Accessorize your black sofa with confidence.

How to Accessorize a Black Sofa

by Cynthia T. Toney

If you've retained a black sofa from your single days, or you've recently purchased one, you probably want to accessorize it. Whatever your sofa's style -- low and modern in nubby fabric or tufted and roll-armed in natural leather -- a black sofa is the beginning of exciting decorating possibilities. Every color and texture imaginable works with black, and your selection of accessories can turn an otherwise unappealing sofa into urban chic. Pick your favorite decorating style and go forth into accessorizing your black sofa with confidence.

Pale and Cool

No rule states that you have to choose warm or dark-colored accessories for a black piece of furniture. The lightest hues of watery aqua, celery green and lemon yellow bring a freshness to black and reflect more light in small spaces. For modern or Asian decor, accent your sofa with throw pillows in an abstract floral or a bamboo pattern. On the floor, place a textured rug tucked under the sofa's front legs. Choose one of your pale colors for a shag rug or a combination of colors in a striped, geometric or open-leaf pattern flat-weave design. Slide a non-slip rug pad beneath it for safety. Repeat one cool color in ceramic table lamps with simple shapes, or select lamps with chrome, pale stone or light wood bases, which are more durable around small children.


Bright colors, whether warm or cool, look even bolder against black. Frame children's drawings in simple black frames or select a large piece of wall art for inspiration behind your black sofa. Use a contemporary piece of artwork with either a traditional or contemporary-style sofa. Pull a few favorite brights from the art to create a color palette for the rest of your accessories. Bold choices such as red with turquoise or orange with kelly green indicate a fearless decorating style. Select fabric patterns for throw pillows that work with the art without repeating the exact theme. Combine solid-color unlined window treatments in a washable fabric and a rug with a large-scale pattern or bold border. Industrial carts used as end tables or shiny metal lamps and accessories act as neutrals and also reflect the colors around them.


Pink and black have long been a flirty combination. Select throw pillows in patterned fabrics or choose solid pink or black pillows and add cord or tassels in touches of pink or black. Zebra-stripe patterns and polka dots in one or both colors stand alone or combine easily for a flirty contemporary look when used on a storage ottoman. Traditional stripes, plaids and floral patterns have more classic appeal. Hang wall art depicting female profiles, figures or large pink flowers: abstract for a modern look or realistic for traditional decor. For the ultimate flirty rug, select a pink shag and anchor it under furniture legs or use a non-slip pad beneath it. Add lamps with black wrought-iron bases and mix white, pink and black accessories together to complete your look.

Elegant but Relaxed

Achieve elegant style by using all neutrals or a limited color palette. Combine interesting textures in cream and beige accessories and fabrics for throw pillows, window treatments and rugs. Or select a single color such as purple, but repeat it in a variety of tints and shades, from icy violet to lavender to plum. In neutrals, look for lamps and accessories with basket-weave, grass-like or bumpy textures. Fluffy, tweedy and nubby fabrics play with light and give a tonal effect. In a limited color palette, even the most muted version of your chosen color has more impact when placed against black. Combine gray with either of these palettes for more interest, but also for easier care of tables, throw pillows and rugs in a room frequented by children.


  • Small Spaces: Maximizing Limited Spaces for Living (The Small Book of Home Ideas series); Elizabeth Wilhide
  • Celerie Kemble: To Your Taste: Creating Modern Rooms with a Traditional Twist; Celerie Kemble
  • The Color Scheme Bible: Inspirational Palettes for Designing Home Interiors; Anna Starmer
  • Candice Olson Family Spaces; Candice Olson


About the Author

Cynthia T. Toney, a former newspaper designer, began writing in 1999 for a newsletter devoted to decorating with salvage. As advertising and marketing director for an educational publisher, she wrote copy for its website, catalogs and mailings. Toney also has been an interior decorator and is the author of a teen novel, "Bird Face." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in art education.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images