How to choose the ideal fabric Chesterfield sofa

Choosing a new Chesterfield sofa is an exciting moment, and one of the biggest decisions you will have to make is picking an upholstery. To help you make an informed choice, we’ve put together this guide to choosing the ideal fabric for your Chesterfield, which will look at some of the best materials and their benefits.

Why choose a fabric Chesterfield sofa?

Traditionally, Chesterfields were only upholstered in leather. However, as more homeowners looked to incorporate a Chesterfield into their own décor, demand increased for alternative takes on the classic look. The result was the creation of the fabric Chesterfield sofa, a design that has grown to be just as popular and desirable as its leather cousin. This is the perfect option if you are looking for a more contemporary, softer feel for your piece.

If you are looking for something a little bit more modern or less formal than a leather Chesterfield, a fabric sofa could be exactly what you’re looking for. Opting for this type of upholstery will open your options to a great variety of attractive finishes, allowing you to benefit from the striking looks of a Chesterfield, but with a more contemporary spin. Because we can offer you a completely bespoke sofa, you can even combine multiple fabrics and even some leather if you want a more eclectic look.

Fabric is also a great choice if you would prefer a piece with a softer feel than leather. There is also a wide colour palette to choose from, so you can pick something that is the perfect match for your home. In addition, modern fabrics are very easy to care for and can prove to be very durable. Stain-resistant coatings can make accidents or spillages an afterthought, leaving you to relax without constantly worrying about pets, children, or that last glass of red wine. Take a look at our fabric Chesterfield sofa care guide if you need an extra bit of reassurance. 

What fabric should I choose for my Chesterfield sofa?

There are a huge variety of fabrics that you can choose from for your Chesterfield sofa, each one with its own benefits. To help you narrow down your choice, we’ve compared some of the most popular below.

Wool Chesterfield sofas

There are many reasons why wool is becoming so popular as a sofa upholstery material. It’s both stylish and practical, creating Chesterfields that are luxurious and eye-catching at the same time as being comfortable and functional. Let’s investigate what makes wool such a great fabric choice for sofas:

  • It’s incredibly versatile: Wool has fantastic dye holding qualities, which means it can be found in almost every colour under the sun. This also opens up so many possibilities when it comes to patterning and applying textures. Because of this, wool is incredibly versatile and can be adapted to match any interior.
  • It’s very durable: Wool benefits from having a natural crimp that allows it to spring back into its original shape. Thanks to the coiled structure of its fibres, it is able to resist becoming flat and hard. Also, wool can stand up to the rigours of everyday use without losing any of its colouring or becoming misshapen.
  • It’s easy to care for: The composition of wool’s fibres creates an overlapping scale-like effect, which makes it difficult for unwanted particles to penetrate the inner layers. Thanks to this, dust and dirt rests on the outer surface, meaning it can simply be removed with a vacuum. Another benefit of this composition is that spillages aren’t absorbed quickly and can be mopped up easily.
  • It generates little static electricity: Wool naturally carries a very low static charge, which can attract fluff and dust. The low charge level means your sofa won’t attract excess dirt.
  • It’s a low fire risk: As wool contains high levels of nitrogen and water, it is naturally fire retardant. In addition, wool does not melt, drip, or emit fumes, which are the biggest killers when there is a house fire.
  • It’s hypoallergenic: Wool is great at resisting mould, mildew, and other funguses and bacteria, which means it will not fuel allergic reactions. Dust mites also have a tough time breeding in wool thanks to microscopic pores that react to changes in humidity.

Wool options at Timeless Chesterfields

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the main benefits of choosing wool for your Chesterfield sofa, we can take a closer look at some of the types available here at Timeless Chesterfields.

Herringbone wool

Herringbone wool is a great choice for a sofa thanks to its patterning, breathability, insulative properties, and durability.

