Brown sofas, especially dark brown ones, are chosen for their practicality. Brown doesn't have to be boring or basic, however! You'll be looking at your couch in a new way after seeing these decorating ideas.

By Kate Riley
Updated December 01, 2017

Everyone knows a brown sofa is extremely practical, which is why so many retailers sell them and so many of us buy them! Dark brown is most forgiving when it comes to dirt and stains, making it a smart choice for those of us with active families. One complaint that often accompanies the ownership of a brown sofa is the assumption that the color is blah or boring. Not true! Get inspiration on how to style a brown sofa so that it stays fresh and modern.

Lighten Up

A dark brown sofa won't dominate a space when surrounded by lighter elements. Paint the walls a pale neutral, then choose artwork, accessories, and accent furniture in lighter or colorful hues to balance the darkness of the piece. Here, plenty of white furniture and light tans and oranges keep the couch from feeling too heavy.

Bright and Fresh

Another way to prevent a dark couch from overwhelming a room is to make almost everything else white. You need a lot of a lighter color to balance a very dark one, so don't be shy. Crisp white ceilings, valances, trim, and woodwork help keep this cozy nook light and bright.

Welcome Warm Tones

Brown is a warmer neutral that plays well with wood and other warm tones; just think of all the colors of fall! Choose accent hues in autumn colors such as deep red, mustard yellow, or burnt sienna to pair naturally with a brown sofa. These homeowners used a large red floor rug and lots of red pillows to balance out the brown seating.

Nature Inspired

This room's brown couch looks right at home next to other nature-inspired colors, such as the orange pouf, warm chartreuse green coffee table, and a set of lively patterned pillows. Natural textures like the woven valances, stone fireplace, and wood floors ground the couch, too.

Cool It

Brown works equally well with cooler blues and greens. Use accent chairs, window panels, or colorful pillows in cooler tones to add calm and color to a space anchored by a brown sofa. In this living room, the sofa is centered between pale blue walls.

Color Pop

This cooler neutral space would look bland without the comfy brown couch to warm things up. Green that leans more yellow is seen on the tray, pillow, and lamp base. It's just the right amount for a pop of color.

Console Yourself

Although this sofa is tan, not deep brown, the same design principles apply. Pull the sofa into the center of the room, layer a console table along the back, then fill it with books or other objects to take the eye away from the sofa and toward the decorative display.

Embrace It

On the other hand, there's no need to hide your couch or cover it up. You can also choose to highlight its rich, cocoa color! Add accent chairs that pick up the hue of the existing dark sofa and cover the sofa with decorative pillows to lighten the visual weight of darker furniture.

Contrast Works

Work with the existing piece instead of against it by painting the walls a similar hue. Use the power of contrast to create high impact between light and dark with bright white ceilings and trim. The result is a stately room with bold, rich tones.

Comments (3)

October 22, 2018
Brown is beautiful. Earthy and natural. I'm thinking matching my brown sectional sofa set with green accents, will also match my soft toned wall.thanks for this post, bursting interior ideas here. :)
June 29, 2018
I have a Hugh brown leather sectional. I’m thinking of painting my living room a color called Stolen KISS, it looks beige with a pinkish touch. Hopefully it will work
December 29, 2018
Is Stolen Kiss a Sherwin Williams Color??? I'm also looking for a color to paint my walls. I also have dark brown, leather sofa and recliner and the wall color now is a very boring beige