When someone says ‘chaise-longue’, which of course they often do, I immediately think of the famous portrait of Marie-Antoinette reclining on her gold one, clad in frill and ribbon. Research has suggested otherwise and they are in fact, one of the most timeless pieces of furniture. With designers constantly looking for ways to update and rework the traditional, this classic interiors piece can now be made to complement even the most modern of homes. I’ve grouped together a few of my favourites, from the ornate to the contemporary and back again. Thankfully, you no longer need to have one hundred and one Bedrooms in order to get one of these into your house.
The Bergere Chair
From £3,700 >
The Bergere Chair and matching Stool is a genius option. Combined, they create the very traditional chaise longue shape of the tiled back and elongated seat but the option to separate them makes this a very functional piece of furniture. The wooden frame is available in Soane’s extensive list of wood finishes, which incorporates everything from Darkest Mahogany to Whale Bone Oak and Oiled Teak. As it is made to order, the fabric can be entirely of your choosing which means that your Bergere will not only be perfectly at home within your interiors but will also absolutely be one of a kind.
Hunter and Rose
French Chaise Longue
From £850 >
My second choice is a stunning Napoleon III scroll arm chaise longue. Simple yet definitely feminine in its shape, the price of this antique also includes re-upholstery so again, you can have it made entirely to your own tastes. A delicate linen fabric or a not-too-fussy floral would be wonderfully in keeping with the soft shapes on this day bed, and part of it’s appeal comes from the French style fruitwood legs on brass castors, meaning that it can be easily moved around. Place it in a Drawing Room under a large window on a bright day and there’s never been a more romantic way to devour a good book.
From £2,200 >
For something a bit more ornate but that is still in keeping with the traditional chaise shape, I found this incredible Indian-style daybed from Ebury Trading. Upholstered in dark grey wool within a studded and carved teak frame, this is a 1920s chaise with the most stunning silver decoration around the frame and lion paw feet. Although slightly more difficult to place given its size this piece would be perfect in a Hallway. Think about dark wood and stone surroundings and keep any nearby textures neutral and plain; the Indian daybed really needs to take centre stage. The dark coloured grey wool would benefit from being placed near a source of natural light, which would also bring out the immense detail in the animal and bird carvings around the back and arms.
C19th French Daybed
From £5,500 >
I absolutely adore this next find. Again, the 19th century French style equates to feminine shapes, soft outlines and elegant proportions but the contemporary striped fabric provides an ideal juxtaposition of antique against modern design. The monochrome French ticking lends this chaise a fun side and despite being bold, it would actually complement a wide range of schemes and therefore be at home in a number of houses. I love the contrast of seaside stripes and tassels with the beech legs and original bronze castors; this is a prime example of a traditional piece of furniture reworked for the 21st century.
George IV Scroll End Chaise
From £8,500 >
The scroll end is common to a lot of chaise longue beds and works particularly well on a bench style seat. This George IV scroll sofa has the most elegant mahogany frame and is upholstered in a soft panelled stripe so that the classical style bolstered ends are defined without being overpowering. The scroll chaise is definitely soft enough for a Bedroom, this shape being ideal at the end of a bed, particularly if the bed frame matches the wood of the legs. The chaise’s functionality and element of fun would definitely work to tie a calming Bedroom scheme together beautifully.
Early English Regency Giltwood Daybed
From £18,000 >
Some homes undeniably need a real standout piece of furniture to jazz up a room; a scheme or indeed, the whole house. My final choice is the most fabulous Giltwood Daybed, also from HOWE. This is perhaps the most classic style yet; a Regency daybed with gilding and ivory painted detail, but the pink linen (from HOWE’s sister fabric shop) makes this piece a very rare one and is cleverly matched with the bed’s original pink bolster cushions. Placing an item such as this one requires careful planning; it would be extremely eye-catching in a room with minimal colours but could also work beautifully in a Drawing Room that has similar furniture. Wherever you place it, this chaise longue is one of a kind and exactly the sort that Marie Antoinette would have reclined on herself.
Main image credit: HOWE London