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Chaise Sofas: All You Need to Know

 

The chaise longue is a piece of furniture that goes beyond simply ‘classic’, having been in existence since as early as 3000BC, with examples made of wood, palm, ivory and ebony having existed in ancient Egypt. The comfortable, versatile style of furniture was popular in all sorts of cultures though, and is seen depicted in Roman mosaics and ancient Greek frescos, as well as more modern Victorian paintings and French art.

The style has continued to be updated and adapted though, and examples available today vary from the classic and retro to the extremely modern, and everything in between, so they can suit any home or style of interior design.

What is a chaise longue?

The name is simply French for ‘long chair’ and essentially that is all a chaise longue is: a chair with a seat long enough to support the legs of the person sitting on it, so that it becomes a cross between a chair, a sofa and a daybed. The most common style is to have a low back, and an arm that runs a third or half the length of the seat, creating a corner that the occupant can nestle into. Some simpler chaise longues, however, may simply have a cushion or bolster at one end; a style particularly reminiscent of the classic ‘psychiatrist’s couch’.

Devon Chaise Corner Sofa

What different styles are there?

Chaise longues are available in as wide a range of styles as any chair or sofa, reflecting the many eras in which they were popular. A classic type that harkens back to the ancient chaise longues of the Egyptian may be wooden with a slatted or woven base on which pillows can be placed, and these look particularly great in light, open rooms and especially conservatories or for occasional outdoor use. Equally, a traditional Victorian style may be much heavier, with tufted buttons and velvet upholstery.

A typical mid-century style is to have a simple chaise longue with no arms, and a curved seat that rises in the middle to support the knees and at the end to support the back. These are often wood or aluminium, and upholstered in rich leather. As well as their common association with the psychiatrist’s office, this style look fantastic in a study or library.

Finally, of course, modern chaise longues can be upholstered in almost any fabric, and are often more square and contemporary in style, with low backs and arms, and comfortable upholstered cushions.

Darwin Chaise Sofa

Chaise longues as part of a sofa

A popular style for modern sofas is to incorporate a chaise longue into one end of the sofa, having perhaps two or three ‘normal’ seats, and then one extended. This is an incredibly versatile style that provides the benefits of a standard sofa along with the comfort of a chaise longue for when you are relaxing, perhaps watching a film. Equally, it means the chaise longue forms a corner sofa, creating extra seating space and a comfortable, intimate feel when several people are sitting down together.

Kingston U Shape Sofa with Chaise

This style even allows you to have a chaise longue sofa bed, with part of the sofa folding out into a bed while one end remains as a chaise longue. Often in this style, the chaise longue section holds a storage compartment where bedding and pillows can be kept, making for a perfect self-contained guest bed.

Sicily Sofa Bed with Chaise

Accessories

The classic chaise longues of the ancient world always used to be covered with pillows, blankets and other warm and comfortable accessories. A chaise longue can be really enhanced by these sorts of soft furnishings, especially as they are so often used for reading or napping, allowing the occupant to make themselves perfectly comfortable.

Duresta Domus Haywood Chaise U Shape Sofa

A good reading lamp is also a perfect addition to a chaise longue, particularly one that hangs low over it, making it a cosy and self-contained place to read and relax.

Whatever style you choose, though, and however you accessorise it, a chaise longue or chaise-end sofa is both a practical and stylish piece of furniture that is extremely versatile and flexible, so you’re guaranteed to get good use out of it.