Friday, August 1, 2014

Reader design dilemma: Working with a traditional red couch

Nicky writes to me with this dilemma:

"I am stumped and can't find anything online (including pinterest/ mod boards) to give me direction for this crimson couch.  Red always seems to be the accent color, not the statement piece!  I love the looks of Pottery Barn and modern farmhouse style."

Here is what she is working with:

Nicky has some great pieces to work with and a clear direction, but so far the space is really only half decorated.  The first thing to do with a piece like this couch is to accept it.  No use fighting it, right?  Luckily, the lines work great for Nicky's intended style.  In such a small space, I would keep a tight palette to work with the couch, and bring in interest through shapes and textures.

First up: wall color.

Nicky is not loving the yellow, and while I agree it is a little too much with the couch, I think she is on the right track.

Working from the diamond pattern in the couch fabric, and coordinating with the existing carpet, I would choose more of a warm beige or ivory.   I would just be careful that it did not match the carpet exactly--go  a little darker or lighter to create contrast.

Benjamin Moore Creamy White

Next up: Window treatments.

To connect the two rooms and bring some balance, I would do floor-length drapes in both spaces.  Some people shy away from drapes in an eating area, but if you hang them just off the floor they should not get gross.  I would hang linen drapes in a neutral color, something that becomes tonal with the walls.

Finally: Let's bring in some furniture!

This look feels most appropriate to Nicky's style and current lifestyle, with two small kids in the house.  A Pair of leather club chairs and weathered wood tables will simply patina with use, and bunching tables plus side tables are all moveable, creating flexibility for littles who may want to play on the floor.  The palette is really limited, but leather plus cowhide plus copper plus iron plus weathered and whitewashed woods = totally interesting.  There is also a little beaded motif running through, with the nailhead trim on the leather "B", a bead detail on the white drum table, and a perforated look to the copper lamp.

Later in life as the kids grow, Nicky could graduate to a more elegant and traditional space, while still sticking with the same tight color palette.  A wing chair, turned side tables, and armless slipper chairs are all classic and elegant, and the blanket-stripe rug and block print art keeps it from getting too formal.

OR!  How about going the other way?  I noticed that Nicky has some suzani-looking pillows on her couch, so even though she has self identified as modern farmhouse, I thought I would throw a more global-loving, cozy English look in there as well!  Suzani rug, super tufted chairs, a well-traveled trunk, mismatched bamboo tables with elegant ceramic know I love this look.  :)

For more inspiration on how to let a red sofa shine, check out this recent post on Sadie and Stella.  Changes the way you think about red, doesn't it?

Hope this helps, and have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your help! I feel like I finally have some direction. I love your ideas and your site!


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