Dark leather settees with rolled arms add visual weight and antique flair.

How to Decorate Around a Brown Leather Settee

by Anya Deason

Compactly shaped and often sleek, settees make elegant decorating statements, and brown leather provides more versatility than most upholstery. The scale and color of other furniture affects your brown leather settee, making it seem larger or smaller. When choosing color, identify your brown settee's undertone -- or color bias -- while also utilizing tonal contrast. In the area around your brown leather sofa, add decor items that are complementary, in an opposite color wheel hue, which varies with the brown leather's undertone. Stylistic characteristics also determine surrounding decor, including shape and texture.

Wall of Fame

The tone of your settee is relevant to its positioning; in fact, it's almost as important as its color. A modern-style, orange-brown settee that is dark in tone is offset more by light walls, possibly in light green-gray or greenish blue-gray, which are complementary to orange-brown leather's undertone. If the settee is a lighter orange-brown, the same shades in darker tones coordinate, and dark warm-gray provides a neutral option. In a room with light slate-gray walls, a light orange-brown settee against a dark, slate-gray accent wall has more visibility, possibly making it an irresistible magnet for kids requesting bedtime stories.

Oval Office

Rolled-arm settees with nailhead trim have an authoritative presence, and when the leather is dark, rich chocolate-brown, the settee carries more visual weight, making it appear almost sofa-sized in relation to lighter toned decor items. Positioned across from an architectural focal point, like a fireplace, the settee maintains spatial prominence, and light-toned sage-green walls increase the settee's visual weight by providing tonal and complementary contrast. Sage-green curtains and a grouping of greenish silver frames blend with walls, as do medium olive chairs and a rug in dark olive and Indian red, and a large, antique-black framed mirror balances the settee.

Out of the Blue

Some leather settees feature soft, greenish brown leather and a boxy shape that is freshened by a cool-toned, analogous palette of color wheel neighbors. A large rug with color bands in sage-green, dark umber and robin's egg blue provides a colorful ground for a large, square ottoman in robin's egg blue leather, which doubles as a desk for kids unless they're coloring with markers. The large ottoman calls less attention to the absence of a sofa than matching chairs, and smaller chairs in dark umber and sage-green coordinate, as do greenish silver frames and a pendant light in greenish brushed nickel.


Walls in tan Venetian plaster blend with a settee in distressed, orange-brown leather, which is positioned at the center of the room across from two leather chairs or a settee with the same color, providing unified, overall orange-brown tones. Whitewashed floors or pale carpet lighten the room's palette, but the distressed effect of whitewashed flooring is easier to maintain with kids. Between the settee and chairs, a large, square, whitewashed coffee table adds to the brightening effect, as does a colorful abstract rug, hung over a whitewashed fireplace, while textured, rolled blinds blend with walls.

About the Author

Based in Franklin, Tenn., Anya Deason has more than 15 years of decor-related experience, assisting leading interior designers and owning a custom frame shop. While working at Lyzon Gallery in 1999, she wrote descriptions of artwork for Sotheby's online auctions. Deason holds a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee Technological University.

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