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How to choose between dark and light sofas

  • How to
  • sofa colours
  • Style guide
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Ed Hawes
dark grey sofa

Do you go for a dark or light colour when deciding on the biggest statement furniture item in your home? It’s a sofa-buying conundrum.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons as to why you would choose either – not to mention a few drawbacks. And what’s the best way to make any decision? Pondering the pros and cons. Let’s consider what makes the best sofa colours and the perfect ways to feature them as part of your home, shall we?

Dark coloured sofas

Opting for a darker tone comes with the obvious benefit of durability – it’s far less likely to show up that stain from, oops, Friday night red wine spillage, or from the kid’s smearing their jammy toast all over it. And even without such stressful stains, they generally look less worn less easily than lighter shades. Darker colours also make a room look warmer and cosier than their cooler, lighter counterparts.

Dark toned sofas can, however, make a room look, well, dark. Dare we say, even gloomy? Not great for the spirits, really. And they can often make a space feel small, too. So how do you avoid this?

The easiest way is by surrounding your dark sofa with lighter, fresher colours. If you’d like your sofa to be the centrepiece of your living space (as it rightly should be), make sure it stands out from the floor it is placed upon. To do that, you will need a neutral floor colour,  whether that be white or light grey painted floorboards or those in a pale wood colour, or perhaps you’d prefer a cream or pale grey carpet. Alternatively, if you love your existing flooring or redoing it is far too much of an ask, why not search for a pale rug to bring out the colour of your sofa?

velvet green sofa

The paint colour of the walls in your living room is also important, as your dark sofa will stand out proudly against a more neutral tone. If you’d prefer not to paint your walls in a lighter hue, however, it’s a good idea to break up the darkness with some bright, colourful prints on the wall above the sofa. Equally, make your dark sofa stand out with a selection of vibrant cushions to effectively provide some pops of colour and a striking contrast.

The Swyft range of velvet sofas is perfect if you’ve decided that a dark coloured fabric is the best sofa for you. The lueb or green colours are classy choices that will provide the standout element to any living space. And there are many interior décor ideas that will complement these bold colours, from making use of contrasting tones like orange and yellows to more classic colour marriages like silver and grey for your accessories. With a hugely versatile colour like a bold blue, your precious statement sofa will last for years, maybe even decades, weathering any changes in your evolving interiors style over time.

Light coloured sofas

light coloured fabric sofa

If your aim at home is to create a fresh, breezy, bright feel to your surroundings, a light sofa is the way to go. While it may be less of a statement piece of furniture than a dark sofa, a more neutral colour can be easily jazzed up with other design elements, and means you can change the whole look of your room without having to fork out for an expensive new sofa.

Of course, the downside of a light fabric is always impracticality. The fear of spilling tomato sauce, or chocolate ice cream, or some other hideously staining food stuff on your sofa is real. So just make sure it comes in a durable fabric, and perhaps don’t use it as the main sofa in your living room, if possible – your light sofa could always be a supporting actor rather than the main furniture star, if that suits your space.

The wonderful thing about light sofas is that they are a blank canvas for a bold cushion choice, and can make other interior design elements of your room stand out a treat too, whether that be a beautiful vase or a striking piece of art. Lots of colours go well with a grey sofa, as do those in a neutral beige or brown.

grey sofa

And if you’re a minimalist at heart, a light coloured sofa doesn’t have to be paired with a contrasting dark floor or wall colour (though this is effective if you’d like your neutral sofa to feel like more of a centrepiece). Similar airy tones will provide pleasingly clear lines and bring simplicity and calm to your living space.

The Swyft range of linen sofas is perfect for a fresh and neutral living area. For grey tones, try the pumice or shadow colours, or if you prefer a breezy blue, have a look at the linen seaglass sofa.

Still unsure what colour of sofa is best for you? Find more inspiration to help with deciding on the best sofa colour here. It is also always a good idea to order swatches in different shades so that you can see how the colour will really look in your home, sussing out how it works under the natural light.

Maybe you plan to design your whole room around the sofa or, if it needs to slot in with your existing decor, swatches are a good way to see how the colour complements the rest of your interior design and colour palette. And why not shop the full Swyft sofa range – the choice is all yours. Happy lounging.
Grey sofas Blue Sofas

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