Which Colour Sofa Should You Buy?

Which colour sofa should you buy? It’s been a long time since I have picked out a new sofa. I bought my first one when I was 21 and it was black with white stripes.

When I got married at 27 my husband and I bought a sofa and love seat in forest green leather, back when we all thought this colour would be timelessTwo years later when I got divorced I left the forest green sofa behind — so much for timeless!

Then I bought a beige-on-beige patterned sofa in a tuxedo style. I rag-rolled my walls to match the sofa, because that was what we were doing then. 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 undertone of the beige paint I chose was pink (common mistake) and the leaves in my sofa were a yellow-beige.

Before you end up with a room that’s all white because you’re afraid of colour, let’s go through the colour options you could consider for your sofa. 


Let’s start off with the neutrals:

Eggshell Colour Sofa

What colour sofa should I buy?

Right now everyone seems to be coveting either a white or gray sofa like the ones above. The reason? Colour is moving to fresh and happy! And all those colours look good with the Belgian inspired warm gray tones and whites. White is crisp, so it looks good with fresh colours.

Yellow-beige Colour Sofa

Yellow-beige or sand (above) is also a good neutral sofa to choose. Yellow-beige looks good with blues, purples, yellows, garden fresh greens, black, brown, as well as cream or white (think English Patient). You can’t go too bright with these coordinating colours though. Lemon yellow, for instance, will look too bright and can cause the sofa to start to look dirty.


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that pink-beige/coffee or mocha are like dirty words for me. That’s partly because I have seen too much pinky-beige broadloom (from the 80s) in my time. More than that, pink-beige is a dirty word for me because it’s such a bossy colour.

The problem with a pink-beige/mocha-coloured sofa is that the only colours that work with it are greeny-grays or taupe shades. Unless you want more pink-beige on the walls. Blue and purple can also work with pink-beige, but I don’t consider either of them a neutral option for wall colours.

In the photo above you can see the arm of a chair upholstered in a clean yellow and white pattern. This doesn’t work well because a clean colour like any fresh or yellow greens makes the sofa look dirty.  So your decorating options with a pink-beige sofa are very limited indeed. I would run far away from this colour!

Nate Berkus

 A greeny-beige or mushroom coloured sofa (above) was a big look right before the brown trend came on so strong in 2002. While green-beige looks dirty with most fresh and clean colours, it can look good with greenlike in this photo. Ideally it should also be repeated to really pull it off.

If you like rusty oranges, golds and muted reds, green-beige can be a wonderful color option. I simply adore gray-greens with purples! By the way, this is the style I’m getting for my next sofa — two cushions and a tight back.


Many of you probably have a brown sofa since this has been the hot trend for the past eight years. It’s not that I don’t like brown; my issues 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 brown is a good colour because it disguises a lot of dirt. And, if you loved brown before it ever became hot — you should 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 beiges 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 80s) because it looks so crisp and graphic with white and raspberry, turquoise, etc.

Black Colour Sofa

A gold-beige sofa (below) looks good with richer tomato reds, burgundy, navy, blues, rust, gray-greens, etc. I would definitely stay away from pairing turquoise, raspberrys, lemon yellows, fresh greens and any of the brighter, cleaner colours with gold-beige. Gold-beige is usually serious and works well for a more traditional look.Which Colour Sofa Should I Buy?

English arm sofa (above) from Williams Sonoma Home

 There’s one more basic neutral to discuss — charcoal (below). I would say the overall feel of a charcoal sofa is more masculine but it’s certainly a good colour if you have kids. Stick to brighter colours for accents though, reds, mandarin orange, yellow greens, and even lighter purples would look good here.

Slate Colour Sofa

Now for the colour options! A lot of my design consulting has to do with clients asking me 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 online consulting help you (or if you live in Vancouver I can see you in person). Click here to email me for my rates and what the process looks like to work with me. You then you won’t have to stare at your empty living room any longer!

Red Colour Sofa

Victoria Hagen

Let’s go around the colour wheel, starting with red. Red, of course, looks good with gray-greens (but not Christmas green — unless it actually is Christmas) golds, gold-beige, yellow-beige (as above), purples and blues.

Orange Colour Sofa Credit

Be careful using too much black with an orange sofa (or it’ll remind you of Halloween).  Blues, purples, greens, browns and creams all look great with orange, as does yellow.

Mandarin Orange Colour Sofa Jeffrey Bilhuber

 I love this Mandarin orange sofa with the purple armchair! Isn’t it fabulous?! This room reminds of a post I wrote the other day on stone fireplaces and how they should relate to something in the room. Notice how the designer above matched the drapes to the stone, but they don’t appear to go with anything else?

Yellow Colour SofaNext 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 opting for a “safe” 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 colourist’s house!

Green Colour Sofa Credit

 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. It’s also a great colour paired with browns, reds, orange, purple, pink, yellow and blues. So versatile yet calm and serene.

Blue Colour Sofa


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. It also goes with every colour, just like green!

Purple Colour Sofa Credit

If you love reds, fuscia, golds and Kelly greens, these are great jewel-tone colours to get. Purple is tricky though because it goes red or blue really fast. Make sure you carry around your purple fabric swatch with you when you’re shopping so you can be confident you’re buying the right accessories.

