Until a few months ago, I had never heard of a settee; much less know what one was. The settees that I had seen, I considered “weird, old looking, half couch things”. While that is actually a pretty good description, a settee is actually much more than that.
More than anything else, a settee is a statement of elegance – especially leather ones. A wood framed leather settee has a way of focusing ones attention directly to it. Yes, they often look old, but quite often, they are new and made to look old on purpose. The effect is often so convincing that if you were to place a settee in a room full of other chairs and furniture, it will often be the only piece that people won’t sit on.
A leather settee is usually bought as a decoration, rather than as a piece of furniture. Quite often, they are “oil tanned” with gives the leather a look of being old. Combine that with a skillfully stained frame and rivets in all the right places and you wind up with a period piece that not only looks convincingly old, but fragile as well.
Make no mistake, though; most settees are extremely durable, and often handmade with the highest quality leather and wood. In fact, out of all of the different types of leather chairs, settees are (as a rule) the best in terms of leather grade and wood type. This means that they are not fragile at all.
The one downside to settees is that they are not nearly as inexpensive as other types of leather furniture. While you can get an excellent leather recliner for a few hundred dollars and a pretty good couch for $1000 to $1500. A good leather settee can easily set you back at least $2500 or more. While this seems like a lot, keep in mind that for that price you are getting something of rare artisanship that will make a statement in your home like nothing else.