How to tell a genuine chesterfield leather sofa

If someone asked you to visualise a Chesterfield sofa, there is a strong likelihood that you would see something made of black leather with exquisite rolled arms and ornate decoration. Possibly it would be situated next to a raging fire or in the centre of a vast living room. This reputation is well-deserved since the Chesterfield is a British classic and has been the sofa of choice for individuals seeking to create a timeless atmosphere in their homes for centuries.

In tandem with a reputation for elegance is a reputation for superiority. The highest quality Chesterfields have always been handcrafted using the finest possible wood, leather, and fabric. This standard is still very much alive and well today (read our history of the Chesterfield article to discover more about the rich heritage of this furniture style).

Unfortunately, with the surge in mass-produced furniture that has inundated the market, there has been an increase in the number of Chesterfield-like items with similar appearances but lack the quality materials and better quality of the sofas they imitate.

At first sight, a high-quality Chesterfield and a low-quality Chesterfield may seem similar. Still, upon closer inspection, you will notice the variations that set them apart. In addition, as you continue to use a low-quality Chesterfield, you will inevitably become aware of the difference in artistry. To assist you in making an educated selection, we have compiled this guide to identifying a great sofa. You will be able to utilise the tips shown here to ensure that your new sofa reaches the high standards you should expect from a Chesterfield-style item.

Why should I avoid inexpensive Chesterfield sofas?

When it comes to acquiring a new sofa, certain manufacturers may offer what seems to be an astonishingly low-priced, high-quality piece of furniture — and it may be tough not to be fooled by the price.

Unfortunately, you will likely get what you paid for when purchasing a cheap Chesterfield. These producers often acquire second-rate furniture from Eastern Europe or the Far East and pass it off as their own. Therefore the price of the item typically reflects its low quality. Many manufacturers in the United Kingdom use substandard materials and unskilled workers to build furniture that will not survive the test of time.

In the mass manufacture of furniture, the whole process is carried out by unskilled or semi-skilled labourers, with each worker focusing on a single component of the output. Their respective responsibilities may be mastered in a couple of hours. The completed product will resemble a Chesterfield, but careful examination will uncover defects.

Although it may be simpler on your budget account to purchase a cheap Chesterfield sofa, you will sacrifice comfort, longevity, and the classic elegance of a meticulously constructed sofa. This false economy is likely to buy a new sofa shortly since inexpensive furniture is not designed to withstand normal wear and tear. The initial support and comfort it offers are likely to diminish with time.

How can I identify substandard Chesterfields?

Some manufacturers take shortcuts with their raw materials and manufacturing techniques to produce more affordable Chesterfields. These cost-cutting tactics will present themselves over time, but the consequence is not always apparent from a snapshot or a fast check.

The majority of the variations will be concealed behind the leather or fabric, even though the furniture may have a similar appearance. To simplify things, we've compiled a list of the essential characteristics of a Chesterfield sofa, along with advice on what to look for in a high-quality piece and what to avoid.


The frame is the backbone of your Chesterfield sofa, which allows it to retain its form and integrity. It must be robust and powerful since it supports the rest of the piece.

High Quality Leather Chesterfield Sofa Frame

A high-quality Chesterfield sofa will have a frame constructed of seasoned beech timber and thicker rails to withstand the rigours of regular usage. Beech hardwood is selected for its straight grain, which lends it added durability for a lifetime of use. In addition, the integrity of the frame's form must be maintained by corner blocks that are secured with screws.

Low Quality Leather Chesterfield Sofa Frame

On the other hand, a cheap Chesterfield often has a frame composed of varied woods, chipboard panels, and rails with little thickness. This frame will not be as sturdy, mainly due to the wood's poorer strength and reduced thickness. Instead of employing dowelled connections, shaping components are sometimes joined using staples and glue, weakening the overall durability.


Foam, polyester fibres, and feathers are typical fillings for Chesterfield sofas. The filling is a crucial component of the item since it offers most of the comfort and support for the person sitting.

High Quality Leather Chesterfield Fillings

Foam is one of the most prevalent cushion fillers, and high-quality Chesterfields make extensive use of it to maximise comfort. The cushioning over the frame should blend various foam densities, providing a pleasant exterior feel and guaranteeing that the structure is never noticeable while seated. It should be manually attached to the frame to keep the foam padding composite as secure as possible.

The use of various fillers, such as feathers and polyester fibres, should be extensive, with more than enough volume to make sitting enjoyable. Together with foam, feathers and fibres are often utilised to construct high-quality hybrid padding.

Low Quality Leather Chesterfield Fillings

You may anticipate fewer materials to be utilised in the construction of your Chesterfield if you pay less for it. Typically, the density of the foam used for cushioning is the very minimum required for an initially good feel. Over time, however, it will become easy to feel the frame through the deflating foam fills, resulting in a very unpleasant piece of furniture.

In addition to using less padding, the typical filler is of poorer quality. Using foams as an example, cheaper materials on the market lose their capacity to return to their original form more rapidly than premium foams. This also contributes significantly to a cheap Chesterfield sofa's decreased comfort.


The quality of the suspension in your sofa, together with the cushion filling, is one of the aspects that will influence the comfort and durability of your item. Several suspension mechanisms are utilised in Chesterfield sofas, including serpentine springs, Elastobelt webbing, and coiled spring units.