See in the above photo how the shag is more red? Unless you are going for that look, shop with your sofa colour swatch! 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 that I haven’t talked about a sofa with pattern (below)? That’s because unless you can afford to replace your sofa every five years (which is usually when we get tired of any look) I would stick with a solid colour.

Related post: Why A Colourful Sofa is as Timeless as Subway Tile

Which Colour Sofa Should You Buy Jeffrey Bilhuber

I hope I have inspired you to consider choosing a colour for your next sofa! What colour is your sofa right now?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.


Related Posts:

When to buy Leather Furniture

What Everyone should know about Beige

Warning; You are the Colours in your Home

Do you Dream about Decorating your House?

Do all Greens go Together?


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leave aREPLY

  1. Maria…I loved the article. Very informative. I will be buying a house within next year and am thinking of decorating ideas, colors, etc.

    I just have a comment. In some of the posts, a couple people were not happy with their sofa colors and were thinking about getting rid of them. My comment is, if you love the sofa shape, just get it reupholstered!!!

  2. I love the green sofa you have pictured above. We are looking at buying 2 sofas for our living room. Would 2 of the same color be too much? Of course we could do diffrent fabric with patterns. With that green what would be a good pallette for the room and ceiling for paint? Thanks for any help..

  3. Maria, I love your post regarding sofas and color!! Just a few days ago I saw a green microfiber sofa at macy’s that I fell in love with! I’m afraid to purchase it because my living room wall is kind of a beigey tan color! Would the green sofa work??? HELP!!!!

  4. Barbara, stay far, far away from microfiber, I only specify it if I have a gun to my head (seriously). And it depends on how fresh the green is. If you choose a green gray, then it will be great with the beige tan, but if its a happy green then it will probably clash.
    Hope this helps,

  5. Maria, just came across your blog, thanks. I’ve been searching for sometime for fabric to reupholster my vintage black leather couch seat and back cushions. Love the gray fabric on the black framed couch, think I found my color. Still not sure on what type of fabric to get.
    To Barbara, for what its worth, I agree, stay very far away from microfiber, especially if you have kids and pets.

  6. Thank you so much for the sofa color information. I am driving myself crazy because I want to redo my living room in a cottage country look and can not find any fabric that works for this look. I really wanted a raspberry/dark pink sofa and floral and/or ticking fabric for the chairs. Do you think this look will ever be achievable? I have found nothing. I have looked in about 20 furniture stores and all the available fabric choices. I have a picture of my dream room. I just can’t find the fabrics.

  7. Hi Karen,
    Furniture stores generally sell standard fabrics that most people buy which are neutral. To find what you want, you’ll have to look at fabrics available to designers. Most furniture stores will do COM (customers own material) so if you ask them how much yardage they need, you can buy it from a place like Calico Corners, etc.
    Hope this helps, Maria

    • Thanks Maria, I am so nervous to do this. Do you know what the up coming color trends may be? Do you think a Rasberry color sofa would be a mistake? I think maybe red would be safer. I wish I could show you a picture of what I want.

  8. Hi Maria, a few weeks ago I commented on your post about your living room and your yellow sofa. I said I wish I had the guts to get a bright color like that because I love it. You suggested getting a sofa in my favorite color. Well, I’m going to get my green sofa! Hubby and I went to the store today and found one we both like and we’re going to special order it in GREEN!!! Yeay!!!

  9. We have just bought a red sofa and it is in a hog bristle quarter strength painted room with a bursa beige marble floor….. It doesn’t look right but I’m stuck with it! Any ideas please………

  10. Hi Maria
    I recently acquired a red lounge suite and it will be going into a hog bristle quarter painted room with a bursa beige marble floor, do I have a real problem here ? Or is it my imagination lol
    I have just purchased you ebook and I’m still not 100% sure ? Help please ……

  11. Hi Maria,
    I love this post. Thank you for sharing such great insight.
    What greeny yellow paint color do you think would work best with the purple sofa?

  12. I have the dreaded chocolate/medium espresso BROWN couch (sadly it’s new) with natural oak floors and trim. The walls are Benjamin Moore “bath salts” and the ceiling is Benjamin Moore Soft Chamois. The new wall color “bath salts” did help the room. It was previously a tan. What colors would you use to accent the living room? It has a large east facing window in room. I’m having a really hard time making this look a bit more modern.


  13. Hi Maria,
    I have a set of two green/beige occasional chairs + a warm, brown leather arm chair that I inherited. I am trying to find a sofa to coordinate but am really struggling since adding in a grey (which was what I was originally going for) would make 3 neutrals, I can’t seem to find a similar green/beige in sofa materials and do not have the budget for a custom build. I don’t love the green/beige much anyway but kind of want/need to make it work. Can I use the chairs without having to repeat the colour elsewhere or use the green/beige more as an accent ‘colour’?

    On a side note – the Nate Burkus picture with the mushroom/Green/beige sofa also has brown, black and white neutrals. This colour scheme seems to go against everything you teach with all those neutrals and the dirty furniture does not seem to relate to the clean black and white – nor is the black and white repeated anywhere other than that one piece of art. Since I’m trying to picture how my room might come together would not continuing of the browns or beige in carpetting tied everything together better? Would cream not have been a more cohesive choice?
    Thank you for helping train my eye a little better!