Design Dilemma: The Many Shades of Black Leather
It used to be that black leather held connotations of bachelor pad masculinity. If you owned a black leather couch, you were a single guy living in a modern high-rise of glass and steel, and you threw some really wild parties, all week long. But somewhere along the way, all that changed. The vintage black leather couch in the photo above, for example, comes off as homey and inviting in a space that exudes anything but pumped up masculinity. Knowing that black leather is a practical option in so many households where pets and children have to be taken into account, we’ve dedicated this post to looking at how differently black leather can appear, depending on what you do with it.
In the room below we find black leather in a setting in which it is used most often — that is, very contemporary, featuring glass, steel and dark cabinetry. This may be the most typical, black leather bachelor pad look.
But black leather couches are adaptable and flexible enough to find a home in any type of interior. Below, we find black leather fits comfortable in a Scandinavian design living room using light woods, white cabinets, and an open, airy floorplan. With a chalkboard wall and the Japanese prints, this feels like a family home.
Who says black leather has to feel heavy? In the living room below, an armless design couch feels as light as a feather, and fits in perfectly with a Japanese minimal interior.
Here’s another view:
Here’s another black leather couch in a minimal room with an Asian feel:
But black leather can feel cozy and contemporary too, like a place where you would just want to snuggle:
It can also feel, youthful, fun and funky, depending on how you accessorize:
And here is a very traditional take on black leather, with a slight industrial vibe:
Here, black leather comes off as part of an upscale mens’ club:
And below, it comes off as homey and restful:
Are you considering investing in a black leather couch?
- Lighten up the heaviness that some black furniture pieces have by investing in color, elsewhere in the room. This could be a brightly-colored rug, bright throw pillows, or an occasional chair in a bright color, as seen in one of the rooms above.
- Consider painting a wall a bright color to provide some lift.
- Art, art, and more art is critical to offsetting the heavy feel. Notice that almost every interior featured here relies heavily on artwork. Black and white art works fabulously with black furniture.
- Add pattern. Patterned pillows and rugs add interest and keep a room from looking too monotone.
- Texture is critical. Nubby pillows, shaggy rugs, wooly throws, velvety arm chairs, will help give your room a comfortable feel.
- If you want to keep things neutral, consider gray rugs, as in the picture above. If they’ve got a light pattern, even better.
- Consider oriental rugs and kilims. They are colorful, classic, handmade, and provide a nice warm counterpoint to the coolness of black leather.
- Add touches of black elsewhere in the room. Adding a bit of black here and there, in accessories, or even as a paint trim around doors or windows can help pull your room together.