It’s the focal point of the living room and a big furniture investment: The sofa. More than just a place to sit, the style and color of the piece determine the vibe of a space. Once you’ve selected among the different sofa types and chosen one that fits your decor scheme, you can add impact through the color that you choose.
Even the types of chairs you add to the room can change the feeling based on their color. They don’t have to match and can be a mix of solids and prints. No matter what you choose, the color of the sofa is key because it really sets the mood. Choosing a sofa is a major furniture investment at any budget level, so there are a few considerations when choosing a color for your sofa.
Tips to bring color through furniture
The way you live should play as big a part in your selection of a sofa color as it does in the type of upholstery you choose. If you have a large family and pets, a white or pale-colored sofa is hands down a bad idea. Similarly, if you live alone and have a tidy lifestyle, a light color for your living room sofa may be a good option for your situation. Basically, if the sofa is going to see heavy use, you want to choose a color and/or pattern that will not readily show wear and tear or highlight stains from mishaps.
Evaluate your room and determine if there are any existing elements that will limit your choices of sofa colors. Maybe there’s wall-to-wall carpeting that you’re not replacing that will clash with a certain range of colors. Are there window treatment you can’t swap out, or will a wall covering have to drive your choice of colors? In these cases, it’s best to bring in swatches of the upholstery fabric colors that you want to make sure they work. The lighting in a particular room will affect how a color looks when added to the mix.
Versatility or Va-va-voom?
Consider your decorating style: Do you like to change up the look frequently or do you love a bold piece as a permanent element? If variety is the spice of life for you and you like to seasonally swap out cushions, throws and other elements to change things up, you’ll be happiest with a versatile color. If you love to make a big statement and aren’t constantly looking for seasonal spruce-ups, then feel free to go for a big bold color or print. This choice comes down to taste and your preferred design style.
The Location of the sofa
Last but not least, consider where the sofa is going. Remember that dark colors will fade if placed in direct sunlight, so that deep navy sofa may not be so vivid a few years in. If you want a dark color and the sofa will constantly be sitting in bright daylight, you’ll want to consider a texture or pattern. Something tweedy or nubby, can will help mask any slight fading as well as wear and tear. Also, if the room tends to be dark, you’ll want to opt for a sofa color that contrasts well, otherwise it will fade into the background.
Spruce the mood of the room through colors
Bold Colored Prints
A bold geometric print with purple –even if it’s only used on part of the sofa – makes a big style statement . Combined with an unorthodox construction that includes a bright blue steel I-beam and mixed materials, the print makes for a truly unique statement piece, created by Evan Crane. This is the type of sofa that will always be the focal point of a room.
This sectional sofa by Fama includes some really bright geometric prints that dominate the overall arrangement. The smaller geometric in some of the colors might be considered blendable, but when put all together in shades of blue, orange and an acid greenish yellow, it levels up to a bold combination that really stands out in the room.
Blendable Colored Patterns
Generally, small-scale patterns, especially those in neutral hues, are super versatile and can be blended into many different décor schemes. Whether the room is largely neutral or more dramatic, as the one shown here, the pattern fits, even when mixed with a larger, bolder pattern like the zebra pattern on the wall. A selection of patterned cushions is shown here, but you can easily let your mind wander and imagine the different colors of cushions you could also use as accents with the sofa.
Larger prints done in neutral colors can also be mixed and matched into a room with other prints and accent colors. This particular sofa is toned down a bit with the plain cushions on the seat, but it still stands out for its leafy print, even when mixed with all the other busy patterns in the room. Altogether it creates an eclectic but sophisticated interior design.
Pale pastels help create a serene and upscale environment when used on a sofa. If this sofa demonstrates anything, it is that pastels do not have to be feminine. This combination of a pale rusty orange color only hints at a creamsicle and the print pillows and other elements in the room help ground the lighter hue. The fact that only the seat is done in a pastel helps make it more versatile. Many pale colors can be used in a similar way to lighten the palette without trending toward a décor style that’s too feminine for the whole family.
At a glance, this sofa looks pastel pink, but on closer inspection, it’s actually striped. It’s another example of how to use a pastel sofa in a space without having it look feminine – especially with pink. When the other elements in the room are bold and have deeper colors, it offsets the daintiness of a pastel. Here, everything from the black occasional tales to the bold pillows and mainly the dramatic wall painting and art pieces come together to pinkish sofa.
Pale, muted hues add an extra element to the living room without introducing a bright color. When choosing among sofa types, this design by Nick Alain makes its impact through the elegant shape and metal accents and feet. A bright color would fight against the style and it has more impact in this dusty pale, grayish lavender color. The soft color also helps set the mood for an elegant yet understated living room with a bit of a feminine edge.
