Design Dilemma: Choosing A Patterned Sofa
Patterned sofas are dangerous. It’s way too easy to be beguiled by a pattern that’s trendy for the moment, only to find that what first seemed hip and bold becomes loud and pitifully passe as the months and years wear on.
Even so, there’s one kind of pattern we’re embracing for sofas and chairs: traditional ethnic kilims. Although we’re seeing them everywhere these days, we have to admit that they have one big advantage over other patterns: they can feel both traditional and modern because they involve the use of geometric patterns.
For example, the kilim sofa above or the kilim chair below, both at Anthropologie, (respectively, $2500 and $1300) can be quirky, personal pieces in a starkly modern interior, or they can add to a crazy-quilt cacophony in a more traditional room.
These colorful geometric patterns have been hip for centuries. Will the world ever tire of the kilim? Course not! Just take a look at this modern room below (courtesy of remodelista.com). A kilim sofa works deliriously well when contrasted with a low-slung modern white sofa. It’s a great way to keep things from getting boring.
And here, two matching kilim sofas and chairs manage to seem utterly fresh when allowed to take center stage in an otherwise neutral room:
Another category of pattern that can move between traditional and modern is a black and white pattern. Below, witness a black and white kilim sofa — The Andrew Martin Black & White Kilim Sofa, at 1395 pounds. This sofa could look marvelous in almost any kind of setting because black and white is always chic.
Stripes are definitely one pattern that’s easy to embrace for the same reason that kilims and black-and-white patterns are. They are always in style, and because they are clean and brisk, they can work in either a high-rise loft or a New England Colonial. Stripes can also be easily paired with other patterns, like the kilim rug below.
While the look above tends toward the traditional, the striped couch below shows how stripes can be wholely and utterly modern as well:
The world is full of beautiful patterns, but let’s face it, patterns are hard to use successfully on large, important furniture pieces. When you use them, proceed with forethought and purpose.
- Opt for looks that have already withstood the test of time. Tribal kilims, stripes, black-and-white patterns, and any geometric print will work well in a modern environment, as well as a traditional one.
- Allow a patterned couch to stand out in an otherwise neutral room if you feel timid about using pattern in your space.
- Avoid using coordinating patterns if you’re looking for a youthful, less formal look. The days of matching sofa patterns to drapes to wallpaper are over.
- Similarly, if you’re looking for a youthful fresh vibe, use florals with caution.
- Choose a pattern you really, really love. After all, if the pattern is going onto a sofa or chair, you’ll be living with it for a long time to come!