I work with this issue A LOT. So today, I thought I'd give you some suggestions on how to incorporate that brown leather sofa into one of the lighter, brighter designs that are so popular right now.
First, let's start with the mood board I created for my client.
Now, in her case, she also already had a pretty pale linen, tufted back chair. (This was the direction she really wanted to take the room) but because she and her husband have two young children, brown leather was a more practical choice for the sofa. And since the sofa is the largest piece of furniture in the room, it is a force to be reckoned with when you want to create a pale-toned room.
Here are my go-to suggestions for working with a dark sofa in a light room.
1. Paint your woodwork white. My client happens to have some beautiful built-in bookcases, a fireplace and lovely trimwork on her windows - all of which are painted white. The white woodwork goes a long way toward creating the mood she desires.
2. Choose a pale color for your walls. In the case of my client, she had already chosen a lovely pale gray. Which is exactly what I would have suggested. It is the perfect foil to the heaviness of a brown sofa.
3. Choose a light colored area rug. She also already had a great white rug in her room, but I suggested this one with a low-contrast pattern to create movement without being overpowering.
4. Don't be afraid to bring in some other dark items. In fact, you'll note in the moodboard, that the console and sidetable I suggested both have dark wood. They both work in the space because the dark wood speaks to the color of the sofa, while the open bases keep the pieces light and airy. I also suggested a high contrast black and white piece of art. This piece plays off another piece my client already has in the room, and since it is going on a large wall, it will serve to visually fill the wall without needing much else in the way of art.
5. Add color with pillows and accessories. As you can see in the mood board, I chose some very bold pillows to make the space pop. I also suggested that my client paint the backs of her built-in bookcases to bring some extra color in there. Accessories and paint are the easiest things to change in a room when you decide that you want a different look. I usually suggest that my clients purchase neutral furniture pieces and punch up the color with their curtains, pillows, and accessories. This helps to create a room that will last a long time, but can still look current.
So there you have it...my five go-to tips for lightening up that brown leather sofa. You can check out two other clients who had similar dilemmas here and here.
Have a great day~