Is Cognac Leather Furniture as Neutral as Denim? Yay or Nay

I’m so happy that camel coats and cognac leather furniture are on trend. Although last week I bought a camel coat from Nordstrom and when it arrived it looked like a sack on me so back it went. Sigh. I guess it was a little too late in the season to have any kind of selection.

Louis Vuitton Bag


{Click on images for source}

Here’s what I’ve noticed. Cognac or caramel or toffee coloured leather is kinda as neutral as a pair of jeans. Now I’m talking leather mind you, if you get the same colour made up in a sofa, it just looks, well orange.

It’s the same with bags. If you had this bag (above) couldn’t you wear it with everything? Well that’s what I’m saying.

Cognac and Turquoise


Check it out with Peacock Blue.

Cognac & Navy


And of course it’s stunning with Navy blue, the new grey.



Red + Coganc Leather


And here it is with a red ottoman and turquoise in the background. These chairs looked like they were just plunked down to enjoy the heat of the fireplace, but they look right as rain.


Cognac + Purple


Here’s a cognac, tufted sofa with red, pink and purple.

Sunflower yellow & Cognac

When I saw this outfit on Pinterest, I pulled out the long and stunning yellow cashmere scarf Terreeia brought back for me from Italy last year and put together this exact outfit.

cognac & turquoise

Here’s a sectional with velvet in cognac. Not quite as fabulous is it?

Okay, so over to you? What do you think? Yay or Nay? Your comments are so much fun, thanks so much everyone!

Related posts:

The 3 Best Colours for your Leather Sofa

When to Buy Leather Furniture

The Hottest Trend Colours from Palm Springs

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in the  door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBookHow to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want and to make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

Shares 333


leave aREPLY

  1. My husband and I have two cognac chairs sitting in our newly painted living room waiting for our blue green sofa to arrive. Your post gives us hope because although I could see that they might work, I now see that they probably will. Thanks for posting! Your blogs are a tremendous help! If it’s not too much trouble I would love to send some pics once the room is done. 🙂

  2. I agree! I just bought a cognac leather coach for our renovated barn. It jot only looks beautiful now, but I believe it will always be a timeless classic!

  3. Not loving it with the red/purple, it seems to get lost. But yay to cognac in leather, especially with blue. Loving blue with orange! Your scarf looks gorgeous too 🙂

  4. I prefer a little bit of a lighter version of the cognac but think that it’s a classic neutral. For my personal aesthetic I would pair it with whites and greys and hits of aqua. I have a purse in cognac that I use all year round and it goes with EVERYTHING!!!! So stylish, versatile and timeless.

  5. I can’t wait for the auto industry to put that color “neutral” back into the upholstery for cars. I am soooo tired of the black and gray interiors.
    I want a cream exterior with cognac leather interior.
    So classy!!!

  6. Love the color, hate the leather, love the last top view of the sectional.
    Wasn’t it just awhile ago that all you saw on Craigs List sales were brown leather sofas. I’m just over leather, my opinion, just mine.

  7. To answer the question of whether cognac is a neutral, I took a peek at my favorite go-to book, “Showing Your Colors” by Jeanne Allen. The closest color to cognac in her book is “Brown-Gold” She says this color goes better with brights than with predictable neutrals (could be why the cognac sectional you picture looks blah). In essence, she’s saying it’s not a neutral. She goes on to say that it is more an accent color for shoes, gloves, or a handbag.

  8. When I was shopping for a leather chair for my husband I thought about a cognac color. But it would never look good with my Hickory floors or the pink beige tile around the fireplace. Brown worked better.

  9. This is so timely for me. I am assisting clients who have two cognac leather sofas with two orange beige suede chairs and golden oak shaker occasional tables. They just moved into their new home with white shaker style wainscoting, high ceilings and a traditional fireplace and all white traditional kitchen. Open space. I was thinking about bringing the turquoise accents from their art work and mask collection. But the golden oak have to go!

  10. It would indeed be a good thing if all would please consider alternatives to leather. You can still have a gorgeous home 🙂

  11. Have you seen the Miles Redd townhouse in the new House Beautiful? The living room, with a navy sofa, grasscloth walls, and navy and turquoise ikat curtains looks beautiful with the owner’s two already there cognac leather chairs. They sure look neutral to me in that gorgeous room, and if Miles Redd left them, they must be chic.

  12. To me, cognac is a classic but not a neutral. I had a cognac leather love seat until 2 years ago and found the colour to not be as flexible for accessorizing as a neutral is. Mine was a tan cognac as opposed to orange.

