Published on December 14, 2020

These days our sofas are our sanctuaries. Scratch that: Some sofas are our sanctuaries. Furniture and decor company Living Spaces recently polled 400 people about their favorite couch styles, and respondents clearly had strong thoughts about the classic Chesterfield, which came in last with only 9 percent of the votes. (Almost half of those asked said they prefer modular-style sofas, but we’re taking that news with a grain of salt given the company specializes in flexible seating arrangements and sectionals.) But back to the apparently extremely unpopular Chesterfield. Is there really that much to hate?

Chesterfield-style sofas, which are characterized by large rolled arms that are the same height as the back and deep button tufting, have a reputation for being traditional. When you hear the word, you probably picture a dark leather version in a smoky hotel bar. But the bad and the ugly aside, these couches can be cool. 

For starters, lose the typical nailhead trim. The metal detailing is what can make this kind of couch seem overly formal and definitely not suitable for Netflix watching. Soft velvet or bouclé upholstery, on the other hand, is. Consider silhouettes that are a little out of the ordinary, as well, like one with no arms (ideal for squeezing into tight spaces) or an exaggerated back. You can also cheat with a tufted, straight-arm tuxedo sofa (a close cousin of the Chesterfield), pictured above.

We gathered a few of our favorite modern Chesterfield renditions just to prove this traditional pick won’t be the least favorite for long. 

Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.

Discussion