Long term purchase.
February 3, 2012 12:21 AM   Subscribe

What would be the best color for a leather couch (not knowing the future color of walls)? Is there a couch color you have regretted? I'm going to buy this sofa. My plan is to keep it for a long time and through all the different places I will live. This is a couch that I eventually expect will be in my home office (and I think this classic design would be versatile).

I'm considering the dark gray (Charcoal), dark brown (Chocolate), or light grey (Putty). I currently live in an apartment, I am male and 29.
posted by niccolo to Home & Garden (36 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
go with the putty.
posted by violetk at 12:26 AM on February 3, 2012

We have a red leather couch in our home, and it is honestly one of the best furniture purchases we have ever made. It adds color and is such a joy to look at.
posted by Night_owl at 12:27 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Personally, I would go with the putty. Sofas are huge, and a dark sofa tends to dominate a room in a very heavy, oppressive way. Go neutral :-)
posted by Susan PG at 12:28 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nah, I vote black. Won't clash, but looks bold. When it comes to style, black is never wrong.
posted by Segundus at 1:18 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I vote not grey. Grey is all trendy right now in home decor, so it will probably look dated in a few years. I have a chocolate brown leather sofa that I love and that has worked in every home we've had, through lots of our own cycles of different tastes. I also have a bright red sofa that makes me smile every time I see it, but I'm not kidding myself that I'll always feel that way.
posted by lollusc at 1:42 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Among those you listed I would say Chocolate. But actually I like Fawn best as I think it will age really beautifully.

We have a red futon. I cannot wait to throw that out. I feel like it's dictating how the rest of our livingroom looks). But my taste in decorating is to get solid, well designed furniture, and then design around it with accessories and wall art.
posted by like_neon at 1:45 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

As lollusc says, avoid today's 'on trend' grey - the black leather in that shape is timeless and can be dressed in a range of soft furnishings to change up the look over the years.
posted by honey-barbara at 1:47 AM on February 3, 2012

And sorry to be negative, but that putty colour in that shape looks cheap and nasty.
posted by honey-barbara at 1:49 AM on February 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

the "trendy" argument against grey is misinformed. grey's been around a long time in furnishings and will be around for even longer. grey is a neutral that works better with pretty much any of the other colors.
posted by violetk at 1:55 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've always thought brown leather looked classic. Add a fireplace, a couple of bookcases and a cat, and I'm happy!
posted by platinum at 2:53 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

just my personal opinion here, but I find that light-coloured leather doesn't wear well - it gets grubby and cheap looking as it gets older, wheras darker colours wear into a nice deep shine. That particular sofa would look great in charcoal or black - the dark wouldn't be overbearing because of the lightness of the design - the legs are long enough that you see a lot of floor under it, and it doesn't look heavy and massive. For me, the perfect colour would actually be deep oxblood burgundy, but then I'm a little nutso for bold colours.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:29 AM on February 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm liking the fawn, myself.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:34 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

5_13_23_42_69_666 is right. Go with the chocolate since the design isn't heavy or oppressive.
A year and a day after you get it, you'll spill some wine or pasta on the fawn or putty colored sofa, but the chocolate will somehow survive, if it ever even gets spilled on by anything other than soda or champagne.
posted by DisreputableDog at 3:44 AM on February 3, 2012

I like the chocolate too - will age ok, goes with everything, and I think it looks fantastic in that colour. Black is good too - but is harder to live with, in my opinion, I mean, I think you have to be kind of an urban groovster to have a huge black couch.
posted by thylacinthine at 3:49 AM on February 3, 2012

Light-colored leathers tend to get darker in spots, probably from skin oils and other unmentionable things, resulting in a not-so-nice and definitely not-fresh appearance. This is more pronounced the better quality the leather is. I still shudder at how a fawn-colored Coach purse I had looked after just one year of use.
posted by DrGail at 3:51 AM on February 3, 2012

Yes, echoing, lighter colors will show wear/use more over time. But it's a beauty, and who knows what will happen, you may win the lottery and that sofa will go into the pool house! Go for it!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:06 AM on February 3, 2012

Seconding DisreputableDog's advice. A light-coloured one is absolutely guaranteed to get something spilled on it within a year and a day (probably sooner). And black would just be overwhelming unless the room was huge and dark.
posted by Logophiliac at 4:10 AM on February 3, 2012

Chocolate! For all the reasons mentioned above.

