What to Do With a Leather Sofa

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In our experience, brown leather sofas are the most popular choice in family and living rooms. They are a classic, after all. But they can also pose a design challenge. Don't let yours become a black hole. Avoid the void with these five tips for decorating around a dark leather sofa.

A living room featuring a brown leather sofa.

Above, from top: Mist (SR19) paint, Sarah Richardson Designer Palette by Para Paints; artwork, Art Interiors; lamps, magnifying glasses, vases, sofa, coral, wood tray, white bowl and coffee table, all Zilli Home Interiors; throw pillows and Chenille Seed-Stitch throw, both Pottery Barn; Fresco rug, Weavers Art.

1. Ground the space with a colourful area rug.

This will help balance the visual weight of the sofa and add interest to the floor. You don't want all heavy wood tones down low and light and bright colours above, so use the rug to bridge that gap.

2. Choose a coffee table that will stand up to the sofa.

A heavy leather couch just won't work with a light and airy glass coffee table.

3. Get a sofa table.

Not only does it provide added storage, but a sofa table will also break up the large dark void that is the back of the couch.

4. Accessorize with light and watery colours.

Light and watery colours that occur in nature (think sky and ocean) complement browns best. Other natural shades, such as sandy creams and rust tones (see above), also work well.

5. Choose a soft, pale wall colour.

Keep the space light and bright, but warm. But don't go too far: Stark whites can actually read as harsh against the warm natural tones of the rest of the space.

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