The distinctive ‘zig-zag’ pattern of the weave is created by cutting and reversing sections of a broken twill weave — it’s named for its similarity to the angled markings on the back of a herring. Using two similar coloured fibres for the weave can create a subtle ‘heather’ look that has the appearance of a solid colour from the distance. Alternatively, contrasting colours can be used to produce a more distinctive look.

Herringbone wool has a few practical benefits too. As it has a greater bulk than most materials, it is great at holding air and retaining heat, leaving you with a warm and cosy Chesterfield during the winter months. What’s more, this wool also has great breathability, so during the summer your sofa will be nice and cool. In addition, herringbone is very closely woven together, which lends the material extra strength and durability.

Take a look at our herringbone wool collection to see the patterning and colour options that we have to choose from for your Chesterfields sofa.

Plaid wool

Plaid wool combines the many benefits of 100% pure new wool with one of the world’s most popular styles of patterning. The iconic criss-cross effect is made up of multi-coloured, horizontal and vertical bands, which are created using pre-dyed threads woven at right angles to one another. There are many different types of plaid, including tartan, gingham, madras, and tattersall, each with their own distinguishing chequered pattern.

Plaid is a great choice if you want to gain all the perks that come from owning a wool sofa, but you also want something that will make a real statement as part of your home décor. This type of wool works really well on its own, and just as well when coordinated with other fabrics or leathers.

Take a look at our plaid wool collection to see the options that we have to choose from for your Chesterfields sofa.

‘Harris Tweed’

Tweed is a woollen fabric that is made with a soft, open weave. It takes its name from the Scottish word ‘tweel’ which means twill, as the material has a twilled rather than a plain pattern. There are many different types of tweed, but they are all woven on a loom following the same weaving process of passing the weft of the fabric through the warp. The end result is a heavyweight cloth that is attractively patterned and durable enough to handle everyday wear and tear.

One of the most famous tweeds is ‘Harris Tweed’, which is woven from 100% pure new wool exclusively in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The fabric maintains its high standards by closely protecting the manufacturing process, before assigning each product with a badge of authenticity. Thanks to this, you can be certain that you will be getting a first-class upholstery when you choose this material for your Chesterfield sofa. With its attractive patterning, ‘Harris Tweed’ is quite versatile. It looks great when upholstered on its own or as part of two or three contrasting materials.

Take a look at our ‘Harris Tweed’ collection to see the colours and patterns that we have to choose from for your Chesterfields sofa.

Velvet Chesterfield sofas

Velvet is a great alternative to leather if you want your Chesterfield sofa to have that elegant yet luxurious look. The beauty of a velvet sofa is simply ageless, representative of a fabric that has been manufactured for almost 4,000 years and is still a favourite today.

How is velvet made?

Velvet is woven as a dual-layer cloth on a specialised loom, which weaves two thicknesses of material at the same time. It is a complex process, as all the sets of threads need to be woven at the same time. Afterwards, the two pieces are then separated with a blade as they are rolled up separately. Velvet is a pile fabric, which gets its name from the fact the threads stick up to create a soft ‘pile’.

Why choose velvet for a Chesterfield sofa?

Two of the plus points for velvet is the way it looks and feels. It has a plush feel, which make it very welcoming and comfortable to sit back and relax on — a great choice if you plan on spending a lot of time unwinding on your new Chesterfield.

Velvet takes very well to a whole variety of dyes, which means that it is available in almost every shade you can imagine. With so much versatility in colour, it’s easy to find a velvet that matches your home décor perfectly.

Additionally, any scuffs and scrapes that your velvet Chesterfield picks up will only add to the antiqued look of the material. Over time, your sofa will develop a unique, lived-in appearance that will feel right at home as part of your home décor.

Velvet options at Timeless Chesterfields

Here at Timeless Chesterfields, we offer Knightsbridge velvet as part of our fabric collection. We source it from one of the very best mills in Italy, where it is woven to the highest standard. The finished product is a material made entirely from 100% cotton (also known as velveteen). This type of velvet is one of the strongest and most hardwearing types available, and because it is comprised of only natural fibres, it’s much healthier to have around the house. Our choice of velvet also functions very well alongside other upholstery materials like leather and wool, providing a great contrast to their alternate colours and textures.