Among the sofa types, the Chesterfield is among the more masculine styles because of its traditional link to men’s clubs and traditional English libraries. To maintain a more gender-neutral mood for the living room a darker mushroom hue is a great choice for the sofa. Rather than set an old-fashioned feeling for the space, the velour-type upholstery keeps the room more contemporary while still using this classic sofa type.
The square arm style is among the retro sofa types and is versatile depending on your upholstery choice. Here, a dusty pink velvet creates a lighter mood, with a nod to the feminine. The tufting of the back adds a little formality to the piece, making it appropriate for a formal living room or a family room. The hue is muted enough that it doesn’t scream “girly” and could be played down with the addition of chairs and other furnishings that have a more masculine or moodier vibe.
Natural, Neutral Colors
Because it is among the larger furniture expenditures people will make, sofa types are always available in neutral or natural hues to make them more versatile. Neutral sofa types are like the chameleons of the furniture world because they can be dressed up or down, depending on cushions, accessories and other furnishings in the space. Neutral colored sofas are ideal if you like to change up the decor frequently as the allow for accent colors to be easily changed.
Choosing sofa types that are a little out of the ordinary can help establish a more eclectic vibe in the living room. This one is neutral, but it features an angular wooden frame that lends an earthier vibe than one done fully upholstered. The prominence of the wood creates a more casual atmosphere that can easily be brightened up with colorful cushions for a change of pace.
Luxurious Leather Tones
Leather is a popular upholstery choice for various sofa types for many reasons. The long-wearing material is considered luxurious and holds up better than fabric upholstery. Leather also creates a more upscale vibe in a room whenever it is used on a sofa. The level of formality is determined more by the style of the sofa than just the leather and it is used in living rooms and family rooms alike. If you have a particular mood you want to create and are using leather, consider your choice of sofa type carefully.
A more contemporary and streamlined silhouette make a leather sofa contemporary and far from the old days of the club chair or club sofa. A dark brown leather creates a moodier and more masculine atmosphere than a lighter brown leather choice would. The cleaner lines make this an appropriate choice for a living room where you want to convey a contemporary feeling.
Lighter leather and a more traditional type of sofa are a good base for a variety of accent colors. The neutral leather will help create a space that can be played toward either end of the gender spectrum — male or female — with the surrounding furniture. Using the sofa to set the neutral color palette for a living room is an easy way to establish an unfussy vibe in any space.
Even neutral leathers on sofas can be amped up with specific details. This particular one combines two shades of leather and quilting on the cushions and arms. The styling makes for a more masculine look of luxury, ideal for a family room or a man cave. The two-tone leathers are a very different option that also is out of the ordinary for most leather sofa styles.
For those who are not afraid of color, choosing a bold hue for the sofa can make a real style statement and set up a creative look that is livelier than most. No matter what the upholstery material, there are loads of options for color, from retrained deep colors to more saturated, bright hues. It all depends on the level of commitment to color and the desired vibe. This set from Abbyson is upholstered in leather and although it has Chesterfield styling, the modern silver feet and forest green leather give it a contemporary feeling.
For an even more contemporary mood, try an unexpected color like this mauve. Although it’s an unusual choice for a sofa color, it blends well with neutrals and browns and creates a relaxing atmosphere, especially used on a sectional like this one. Depending on how much color you want, you can up the mood of the room by adding more mauve accessories, or, let the sofa stand alone as the dominant colorful piece in the space.
Red is a particularly striking color choice for any sofa types, especially one with a unique design like this. An exposed wood frame and accent panel at the base of the sofa are brought out by the bright color of the velvet. The crimson hue also carries an air of luxury and with this style, a sense of vintage flair that adds to the personality of the room. Definitely more for a living room than a family room, it’s a sophisticated color and style.
Blue may be the color associated with boys but this turquoise version is better suited to a feminine parlor or living room. Choosing a bright hue adds a major pop and creates a more contemporary mood in the room, no matter what sofa types you’re talking about. Turquoise, or rather a robin’s egg blue color, accented with silver studs and lucite legs create an atmosphere of frivolity and fun.
Of course, not all bolder colors are bright or vibrant. This particular blue sofa has a gray undertone that softens the mood but still makes a statement. Amid the neutral chairs and wood furniture, the sofa stands out and is further highlighted by the small pops of orangey-red in the rug. The combination is another example of how a more tradition sofa style — the Chesterfield — can be used in a more casual, contemporary space with great success.
Color has always been used to set the mood of a space, but not everyone considers a sofa’s color as an important tool for the same purpose. These examples show how any space can be transformed with the color of the sofa, whether it is bright or neutral. So, before you go shopping for new sofa styles, consider how your pick and its hue will affect your space.