We’re all guilty of it, me included. We just can’t justify replacing our leather sofas when, despite their age, they still look brand new. If this is you then join me in bossing your brown leather furniture.
I was recently asked by a client to design a decorating scheme around his two brown leather sofas. This certainly got my creative juices flowing as I mulled over the many permutations of how these could work more elegantly in his sitting room. Brown leather sofas are notoriously masculine in material and form I looked at creating a more balanced and cohesive environment in which this furniture could not only exist but excel.
I came up with four different schemes, each with a very different look and feel.
As the room in question opened out on a small, but perfectly formed, garden I thought it would be rather charming to bring the outside in. The colour brown works well with natural tones as it is the colour of the earth and of the trees. With this in mind I chose a rather lovely Sanderson paper as the wall covering against which the sofas would be positioned. For the woodwork I chose an off-white eggshell paint that was soft enough not to jar with the delicate pattern of the paper. The finishing touches were this cute animal inspired table lamp from OKA and a mish-mash of geometric designed- and muddy green velvet cushions. The inspirational image I chose represents the smooth transition between the interior and exterior space.
2. Mean & Moody
This is a more contemporary setting for a brown leather sofa and I took inspiration from the image of, what looks like, a smokey boardroom. I’ve echoed the dark walls by choosing this intensely patterned paper from Farrow & Ball. With a ground colour of Off-Black No. 57 and a print colour of Setting Plaster No. 231 I opted for a darker shade of the latter for the woodwork. On the floor is a dark wood engineered floor which is softened by the addition of a natural coloured wool rug. Again geometric cushions are added for comfort and decoration and this gorgeous table lamp is designed to add atmospheric lighting. The leather stool offers additional seating or a place to rest ones feet.
I don’t think that you can go wrong if you add tones of blue and red to brown leather. It creates a classic Ralph Lauren ‘gentlemen’s club’ vibe. From the inspirational image I’ve chosen I’ve taken from it the dark brown wood and French navy wall colour to punctuate this scheme. The Sanderson wall covering I’ve selected is gentle in colour and pattern and portrays an array of bird feathers that float around the room. This motif is picked up again in two of the scatter cushions which are complimented with by others with an oriental look and texture. The leather cushioned fire fender works perfectly in this scheme and encourages perching by the fireside with a libation of one’s choice.
4. Light & Airy
It’s quite hard to imagine a scheme being described as light and airy when it is furnished with brown leather furniture. By using a predominately grey paper and reflective surfaces this is how this scheme is interpreted. The metallic materials used in the construction of the wall-light, table lamp and fire fender add an elegance which is very much in contrast to the sofa. The small scale pattern in the scatter cushions and fender seat again bring a gentle quietness to the room while the cream coloured television cabinet provides a neat and tidy storage solution for all the AV paraphernalia which tends to inhabit a home.
In essence creating a successful scheme is all about balance. I remember when I was a teenager that I was told that wearing lipstick and eye make-up without any foundation made my face look unbalanced. In a sense decorating a room is the same. There needs to be a basic foundation, ie. the wall and floor covering, before you start adding furniture and fittings. When decorating with a heavy, solid object like a brown leather sofa the foundations need to be of a similar weight to create a feeling of cohesion and comfort. Once these are in place layering the scheme can commence.
What Do You Think?
I don’t know whether you have a favourite from these four schemes but I hope I’ve demonstrated that brown leather furniture can be used in a variety of ways that make it more appealing and therefore add longevity to its home life.
When I inherited my brown leather furniture it was in dire need of some T.L.C. and I set about it with a purpose made buffing kit which certainly cheered it up. You can read about this in another of my musings by clicking on the link at the end of this article. I have also provided links to some of the companies that I’ve featured in these schemes for your reference.
How I Help You With Your Home Design
I have qualifications in Interior Design from London Metropolitan University/Rhodec International and have undertaken C.P.D. with a number of well respected Interior Design schools including KLC and Inchbald. I am currently studying with The Interior Designers’ Hub whilst running my residential design studio. My areas of expertise are spatial planning, colour consultation and F.F.&E. procurement. If you would like to arrange a free, no obligation call with me, you can book a 30 minute slot here.