Buying a Second Hand Chesterfield Sofa? Here's What to Consider

By Adam Scot Tue 14 Mar 2023
Buying a Second Hand Chesterfield Sofa? Here's What to Consider

Buying a second hand Chesterfield sofa is a great way to save money on a high-quality piece that will last a lifetime. In this guide, we'll explore whether or not a second hand Chesterfield is for you, along with all the things you should look out for before making a purchase.

How long does a chesterfield sofa last?

When properly cared for, a well-made Chesterfield sofa will last up to 80 years, with the frame lasting decades longer. This makes for an excellent second hand investment piece, which can often be picked up for a fraction of buying new.

What are the benefits of buying a second hand?

Because of the techniques and materials used to make them, new Chesterfield sofas are notoriously expensive. The manufacturing process calls for high-quality materials and a labour-intensive process which takes hours of careful work from an experienced artisan. However, purchasing a well-made and cared-for second-hand Chesterfield sofa is a great way to own this iconic design at a fraction of the price.

Not only are Chesterfields expensive, but they also come with a long lead time. With waits between 6 weeks to 4 months, it's easy to see why buying a second-hand Chesterfield is an attractive option when you're stuck for time.

What are the disadvantages of buying second hand?

The main disadvantage of buying a second-hand Chesterfield sofa is that it's not made for you. This means that you don't get to choose the fabric or leather and the finishing touches which make a Chesterfield sofa uniquely yours.

Many of these details, such as the stud detailing and feet, can be changed by an upholsterer. However, the costs for this can add up to the difference between a good price and a bad price.

What to look for when shopping for a second hand chesterfield sofa?

You should always inspect a second hand Chesterfield sofa in-person before buying. This will allow you to ensure that it's comfortable, well-made and represents a good investment. If you're considering a second hand Chesterfield sofa, we recommend taking a close look at the upholstery material, frame and suspension system before buying.

Leather quality

As leather is a natural material that changes over time, it will show signs of age. In most cases, these signs of age should be considered a mark of quality.

Natural scars and bites will always be present in a good-quality leather Chesterfield sofa as, just like ourselves, animals do not have flawless skin that's free of blemishes. If you find a Chesterfield where the leather is consistent without any of these marks, it's likely that the material you're looking at is faux leather rather than natural leather, something that we would not recommend.

Fabric condition

When well cared for, a fabric Chesterfield sofa will remain the same throughout its life. You should, however, check to ensure the pleating is tight. Loose pleating is very common in Chesterfields made with cheaper, thinner fabrics.

Frame material

Authentic Chesterfield sofas will be built on a solid hardwood frame. A good, well-built frame will be straight, and there will be no creaks or squeaks when you sit on it. As the core of the Chesterfield sofa, the frame should be the strongest component. To determine the strength of the frame, we recommend sitting on the sofa in every position and carefully applying pressure to the arms and back with your hands. If there's any movement or sound, you should walk away.

Suspension system

A sprung or webbing system supports the cushions of a Chesterfield sofa. When done correctly, both systems make for a comfortable and durable Chesterfield, but you need to ensure that the system has been built correctly and made from quality materials.

To check the suspension system's quality and integrity, you should start by removing the cushions. With your hand outstretched, you should apply pressure to the seating area from top to bottom and left to right, covering the whole seating base. You are looking for any areas where there is less or no resistance. If you find a place where this is the case, the webbing has broken, or the springs have moved. This will almost certainly lead to problems in the future which will be very costly to fix, which is a very good reason to walk away.

Cushion filling

Like mattresses and pillows, even good-quality cushion fillings will degrade over time as they are stressed daily and absorb moisture and dust from around the home.

If you find a Chesterfield sofa with sunken cushions, don't discount it immediately. Many companies supply made-to-measure cushion fillings for Chesterfield sofas which you can order online and easily swap without professional assistance. For a 3 seater, you would expect to pay around £250 for completely new cushions.

The poor condition of the cushions should always be reflected in the price, though, as the cost of replacing the cushions could make the difference between a good deal and a bad deal.

Where can you buy a second hand chesterfield sofa from?

There are many great places to buy a second-hand Chesterfield sofas. Specialist second hand stores are often full of Chesterfields, as are online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay. If you'd like to learn more about this topic, take a look at our blog post:

Where To Buy A Chesterfield Sofa

Plus, if the seller is unable to offer you delivery, you can always hire a van or hire a local delivery company to pickup and drop off to your home. If you decide to use a removal company, you can reduce costs by opting for a 1 Man service.

Tips for maintaining a second hand sofa

When you finally purchase a second hand Chesterfield sofa, you should take some simple steps to keep it in good condition so that it continues to look great and holds its value.

Keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as these damage the colour dyes in both leather and fabric.

Lightly vacuum inside the buttoning every month to remove any dust.

And if it's leather, check out our guide to cleaning a leather sofa.

Is a second hand chesterfield sofa right for you?

If you've found a second hand Chesterfield sofa that will look great in your home and have time to inspect it in person, it could be the perfect way to save money and get an excellent investment piece that will serve you well for decades.

For busier people who want something that’s truly unique and are willing to wait, we’d always recommend buying a brand new Chesterfield made to your exact specifications. And if you're not sure how much to spend on a new sofa, then check out our guide: How Much Should You Spend On A Sofa?