by: JD Ross, co-owner, The Hickory Tree

When most homeowners decide to design or re-design a space in their home, it’s often the result of a need like “boy we need a new sofa”. Of course, that often means more than just a sofa. That can grow to a new chair, a new coffee table, new accent pillows, a new throw, new artwork on the wall behind it…you get the idea. If you want your new pieces to last through the next few style trends, you better put some thought into what you buy now.

Start with the sofa. Once you know what size you need and the style you like, you need to choose a fabric or find a sofa that fits the picture in your mind. Here’s where many buyers go wrong…

Chaise LoungeIf you buy that trendy art-deco modern contemporary armless chaise lounge with chrome legs and large print chartreuse paisley upholstery that looked so good in the design magazine…in a year you may be over it. Then what do you do? You can try to sell it on Craigslist or find a furniture consignment store to get something out of it. But everyone else may be over it too. Maybe that design magazine is on to clean whites and creams now…

Furniture & Home Furniture Pottery Barn - Google Chrome 392016 15821 PMWhat we always recommend is to go neutral with your basic big-ticket pieces like sofas and love seats. First find a well-made sofa in a great timeless style, choose a durable neutral fabric, and THEN get creative with how you dress it up. Pick up the latest copy of any Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, or Southern Living magazine and you’ll see some pops of color, but most of the basic pieces in the photos you love will be stable neutrals. Almost every sectional or sofa, whether a traditional rolled-arm with dark stained legs, or contemporary square lines, are upholstered in a white, cream, khaki, tan, linen, or ivory fabric (like from on the left). Whether your room works best with a sofa and armchair, sofa/love seat, or sectional, all quality manufacturers make all those available in basic neutrals for you to build on. Where you see the creativity, the design trends, and pops of color are the throw pillows or cowhide rug or the vintage lap quilt draped over the back.


Now you’ve started in the right place and have a good foundation to add to. What style are you going for in this redesign? Vintage/retro? Homey-comfey-cozy? Colorful contemporary? All will work with a basic well-made neutral sofa underneath.

IMG_0534Now where the really fun part begins is in choosing your accent pieces. In our living room we just added an amazing brown and white speckled cowhide rug. The texture, the pattern, the ‘grain’ of the hide…I love it. I’ve also been seeing lots of southwestern style rugs and pillows, indigo blue, and vintage fabrics/rugs/quilts made into pillows. Rustic wood coffee tables and side tables are also in right now, especially with ‘live edge’ wood. If you have a few basic upholstered pieces, an accent piece in rich wood or distressed leather stand out even more! Love that vintage green velvet tufted side chair you found at an antique store? It’ll match your new neutral sofa perfectly now. And if you want to update your table lamps or wall art, now is a fantastic time!

The best thing about decorating your space this way is that in a year or two when you’re tired of this look, changing some pillows or getting a new rug is a lot easier (and cheaper!) than buying a whole new sofa and starting over from scratch. You can completely change the look of a room by switching out your accent pieces or choosing a new color scheme.

By | 2017-10-31T18:04:37+00:00 February 25th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Go Neutral First… Then Go Crazy!

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