmospheric maturity. And, finally, Wall Art that is well thought-out, in terms of colour scheme and framing, will also add a point of interest to the room and help blend everything together. 

Where Should I Place the Chesterfield Sofa?

The options are endless (but, limited to the size of your dwelling). 

Chesterfield Sofa

In the Living Room

A Chesterfield style sofa is designed to be lived on - and the living room is a high-traffic area, so it’s an obvious choice. In the living room, the sofa should be centred and pushed against the wall. This not only creates a point of interest, further exaggerating a sense of grandeur, but it allows for an armchair or smaller sofa option to be positioned around it. 

In the Study 

Next up, a library. A slightly niche example here. Actually, let’s scale it back; a study with a large bookcase. A Chesterfield sofa situated in a study, will add a taste of grandeur to a quiet corner, or to one that is hidden away from the busier areas in the house. That being said, the majority of study’s aren’t big enough to fit a two seater or three seater Chesterfield sofa, but a Chesterfield armchair might work. That’s everything you’d expect from a Chesterfield style sofa, but on a smaller scale. The same aesthetics and comfort, perfectly sized for a study. 

In the Master Bedroom

Following on from the Downton Abbey library idea, what about a formal dining room? No, I didn’t think so. What does have legs though, is the master bedroom. The master bedroom is the perfect setting for a Chesterfield armchair. Bedrooms are relaxing, tranquil areas that can double up as a place to read and unwind. If the right fabric is chosen then a Chesterfield armchair can be paired nicely with the bed’s aesthetics and the room’s decor. It can also be used as a temporary clothes dump, for those moments of outfit despair – we’ve all been there. 

Whichever room you choose for your Chesterfield sofa, remember to play around with seating arrangements, whilst cleverly coordinating the room’s other large furniture items. The Chesterfield sofa was made to be put on a pedestal, so give it the air time it deserves. 

Choosing the Right Fabric for your Chesterfield Sofa? 

Chesterfield Sofa Chenille

The traditional Chesterfield sofas were made of leather; often rich, deep colours like brown or burgundy. However, nowadays, you can find Chesterfield sofas in a variety of materials, including fabric upholstery, and in a range of colours to suit every interior style.

When choosing a fabric, first think about how you plan to use the sofa. If it’s in a high-traffic area then a durable fabric that holds up well against accidental spillages and tough stains is a good option. Fabrics require different levels of maintenance. Some fabrics are easy to clean, others aren’t. Luckily most fabrics at Swyft are stain resistant, so this shouldn’t be a problem. But, it’s worth thinking about. Suede, for example, requires specific stain removal spray. Linen, just a damp cloth. 

With that in mind, here’s a couple options to wet the appetite: 

Leather Sofa 

Leather is the fabric most associated with a classic Chesterfield sofa. And for good reason. It’s a strong material that holds up to wear and tear easily; it’s stain resistant, breathable, but above all, it looks and feels high end. Fitting for an Earl. Nowadays, faux leather is the go-to for a leather replacement – a more sustainable option. And its quality is of a similar stature to leather, with all the same benefits. Leather or faux, both are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a traditional and timeless statement piece. 

Cotton Sofa 

For a more natural, relaxed Chesterfield sofa, cotton would be a great go-to. Not only is the fabric incredibly breathable – able to cool and warm the body temperature depending on the season – but it’s 100% recycled (well, the cotton we use at Swyft is). Cotton can come in a versatile range of colours, which will certainly meet the requirements of the most neutral or maximalist of settings. Cotton is also extremely soft to touch and exudes comfort. A perfect setup of those with a contemporary home. 

Velvet Chesterfield 

Simply put, velvet is the definition of luxury meets comfort. Velvet fabrics are soft to touch, extremely hard wearing and come in a variety of deep, bold colours. If your interior has an air of sophistication, an ambience that eludes grandeur, and a feeling of luxury, then wrap your Chesterfield in a layer of velvet. It’s a guaranteed win.

Linen Chesterfield

Linen is similar to cotton due its natural properties. It’s hard-wearing, stain resistant, and is beautifully comfortable. Linen also has a natural texture to it; a texture that exudes relaxation, and brings an otherwise traditional styled sofa into the modern. It’s a fabric that comes in a variety of colours, so will fit most interiors. 

A Chesterfield sofa is a timeless piece of craftsmanship, a distinctive design that spans centuries. And rightly so. If you want a sophisticated, bold or stylish sofa then a Chesterfield is the way to go. Just remember: contemporary – go for a relaxed fabric, timeless or traditional – a velvet or leather fabric. 

Whatever you choose, make sure you do Earl Chesterfield proud. 

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