He Wants To Keep His Big Black Sofa, But I Hate It!

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Oh Laurel,

Well, I’m on my second marriage and it’s already not going so well.

 

And can you guess? We just had a huge fight over his big black sofa.

 

It’s this big tufted thing and actually, it’s technically brown, but the room is already so dim, it looks like a black sofa.

He said that he endured years of flowers and bows with his first wife, and after she tragically passed away 5 years ago, he decided to make the place a lot more masculine.

It’s just not what I would’ve wanted and the room isn’t terribly large. Oh right. That’s the other thing. He said that they struggled for a full hour to get the damned thing in the house. They had to saw off the legs and then a furniture repair guy had to come and secure them back on.

 

“the black sofa stays!”

 

That’s what he said.

We’re actually in Maui now on our honeymoon and he went to play a few rounds of tennis to calm down. I guess I need to calm down too. I really do love him. Geeezzz, it’s just a sofa!

But, I want a light, bright living room. So, what can we do to lighten it up?

Oh wait. Forgot to mention the walls. He chose a color that I can only describe as Noxema foundation– errr.. Cover Girl. Am I dating myself, or what?

And hold on. I found an image of the sofa on the internet– at Wayfair.

 

 

It’s from a place called “Hooker.” Is that really the name of a furniture company? lol

Hope that you can turn this into a blog post.

Thank you,

Terri Slutsky

 

**********

 

hmmmm… That’s not a bad sofa. AAMOF, I actually like it a lot! Sure, it’s big and dark but that is a classic Chesterfield Sofa. I did one very similar to that one for a client about 5 years ago.

When I first heard “husband’s big black sofa,” it conjured up YEARS of seeing one version or another of this sofa.

big black sofa

 

The Big Black Sofa or bachelor sofa as I not-so-fondly referred to it. I can’t tell you how many young clients have had this sofa, but it was a lot of them.

In my initial interview with my prospective clients I would always hold my breath for a few waiting to hear.

“Can’t wait to get rid of this thing!”

And this one isn’t even the worst one I’ve seen.

This is the worst one.

And some of these recliners are quite awful too.

But this very dark sofa is a classic with a slight twist in the arm detailing.

The question is, however…

 

Can you lighten up a black sofa?

 

Well, you can as long as you balance out that big dark mass.

And that means that there must be other dark things.

But often, it is best to do a deeper color on the wall because then the sofa won’t stand out as much. Some of you might remember this beautiful living room from a reader a while back. She was worried when she first got the sofa, but when she moved things around a little and created crisp black and white art, it pulled the entire room together beautifully.

 

Let’s begin with a more neutral space to see how that might look with a dark or black sofa.

 

 

The room could take on a more classic contemporary feel with some traditional accents like this beauty from Williams Sonoma Home.

Oh, just have to tell you that they are having a 20% off sale on their entire site for a few days with code: FRIENDS

The walls here appear to be grass cloth, but if painted, perhaps a medium darkish shade like Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray would fit the bill. There are several deep neutrals in the Laurel Home Paint Collection of 144 colors that also comes with dozens of palettes and much more.

Don’t forget that this product as well as Laurel’s Rolodex are going up in price on Monday November 13th at 11:59PM EST.

 

Ralph Lauren did a striking black and white room that feels very elegant. It’s probably a little too elegant for the leather sofa, but if scaled back a little could also work.

This room has a combo of gold and white walls. If doing white walls, then there needs to be some hunky art with some black frames. Or at least some of the frames in black.

A designer to check out is Heidi Woodman who uses a lot of black in her designs and beautifully too. I think that her balance of light to dark in this space is absolutely perfect.

Below is a widget I’ve created that gives some ideas for furnishings to go with the dark brown or black sofa. Not everything would be in one room, but just some things that I think will help elevate the space.

 

 

Back to Ralph.

 

I usually associate Ralph Lauren with more saturated tones

I know that these spaces are too messy for some of you, but the idea is more the colors and warmth

 

 

Ralph Lauren’s library in his Bedford, NY home.

