Could blue be the next grey for sofas?
Houzz UK editorial staff. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for… More
If 2016 was the year of the grey sofa – in a Houzz community poll that year it was voted the number one choice for the majority of homeowners – then 2017 has seen a rival edging its way through. Blues and greens have been a growing trend for a while – both propelled by ‘colour of the year’ statuses (Greenery – a love-it-hate-it acid green – was Pantone’s, while Denim Drift – a soft blue – was Dulux’s). And one of the most popular photos on Houzz (saved to more than 160k ideabooks) is of a blue velvet sofa. Will these rooms tempt you to invest in the hue?
Bring out its blue
The first couple of things you might notice about this room are the strong yellow accents in the cushions and artworks and that look-at-me geometric rug.
What’s more subtle, and a clever design tip, is the use of blues that contrast with the grey-blue of the sofa – those sky-blue velvet cushions, the deep Oxford blue of the wall and the shade in the artworks. This layering of the same basic colour, but in different shades and tones, gives a space depth and warmth and everything serves to enrich the hue of your key feature – your sofa.
This is a technique you can repeat with any colour.
13 ways to work your room around a grey sofa
Pick a pattern
Here, a similar idea is at play – the vibrant blue velvet sofas are backed up by the floral wallpaper, which features a hint of the very same shade, and an entirely different blue for the woodwork and again for the curtains.
Consider your hues carefully, choosing those that best complement one another. Get samples of fabrics, papers and paints, and give yourself lots of options, playing around with them until you find the blend you love the best.
Pale into significance
This barely there, watery hue is a subtle take on the blue sofa and will work well if your home is a sea of soft neutrals. The trick to not letting this pale shade slide into insignificance is to add plenty of accessories in different or richer blues to help to define it.
Browse blue sofas in the Houzz shop
Tone it down
A blue sofa doesn’t need to make a loud style statement. By not choosing a menagerie of blues as the backdrop, as previously seen, this dark, denim-y two-seater shows just why the colour could be nipping at the heels of grey for most popular choice. It’s classic, understated, versatile and easy to accessorise. For this effect, pair your inky seating with mainly muted colours. A shimmer of bronze or copper and a glimmer of a jewel tone will keep it from fading into the background.
Let turquoise tempt you
This teal corner sofa is a worthy backdrop for a colourful scheme. If you want to give your living room a shot of hot-climate colour like this, try Googling images of spice markets in India for inspiration of what might work with what – and to embolden and enthuse you, since they look so beautiful. The colours in those sun-drenched images, however, will look different here and could look harsh, so get samples of soft versions of your favoured brights.
Come back to earth
Soft blues work really well with earthy hues, as demonstrated in this living room full of taupes, saffrons, natural wood and oranges. Despite being the colour of the sea and the sky, blue isn’t always a colour associated with nature – true versions of the colour, rather than purples, are rare in our gardens, for instance. So to further imbue your space with a sense of the great outdoors, warm things up even more by layering in different natural textures: here, you can see that the effect of the rustic rugs, the throw, the leather chair, the plants, the wood and the unusual wooden floor is to take the cool, clean edge off the sofa and create a lovely, relaxed room.
Pair it with grey
Blue and grey love one another’s company. Finding the perfect combination of each shade is the bit worth spending time on. Again, fabric samples and tester paints – and patience to try them out at different times of the day – are your friends. But also look out for the combinations around you – in patterned jumpers or restaurant décor or graphic design – and take photos of them all to get a feel for the effect you’ll like best. Then tweak the shades to work in your space.
To help a key piece of furniture in a new colour slot into a room, dot accessories that reflect that colour around the room, and adding grey cushions to the sofa returns the favour and pulls the scheme together.
Give it a partner piece
Do you have a philosophy for picking the right colour armchairs to go with a sofa? A complementary colour is one way to go, and grey is popular as just seen. Or you can always go for the classic matching option and buy a set of chairs and sofa in the same fabric. But there is a third way – to pick a fabric for your chair that features your sofa’s colour. If you already have your chairs, look out for cushions along these lines to put on the chairs instead. Even going for two totally different patterns in a room needn’t look avant-garde if that’s not your bag – this living room, with its patterned armchair and footstool, pulls it off and yet remains a classic.
Try a nautical nod
Pairing a blue sofa with bright white and natural wood is a shortcut to giving a space a fresh, seaside feel. Choose navy and the result, depending on your accessories, will be more New England classic (think antique oars, old black-and-white boat club team photos, flag motifs and a dash of red in with the white and blue).
But opt for something more like this bright royal blue and the effect can be cheery, fresh and informal. This archetypal Mediterranean shade will work well in a sunny spot. Where sunshine is sparse, pick an ultramarine blue; one with more purple than green tones, which will be warmer (a knowledgeable person in an interiors shop will help here).
What colour is your sofa – or the sofa you’re about to choose? Tell us what influenced your decision in the Comments section.