July 11, 2014

Choosing Upholstery Fabric for a Couch

A couch is a key ingredient in a comfortable family or living room. The couch is where everyone congregates to watch TV, takes naps, reads, and hangs out. So, the couch needs to ground the room. How do you choose upholstery for a couch? Today, I’m going to show you some ideas.

As a general rule, I like couches in a neutral-colored fabric or one with a light pattern. Because the couch is central to the room and is probably the most expensive piece you’ll buy for the room, you want it to be in a neutral that will stand the test of time and any decor changes you might make. Changing pillows is much less expensive than buying a new couch!

neutral-couch-slipcovered-print-pillows-rug - Mohawk Homescapes

That is my couch. It has a neutral, olive-colored slipcover on it. The neutral color of the couch means I can use bold colors and patterns in the pillows and rug.

Look at how this neutral couch works with the brightly patterned rug and pillows:

bold-pattern-rug-neutral-couch - Mohawk-Homescapes
Carnival by American Rug Craftsmen

Keep in mind that neutral doesn’t have to mean beige. Here, a bright chartreuse couch becomes a neutral for patterned pillows and a chair with a graphic floral fabric.

chartreuse-couch-as-neutral - Mohawk Homescapes

When you are thinking about the upholstery for other living room pieces, think about how they go together. For example, a neutral couch pairs well with patterned fabric on chairs.

neutral-couch-red-print-chairs - Mohawk Homescapes

The neutral couch grounds the space and the other pieces complement it.

When mixing patterns, try to coordinate without matching. For example, have something linear like a stripe or a chevron pattern on one chair, and add a floral to the other, like in the above picture.

How do you know what colors or patterns to choose?

Choose an inspiration piece. For example, you might find this rug:

Anton Woven Rug at Kohls - Mohawk Homescapes
Mohawk Home Anton Natural

Then build the room around it. The taupe sofa is the neutral that grounds the room. The accent pillows coordinate with the colors of the rug. The rug has a bold floral pattern, while the coordinating pillow has a more linear chevron pattern. The chair has texture from the rattan, which acts as a pattern as well. The wall is painted one of the reds in the rug and pillows. It all comes together!

Bottom line: When choosing upholstery for your living room couch, choose a neutral fabric. Then choose coordinating patterns for accent chairs and accessories to complete the room.

What color is your couch? What patterns do you use to complement it?

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