How to Choose a Sofa Color

Furniture in white living room
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  • 01 of 04

    Neutral or Accent?

    Neutral sofa color
    @maginnis/Twenty20

    If you’re starting a decorating project from scratch, a sofa can be chosen first so you can decorate around it. A showpiece sofa as inspiration for a room could be upholstered in a vibrant luxury fabric, or covered in a colorful print. It is a focal point of the room.

    If you are adding a sofa to an already decorated room or if you’d prefer the sofa play a supporting role, then choosing color becomes important. Choosing a new sofa for an existing color palette means that you'll have to decide...MORE if the sofa will be neutral, or if it will take on an accent role.

    There are designers that favor a sofa that matches the wall color to unify the room and make the room look larger. This is a creative idea for a harmonious color scheme. If you are buying a sofa to match your wall color, then changing the wall color in the future could be complicated. The most common approach is to choose a sofa that complements the other decor and is not the center of attention nor camouflaged into the wall color. This is why neutral sofa colors are the most popular for most homes. 

     

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  • 02 of 04

    Light or Dark?

    Blue blanket draped over brown sofa
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    Once you decide if your sofa will be an accent or neutral color, you'll need to decide if your sofa will be light or dark. Your floor color has a big effect on choosing the right sofa color. If you're considering a potential sofa sitting on your floor, will it float on a sea of dark wood flooring or carpet or will it blend into it? Since a sofa is traditionally large and upholstered, and most fabric absorbs light, it can darken a room considerably.

    If you’re putting a dark sofa on a dark...MORE floor, it will appear to disappear into the room. If you would like to use a dark sofa on a dark floor, you should try to make it more visible. A dark sofa with metal or light wood legs can create visual space between the sofa and the floor. The use of a lighter rug under the front of your sofa can separate the dark colors and make the sofa color pop. A light wood or metal coffee table could also help to define the sofa from the floor. 

    A light-colored sofa has different challenges from a dark one. The biggest challenge of a light sofa is staining and wear. Before selecting a white or light sofa consider how the room is being used now, not how you hope it will be used. If your dog is like mine and believes that a sofa is just another large dog bed, then you would probably not want to put a white sofa in your living room without some serious retraining. If your sofa will be used by kids and pets, and you still love the idea of a light sofa, then washable slipcovers are a stylish compromise. 

     

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  • 03 of 04

    Which Color Option Is Right for Your Needs?

    Cozy blue sofa
    @kateryna.m/Twenty20

    Once you've considered the light and dark of your new sofa, it's time to think about color. If you're not working with a showpiece sofa, then a sofa in a neutral color is a popular choice. Neutral sofas are easy to decorate around, and can easily keep up with your style as it changes over the years. 

    Neutral sofa fabric includes beige, gray, taupe, and cream. A matte beige sofa fabric can appear dull around other colors, but a textured beige fabric with flecks of monochromatic color ca...MOREn create interest without adding new colors. Gray sofas can range from pale to charcoal colors. Considered a style chameleon, gray can be sophisticated, comfortable, cool or crisp. Neutral sofas can quietly complement your other decor, but still be stylish and attractive. 

    A sofa of any color can be beautifully integrated into your space if you treat it as another color from your color scheme. This means adding accessories or prints in the same color as the sofa, to spread the color around the room. A sofa is a large expanse of fabric, by repeating pops of the same color as an accent, it can balance your room.

     

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  • 04 of 04

    How Will You Add Finishing Touches?

    Close up of cushion on sofa
    Johner Images / Getty Images

    When you buy a new sofa, don't feel obligated to purchase a matching love seat. A more flexible style option is choosing a set of upholstered chairs to complement your new sofa. The chairs don't have to be an exact match for the sofa but can incorporate the sofa's color in a pattern or texture. Using a set of chairs instead of a matching loveseat gives you even more opportunities to add color from your color palette and more options for furniture placement.

    Don't forget...MORE accent pillows and throws as the finishing touches when coordinating your new sofa with your room decor. These little pops of color give your living room that pulled-together look.