    As to camel….my mother had a camel hair coat when I was a teenager and she looked fabulous wearing it because she was a blonde with a light rosy complexion. She had a quality camel suit made for me but I looked like death in it because of my yellow skin and brown hair. Everybody wore camel at that time because it was in vogue. That was before “Colour Me Beautiful” came along; women wore whatever colour was stylish without heeding to their complexion. We know better now.
    In my opinion Maria, you would look great in camel hair with a contrasting print scarf, but it’s very important to get a quality camel hair. Cheap camel looks horrible on everybody.

  13. Nay. Cognac leather in cars, sure, maybe even clothes, but if it’s in an interior it would affect what colours I’d use around it. Cognac is within the orange spectrum so it looks good with some of the colours your images show, but I wouldn’t treat it as a neutral. The only oranges I ignore are the fir planks in old homes and orange/gold hardwood.

  14. Our home has a cognac sofa and love seat, bought at a time when- in a sea of black and expresso sofas- it was the only of this colour in the store. Best investment ever as we’ve never tired of it. It is still fresh looking and that’s with two dogs who like to nap on them. Accents are chartreuse and eggplant which tie together with a vintage persian rug in these hues. Because the floors are the old fir planks as mentioned above, cognac just seems at home here.
    Like old leather suitcases, remember the similarly coloured shearling coats of the 70’s? They’re still sought after and the more worn they are the better the patina, like the furniture in the fireplace picture. Very European.

  15. So many naysayers regarding leather, but I do have to say that over time, leather does not harbor odors that can occur from pets, cooking, sweaty or smelly visitors. It wipes down easily. Fabric doesn’t hold up over time as well as genuine leather. There’s also a reason leather shoes are more beneficial to own as opposed to vinyl or canvas. It’s more durable. Love the cognac.

  16. We have a leather strap on in this color which is kinky to say the least. However, in furniture or clothing, no way.

  17. Can navy really be the new grey?????? I love navy and cognac together, but its sure not as peaceful to live with as grey and white.
    So ps : should I buy the ikea kitchen in ADEL/Off white or in Lindingo GREY? YOu have no idea how I agonize over this.

    • HI Linda, Here’s how you’ll know the right answer. Just like you are not considering an espresso kitchen because that trend is over, that’s how much you’ll love the grey kitchen when that trend is over. Hope this helps, Maria

  18. For me, Cognac is one of the natural, classic brown leathers. Much like denim, sometimes the light versions will trend or the medium or darks. Occasionally a colored denim or leather might trend or appear in some décor, but the blue denims and the brown leathers have always remained classic. It’s not so much their color that keeps them classic and beautiful, it’s their texture – what they’re made of. And when they stick to their most natural state, they will always add that natural element and remain classic. Great article, Maria – really got people talking.

  19. LOVE, love, love this color combination. It is very smart and sophisticated looking. I’ve got to believe anyone who wears this combo possesses a very strong color sense! With regard to the last image, yes, it’s very “flat” looking; however, by introducing and mixing different materials, this should help create visual interest and variety. How about covering a few of the pillows with leather fringe or sequins for sparkle (in the same hue) and adding some chrome and brass accents. These small enhancements should help invigorate this living area. Thoughts?

  20. This post is just missing a pic of you in YOUR outfit! 🙂

    Love cognac, but I never left the brown trend. Brown has always been my favorite color and I can’t give it up. So in my house it’s a neutral!

  21. The walls in our bondage room is covered in cognac leather also. Creates quite the mood, especially in candle light.

  22. This conversation cracks me up. I am, in fact, coveting a tufted bench in a cognac tone. A little hint, but not overkill. As far as it being a neutral- and this is why I’m laughing- this blog demonstrates time and time again that the definition of neutral is not “Goes With Everything”. Cue the Battles of the Beiges posts, where rooms with beiges of conflicting pink and green undertones make us shudder. Just as a neutral beige does not go with everything, neither will a cognac leather.

  23. So, what neutral wall color would you use with navy and cognac furniture? I get that navy goes with cognac, cognac looks good with hardwood, but cognac or tobacco color is kind of yellow.

    • There are lots of neutrals that would work, blue greys, green greys, yellow beige, green beige, it would depend on what else is happening in the space. Maria

  24. 1) All Camels are not created equal. There are tons of undertones in this color. Do not make the mistake of thinking it is a one-size-fits-all color. You’ll regret it LOL (some camels look stunning on me and some make me age and look ragged (I am blonde with green eyes).

    2) All Congnacs are not created equal. There are tons of undertones in this color. blah blah, same same.

    Some camels are more classic than others.
    Some congnacs are more classic than others.

    some are ‘dirtier’ than others.

    Nuttin’ much to this.

    the right camel is forever
    the right cognac is forever.

    get the wrong undertone, and Ouch.

    same with blue jeans, btw. 🙂