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WWMD: Is it Bad that my Wall Colour Matches the Couch?

By 04/01/2021April 6th, 202113 Comments

Repeating colours is the key to a pretty room, but is it bad if your wall colour matches the sofa? I think it’s totally ok, as long as you don’t miss this important decorating detail. Keep reading to find out what it is.

I’ve just found you and have read almost everything on your blog. Lets just say it. . .  I love you. Unfortunately I found you AFTER we picked the wall color for our entire new house (2001 build). We just inherited a couch that I love but am unsure if I can make it work with our wall color.

They are almost too similar. Before I go about decorating my entire living space I have one giant question… do I keep the couch? Wall color cannot be changed. 

Here was my response:

You NAILED IT. There’s nothing wrong with a neutral that works with the sofa. Most people plunk their new sofa in their newly renovated living room and their walls don’t match and NOW they are cranky.

The placeholder Costco carpet needs to go (which I’m sure you already know) but make sure you add some colour now. If you keep going with greige on greige, then it truly will look too same, same.

Here’s what I would do to make this room even better:

  • Pull the furniture away from the wall
  • Hang some art above the sofa
  • Add some end tables with bigger lamps
  • And, of course… add colour!

I answered this question in 2019 when a reader asked if they could paint their walls to match their sofa here.

But I think this is SUCH a common question, it’s worth discussing AGAIN.

Is it Bad that my Wall Colour Matches the Couch?

So first, why does my reader think it’s a bad idea that the sofa matches the wall colour?

Pause… and think about it before you keep scrolling down.

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Because the room is still undecorated. It’s truly naked right now which makes it look like maybe the wall colour should be changed. But the wall colour cannot do all the heavy lifting. 

And because when the area rug also matches the entire colour scheme, it all starts looking WRONG.

Plus, it would be kinda wrong if the area rug STAYS. That’s too much of the same neutral. 

But NOT because matching the wall colour to the sofa is the wrong idea. 

How to Decorate When Your Couch and Wall Colour Match

Let’s say we were keeping the rug and thought, let’s add some throw pillows:

 

           green & navy pillow | green and white pillow | white pillow | kelly green velvet pillow

It’s not quite there yet. Above you can see how unfinished it still looks with JUST colourful throw pillows on the sofa. These colours need to be repeated somewhere else.

Okay, so now let’s add some artwork above the sofa.

Art by James Weins

 Now you can see how the old neutral rug that matches the room really looks bad – especially without any colour.

 

area rug | blue and white lamp | end table

In fact, matching the wall colour to your sofa is really a pretty good strategy as a base for a pretty living room. But it will look very plain and uninspired if you stop there. Remember to keep going and layer the room with more colour and decor.

The Key to a Pretty Room

Matching the walls to the pale blue sofa is a successful move in the room below. It works because there is lots of colour, pattern and interest layered in. Even with this beautiful blue, if you emptied the room of everything but a blue sofa and blue walls, you might be wondering what went wrong. It just doesn’t work.

Ballard Designs

It’s easy to assume you need the paint to do more work if you haven’t decorated yet. This is one of the biggest paint colour mistakes

In the room below, the sofa blends in with the dark wall. But it works because of the contrast and layering in the decor. Otherwise, it would look bleak. This look is really tricky to pull off if you are not a pro decorator.

Decor grey

Repeating colours, in general, is the key to creating a pretty room. They’ve deliberately accented the back of this shelving unit below to match the deep blue of the sofa (below). And they balanced it by adding lots of white and decor.

Williams Sonoma

And, if you have the opposite and more common situation of a neutral wall and sofa, you still need to add the colour. Add a colourful area rug, pillows and art. After you paint a room, it’s an easy mistake to stop too soon and miss the important decorating and styling that a room needs in order to come to life.

So keep going! Pick a rug or a piece of artwork with a few colours in it and repeat 2-3 of those colours in accents and decor until your room starts to feel right to you.

Related posts:

4 Ways to Decorate around your Charcoal Sofa

How to Bring a Charcoal Sofa to Life; Before & After

Stop Buying the Neutral Sofa on the Showroom Floor

 

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13 Comments

  • Avatar Anna says:

    Thank you for this!!! I love it when you write a post that just hits home! I was shopping for a new couch and chair for our family room recently so I had brought home a bunch of samples from the furniture store which I had drapped over the existing furniture. I had already chosen which ones I wanted, but my Mom came over and was looking at them and she said “Well I would definitely choose the darker fabric for the couch because the other ones are all too similar to your wall colour”. Well, of course I had not chosen the darker one, because in my head I could see how good everything would look together with the rug and toss cushions and contrasting chair (navy velvet) with the couch and wall colour as the foundation, which my Mom couldn’t see. Now I can just send her this post 🙂

  • Avatar Norine says:

    I originally thought the writer had submitted the black-on-black room. My first thought was to move the couch away from the wall and do the decorating based on chairs or other lively curated items put near the dark wall. I was also thinking more like the pale blue on blue Ballard room where the matching colors are not next to each other.
    Thanks for the other tips. There is nothing like Maria advice.

  • Avatar Netty says:

    Dang, Maria is amazing!!!

  • Avatar Loryn says:

    I painted the walls the same shade as the couch to hide a really ugly piece of furniture. My husband came with a gigantic (and expensive) black leather sectional and a huge TV, so I painted the walls a really dark purplish, grayish brown (sounds weird, but it’s a beautiful color), then covered the walls in art and put in my favorite vintage lamps and accessories.

    It’s not perfect, but it keeps the couch from overwhelming the room, and I’ve been able to live with it while we wear out the sectional. It’s days are finally numbered, and I’ve convinced him to get a (not black!) recliner instead next time.

  • Avatar Lisa says:

    I deliberately matched my wall color to my sofa in my new house living room. I have pretty bold paint everywhere else, but I was looking forward to having a neutral pallet that I could be creative with artwork, pillows, and accent furniture. Love the idea.

  • Avatar priscilla says:

    Love this post, thank you Maria. It sounds so simple…

  • Avatar Rachel says:

    Good post (per usual). Love your blog.

    Your recent advice was choose a colorful rather than a neutral sofa. If we do that, is it *best* to paint the walls to match the colorful sofa shade? Would it be less ideal to paint the walls a pale neutral that works with the colorful sofa and hard finishes?

    • Maria Killam Maria Killam says:

      No that’s not necessary, pick up the neutral in the room if that’s what you want. Look at some inspiration photos online of rooms with colourful photos and you will see that the walls don’t necessarily match. Maria

  • Avatar Vicki Williams says:

    Oh how do I find out what those SW and BM Lavender paint colors are. Please tell me!

  • Avatar Karen says:

    Great post Maria! Totally applies to my room. I painted my walls SW Divine White and 2 end vaulted accent walls SW Latte 5 years ago. Have you and do you still use these colors particularly the Latte? Are they still in style or should I be thinking about updating them to Alabaster or something lighter? I know beige is starting to come back so I’m wondering if I wait it out I might be back in full style swing soon lol. Just not sure if the Latte is or will be on trend in the new era. Would love your thoughts or suggestions.

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