Mix and match leg and arm designs on sofas to add visual appeal.

How to Mix & Match Sofas

by D Ann Kross

Sofa styles give you many design options, including pleated skirts, rolled or straight arms and exposed-wood details. Play up style contrasts by mixing assorted furnishings and accessories that complement one another, such as matching wood tones on tables and sofa legs. Other distinguishing sofa style features include button-tufting, fixed back and seat cushions, and curved seat backs. Work with cover fabrics and leathers to mix and match decorating schemes that celebrate the diversity of sofa styles.

1. Eclectic Mix

Eclectic decorating supports different types of styles and can simplify the task of a mix-and-match approach. Opt for playing up the sofa style differences by featuring your favorite pieces in the same seating group, such as placing two different couches across from each other with a complementary rug that acknowledges the color group. Incorporate a curved-back sofa with flared arms and a boxed-arm, fixed-cushion sofa and use an oversized leather-topped table to encourage an eclectic mix of sofa styles and furnishings.

2. Traditional Approach

English sofa arm styles often feature decorative nail-head accents, and these mix easily with other traditional sofa styles. Place these traditional sofas with other furnishings and sofas in the same space by incorporating nail-head trim on an ottoman that can also double as a coffee table for two or more sofas in a group. Rolled and tufted arm styles and curved-back sofa styles blend well in these intimate settings and can feature exposed turned leg styles or pleated skirts to match a traditional sofa style.

3. Contemporary Approach

Contemporary sofa styles feature straight or boxed arm styles with few, if any, visible curves. Armless sofas with sleek chrome legs are also found in contemporary settings with a minimalist approach. Channel or windowpane stitching on contemporary leather sofas goes well with straight-legged sofas featuring complementary or contrasting colors in compact geometric patterns. Contemporary sofas are often defined by the choice of fabrics or leathers used for their covers and can range in color from bright, primary colors to muted shades of black, white and gray. Use color as a tool to help combine a variety of contemporary furnishings in the same space, such as placing a black leather sofa with a gold, cream and black-striped sofa.

4. Mix Contemporary and Traditonal Sofas

Consider mixing a contemporary sofa covered in a bright aniline-dyed color, such as sunshine yellow, with a traditional sofa covered in a vibrant spring floral design. Add a solid rug in a contrasting color, such as grass green or soft cream, to blend the color scheme and link the sofas together. Layer in window treatments that match the rug and colors found on both sofas for a good visual mix within your space. Consider using matching throw pillows with the same embellishments in a luxury fabric, such as silk, on both sofas, to further and extend common design elements.

About the Author

As an allied ASID member, D'Ann Kross co-owned and managed an Interior design business serving the greater New Orleans area for 20 years, and has been the lead designer for a major home furnishings franchise. She has published several articles as a contributing editor for "Gulf Coast Woman Magazine."

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