3 Ways to Make It Work: Living with a Bold Patterned Sofa

updated Apr 14, 2020
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A patterned sofa is a bold choice. Five years from now, if you decide to change your style, you can always dress that beige sofa up with a new throw and cushions, but a sofa in a bold pattern is more permanent — and a lot harder to decorate around. That said, if you’ve fallen in love with a big floral or a gutsy ikat or a bossy plaid, here are three different ways to make it work.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Keep it simple.
The easiest way to work your patterned sofa is to let it be the one big thing going on in the room. Choosing simple colors and shapes for the rest of the room will keep that huge expanse of pattern from becoming too overwhelming.

Shown above:
1. A light, airy space and simple white furnishings allow this pattern to shine. Skona Hem via From the Right Bank.
2. The cowhide rug and bit of animal print are a little more daring — the mostly unadorned white walls provide a nice balance. David Report via Apartment Therapy.
3. The patterned sofa that started it all for me. I love the idea of a traditional sofa updated with a really bold, graphic print. The rest of the room is quirky enough, but in neutral colors that don’t compete with the pattern. Domino Magazine via Apartment Therapy.
4. This living room from Lonny plays it safe with neutral colors; the hint of malachite in the room beyond keeps things from getting too boring.
5. A restrained palette allows this bold black and white sofa, seen in an interior from Skona Hem, to take center stage.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Stick to a single color palette.
If you’re feeling brave, and aren’t content with decorating the rest of your living room in beige just to accommodate your sofa, try adding in some colors and patterns from the same color family as your sofa.

Shown above:
1. Red, white, blue and black is bold and sophisticated in this interior from Lonny.
2. The bold blue in this living room from Design*Sponge works because it picks up on a hint of blue in the pattern.
3. Bold and blue from House to Home.
4. Green, green, green — you might not quite say it matches, but somehow it works. From Jason & John’s Hyper Saturated Home.
5. Neutrals with a splash of yellow, from Dwell Studio.

Go for broke.
Sometimes, way too much is exactly what you need.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Covering the wall behind the sofa with the same print as the sofa? Now that’s bold. Interior from Skona Hem.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Why does this riot of pattern inspire envy and not seizures? It helps that the pattern on the couch and on the wall have the same background color (white) and are similarly scaled. Or maybe there’s just some kind of special crazy pattern mojo going on. From the brilliant designers at Demystifying Design. More is more.

Ready to take the plunge? We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite boldly patterned sofas here.

(Images: as credited above)