The dark gray would probably wear pretty well too, but I feel like that particular sofa in gray feels very *now*. And I just like brown leather.
posted by mskyle at 4:13 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't worry so much. If the color clashes in any way, you can always cover it up with whatever color couch cover.
posted by zardoz at 4:56 AM on February 3, 2012

Chocolate! My parents have had their brown leather sofa for over a quarter century. It's moved from house to house with them (4 houses in all), survived kids (3) dogs (6) and cats (...countless) and and has always looked amazing. As it aged, a beautiful burgundy undertone sort of appeared, but I can't guarantee that will happen to your couch.

Brown leather couch turned even the shittiest looking living rooms gorgeous.
posted by AmandaA at 6:32 AM on February 3, 2012

posted by Piglet at 6:39 AM on February 3, 2012

Originally came to say gray but I've been convinced by the people arguing for chocolate! So, that.
posted by brilliantine at 6:44 AM on February 3, 2012

Any of the natural, neutral leather tones would be nice, and dark would be practical. What do you like? Do you tend to like warm or cool tones? By which I mean, are you more likely to decorate in greens, browns, creams, orange or tomato reds, turquoise, peach, or yellow (warm tones) or in blue, black, gray, burgundy, purple, or white (cool tones). If you like warm tones, go with the brown. If you like cool, go with the black.
posted by orange swan at 6:52 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

another chocolate vote. classic but easily funkified if you want with bright colors.
posted by domino at 7:11 AM on February 3, 2012

Out of those available colors, the one you chose it the best looking out of them. The rest look kind of fakey.
posted by gjc at 7:31 AM on February 3, 2012

I think warm colors always work. Cool colors might be "in" and cool but people are drawn to warmth. I vote copper or chocolate.
posted by Fairchild at 7:41 AM on February 3, 2012

I have almost that exact sofa in cream color and it gets HEAPS of compliments.

That said, the chocolate might last longer wear and tear-wise.
posted by jbenben at 9:05 AM on February 3, 2012

Chocolate for sure. The problem with grey is that it doesn't go so well with beige and even if you hate beige right now it may sneak into your decor at some point (as it did with our new carpet).
posted by Go Banana at 9:08 AM on February 3, 2012

I have that sofa -the fabric one - in gray and it is awesome. Its a much darker gray than the leather one, though. I'd go for chocolate if I were getting the leather one.
posted by 8dot3 at 9:33 AM on February 3, 2012

Brown if you decorate in mostly khaki, beige, brown, green, tan and yellow. Charcoal if mostly in blues, pinks, green and greys.

Alternatively, whichever colour goes better with your clothes - then you'll always look good.

As a wild card, if there's a different colour that you'll always love (for me, purple) choose that instead.
posted by plonkee at 9:38 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

The chocolate and the charcoal are the nicest. I'm more likely to decorate in cool colours, so I'd go charcoal, but if you are a warm colour person the chocolate is lovely.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:45 AM on February 3, 2012

I have a fawn colored leather office sofa, which I've owned for over a decade now, and two deep red office leather chairs I've had for a similar period. They all go with everything. I always get compliments, in particular on the red chairs. Our home sofa, which is black leather, is much tougher to match because, as noted above, black is such a strong color. We have paired it with a deep red/maroon oriental rug and black and white photographic prints and art on our white walls.

So, I'd vote for the fawn shade for this sofa. Red would be lovely too but the only reddish shade I see for this model is copper, which is much less workable.

I would strongly recommend against staying with "modern" shades like the putty, charcoal, purple, or copper on offer for this couch. They are nice colors but they will look dated soon.
posted by bearwife at 11:51 AM on February 3, 2012

Get the color you like the most. People's tastes vary, are entirely personal and cannot possibly be either right or wrong.
posted by yoink at 12:15 PM on February 3, 2012

Of the dozen or so leather couches that I've seen in the homes of friends and family, the dark brown/chocolate ones always looked the best after several years of use. The lighter-colored couches either had a visible stain on them, or accumulated dirty-looking areas, presumably from skin oils or whatnot. But the dark brown couches looked great.
posted by xedrik at 2:00 PM on February 3, 2012

If you want it to last for a long time,keep it out of direct sunlight (coming through windows) which will cause the leather to fade, dry out and crack.
posted by bad grammar at 5:06 AM on February 4, 2012

Thank you for all the great feedback. The truth is I like the charcoal, the chocolate, and the putty equally. I decided on the chocolate due to all of your positive comments about the color lasting over time. The chocolate is also not a true brown, it's more greyish like real chocolate, which makes it more workable with colors like green. The charcoal would be my choice but the swatch is slightly darker than the picture - people would call the sofa "black", I suspect, and from the comments, I think black would be a mistake.

Also, thanks for all the comments about avoiding light colored leather.

I was also happy to see nobody objected to the sofa's design, which was the subtle second question I threw in for your subconscious enjoyment.
posted by niccolo at 12:58 PM on February 4, 2012

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