Which colour sofa will look best in my living room?

8 November 2020

Which colour sofa will look best in my living room?

How do you answer the question: Which colour sofa will look best in my living room?

It’s no easy task. Choosing a sofa requires an understanding of the basic principles of shade-matching and knowing how to choose a tone that complements your current interior palette.

If you're planning on redecorating your entire living room, you have quite a lot of freedom on this front. You can adjust the new colour scheme to match your bean bag sofa.

However, if you’re adding a sofa to an existing room, you need to be more careful. The colour you choose will need to match the rest of the room or, at the very least, be neutral. Adding too much colour can make the bean bag sofa feel out of place. The ultimate goal is to create a harmonious colour scheme where everything makes visual sense. But how do you do it in practice?

Which Colour Sofa Will Look Best In My Living Room? - Understanding The Colour Wheel

Before we even begin talking about seating, we need to introduce the colour wheel - an essential concept you should deploy whenever creating a theme for your rooms. It shows you which colours work best together, and combinations you should avoid.

The colour wheel has a fabulous scientific pedigree. English natural philosopher Sir Isaac Newton first introduced the idea of a colour spectrum in the seventeenth century when trying to characterise the nature of light. He found that you could recreate the colour of sunlight by combining primary colours.

The colour wheel is an extension of this concept and shows you all the colours that form visible white light, starting with red at the longest wavelengths and moving to violet at the shortest. It is a helpful tool because it allows you to see which colours match with just a glance, allowing you to develop schemes quickly.

The colour wheel features all three primary colours (red, yellow and blue), secondary colours, including green, orange and purple, and all of the tertiary colours in between. You can use it in three ways:

Complementary colour schemes:

The most basic way to use the colour wheel is to choose a colour and then look for its counterpart on the other side of the wheel, directly across from it, through the origin—for instance, orange pairs well with navy blue while yellow complements violet. Designers choose complementary colour schemes when they want to create the most visual impact. Interiors featuring these palettes offer the most contrast, helping everything stand out more and “pop.” Complementary styles are ideal for people who want to make their new bean bag sofa stand out while maintaining attractive aesthetics.

Analogous colour schemes:

Sometimes, you want your living rooms to have a specific mood - something that is hard to achieve with radically contrasting colour schemes. In cases like these, you might want to adopt the analogous approach to choosing which shades to use. Analogous is a long word, but it just means “similar to.” Pick a colour on the wheel and then choose both colours either side of it. So, for instance, if you pick bright red, you can choose scarlet and orange-red too. Or if you pick lime, you can use regular yellow and green too.

Triadic colour schemes:

The final option is to use a triadic colour scheme - something you see a lot in commercial advertising. To do this, take your colour wheel and then draw an equilateral triangle (where all the sides have the same length) in the middle of it. Each corner of the triangle points to a colour spaced one-third of the way around the wheel. The equal spacing is what prevents clashing - a strange fact gives you more choice when choosing bright bean bag sofa colours. It’s similar to musical harmonies. If the distance between the notes is correct, the sound is beautiful. When you maintain proper ratios on the colour wheel, the aesthetics work seamlessly.


Colour wheels usually display colours at high brightness to make each tone distinct from the one next to it. However, behind each colour in the wheel are an infinite number of shades - or levels of brightness. Consider looking at Pantone's colour for the year 2021. For the scientific among you, shade is the amplitude of the wavelength, whereas the colour is the frequency. The greater the difference between the peak and the trough of the lightwave, the more intense the colour appears. Thus, shades become darker as the amplitude decreases. Shade is essential when choosing a bean bag sofa that best fits your living room. If the room is neutral and features lots of golds, browns, creams and beiges, then adding bright green furniture will look out of place. Similarly, if you have a very moody violet room, adding a neutral beanbag sofa could look forced. Some colour schemes pick a single colour and then just vary the shade throughout a room to maintain visual interest. Thus, if you’re trying to create the most spartan palette possible, just choose one tone from the colour wheel and then vary the brightness in 10 to 30 per cent intervals. This discussion of colour theory might sound a little complicated, but it is vital to understand the basics before putting any new bean bag sofa in your living room. If you don’t want to replace the existing decor, then it limits your choices to areas of the colour wheel that complement the primary colours in the room. If you are okay with redecorating, then the paint and carpet colours you choose must match your new bean bag sofa according to the schemes set out above.

Which colour sofa will look best in my living room? - Everything Else You Need To Consider

Choosing a colour and tone for your bean bag sofa is only part of the story. Yes - matching shades are essential, but they aren’t sufficient to guarantee you’ll get the look that you want. There are other considerations too.

