I’ve been talking up the virtues of the trending, yet classic, cognac leather sofa quite a lot lately. And yes it’s true… something that is trending can ALSO be classic. But does that mean it’s the best choice for your room?
There are some limitations though because, in actual fact, cognac leather is still a colour.
Today I’m sharing a question from a reader who recently enrolled in my Shop Online with Color Confidence course.
Before she dives into updating her living room she wanted to know if a cognac sofa was right for her space.
Will my Cherry Kitchen work with a Cognac Leather Sofa?
I just completed your “Shop Online with Color Confidence” course and am excited to start searching online for furniture and accessories to complete our family room. To begin the process in the right direction, I was hoping you can answer a question related to a cognac sofa.
We have an open concept floor plan with dark cherry kitchen cabinets and island and orange toned wood floor throughout the main level. Unfortunately, when we remodelled in 2013 and made these selections, I had not found your blog yet and we did not work with a designer. The existing black sofa and recliner will be moved to the basement and we will purchase new pieces to replace them. The gray chair and area rug (main colors are cream, gray, blue and cognac) will stay. My question is would a cognac sofa be a good choice or too much of that tone with our orange toned floors and cherry cabinets? Or would a blue color sofa be better? (We do have blue tones in other rooms).
I should point that that we will not be painting the cabinets; however, we will likely paint the walls (currently SW Argos) soon to a warm gray (BM Balboa Mist or BM Collingwood) to coordinate with new carpet on the steps and upstairs areas.
Maria, thank you for sharing all of your very helpful information on your website and courses! I have learned so much from you!
Great question Jodie, and I’m glad you asked because this is not something I have covered (even in my ongoing theme of cherry cabinets recently).
What colour is a cognac leather sofa?
A cognac leather sofa is orange. Most cognac leather is in the range of a light warm orange to gold brown colour that looks great with natural and medium neutral wood tones. And because of that, cognac leather warms up a grey or black and white colour scheme. It acts almost as an accent colour, like decorating with a muted golden orange.
The cognac leather sofa has a lot going for it, in addition to all the practical features of leather.
And warm accents is what grey, black and white rooms out there right now need for balance. Hence the trend for warm cognac sofas.
What colour is a cherry kitchen?
A cherry kitchen is red. In my mind, and a Google image search confirms my perception, “cognac” leather is more in the realm of orange to gold. And while it is good at picking up natural, golden or neutral medium brown wood tones (maybe it’s okay that you didn’t refinish or replace your honey oak floors now), I don’t think it will look as good with woods stains as red as this kitchen.
In fact, it’s highly likely that it will clash.
But let’s take a closer look. Here is a mock-up with Jodie’s cherry cabinet kitchen and a cognac sofa below.
This kind of hot red wood-tone needs to be paired with cool colours to balance it out and make it feel fresh. The blue accent she already has in her area rug (sampled in the image above) is a much more promising direction.
What colours go better with cherry cabinets?
Cool, rich blue is a better choice with a cherry cabinet kitchen. In general, blue looks fresher with the red wood.
See if you agree with me… I think a blue sofa would look much better in this space (below).
A while back, I refreshed a client’s rich, formal warm wood dining room with fresh blues and whites (below).
Deep warm wood tones have a visually heavier, formal feel. They are WARM. The richness of deep blue accents connect to the dense red, but overall, blue and white is so cool and fresh that it creates balance.
Blue and white pottery and accents are the perfect way to wake up a too formal warm wood kitchen.
Warm wood tones need fresh accents to look current
You might be wondering if a warmer leather that is redder like the kitchen would work? Do you think that would be a good choice?
Well, I don’t recommend adding more reddish-brown to the room if you want to create a current look and feel. The floors are already pulling the colour through the space. So what’s needed now is freshness and balance – something that moves the room forward, not back in time.
That’s why I absolutely would go with deep blue and lots of white. Another great update for this kitchen would be crisp off-white quartz because the patterned black countertop is too heavy.
What would Maria do?
Here’s what I would do below. In the mood board below, I added in a pale green-grey greige for a fresher backdrop as a wall colour.
The best decorated cherry kitchen I’ve ever seen in one of my consultations was, in fact styled with lots of blue and white porcelain! Just beautiful!
And I ALWAYS recommend adding more lamps.
You could also repeat the cherry in smaller doses like coffee or side tables.
HOT TIP: If you’re mixing wood tones in a room, repeat it twice.
Just for fun, I popped the cognac sofa option in the same mood board below. By the way, creating a mood board is the easiest way to see how things will all work together.
While the blue and white accents help make this look ok to my eye, the cognac sofa looks out of place. And that’s because more warmth is not what this room needs.
So the answer is NO
Blue, however? Yes, that’s exactly what this room needs!
Always create a mood board BEFORE you make colour choices
Never skip the step of creating a mood board when you are decorating or refreshing a room. It’s simple and allows you to gather all your ideas in one place. You will immediately see how the colour, shapes, and patterns are working together.
HOT TIP: No designer would ever specify furnishings for a room without this step!
Get more on this and other fantastic tips that will have you decorating like a pro in my new Shop Online with Colour Confidence course.
So, I’d love to know… are any of you thinking of a cognac sofa? If you have a cherry kitchen, what colour is your sofa?
We’ve just finished two back-to-back Virtual workshops, check out this video on Instagram, and what two students shared was the most powerful takeaway from the course.
There are still spaces left in both events coming up at the end of this month, however once we run out of boxes with course materials, then we’ll be sold out.
October 21 & 22, 2021 – 8:30 AM – 5:20 PM PST each day
October 28 & 29, 2021 0 8:30 AM – 5:20 PM PST each day
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