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Reader Fix: How to Rock a Dark Couch in a Coastal Home

I often put the call out on Instagram, asking you gorgeous Creatives what some of your biggest decorating dilemmas are. Last week, Jasmine Flowers told me that she was having a hard time making her black leather couch work in her old beach house.

Today’s post is going to show you (and Jasmine) how you can take a room that feels too dark and turn it around, creating a space that can be marvellously moody and coastal at the same time.

If you need some decor advice or want me to pop around to your house for a style consult, click here and check out my interior styling service. On with making the room in this coastal home rock!

(if you’d like to follow me on Instagram, just click here).

Black Leather Sofa - Coastal Room

Jasmine was right when she mentioned to me that the room (above) felt dark. There is a lot of black leather at play but it can be softened. Before we get to that though, a few other observations that’ll make this space achieve the vibe Jasmine is after:

  • Red is not the best colour for this room. A warm hue, red is pretty visually stimulating and teamed here with black it makes the space feel hard.
  • A larger rug in a natural fibre will bring this room to life. A jute rug, for example, would be stunning and channel the coastal vibe Jasmine is after.
  • Pulling the rug right to the edges of the sofa will make the space feel cosy.
  • A round coffee table in a mid-brown wood tone will soften the hard lines of the couch. Look for a piece where you can see the wood grain.
  • Add white candles and other textures in neutral tones on top to further soften the look. Flowers in white tones or soft apricots will shine here!

Nest Designs CushionAbove you’ll see the inspiration image I have pulled for Jasmine to work off. These cushions are from Nest Designs and you can see how the soft blue tones, beige and white hues, and some pipe detailing completely soften the look of a black couch (the one in the pic above is a deep blue, but the same rules apply).

You’ll also notice various patterns have been mixed together here. It’s important Jasmine do this on her couch because if you kept all the patters soft and feminine it would look and feel disjointed. You need to keep a few bold prints (like the polka dots) to act as a link between the modern couch and the softer elements in the space.

Jasmine, I hope this helps you transform your living space! Drop me a line with some new snaps once you’re done so I can see how you went!

What do you think? Are you digging these ideas?

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He's also spent time on TV, on Channel 10's Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7's Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

  • Jasmine Hines


    Thanks so much! I feel like I have learnt a lot! :)))

    15 October, 2014
  • Natasha


    Wow – such a fabulous way to change the style without having to try to buy a new big ticket item!

    15 October, 2014
  • Yay nailed it again Chris – I have a dark blue leather couch I’m looking to freshen the look in my home – perfect!

    15 October, 2014
  • How wonderful. The blues & greens of those gorgeous Nest Design cushions certainly make black couches fresh and coastal! I have black couches in the kids playroom and have added a couple palm tree cushions to create a tropical feel, a lovely fiddle leaf plant & a big large light green soft rug to try and soften the black. Just need to find a couple more cushions to compliment & complete the look. Any ideas Chris?

    16 October, 2014
  • Great idea, I think if they’re incorporated the room will look amazing and Jasmine won’t have to spend a lot of money to do the make over.

    19 October, 2014
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