And what could be more elegant than Aerin Lauder’s chic, elegant, DARK living room, from Vogue Magazine!

Below is the dark sofa with more color in the room and two beautiful Oriental rug possibilities.

 

 

Again, please don’t forget about the price increase for the paint/palette collection and Laurel’s Rolodex. And also, if you haven’t seen the holiday post, please take a look.

And also don’t forget that Anthropologie is having a terrific sale on all of their home items right now. They have fabulous holiday decor and great gifts too.

There are lots of ideas for Holiday decorating as well as gifts at Anthro.

xo,

 

 

  • Susan Homann - November 14, 2017 - 12:41 PM

    Love your articles!ReplyCancel

  • Susie - November 14, 2017 - 12:16 PM

    Yes, when the subject of the black sofa came up, I thought of a Ralph Lauren décor also!! Mix in lots of tartan plaid, gilded frames and don’t forget the fire in the fireplace!! You won’t even know the black sofa is there!!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke Chase - November 13, 2017 - 11:12 AM

    I’m just cracking up at how many newlywed girls would have killed for a chesterfield couch – instead of what they “inherited”! For me, it was a (no lie) purple & green plaid couch and matching chair. The board sticking out the back from the drunk friend crashing into it was a bonus feature!!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - November 13, 2017 - 6:21 AM

    I so needed this post. We are downsizing and have a very nice dark brown leather couch that I would like to keep but not have it dominate the room. You have given me some great ideas! Thank you. Your topics are always so well thought out with great illustrations and a variety of styles and of course, great expert advice!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Davis - November 12, 2017 - 7:48 PM

    Laurel, thank you so much! My hubs is giving me all the reasons the leather sofa with the lumbar low back support is the way to go…….so I do like the idea that you can decorate around them and do it really nicely! Thank you for the info…..how about a blog on a deep color dining room, like navy blue, deep forest green, deep purple, etc….thanks, love to chuckle whenever you write; you are the BOMB.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 10:58 PM

      I have a navy blue dining room in the paint/palette collection. ;] But maybe one day!ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - November 12, 2017 - 7:45 PM

    Perfect timing!! I honestly have been thinking of writing you to ask if I was nuts for wanting a black sofa. I feel a bit better now and know the sanders. Thanks. Best -FReplyCancel

  • Lisa - November 12, 2017 - 1:19 PM

    Laurel, this post really hit home with me. When I married my husband and moved into the house he had just built we had a tiny daughter and a dog. Well,I am not kidding when I say that his two pieces of furniture, hideous chairs, were from the dump! We had almost no money,but luckily my father owned a furniture store, so we were able to select a couch for free. My husband insisted that it be “dirt” colored, so a huge brown chenille sofa it was! Fast forward a few decades and now with white slipcovered furniture and a new house, I think back to those times with sweet nostalgia. Thanks again for another wonderful post.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 10:55 PM

      You know, my wasband (ex-husband) had a WHITE sectional! And he wasn’t into sports except for swimming and biking. So kind. A real gentleman! Alas… he had a number of other “hobbies,” if you get my drift.ReplyCancel

  • debra @ 5th and state - November 12, 2017 - 1:16 PM

    great advise Laurel! a Chesterfield is killer & classic. your examples are very inspirational
    debraReplyCancel

  • Libby - November 12, 2017 - 12:43 PM

    Thank you, Laurel for the great widgets. I love your selections and you feature options that are often novel or unexpected not not just beautiful. You stretch my mind with possibilities (ok that can be a downside!). I love the Lauren library. Oh wow. And the Lauder living room – never seen that image. I love the dark rooms, shot through with natural light, cozy artificial light, real and artificial candlelight and gleaming metallic finishes and mirrors.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 10:49 PM

      Hi Libby,

      Thanks so much! I had never seen that image before either.ReplyCancel

  • alison alison - November 12, 2017 - 11:43 AM

    love the abstract art you selected!ReplyCancel

  • alison alison - November 12, 2017 - 11:41 AM

    love the art you selected!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - November 12, 2017 - 10:56 AM

