Thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt, and being a mix between a daybed and a chair, the chaise longue, translated from French as ‘long chair’, is the predecessor of the contemporary luxurious chaise sofa.
The chaise longue was designed to be plushly upholstered, perfect for lounging upon, and long enough to stretch out in comfort. Popular culture depicts the chaise longue as part of the Victorian psychotherapist’s arsenal, or belonging in a French madam’s neo classical boudoir, but throughout history, the fascinating story of the chaise longue weaves.
Modern furniture designers have taking the glamorous chaise longue down a different route, combining it with a modular style sofa. A modular, or sectional sofa, allows for a wide variety of seating arrangements due its construction. Several separate pieces, connecting together to form one sofa, but with the ability to be divided into modules and moved around; for example, into an L-shape or to form two straight lines opposite each other for easy conversation.
With the addition of a chaise, the sofa suddenly gains an insurmountable glamor, offering the option to lounge, languorously, in the warm sun, or with a good book. As an aside, if you are greeting guests from your chaise, you should place an embroidered silk throw over your feet, as traditional etiquette states that ankles should never be seen – one to remember!
Often doubling up as storage, the chaise within a modular sofa set up, can be divided off, or left as a whole piece, whatever your needs and your room design call for. It can act as a separate smaller sofa, coffee table or work space – just how many times does your laptop end up on the sofa? It can just sit on the chaise until you reach out for it, or as New York landscape architect Alec Gun observed, [the chaise is] well suited for only one thing: doing nothing, but relaxing.
Designing a living room around a sofa with chaise is great fun, and the possibilities are endless. With its clean cut, straight lines, and tendency to a low back, a sofa with an additional chaise will open up a room, creating a sense of balance and harmony. It can draw the eye in whichever direction you choose, as it will naturally flow along the back edge of the sofa. Place a stylish contemporary coffee table in front, and this completes the set-up perfectly, or to the side for a more inviting look.
For some more awesome style ideas based around a chaise sofa, have a look at this video: