I figured I would challenge myself this week. I have heard from quite a few people over the years sighing that they have a brown leather sofa (obviously chosen because they are both neutral and hard-wearing with kids/pets/etc) and now they don’t know what to do with it to make it work with their style.
So if you are reading and you have a bit of a “brown sofa issue”, I’m going to share a little moodboard showing what you might do to make it a bit “eclectic boho glam” even if your sofa veers more to the masculine side*.
*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but I really hate using the terms “masculine” and “feminine” to describe something that’s as arbitrary as design. I don’t feel comfortable assigning genders like this however, I feel I must because there are no other words that create an immediate understanding of the sort of shapes and lines that are referred to when you use them. So until we have better terms to describe these elements, I will grudgingly continue to say it. Meh.
Now I’m collaborating with the lovely peeps from Darlings of Chelsea* on this post who use time-honoured traditional craftsmanship to create luxury furniture. Their handmade sofas are made in Britain and they have some very nice pieces on their site (check out beauties like this sofa and this chair).
For this challenge, however, I decided on the Edward Chesterfield. Now you know I love a good Chesterfield and don’t get me wrong – this is a stunning specimen. But you’ll probably notice it’s much more masculine than my usual sort of taste and while I can totally see it in a very masculine “whiskey/cigar room” type scenario with dark panelling and a billiard table or perhaps in a very industrial-style converted warehouse apartment, I wanted to see if I could make it work in a setting that was, well, a little more ME.
So because Autumn is coming (genuinely wondering if Summer actually ever really arrived here), I figured I’d create an Autumn-inspired theme with deep greens – I have a thing for greens at the moment! – as well as another colour that I love – a soft peachy pink. What a glorious combination!
Here’s what I came up with….
So I started off with the newest wallpaper collaboration between Schumacher and Celerie Kimble (dream duo) using Feline in the Amazon colourway. I love how it’s definitely animal print inspired but it’s more an abstract interpretation and that deep olive is just beautiful.
I cheated a little and used this gorgeous light from Scout and Nimble – I say ‘cheated’ because I was trying to choose everything from the UK (and failed) but I couldn’t resist the vintage-inspired peachy pink goodness of this light. Using accessories that are more feminine with more masculine base pieces are an easy way to create a more balanced look and lighten up the heaviness of that leather.
As an alternative in the UK, this Kartell light would give you the same kind of rose gold colourway and visual lightness and although I feel it lacks a little of the femininity of the Scout and Nimble light fixture, it would still work. I liked the organic quality of this Arien Cannes Table lamp as well – it’s pricey but it sure is pretty.
For artwork, I chose Moroccan Sunset Trees from Minted (yes, they ship overseas) because I loved the dreamy sepia quality of this print.
I’ve had a bit of a thing for this coffee table from Within for a while now as well and I’ve wanted to use it on a moodboard for a while. The strong lines are beautifully balanced with the brassy finish and delicate glass, a perfect fit for both masculine and feminine designs.
And I just had to include this beautiful velvet hoop chair from the treasure-trove that is MiaFleur. I love the soft peachy pink finish of the fabric and the round shape softens all the hard straight lines in the room.
Of course, a leopard print cushion is always welcome in any space as far as I’m concerned (you can find them at Stuck on Hue and tell Hollie I sent you) but the surprise bargain buy is that lovely Pre-Raphaelite cushion which just adds a bit of old school whimsy. It’s from George at Asda for a mere £9! I think it could go dangerously ‘twee’ but in this setting, to my eyes anyway, it just seems to work.
Both the rug and the sideboard are from West Elm. The plushness of the rug creates a marked contrast with the ruggedness of the leather sofa and the colours are just soft enough to create a cosiness without being too sugary. The sideboard is a perfect balance of masculine and feminine elements and the inlay pattern along with the shiny gloss of the lacquered top and sides provides even more textural contrasts in our space.
So in conclusion, with a visually heavier and more masculine sofa, you really just need to balance it out with items that are very feminine (the lighting, the hoop chair), or a mix of masculine/feminine design (the coffee table, the sideboard). You also need to soften that leather texture with contrasts (like the wool shag of the rug, the textural quality of the sideboard, the plushness of the velvet chair). Use a limited colour palette and pull that brown in with a couple of complimentary and contrasting shades (like olive green and soft peachy pink) to lighten the whole space and make the sofa feel more purposeful.
What do you think of the moodboard? Is it a room you could see yourself in? Or perhaps you’re struggling with ‘brown sofa syndrome’ as well? Talk to me!
Disclaimer: This post was created in conjunction with Darlings of Chelsea and contains affiliate links however, all words and opinions are, as always, my own. I only work with companies I really like and think you will too! Thanks for supporting the businesses that support Swoon Worthy.