A Chesterfield chair is a classic British upholstered seating piece. The name Chesterfield used in reference to furniture is usually only commonly found in the United Kingdom and some parts of Canada. Chesterfield chairs are often sold as part of a set with a matching sofa. They have button tufting which means that a pattern of buttons in the same material decorates the back of the seating. The arms and upper backrest edges of a Chesterfield chair are usually elaborately rolled.
The Chesterfield seating design dates back to the British club chair popular in London men's clubs in the 19th century. Men would go to the clubs to relax in padded chairs and to drink and smoke cigars. A Chesterfield or club chair has a very thick padded seat as well as all-over padding for comfort.
Although many Victorian chairs had arm rests and were upholstered beginning in the 18th century, these were more lightly padded than the Chesterfield style. The heavier padded Chesterfield chairs and sofas began being used in offices and homes late in the 19th century. The look is still featured today in traditional homes and upscale libraries.
The conservative formal style of the Chesterfield chair design doesn't blend well with modern clean-lined decors. The button tufting on the back rests of Chesterfield sofas and chairs gives them a highly detailed look. When used in a formal home or upscale office, Chesterfield furniture pieces can look elegant and sophisticated.
Although a Chesterfield chair may feature fabric covers, most of these chairs are covered in leather. Traditionally the leather chair covering was dark brown. Although chairs and sofas in the Chesterfield design were once purchased only by wealthy people, today they are considered quite affordable. However, these are not likely to be hand-stitched or crafted from hand-dyed leather.
The legs of a Chesterfield chair are of carved wood. They are wide at the base and taper elegantly down into small, rounded feet. Due to their formal luxurious design, Chesterfield chairs and sofas tend to look best when placed on thick, quality carpeting or area rugs.
Traditionally, club chairs and their matching sofas have low backs. Some Chesterfield chair styles feature high backs and these may have a single or a double seat. All of the different styles of Chesterfield chairs are still completely upholstered and padded. These aren't open armed chairs, but are generally the most padded types of seating one can find in leather or fabric pieces.