Take a look at our Knightsbridge velvet collection to see the wide range of colours that we have to choose from for your Chesterfield sofa’s upholstery.

Linen Chesterfield sofas

Linen is another contender for the title of the world’s oldest fabric that is still in use. Like velvet, demand for linen as an upholstery material has not dampened at all through the years, and it is still incredibly popular.

How is linen made?

Linen is made from the fibres of the flax plant, which grows all over the world. A process called ‘retting’ takes place to separate the fibres from the plant. It uses bacteria to decompose the bonds naturally. Next, they undergo ‘scutching’, where the stalks are removed by passing them through two metal rollers. Finally, the fibres are ‘heckled’, which is essentially the act of combing them into strands of useable material. From there, they are woven into linen.

Why choose linen for a Chesterfield sofa?

Let’s take a closer look at why so many people choose linen for their Chesterfield sofa:

  • It looks great: Linen has a fantastic texture that looks great, which is one of the main reasons people choose it for their sofas. It also has a natural sheen, so in a room with a lot of natural light, linen can add a lovely, fresh look to your furnishings.
  • It’s soft and cool: Linen is soft and cool to the touch, making your sofa the perfect place to kick back and relax, especially during the summer months. The fabric will only get softer with use, so you can look forward to years of supreme comfort.
  • It comes in a lot of colours: Linen fibres works well with a variety of dyes, so there is a whole rainbow of colours to choose from to match your home décor.
  • It’s very easy to keep clean: Linen fibres have a very compact formation that doesn’t come loose, even after lots of use. Particles of dust and dirt can’t settle and the fabric’s natural elasticity doesn’t allow them to become embedded in the outer later.
  • It’s hypoallergenic: Linen only consists of natural fibres and it’s resistant to microbes and mildew, so it is relatively unlikely to aggravate any allergies. The outer section of the fibres, which is the layer most likely to cause a problem, is removed as part of the production process.
  • It’s very strong and durable: Linen is one of the toughest upholstery fabrics around and will be able to stand up to the regular use of a Chesterfield sofa without wear and tear. In fact, US dollars are printed on paper that is 25% linen to add extra strength. Furthermore, the fabric’s fibres are long and smooth, so you won’t find them shedding or pilling like some other materials.

Linen options at Timeless Chesterfields

At Timeless Chesterfields, we have the option of having your bespoke Chesterfield upholstered in top-quality linen. Our Whitewell linen has been hand-selected by our team of fabric specialists for its luxurious feel and beautiful texture. This particular material is also very strong, with a blend of 65% cotton and 35% linen resulting in a heavyweight fabric with a soft peach-skin texture. It is also brushed after dying for a distressed finish.

Head over to our Whitewell linen collection to explore the variety of colours we have on offer for the upholstery of your Chesterfield sofa.

Our fabric collection

We hope that this guide has given you more of an idea of the potential of a fabric Chesterfield sofa. At Timeless Chesterfields, we have a team of experts who are dedicated to sourcing the very best materials from around the world, so you can rely on us to find the perfect one for your piece. All of the fabrics in our collection can be applied to our Chesterfield sofas, chairs, corner sofas, sofa beds, or footstools.

If you would like to get a closer look at some of the materials discussed in this guide, you can order swatches through our free sample service. This is the ideal way to see and feel the quality of our fabrics yourself before you order your sofa.

Alternatively, if you have spotted a fabric yourself that you would like us to upholster your Chesterfield furniture in, our skilled craftsmen are more than capable of accommodating your requirements. If you would like to discuss this, or have any other query about our products, get in touch and our team will be more than happy to help.

Please be aware that dye from none colour fast clothing and garments can transfer onto leather/fabric and is usually more noticeable on light leather/fabric colours such as whites, creams and ivory. We also recommend to always check your labels on your clothing and garments for further information.

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