Choosing a couch is nothing like selecting seasonal or accent cushions -- the large piece is typically a large investment. The best couch color is something you can live with for at least a couple of years, yet one that isn't so bland that you end up becoming bored and regretting the buy.
A white, light gray or tan couch creates a neutral canvas for colorful cushions in a living room with eye-catching color, from the rug to the walls to the accessories, or in the space with a neutral, monochromatic scheme. For a white-walled space, a black couch provides visual impact that's especially attractive when you fill the room with black and white accents. To keep the neutral piece from appearing lackluster, opt for upholstery with a faint check, herringbone pattern or other timeless design -- from across the room, vague prints practically disappear, allowing the neutral color to reign.
Warming to Autumn
If your style preference leans toward warm autumn shades -- reds, auburn brown and gold tones -- color expert and decorator Maria Killam suggests introducing a green-beige couch to the setting. If your warm color palette includes purple, contemplate using gray-green seating. To keep muted colors from appearing flat, mix textures -- a nubby tweed couch with silky cushions, for example -- and include small to large fabric prints throughout.
The living room with abundant wood accents -- exposed beams, rugged tables, hardwood flooring -- benefits from cool colored fabrics, including the couch upholstery. An overstuffed white leather couch isn't too precious amid such a woodsy display, and wipes clean with a damp cloth. Don't venture far if you plan to add color -- look to white that's tinted cool blue or green, regardless of the material, to avoid a dated or dreary effect in a wood-laden living room.
When you have to have bold color in everything, from the rug to the couch and up, make sure the scheme's contrast and saturation agree. Find bold shades that go together by looking across the color wheel -- where opposites actually do attract, especially when their color depth or saturation levels match. Examples include sunny yellow and sky blue, lime green and bright purple, and red with aqua. If you prefer a more everyday couch for longevity, a distressed saddle-brown sofa becomes the room's whimsical statement piece among colorful decor.
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