How to work a patterned sofa

Choosing a sofa can sometimes be a little daunting. After all, this isn’t the kind of purchase that we do every six months and that can be replaced if we grow tired of it after a short while. Once we make a decision and buy that piece, it will usually stay with us for a long time. It will also be very visible. A sofa or armchair tends to sit in the middle of the room, immediately visible to anybody entering. This knowledge makes the decision even harder and sometimes a little overwhelming which means that we often stay on the safe side with plain neutrals.


However, there’s no reason why a patterned sofa or chair shouldn’t work just as well and have the same longevity as a plain sofa. There are ways to make pattern work and incorporate them into your home to suit every taste and personality. The addition of pattern to your room will add interest and can easily be dressed up or down. So, here are some tips and suggestions of how to make it work, from calm to (possibly) crazy.

A good starting point for the shy is to keep everything else in the room fairly neutral. White walls, a plain chair or sofa in a complementary colour and only a few well chosen accessories in the same colour will keep the room calm and sophisticated. The key is to pic out one colour only from the pattern and use it for other elements of the room whilst keeping the shell (walls) neutral.

Marseille Armchair

Whether it’s stripes, cheques or flowers, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go wild and create a room full with patterns. For this to work, you should stay roughly within the same tones and colours. So, darks will work brilliantly together even if you have various patterns, but don’t be tempted to add any pastels here. If light, summery colours and patterns are your thing, then use these throughout. Balance the look with a few plain items (like curtains) in the same colour family.

Dark Flowers

Just one step away from keeping walls completely neutral is to pick out one colour from the pattern and use this as your main wall colour. It will have the appearance of being a little braver than sticking with whites yet keeping things calm overall. Keep accessories fairly minimal and let the colour do all the talking.

One Colour

Play with styles and eras. When you choose a patterned piece, you have taken the first step to creating a room that has the potential to be really interesting. Make it even more of a talking point by theming the room according to your personal taste. A striped sofa might lend itself to a nautical theme or a cosy country cottage one. A flowery sofa can work with a country cottage theme as well as a bohemian or retro glam one. You will already know what your usual style and personality is, just emphasise it and take it a step further.


There is of course always the possibility of actually matching your decor to your sofa. Painting a wall in exactly the same pattern might be tricky when it comes to flowers, but is relatively easy to achieve with stripes. The effect will be pretty spectacular and if you do grow tired of it, well, you can always paint it over and revert to a neutral scheme, right?

Matching Wall

So, I hope these tips will help you if you’re nervous about buying a patterned chair or sofa. If you already have one, then I’d really like to know how you incorporate it into your home.

Carole x


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