Whether you’re searching for the perfect new sofa for your living room or planning to repaint your walls in a new colour, knowing which colour combinations work – and more importantly, which don’t work – is the key to effective interior design.
Matching your living room furniture, particularly your sofa and armchairs, with the colour of your walls and ceiling is one of the most important aspects of design. With the right combination, your walls and furniture can subtly complement each other.
With the wrong combination, however, you’ll create a clash of different colours and shades – one that makes even the most stylish sofa look unusual and out of place in your living room.
From focusing on the room’s dominant colour to complementing a colour by using subtle variations on it, read on to learn seven ways to match your sofa to the colour of your walls.
SEARCH FOR COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS ONLINE
If you’ve recently painted your living room and are shopping for furniture, you can find complementary colours online using Dulux’s online colour scheme tool. Enter your wall colour (or select a colour group) to search for matches.
To find good furniture colours, use the the Neutral, Contrasting and Accent colour groups as inspiration. Most wall colours are compatible with a range of different colours, although each choice will have a different effect on your living room.
Neutral colours blend in and make your living room feel calm and natural. Contrast colours, on the other hand, stand out and create visual power. Accent colours are a little bit more subtle, but not quite as relaxed and calming as neutral colours.
FOCUS ON THE COLOUR THAT DOMINATES THE ROOM
Every room has a dominant colour. In your living room, it’s often the colour of your walls. If your walls are painted a neutral colour such as white, it could be the colour of your room’s flooring.
Before you look at a colour wheel to find matching, contrasting and complementary colours for your room, identify its most dominant colour. This should be the colour you look for on the colour wheel to start the matching process.
A room with white walls and dark flooring will have a different profile than a room with white walls and a white tiled floor. Identify your room’s dominant colour – it’s not necessarily the colour of the walls – and you’ll easily find matching furniture.
TAKE YOUR ROOM’S SIZE AND LIGHT LEVEL INTO ACCOUNT
Dark, bold colours might look fantastic in a large living room with white, cream or beige walls. In a smaller room with less floor space, however, they’ll often ‘close in’ the space and make it feel more cramped and confined than it really is.
Your room’s size and light level have a huge effect on its best furniture colour. Big rooms have more flexibility when it comes to colour, while small rooms generally suit furniture in lighter colours.
This is because light colours create the illusion of more space. A black leather sofa might pull together a spacious room and make it feel more comfortable, but it will create a cramped, claustrophobic feeling in a small living room or spare bedroom.
REPAINTING? CHOOSE A TIMELESS COLOUR THAT WON’T AGE
Are you repainting your living room? Interior design is much like fashion – it has both trendy colours and timeless ones. While white, black and classic earth tones like brown never go out of style, other colours come and go.
Remember the pastels of the 1980s? While some colours look fantastic for a time, they can age quickly and date your room to a certain era. Trendy colours can also clash with your furniture and create a mismatch in your living room.
If you’re repainting your living room’s walls, choose a colour that’s timeless and unlikely to age your living room or clash with its furniture. Earth tones like light brown, cream and neutral colours like white rarely, if ever, go out of style.
MATCH NATURAL WITH NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL WITH ARTIFICIAL
There are certain colours that just don’t appear in nature. Bright pink, for example, is a colour you’re unlikely to see out of manmade environments. When choosing a sofa for your living room, make sure it matches your living room’s colour profile.
Natural colour schemes – for example, white walls with a light brown wooden floor – suit other natural colours. As such, a brown leather sofa or cherry leather recliner looks fantastic in a living room with a natural, earth-toned colour profile.
In an ultra-modern living room with white walls and a black tiled floor, however, a brown leather sofa might look out of place. Match natural colours with natural and artificial colours with artificial to create a cohesive, comfortable living space.
So many colours to choose from... Hmm x pic.twitter.com/I1Phvuaq— Monique (@MoniqueLouise2) 31 July 2012
FIND A MIDPOINT COLOUR TO USE FOR ACCENTS AND COORDINATION
If your living room’s walls are painted in a particularly bright or powerful colour, it’s helpful to find a midpoint colour – a colour that’s about halfway between the colour of your walls and the colour of your furniture – to use for accents.
Accent colours bridge the gap between two powerful colours and create a room that feels comfortable and vibrant without any clashes. A midpoint colour can also soften a colour scheme that feels too loud or excessive when it’s used for a feature wall.
For example, light orange can bridge the gap between red and yellow, softening two powerful and bold colours. Whether used as a border colour or for a feature wall, an accent colour is often all it takes to tie two bold and powerful colours together.
USE DIFFERENT SHADES OF THE SAME COLOUR TO EASE CONTRAST
If your living room’s colour scheme features a lot of contrast – for example, white or cream furniture in a dark brown living room – try using different shades of a colour to ease the contrast and ‘soften’ the room’s colour scheme.
A dark brown sofa, for example, could look too dominant in a white living room. Use lighter shades of brown – as well as cream, a midpoint between brown and cream – to soften its visual impact and make the colour combination feel more comfortable.
From lamps to side tables, use your living room’s accessories to soften the visual gap between its sofa and its walls. Small doses of a softer colour can have a huge impact on your room’s visual profile when used correctly.
USE COLOUR THE RIGHT WAY TO CREATE A COMFORTABLE LIVING ROOM
The right combination of colour can have a huge effect on more than just the way your living room looks – it can also have an effect on the way you feel when you’re inside it.
Use colour the right way and you’ll create a living room that’s stylish, comfortable and absolutely timeless. Achieving then perfect level of colour contrast might seem challenging, but it’s an interior design challenge that’s always worth it.