The Lighter Side of Leather


A deign dilemma that I consistently face is how to design around an existing leather sofa or clients that love the durability of leather but are looking for a way to keep the room from looking too heavy. This past week I received several questions from readers looking for a fresh ideas to brighten up their rooms with leather furniture confirming what I have been experiencing with my clients so I decided it was time to share some ideas while answering our readers question  from Just Ask.

Q. I would like to begin redecorating my living room.  I want to add color to my dark brown leather couch and loveseat, plus add new window treatment that is light and airy.  I really don’t know where to start to get me out of the “brown” theme and into the “light and airy” feel I want.  Thanks for your help.  Maria


1. Pop of Color- Above, a touch of turquoise on the kitchen island and sofa pillows balances the strength of the leather in this open plan. Keeping the cabinets, walls and area rug light add to the impact of the color you choose to accent with.

2. Fresh Pillows- Probably the easiest way to lighten the look of a leather sofa, add light colored pillows with fresh patterns in varied sizes and textures.

3. Walls & WindowsWhite or light colored walls create a crisp backdrop for the natural leather tones, the effect is a light and airy. The window treatments; keep the treatments simple and architectural; 2″ white wood blinds or white plantation shutters for a softer look, Silhouettes or a classic side panel in sheer fabric.


4. Cottage Flair- Below, add a piece of cottage chic furnishings to your room and you will find it softens the look of the leather. Add plants and flowers for an organic dimension.


5. Bold Patterns- An area rug is the perfect place to make a statement with pattern and color creating a direct relationship with the bold leather pieces in the room. Toss on some of the colors from the area rug onto the sofa with a throw and pillows, fun.


6. Lighting & Accessories- Proper lighting can bring a room to life,  in the case of making the leather furniture feel lighter it can even achieve that. I have recently been hanging a statement fixture over the coffee table or ottoman and love this look combined with recessed fixtures, designer tip- use a Par 20 bulb to achieve the feel of daylight verses the popular incandescent bulbs that give a yellow cast. Accessories that are light in tone can also enhance the light and airy feel as demonstrated below.


Image {1,2,3,4,5,6}

  • Susan

    Our leather sofa was very expensive, still in great shape but I was tired of it. Thanks for these tips, with some small changes I will be happy and you saved me a lot of money.

    • Cathy from Adore Your Place

      So happy to hear that you liked the post. This topic comes up all the time in my design business :)

  • Brenna@DomesticCharm

    I just love your blog! And I love this post – leather is my new go-to “fabric”.

    • Cathy Wolfram

      Aww thanks Brenna, so glad you found us! I enjoy designing with leather but have found everyone recently wants a lighter look :)

    • Cathy from Adore Your Place

      Aww thanks Brenna, I am so glad you stopped by to visit, I love designing with leather to :)

  • Katie Nitka

    Love the bold pattern rug! Where can I find it?