Is too much brown a bad or good thing? Need opinions

weezkreegzSeptember 24, 2012

Hi. I absolutely would love get your feedback on my couch dilemma.

We just moved into a house - and had medium to dark hardwoods installed. We have existing dark furniture (espresso colored) media cabinet, side tables, and accents like frames etc.

My question is this....we don't know if a brown leather couch will be too much BROWN in our family room. Is it brown overload? Or should we get the black leather couch?!?! So torn and need advice - this is keeping me awake at night ;) I know we can use color accents - but wondering if too much brown is a bad or good thing. The black couch would be a bit starker/colder - but at least it would break up the brown.

THANKS!!! I'll try and post pics.

(a little history...need a leather couch since baby is on the way and don't want to deal with microfiber or cotton for cleanup. Also, don't like light color leather. So only choice is chocolate brown or black leather couch)

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Perhaps you should look at distressed brown, it's would give a contrast to all the brown you already have, of course there are lots of leather sofa's in dark caramel, dark green, my favorite cordovan, dark mustard. Google leather sofas and then click on google images and you'll see plenty. I don't think black would work at all.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Espresso is a black brown. Just go lighter brown for the sofa. That will add contrast. Once you install drapes and other accessories, your doubts will go away.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:01AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have dark brown floors, dark brown furniture, dark brown sofa and dark brown woodstove, and we added dark brown ottomans, but I don't think it's too much as there's other stuff going on in the room. You can lighten it up with walls, accessories, window treatments and carpeting. Also there is variation in the shades of brown so it adds a bit more interest.

BTW, this is definitely not something to lose sleep over....war, hunger, disease, suffering, sure....brown sofa, not so much.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:44AM
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No, it is not too much brown and I would not get a black sofa.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:46AM
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I wouldn't buy a sofa because you're afraid a baby could mess it up. I don't know of any baby that ruined a sofa. I think it's a misconception.

I do think a brown or black sofa would be overload on darkness and it will eventually drive you nuts! Not even throw pillows will lighten up the room.

Can you show a picture of the room?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Have you thought about a medium toned grey? Maybe w/a bit of a pebbled texture. I think Clayton Marcus has some pretty grey tones. I had a medium brown leather sofa and chair for years, loved it! It can have limitations on what colors you use w/it to make things pop! I don't think I would like a black sofa - unless your space is very modern.

Annie - Is your paint color in that room Philadelphia Cream? If not, can you share the color? Is your trim white or cream? The room is light and very pretty!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I have a leather sectional and 2 young children. I agree with the above posters that a baby probably won't mess up your couch. Toddlers on the other hand, they run around with toys and could definitely scratch a leather couch. Books with hard corners are a huge culprit too. So if you're going leather, I would definitely consider distressed. Another thing to consider with leather, a lot of jeans these days have zippers on the back pockets and those will scratch leather.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Annie - yes, agree - more important things to lose sleep over. I think I'm just in the 'nesting mode' getting ready for baby.

I'll post pics later. Does anyone have instructions on how to post pics...sorry, i'm new to this.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:03AM
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My favorite rooms are various brown/beige tones. It's soothing to me, but it's not everyone's cup of tea (on here.) If it's pleasing to your eye, do it.

My living room is a dark brown leather sectional, dark brown hardwood and various other beige shades and textures mixed in. We love the room. I should add that the room has white cabinetry and gets plenty of light, so it doesn't ever feel too dark.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:09AM
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Too much of anything is not good....but what you have described is not too much brown. surely you will have an area rug, wall color, draperies, lamps and accessories which will provide a contrast.
And my advice is, if you are ordering your furniture rather than buying off the floor, ask for the sample of possible leathers and take it home and try to stain, scratch and poke the sample you are considering. That will tell you how fragile it is.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:19AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Thanks jeannie01. Glad you like it.

The walls are BM Wilmington Tan, the ceiling is BM Powell Buff and the trim is BM Bone.

The way I post pics is to copy the image address... such as xxx.jpg .... and put it in a phrase as follows, replacing the ( ) with the pointy brackets ... less than and greater than signs... instead

(img src="xxx.jpg")

if the picture comes out too wide, then add a width parameter as follows

(img src="xxx.jpg" width="500")

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:26AM
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My advice is to go with a classic brown leather sofa. It will ever go out of style and you can dress it up or down with throw pillows of just about any color. Our family room has brown brick floors. Until recently it had a wonderful brown leather sofa and other brown furniture as well. I lightened things up with throw pillows (prints with yellow, red or green backgrounds) cream colored walls, framed artwork, and other bright accents. Over the years I changed the artwork, pillow covers, throws and lamps but always loved that room. Our sofa lasted through 2 kids and several dogs. Loved it! Here's a pic:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:37AM
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I had your exact problem and it did end up being brown overload. Super dark brown hardwoods + super dark brown couches = I felt like I was living in the inside of a shoe. In addition to the color, my couches were HUGE chesterfields (50" deep!) with really tall arms/back so that was a factor in their overwhelming my room. If I had lighter floors and added a white area rug like I had previously it would have been OK, but now we have black dogs so I needed a medium to dark colored patterned rug to hide the dirt they track in from the backyard plus the ridiculous amounts of fur the German Shepherd mix sheds :)

When I bought new couches I went for a cognac/camel color which you say you do not like. I would say that if you can have a pale area rug so the dark couches are not resting on the dark floor to make a sea of brown, and/or the couches are not so large they really overwhelm the room, you will be OK.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Weez, there are two ways to post pictures that I know of.