High Quality Leather Chesterfield Suspension

A high-quality item will have a suspension system constructed of high-grade materials and is suitable for its intended use. An expert artisan will determine which suspension system is required and the quantity of resistance it should provide based on the Chesterfield style.

Using the correct number of springs under the padding or using superior webbing will help guarantee that your suspension can withstand the rigours of daily usage without collapsing.

Low Quality Leather Chesterfield Suspension

As with the padding, when you spend less for a Chesterfield, you are more likely to get a sofa with fewer springs or lower-quality webbing – only one of the ways that low-cost manufacturers save expenses. A suspension system that is not adequate to the duty may fail quickly, mainly if utilised daily. You will soon be able to tell whether a sofa's suspension is sufficient since it should not be too bouncy and should not feel hollow under the seat.


The fabric used to upholster your Chesterfield is also a significant indicator of the sofa's quality. The upholstery impacts not only the piece's aesthetic appeal but also its comfort and durability.

High Quality Leather Chesterfield Upholstery

It is essential to search for the usage of premium materials to guarantee that you are purchasing a high-quality leather Chesterfield sofa. The leather should have been applied by a professional craftsperson, who hand-tacked it to provide an even spread and appealing details. The leather used will be full-grain instead of split-grain or fake leather, which is of inferior quality.

You can learn much more in our purchasing guide for leather sofas, which describes how the material is manufactured and the many varieties.

Chesterfield sofas upholstered in fabrics other than leather, such as wool, tweed, and linen, are also popular. The finest sofas will be upholstered in textiles purchased from the finest mills; if you like to learn more, do not hesitate to inquire about the origin of the fabric.

Our guide to purchasing sofas made of fabric has a great deal of information on the material that performs well.

Low Quality Leather Chesterfield Upholstery

The use of fake leather as a substitute for genuine leather is one of the most apparent signs of a low-quality Chesterfield. If the hide has natural flaws, it is likely authentic and of high quality. Artificial leather often has a repetitive pattern embossed into it, and as a result, it lacks natural flaws. Moreover, many of the antiquing treatments applied to low-quality Chesterfields are just sprayed and discoloured onto the leather. These regions are prone to wear and tear and maybe rubbed off to create a patchwork look.

It would help if you were also careful of sofas advertised as "genuine leather" but are not so. In these instances, the cover on the arms, back, and cushions are often made of genuine material. However, the underarms and outback are sometimes made of vinyl. The leather may come from whole hides or offcuts that have been sewed together to form bigger sheets, a process often referred to as 'demising' Over time, the stitching on this sort of fabric may come undone, allowing dirt to penetrate your sofa's upholstery via the apertures.


The detailing on a Chesterfield sofa distinguishes it from other sofas and lends it its enduringly popular appearance. It is only natural that a great deal of effort must go into constructing these iconic characteristics, which include deep buttons, elegant studs, and rolled sleeves.

High Quality Leather Chesterfield Detailing

The deep buttoning on a Chesterfield sofa gives it its shape and contributes to its overall design. Deep buttoning is a complex process that skilled artisans can only accomplish. Each button is positioned precisely, while downward pressure holds the pleats in place. The characteristic look is maintained throughout the sofa's lifetime by securing buttons to the frame.

In constructing a Chesterfield sofa, studs are primarily utilised to provide detail to the sofa's rolled arms and body. A high-quality item will feature hand-tacked studs that have been individually inserted through the upholstery and into the frame. Using this procedure, the craftsman may ensure that each stud will stay firmly in place.

Low Quality Leather Chesterfield Detailing

The primary issue with inexpensive Chesterfields regarding deep buttoning is that their buttons are not buried deeply enough. Where controls are historically affixed to the frame, mass-produced sofas often have buttons buried into the cushions and fastened to the frame's edges. This may cause the buttons to migrate overtime when they detach, resulting in sags and wrinkles in the fabric. The impact of submerged controls will eventually vanish entirely.

As hand-tacking each stud is a time-consuming and laborious process, less expensive Chesterfields often adopt strip studying, in which just one out of every few studs is hammered into the frame. This leaves the studs in between "floating" on the surface, making them less secure and more prone to daily wear and tear. Investing in a sofa with individually hand-tacked studs instead of strip studs will also enable you to choose patterns with more sophisticated patterning, which can only be done with individual studs.

Excellent Chesterfield Leather Sofas

Chesterfield Leather Sofas are one of the longest-established sofa makers in the United Kingdom, having produced custom, handcrafted Chesterfields for more than 30 years. During this time, our crew has amassed an unrivalled degree of expertise in assembling a Chesterfield. It has also provided us with a thorough understanding of how a sofa may be manufactured at a reduced cost.

Because of this, we can confidently assert that it will be difficult for you to find a Chesterfield sofa of higher quality than the ones we construct in our Lancashire factory. Each team member holds a high degree of knowledge and has received training in every aspect of manufacturing. Visit we meet the team page to learn more about the skilled artisans that created our furniture.

In addition to our sofas, we manufacture Chesterfield chairs, so you may enjoy this classic design regardless of the sort of furniture you need.

Moreover, each piece of furniture we offer is crafted using the best tanneries, mills, and manufacturers' resources. In addition, whether you are searching for a green, white, or grey Chesterfield sofa (or another colour), you will be pleased to learn that our materials are available in a range of hues. Learn more about our leather and fabric selections, or request a sample to help you decide which is best for your sofa.