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Sofa vs. Chesterfield: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 9, 2023
A sofa is a cushioned seat for multiple people, while a chesterfield is a type of sofa with deep button tufting and often made of leather.

Key Differences

A sofa is a piece of furniture for seating two or more people, typically upholstered and featuring armrests. Chesterfield, however, specifically refers to a sofa with a quilted or tufted design, where the upholstery is secured to the frame with buttons or similar techniques.
Sofas come in various styles and shapes, adaptable to modern and traditional spaces alike. Chesterfields are characterized by their distinctive deep button tufting, rolled arms, and equal back and arm height.
The term sofa is more generic and widely used in everyday language, describing a common piece of living room furniture. A chesterfield is a term more commonly used in Britain and Canada, often associated with luxury and class.
While sofas can be made from a variety of materials, including fabric and leather, chesterfields are traditionally made of leather and are known for their classic, timeless appeal.
The sofa is a versatile term that can refer to various forms, including sectional pieces and sofa beds. The chesterfield, on the other hand, is a distinct style of sofa, not a category, and implies a specific look with its tufted upholstery and often, leather material.

Comparison Chart


A cushioned bench for seating
A type of sofa with tufted upholstery

Style Variations

Can vary widely in style
Traditionally a specific style with tufting

Common Usage

General term used worldwide
Specific term, more common in the UK/Canada


Made of various materials
Often made of leather

Arm Height

Varies depending on design
Typically has rolled arms with the same height as the back

Sofa and Chesterfield Definitions


A long upholstered seat with a back and arms.
The couple bought a new sofa for their living room.


A luxury sofa with rolled arms and a back of the same height.
He admired the craftsmanship of the chesterfield at the antique shop.


A couch, typically used for seating multiple people.
They moved the sofa to accommodate more guests.


A piece of furniture that embodies classic British style.
Their chesterfield was the centerpiece of their Victorian-inspired lounge.


A convertible sofa can be turned into a bed.
Their sofa pulls out to form a convenient guest bed.


A large and often tufted sofa with a distinctive style.
The chesterfield has become synonymous with refined taste.


A raised area of a building's floor, usually covered with carpeting, used for sitting.


A sofa with deep button tufting and often leather upholstery.
The old chesterfield in the library had seen better days.


A piece of furniture for sitting, reclining, and sometimes sleeping.
She fell asleep on the sofa while watching TV.


A type of couch known for its comfort and elegance.
The leather chesterfield added a touch of elegance to the office.


An upholstered seat with a raised back and one or two raised ends, long enough to comfortably accommodate two or more people.


A single- or double-breasted overcoat, usually with concealed buttons and a velvet collar.


To furnish with one or more sofas.


Chiefly Northern California & Canada A sofa.


To seat or lay down on a sofa.


A couch, sofa, or love seat with padded arms and back of the same height, often curved outward at the top.


A sectional sofa composed of multiple joined pieces.
The large sectional sofa took up most of the family room.


(Canada) Any couch or sofa.


A long seat, usually with a cushioned bottom, back, and ends; - much used as a comfortable piece of furniture.
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round.


A davenport with upright armrests.


An upholstered seat for more than one person


A fitted overcoat with a velvet collar.


Suave and witty English statesman remembered mostly for letters to his son (1694-1773)


An overstuffed davenport with upright armrests


A fitted overcoat with a velvet collar


Are all sofas comfortable for sleeping?

While some sofas are designed for dual-purpose seating and sleeping, not all are suitable for a good night's sleep.

Does the sofa have a standard size?

Sofas come in various sizes, from loveseats to sectionals that seat many people.

Can a chesterfield be a sectional?

Yes, chesterfields can be designed as sectionals with their distinctive style.

Why are chesterfields considered classic?

Their design has a timeless quality and has been popular for centuries.

What is the main feature of a chesterfield?

A chesterfield is known for its tufted upholstery and equal height of the arms and back.

Is a chesterfield always a three-seater?

No, chesterfields can vary in size from two to multiple seats.

Can a chesterfield be made with fabric?

Traditionally, chesterfields are leather but can be made with fabric upholstery.

Do chesterfields require special care?

Leather chesterfields need regular conditioning to maintain their appearance.

Are sofas typically centered in living room design?

Sofas often serve as a focal point in living room arrangements.

Is it common for sofas to have reclining features?

Many modern sofas include reclining sections for added comfort.

Are all leather sofas chesterfields?

No, not all leather sofas have the tufted design of a chesterfield.

What types of sofas are best for small spaces?

Loveseats and compact two-seater sofas are ideal for small rooms.

Can the term chesterfield refer to other furniture?

It typically refers to sofas, but some may use it for chairs with similar styles.

Do chesterfields come in modern designs?

While known for their classic look, some modern takes on the chesterfield exist.

Are chesterfields more expensive than regular sofas?

Due to their design and materials, chesterfields can be on the higher end of the price spectrum.

How do you clean a fabric sofa?

Fabric sofas should be vacuumed regularly and spot-cleaned as needed.

Can chesterfields fit into contemporary decor?

Yes, they can add a touch of classic elegance to modern interiors.

Can a sofa be used as a bed?

Sofa beds and convertible sofas are designed for this purpose.

Is a chesterfield a good choice for families with kids?

The durability of a leather chesterfield can be suitable for families.

What's the difference between a sofa and a couch?

There's no definitive difference; "couch" is often used interchangeably with "sofa."
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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