Best Design Matches for Leather Furniture

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By Laura Gaskill

Leather chairs, sofas and ottomans tend to be big, comfy and classic -- no wonder they're a popular choice for living room furniture. But too much bulky leather upholstery can make a space look dark, heavy or just ... boring. Wondering what to put with all of that brown or black leather? These ideas should help.


Transitional Family Room by Los Angeles Interior Designers & DecoratorsTaylor Jacobson Interior Design

1. Rich painted walls and a Moroccan rug. Peacock blue is a bold (but highly livable) choice for walls, especially in a smaller room - the intense hue enhances and uplifts dark leather pieces. Pair it with a goes-with-anything Moroccan rug, an organic wood table and a gallery wall.



If you have wood bookcases or cabinetry in the room, consider painting these pieces to match the walls. Or, for a subtler effect, paint only the backs of the bookcases or the interiors of the cabinets.

Wildcard: Peacock blue and orange. Take rich peacock-blue walls up a notch by adding contrasting Hermès-orange accents. Try a pair of footstools or X-benches, or furnish a window seat with bold orange cushions, as shown here.



2. Black, gray and texture. To keep things interesting in a neutral space, it helps to really play up texture and shine. Try smoky mirrored or reflective furniture (or a mirror on the wall); a soft, low-pile rug; and a plush faux-fur throw. Shades of gray, black and white make easy partners for a brown leather sofa.



3. Kilim rug. The warm colors and rich pattern of a flat-weave kilim rug helps a leather piece settle into the room. Kilims make an especially dynamic pair for modern pieces, like the leather chair shown here.



4. Charcoal and wood. A deep, dark charcoal-hued natural-fiber rug makes a caramel-colored leather sofa look even more rich and luxurious. Play up a rustic-modern mood with woodsy side tables, wood-framed mirrors and nubby burlap, canvas or wool pillows.



5. Light neutrals. Lighten up a leather sofa or furniture set by surrounding it with soft, warm neutrals, like ivory, cream, sand, beige, wheat and gold. Try crisp white walls, a faded traditional or pale natural-fiber rug, woven shades and creamy linen throw pillows.



Even a change as simple as tossing a cream-colored throw over your leather piece can give it a lighter look.



6. Rough linen, tweed and velvet. Leather looks stunning alongside rich, autumnal fabrics like tweed, velvet and rustic, nubby linen. If you have a full set of leather furniture, consider breaking it up and using just one or two of the leather pieces, paired with something upholstered in one of these delicious fabrics - the leather will look the richer for it.



7. Bright, bold pillows. The great thing about black or brown leather is that just about any-color throw pillows can work. Try changing the colors up seasonally, with fresh blues and greens in spring and summer, and warm cinnamon, cranberry and persimmon in fall and winter.
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