1. See the gray box under "Post a Follow-Up?" If your picture is downloaded on your computer, click on "Browse" to the right of the gray box. It will bring up all the pictures on your computer.

Then click on the picture (maybe a double click) and the jpg will appear in the box.

Click on "Preview Message" so you can see if the picture shows up.

Unfortunately, doing it this way you can only add one picture to a reply.

The other way I know is Photobucket, where you copy the URL and add it to your post.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:59PM
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I think the area rug is the key here. If you have dark floors, and a light rug, I think it'd be a nice contrast to the dark brown sofa. I think this would look better if you get a large rug so that all of your furniture is able to be placed on it, as opposed to only the front legs, etc. That way the couch would be completely surrounded by light rug, which would be surrounded by dark floor. Then you can do what you like with accessories and throw pillows. I agree with the others that it can be tricky to mix brown and black.

This photo is an example of the light rug contrasted with dark floors and sofa - not exactly the same colors you're talking about, but you get the idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Example

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 4:15PM
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I think brown hardwood floors and a brown leather sofa and brown tables are fine, as long as they are balanced with some other colors/tones in the rooms. Some people do like the look of brown on brown on beige on tan, but it's too much brown for me. I agree with the others that adding other non-brown elements (paint, drapes, rug, other furniture pieces) can go a long way to preventing brown overload. I personally would avoid beige walls and beige rugs. Otherwise, it sounds like your selections are all very classic color choices.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Great advice! thank you everyone. The pictures are on my phone, and my phone just died - so i can't post pics while at work.

I think the key here is a big rug and lots of other colors though. I'm spending a lot of money on a sofa and just want it to be right, so maybe I'm over thinking it - the sofa came in brown and black. Maybe a black leather sofa would be a nice alternate?!?!

Appreciate the feedback.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:58PM
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My current color scheme is light brown walls, medium brown hardwood, brown upholstered furniture, and mostly dark/medium dark wood tones. Might seem like a lot of brown but the ceilings are a lighter tone of the walls; the rugs patterned with brown, cream, green, red, blue; the curtains cream; pillows various colors depending on the season; and white trim. I also have a lot of art, wall decor, and decorative accessories that provide color. There are lots of windows with views and trees and a skylight so it's not dark during daylight. There are various types of lighting so it can be dark and moody or bright at night depending on how many lights I turn on.

Brown is good if you like it and can be used as an effective backdrop for color. It's not so good if you don't like it.

I like the combination of brown and black but I think one needs to use a lot of white with it. A patterned fabric with brown and black would help marry the two.

In your situation where the brown wood tones are very dark I think I'd choose a medium brown sofa and use a color on the walls such as sage green, gold, or even a greyed blue tone. Before choosing wall color find a patterned fabric with cream background and color of your choice and coordinate wall color to that.

BTW a good quality microfiber is very easy to clean and doesn't absorb spills or stains. There is a lot of poor quality microfiber around tho and that's why it gets a bad rap.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I don't know why your sofa has to be black or brown. I could live for decades with a sapphire blue or red sofa.
I had a paisley blue sofa years ago that I adored, when I sold it ten years later, it was snapped up.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:15PM
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Meant to say use the patterned fabric for WT's but you probably figured that out!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Depending on the style of your room and style of sofa, I'd have to say NO on a black leather sofa. Again depending on style of sofa, brown leather can be timeless.

I currently have dark brown leather LR funiture, couch and chair and when I'm ready to get new furniture I plan to get brown leather again, just a different style.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:20PM
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I KNOW I had updated pictures of our Cowboy Chic den but can't for the life of me find them. The 24x26 room isn't a brown brown, more of a orangy brown. Walls and sectional pretty much the same color. The carpet is an antelope print (that's what it's called but it's really an axis deer print, same as the skin on the coffee table)with brown in it. My punches of color are the pillows on the sectional. They're all the same style pillow in brick red, sage green, brownish green, orange, dark brown and gold. Even the tile is close in color and dark brown wood coffee table and end tables. This is the only picture I can find...oh, AND the ceiling in this large room is wood too. I think it's a personal preference whether or not you think it's too much of the same color. We've got a 10 foot long white Austin Chopped stone fireplace (goes all the way to the ceiling) that breaks up the color and plenty of other accessories on the walls (plus 10 windows).
Monotone-ish den

Vaulted ceiling

Couch. We've had THREE couches in this den in 9 years :o
The first leather sectional broke (handle) and was replaced under an extended warranty. The second leather set, I never liked. It was uncomfortable and too formal looking for our room. The third time was the charm and it's NOT leather. It's our favorite by far! We have two grandchildren that are here as often as they can talk their momma into letting them come over LOL At least 3 days a week. Even tho food and drink isn't allowed in there and shoes are supposed to come off at the door, stuff happens. Hands don't get wiped or they'll sneak a leaky sippy cup in there while I'm not looking. This is some kind of microfiber that at first glance and especially at a distance, looks like leather. A wipe with a damp microfiber cloth is all it takes to clean it. It's definitely a miracle fabric :) And the baby on the couch...he's the best accessory :)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 12:27AM
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I love brown sofas more than black. I have a reddish brown sofa, and regular brown leather antique chair, and a cream
leather chair that we just re-upholstered. Everything in my family room is brown. I love brown; all colors go with brown.

Just so you know, the leather you have on your current sofa has some value, tell your upholster you want it back.
We covered our small chair in the FB with the leather we stripped off our old leather sofa.

This is the chair we re-upholstered in the leather from our old sofa. The chair is 100 yrs plus.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 6:33PM
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