Ways to lighten up a brown sofa

Updated February 21, 2017

Shiny brown leather material is especially eye-catching, but a brown sofa can look dark and heavy in a room that has a generally light colour scheme. To lighten up a brown sofa, you can add accents that detract from the heaviness of the colour. You can also indirectly lighten the sofa by adding complementary colours with art or furniture pieces.

Add two throw pillows in lighter shades of brown then two more in a light tan or off-white to the sofa. The pillows can be a solid colour or have a print. If you select a print, make it a small print as opposed to a large one. Larger prints are more imposing and will draw attention to the couch.

Lay a light-coloured blanket in a lightweight fabric over the back of the sofa. Use linen or cotton as opposed to knitted wool or afghans. You can also lay two light blankets over the arms of the sofa, as opposed to the back.

Place two side chairs on either side of the sofa that are a complementary light colour instead of just brown. Eggshell white or another light earth tone would be appropriate. Place throw pillows on these chairs in another light shade to further balance the darkness of the sofa.

Add a piece of art above the sofa that includes shades of brown along with light colours that complement or match your existing decor. This will lighten the look of the space without making the sofa look out of place.

Remove any art or accents that are darker than the sofa. This includes blankets, pillows, lampshades or decorative accessories. Replace them with similar items in a lighter shade.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 brown throw pillows
  • 2 off-white throw pillows
  • Light-coloured blanket
  • Side chairs
  • Artwork
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.