When it comes to choosing a classic luxury furniture piece for your home living room, the meridian chaise longue is perhaps amongst the foremost examples of high style that come to mind. Developed by French upholsterers and popularised during the French Empire period of European history, the meridian chase strikes one as being half way between a sofa and an armchair, although from a functional perspective there are significant differences that are worth detailing.
The first thing to note about the meridian chaise longue, is that it takes its name from its intended purpose to facilitate the habit of taking an afternoon nap or siesta between 12 to 2, a time when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky. In the world of the 18th century, prior to onset of consumer capitalism, it was far more common for individuals to adopt this custom or way of life. Consequently, meridian chaise longues were traditionally placed in drawing rooms, bedrooms and living rooms where wealthy individuals would relax and socialise during these hours.
In modern times, there are very few of us who continue the practice of taking an afternoon nap, rendering the chaise longue somewhat redundant in terms of its original, intended purpose. Yet the connotations, associations and image of this era still informs our view of the chaise, shaping the aesthetic of the modern piece. As a result, rather than fading from the limelight, the meridian chaise longue remains popular amongst those who wish to inject a touch of old world glamour into their homes, whether they live in period properties or more modern, urban apartments.
Retaining the curvature of their 18th century form, the meridian chaise typically incorporate a elevated headrest and extended footstool together with a gently curved armrest to give the piece proportion and shape. The vast majority of chaises tend to be upholstered in fine fabric, which adds to their ornamental appeal and allows for a wide variety of style customisations, although on occasion you may be able to pick out a design which incorporates natural leather. In terms of finish, chaises remain broadly traditional with deep buttoned styles retaining popularity with the modern audience. While more contemporary colours and techniques are used with the meridian chaise, its far more common to see designers experiment with the overall design than with the finish.
So if you would like to add a meridian chaise to your home, what should you look for when shopping around? Well, the first thing to consider will be the aesthetic of your room space and the available space you have to showcase the product. From a stylistic perspective, it’s imperative that you look to match the chaise as closely as possible to the look and feel of your interior space. I’d also be sure to question whether you have sufficient space to accommodate a chaise longue alongside your existing sofas and armchairs. Without ample room, you may find adding a chaise will clutter the room which will have a knock on impact on how effectively they work within your space.
To make the most of this furniture piece, make sure you have sufficient negative space to showcase the chaise as a centrepiece and focal point of your room. Even if you don’t find yourself taking enough afternoon naps to justify the expense, meridian chaise longues can still inspire and impress when it comes to updating your home décor.