    J’adore Ralph Lauren’s rooms! He is the bomb! Whoever does the styling for his merchandise is brilliant. Thanks for the post, Laurel.ReplyCancel

  • Suzi - November 12, 2017 - 10:26 AM

    Makes me almost like black. Can you tell me what to say to my husband that thinks all mirrors look cheap and tacky???? I want to put one on a wall in our huge front entry, above a buffet. Then I would like the tall buffet lamps, but until I come up with a plan, nothing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 10:41 AM

      Oh gosh. Nothing more lovely than a beautiful mirror with a lamp in front of it. And there are sooooooooo many fabulous mirrors out there. Perhaps I should do a mirror post soon.ReplyCancel

      • Suzi - November 12, 2017 - 1:26 PM

        Oh, please do. I’m serious. Everytime I bring up about getting a beautiful mirror he is adamant about no mirrors. The thing is, he is usually very accomodating about whatever I want, as long as I let him have his multiple Santa Claus sculptures, snowmen, guitars and various toys in his office on display. We live in Florida, on a lake with a big water view from the entryway. A mirror on a side wall would look very nice. Right now it is bare. I probably will settle for a framed print.ReplyCancel

  • meg bush - November 12, 2017 - 6:40 AM

    What a great way to handle this! Bless her heart ❤️
    The other unintentional consequence is that she really needs to spend money for him to keep it! Frankly, having a rather sinister mind, I love that part best of all!
    A really good rug… a few silk velvet leopard pillows for over $100 each!!! Go for it! I always admire a man who will put his. money where his mouth is!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 10:03 AM

      Some may not realize, but unless I say otherwise, these stories are fictitious. But they are based on various situations I’ve had over the years. What’s 100% true is that the weird, cheap, strangely shaped black poor quality leather sofa has crossed my path more times than I can count.

      Fortunately, I never had to work with one!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - November 12, 2017 - 1:31 AM

    OK, the woman’s last name is Slutsky and the couch is from Hooker. Am I being punk’d?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 9:58 AM

      Hi Lori,

      Not punk’d. But yes, it’s a joke; perhaps a little too subtle? The character is fictious.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - November 12, 2017 - 1:24 AM

    Laurel, The Big Black Sofa he insists is coming with him? I think you know my friends! I have THREE actual friends that this has happened to. In addition, one of the husbands come with three rooms of furniture he got from an outlet that ALL MATCHED. Karen his wife accepted it all into their new home and it all went (got crammed) into one room into which the door was forever closed! Great subject -thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 1:27 AM

      Well, I have seen a LOT of these over the years. It’s really funny. But your friend Karen is even funnier! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Papazian - November 12, 2017 - 12:59 AM

    That couch of Aerin Lauders is the most fabulous couch I have EVER seen…omg…I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonite. I am a leopard freak since I went on a Safari, but that takes the cake!! Any way to find out who makes it?? Also,
    And off the subject…would love to see your thoughts on crown moldings!! Where can you find crown with mirror pieces in it?!

    Always wait for your weekly articles. Did buy that fabulous fur blanket from Pottery Barn that you featured. My dog purrs like a cat when he goes to bed at nite on it…cutest thing you have ever seen!! Husband is getting used to it..lol…
    Keep it coming Laurel…love you!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 1:26 AM

      Hi Tammy,

      Love your darling comment! I don’t know who made Aerin’s sofa. It’s a few years old now. I thought it was EJ Victor, but don’t see it now. Please give your cute pup a big hug from me!ReplyCancel

  • Gaye - November 12, 2017 - 12:57 AM

    That Miz Slutsky! On her honeymoon and writing you for help already. Smart gal. Knows where to turn for help. I love your correspondents! And your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Donna B Oliphint - November 12, 2017 - 12:47 AM

    A.DORE the black and white room with the fabulous black and white art wall! Agree with you–I’ve see much worse big black sofas. That one has really pretty lines.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 12, 2017 - 12:51 AM

      Hi Donna,

      Actually, it took me a while to find some black and white rooms that I think are very well-done. Many are just okay, but that’s not good enough.ReplyCancel

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