We had a pretty successful initial design presentation yesterday with our new Chestnut Hill clients and they surprised me by being pretty open to velvet teal sofa. This space is going to be soft, pretty and fresh with a blend of traditional and modern pieces. I envisioned using various pastel tones of grays, blue-greens and lavenders in a mix that felt mostly neutral One might think that throwing something bold like a colorful sofa into the mix would automatically make the space overwhelmingly colorful. On the contrary, I picture one stunning, grounding colorful moment with a pretty muted palette mixed around it. Forget the pop of color on the pillow, this is a more elegant grown up version.
So how do you successfully mix a colorful sofa into a more neutral room?
1. Limit your use of accent Pillows
I know, I know, pillows are super fun, but I noticed a common themr amongst stunning rooms with colorful sofas- Very Few Pillows. It makes sense really, if you are going bold on the sofa, shouldn’t the focus be on the sofa instead of the pillows? I’m not saying no pillows, but don’t use pillows for big personality, maybe just soft colors, quiet patterns, etc.
2. Keep the rug Neutral!
With a bold sofa, it is really essential to keep the other big pieces simple. Nothing takes up more space in the room (visually and physically) than the rug. To maintain a neutral feel, stick with a sisal, creamy Moroccan, of a softly colored patterned rug. We aren’t doing white in our space (hello it’s a family room with little kids!) but it will have a quiet, yet interesting feel to it.
3. Place the Sofa in front of a window
Instead of making a statement with a piece of art over the sofa, it can feel very serene to have the sofa in front of a large in window. Obviously it doesn’t work in every scenario, but it will work in our layout and I think it will help the room feel more neutral.
4. Limit your color pallet to two colors
The sofa doesn’t need to be the only color in the room! Go up a few tones on your color wheel to find softer tones that coordinate well without feeling too busy. Choose a completely different color that works well as your second color. I love the use of lavender in the room above. By limiting the pallet to two colors the room will feel softer and more cohesive- thus more neutral. Note that I don’t consider white or gray “colors” so feel free to mix them in with wild abandon as well.
5. Mix More Textures, Less Colors
For a softer feel mix varying levels of the same tone in different textures (velvet, shimmery, furry, matte.)
6. Resist the urge to repeat your sofa color
It can be tempting to do an accent chair in a coordinating pattern that ties into your sofa color. That’s fine and good, but it will take you away from a soft, neutral feel real qick! A little color goes a long way, so keep the accent chairs white, cream, gray or a coordinating softer color. Keep the other Upholstery Neutral instead of Matchy.
7. It’s OK to Match a Little. Pick one Tie-in Piece.
Wait did I just totally contradict myself? Whatevs. I think you can repeat your color ONE Time. I love how the art ties into the colorful upholstery the room above. This was one of my main inspiration for our design.
We still have a lot to finalize with our Chestnut Hill project and our client has not committed yet to the teal, but I’m starting to get pretty excited! What do you think… Is the concept of a colorful sofa in a neutral room make sense to you? Or do you think of “neutral” in a more strict non-color terms?