Okay, before you end up with a room this white
(below)? Let's go through all the colour options first:
It's been a long time since I have picked out a new sofa. My first one was black and white stripes, I was 21. Then, when I was married at 27 my husband and I bought a sofa and loveseat in forest green leather, back then when we all thought it would be timeless! Then, (2 years later when I got divorced–I did not take the forest green with me it was a beige-on-beige leaf pattern in a tuxedo style. I rag-rolled my walls back then (to match the sofa) and I remember that the beige tones on the walls were different from the sofa (so they didn't actually match) and it always annoyed me. Now I know that the beige paint I chose was pink (common mistake) and the leaves in my sofa were yellow beige.
So, lets start off with the neutrals:
Yellow beige or sand
(above) is also a good neutral sofa to choose. It would look good with blues, purples, garden fresh greens, black, brown and cream or white (think English Patient
). You can't go too bright with the colours though (like lemon yellows), otherwise the sofa will start to look dirty.
Well if you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that pink beige/coffee or mocha are like a dirty word around here and it's only because I have seen too much pinky beige broadloom (from the 80's) in my time. The problem with a mocha coloured sofa (if you don't want more pink beige on the walls) is that the only colours that work with it are greeny grays or taupy shades (or blue and purple, but I don't consider either of those colours neutral for a wall colour). Notice in the above photo the chair is done in a yellow and white pattern--this does not work well in my opinion). Can't do fresh or yellow greens
(or anything clean) with this sofa because it will just look dirty. So your decorating options with this sofa colour choice are very limited indeed. I would run far away from this colour!
A greeny beige or mushroom coloured sofa (above) was a big look right before the brown trend came on so strong in 2002, it would look dirty with fresh and clean colours (except green
like in this photo, but it should also be repeated to really pull it off effectively) so I would get this color if you like rusty oranges, gold, muted red and I simply adore gray greens with purples! This is the style I'm getting by the way (above) two cushions and a tight back.
Many of you probably have a brown sofa since this has been the hot trend for the past 8 years, my issues with brown are that we went too far with it. I have been in too many homes where all the cabinetry, including the granite and backsplash are BROWN! It's too much. A brown sofa alone is fine, but I would still paint your brown cabinets white
(or whichever colour is appropriate) even if you've just moved in.
If you have kids this is a good colour and if you loved brown before it ever became hot--then I would buy one. But if you are loving it now because it's trendy, you might love gray more when it really becomes mainstream and then you'll be cranky with the brown one you selected. Basically–like I said in this post about kitchen cabinetry
--brown looks best with creams and beige's while black looks good with white. That's why black (below) is also hot right now (but NOT as a sofa colour--that was the 80's) because it looks so crisp and graphic with white and raspberry, turquoise, etc.
A goldy beige sofa (below) looks good with richer tomato reds, burgandy, navy, blues, rust, gray greens, etc. I would definitely stay away from turquoise, raspberrys, lemon yellows, fresh greens, etc. It's usually serious and more traditional.
One more basic neutral to discuss and that is a charcoal sofa (below). The overall feel of a charcoal sofa I would say is more masculine but certainly a good colour if you have kids. I would stick to brighter colours for accents though, reds, mandarin orange, yellow greens, and even lighter purples would look good here.
Now for the colour options! A lot of my design consulting has to do with 'which colour sofa to buy' because there is too much choice. My clients love the idea of incorporating more colour into their decorating but they are worried about pulling it off so it looks good. Here's where my on-line consulting comes in (or if you live in Vancouver I can see you in person). Click here
to email me for my rates and what it looks like to work with me on-line and then you won't have to stare at your empty living room any longer!
Lets start with red at the top of the colour wheel. Red of course looks good with gray greens (but not christmas green--unless it actually is Christmas) golds, goldy beige, yellow beige (as above), purples and blues.
Careful with using too much black with an orange sofa (or it'll remind you of halloween) but blues, purples, greens, browns and creams are great with orange, and yellow of course.
I love this mandarin orange sofa with purple! Isn't it fabulous! Hey speaking of my post the other day on stone fireplaces
and how they should relate to something in the room, notice how he matched the drapes to the stone but they don't appear to go with anything else?
Next is a yellow sofa. This is the colour of my new sofa (I know you're not surprised) I can't wait until it's ready! I just don't think you get tired of a favourite colour as fast as others which is why I think instead of a neutral, you should go for a colour. All the fresh and happy colours look good with 'colour' (not just yellow), right now I'm thinking of accenting with raspberry, (I'm just loving pink and yellow together these days) I haven't decided quite yet. But really, unless I wanted to start incorporating earth tones into this palette (which I won't) all the fun and happy colours will work. And I love the drama of this colour, it's what you would expect to see in a colourists house!
I love green, it would be my second choice for a sofa colour, just like in this loft I decorated
for one of my clients. Also a great colour with browns, reds, orange, purple, pink, yellow and blues. So versatile yet calm and serene.
I think blue is a totally timeless colour for a sofa. It is a majority favourite colour after all! A great choice if this is your favourite colour and it also goes with every colour, just like green!
If you love jewel tones, reds, fuscia, golds, kelly greens, this is a great colour to get. Purple is tricky though because it goes red or blue really fast so make sure you carry around the fabric swatch with you when you're shopping so you buy the right colour accessories. See in the above photo how the shag is more red? Unless you are going for that look, shop with the colour! Greeny yellow walls would look so great with this colour scheme. Neutral colours die with a purple sofa so you need green yellow to keep it sophisticated and happy!
Notice I haven't talked about a sofa with pattern (below)? Because unless you can afford to replace it every 5 years (which is usually when we get tired of any look) I would stick with a solid colour.
I hope I have inspired you to consider choosing a colour for your next sofa! What colour is your sofa right now?
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