Since the couch is arguably the most important piece of furniture in the home, it's essential to consider which fabric, height, depth, legs, and, of course, color will suit your space best. Your couch really will set the tone for the rest of your living room, taking up a large surface area and often forming the focal point.
Choosing the best couch is one of the most fun parts of planning a space. And while color is very personal, (our dream sofa, beige bouclé, might be entirely impractical for the next person), some tones do carry specific connotations that make them look incongruous in a living room.
Others couch colors may also be harder to work with when creating an entire living room scheme that hangs together. Here is what interior designers say are the couch colors to avoid.
Couch colors to avoid – and what designers suggest instead
Some interiors experts are saying dark gray is one of the main couch colors to avoid. For instance, interior designers Jenna and Mariana at Interior Fox (opens in new tab) warn against using it in your home. 'For residential spaces, this may be a shock but we never recommend medium or dark gray sofas,' they begin.
'Many people choose gray thinking it's a safe color but actually we find it really cold and it can make a home feel "techie".' Likewise, Kate Keyser, Co-Owner of Ivy Lane (opens in new tab) home staging company says that they are seeing 'an exit' of the charcoal gray sofa right now.
'Warm tones are in and they are here to stay,' enthuses Kate. 'We expect to see a massive resurgence of the mid-century modern trend in 2023. Think wood paneling, rich warm tones, and clean lines nearly everywhere. That said, we are big fans of investing in statement pieces that can also stand the test of time.'
If you love gray, Jenna and Mariana recommend choosing a gray from the paler end of the color palette if you want to play it safe. Alternatively, a blue-grey strikes a nice balance between neutral and nature-inspired, bringing a coastal aesthetic. Paler grays are sure to create a more soothing, warm, and inviting look in keeping with a space where all we want to do is kick off our shoes and relax.
Depending on the quality of the material, large swathes of medium or dark gray might be harder to work with when designing a living room. Gray does, for many of us, have associations with more utilitarian spaces, although there are lots of ways of styling a gray sofa that will soften the look, such as bringing out the gray's undertones through accessories.
If you prefer your space to look pared-back and minimalist, and you tend to steer away from daring designs, Jenna and Mariana recommend off-white and light beige as they work so well with other colors. The Interior Fox designers also predict that saturated jewel tones will soon be making way for rich muted colors found in woodlands, such as lichen, moss and browns.
We love the idea of muted, mossy tones as a way to create a calming, nature-inspired living space. Jenna and Mariana also anticipate that muted purples and other warm tones will dominate our interiors, as well as a big trend for a couch that matches the wall color behind it, which works beautifully above.
So perhaps next year we'll be seeing a leaning away from neutrals towards sofas in naturally occurring tones like terracotta, whether or not they're muted or bright and bold. This speaks to some of the colors of the year 2023, such as Pantone's Viva Magenta and Benjamin Moore's Raspberry Blush.
Grace Baena, Interior Designer of Kaiyo (opens in new tab) certainly thinks so. 'Although neutrals have been popular as couch colors for years, I think it’s worthwhile to mix up the colors we use for our couches in the new year and try out something that’s more of a statement,' says Grace.
'Instead of neutrals, you can try something in a green or blue. These bolder colors have been gaining popularity in 2022, and I think they’ll continue to trend in 2023,' Grace adds.
Aside from dark and medium grays, brightly colored couches in red, yellow and pink can make it harder to create a cohesive scheme, according to Raquel Kehler, an interior designer and house flipper at Room Crush (opens in new tab). 'While we’re seeing a resurgence of bright wall colors for 2023, this trend should definitely be avoided when it comes to your sofa,' she tells us.
Raquel says that although highly saturated colors like fuchsia, sunflower yellow, and bright red bring energy to a space, they’re almost impossible to match to other furniture, forcing you to keep the rest of your décor and walls strictly neutral. Instead, she recommends tan brown or soft shades of sage green.
This will give you more freedom to tinker with your other furniture and decor should you decide to change it. Incorporate vibrant color via a piece of statement art or throw pillows, not the sofa, she says.
What couch color goes with everything?
'Personally, I love white boucle sofas, as they add texture while giving a timeless look that matches both modern and vintage-inspired interior design styles,' comments Raquel Kehler. She recommends a curved sectional in a neutral or soft color like white, tan, or sage green.
Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. She has been in the world of digital journalism for six years, having previously worked as Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team two years ago, working across a range of homes brands. Millie formerly worked as Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles that help and inspire people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces. Millie has a degree in French and Italian and lives in North London.
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