The Floor Colour

When looking for a bean bag sofa, people typically consider the colours of the walls and other focal points in the room. But in many cases, they forget to consider the colour of the floor too. Again, though, we can apply colour wheel concepts to ensure that we choose the correct shade. In most cases, you’ll want to create a shade contrast between the bean bag sofa and the floor. Try pairing light with dark and sticking with the colour themes outlined in the previous section. So, for instance, if your flooring is light brown, make your sofa much darker. Or if your floors are chocolate carpets, allow your sofas to be cream.

The Mood You Want To Create

Choosing matching colours helps to ensure that your aesthetic works, but you still need to incorporate your basic desires into the decision-making process to get the effects you want. If you go back to the colour wheel, you will see that it splits into two sections. On one side, you have all the warm colours associated with fire - yellow, orange and red. And on the other side, you have colours associated with cold, such as green, blue and violet. When deciding which colour to choose for your living room, you should first consider how you want it to make you feel before going to the colour wheel. Do you want it to evoke warm and cosy sensations? Or would you prefer your living room to have a fresh and clinical appearance? If it is the former, then you should stick with the red side of the colour wheel. Reds, oranges and yellows create a welcoming and sensual appearance. If it is the latter, then going with different shades of blue and purple can bring you closer to your design goals. Green is an unusual colour because it has so many associations. Often, you find it in fun and relaxed environments. Other times, it is a staple of eco-homes. It can sometimes provide a degree of unexpected warmth. Olive green - just like so many pastel colours - is calming and relaxing. If you’re not so keen on warm colours but still want your living room to feel laid back, you might want to go down this route. Tan and brown are, essentially, washed-out oranges. Bean bags sofas of this colour look less industrial and work well in living rooms with turquoise elements. Neutral is, by definition, neutral, so it doesn’t create any strong emotions in any direction. If you want somewhere that feels professional, then stick with taupe and grey. Bean bag sofas of this colour work well paired with soft, fluffy white furnishing, such as cushions and rugs.

The Accessories For Your Bean Bag

In the past, bean bags were standalone items for the living room. But thanks to radical improvements in their design, they’re now just as dressable as regular sofas. If you’re thinking about buying a sofa in a similar form factor to traditional seating (such as sofa or armchair-style), you’ll also want to consider things like throws and cushions. In many cases, you can make your bean bag sofas feel more included in your room when you add these accessories than if you leave them standing by themselves. As before, though, you’ll need to consult your colour wheel. You’ll want to check that your throws and cushions complement whatever tone you wind up choosing. Make sure that they are complementary, triadic or analogous according to the outline above, just like the rest of the interior.

Choosing The Right Texture And Fabric For Your Bean Bag

Many bean bags incorporate a particular colour in their texture. And this is also something you need to consider when combining different tones. Imagine that a room only has block-colours. It would lack depth. The tones might work well with each other, but the textural dimension would be absent. Thus, surprisingly, the type of texture you choose can help to make a colour scheme that feels a little off make more sense. Bean bag sofas come in a variety of textures you can try out to see which work best with your current setup. Leather offers a smooth finish and works well in rooms with heavy tog carpets and plenty of cosy fixtures and fittings on the walls. Silk also contrasts nicely with thick rugs and organic flooring materials. Cotton and polyester come in a wide variety of colours, making them suitable for a wide variety of neutral, contemporary and classical settings. Don’t underestimate the effect that texture can have on the complementarity of colour. You may find that an orange leather bean bag clashes badly with your decor, while a cotton one doesn’t. It all depends on the room itself.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a bean bag sofa for your living room, it helps to follow the tried-and-tested colour-matching conventions outlined in this article. Ideally, you want it to slip right into your existing palette so that it complements your living room. If you’re starting from scratch, decide on the bean bag sofa colour you want first and then use that to dictate the palette for the rest of the room or vice versa. Doing this will help you avoid clashing. So what have we learned in this article? How do you answer the question: Which colour sofa will look best in my living room? While no particular colour will look best, abiding by the following rules will help increase the likelihood of a pleasing aesthetic:

  •  Pick a colour that complements your existing decor using the complementary, analogous, or triadic colour-matching schemes
  • Play with different textures to see which works best in the context of your current decor
  • Experiment with different shades, ensuring that the floor is lighter than the sofa or vice versa
  • Pick a sofa colour that evokes the mood that you want to create

Ultimately, the rules for bean bag sofas are similar to those of other substantial items of furniture. They need to blend in and avoid looking monochromatic. Slight variations of your existing colour scheme are usually the safest option.

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