When I was asked recently to design a room keeping the homeowner’s existing red sofa and loveseat and work with those as a starting point, I had to give it some thought. Red is a really dominating colour and I don’t usually gravitate toward it for a large piece of furniture but we pride ourselves in being able to work with what you have and help you make the most of your treasured pieces. We are pretty excited about the results.

One Red Sofa, Three Design Looks

We came up with three distinct looks for the homeowner. I’d love to hear which is your favourite. I know which one I would pick. ps, for this task we called the client “mom”.

Traditional Room

By grounding the space with an Oriental carpet, we introduced a broader colour palette to build on. From there, we added a pair of white wind chairs to freshen it up, an ornate brass mirror and classic blue and white pieces. (ps if you are spooked by the idea of white upholstery, performance fabrics have come a long way as have stain resistant treatments. We have a post coming up about that.)

Here’s a bit of a room vignette to show how it would look.

You can order any of these items with our shop the look post. Some are splurges, others on sale!

Adventuresome Design

The next concept we had was for a travelled adventuresome “mom”. Animal print would be great in this mix but we’ve kept it (a bit) more conservative and picked some patterned pillows for accents along with other styling pieces. We added a natural fibre rug to add an earthy note. She could use it alone, or layer it with the Oriental rug lending a more eclectic look. Tan or cognac leather (on-trend right now) , tribal accents, and a faux bone and brass coffee table finish it off.

Shop this look here:

Coastal Style

The third option was for a coastal vibe. Good old red white and blue is a great way to achieve a coastal vibe. Lots of natural wicker, sisal, seagrass and white makes this work. Choose one rug, or layer them both again – either looks would work here too. Some chairs, upholstered in white, with blonde wood will lighten it up, add some baskets and mom’s got a great coastal room.

Shop for coastal ‘mom’ here:

As you can see, the first couple of items you purchase are going to influence the entire design of your room. This is why I always recommend planning everything out together before you make a purchase. Once the first few decisions are made, and pieces purchased, they will drive the rest of your project. This is why we recommend you try putting images of pieces together like we did and make sure you are happy with the direction your room will take. If you get stuck, you can always book a quick consultations to check in and give you some direction.

Working with a Red Colour Palette

Here’s a great room shot I found to show how a traditional rug with a strong red colour palette can be the starting place for a great room update. Isn’t this a fabulous mix?


I like to think we made “mom’s” decision difficult. Which was your favourite?

*** My standard disclaimer: Please note, some of these items may be offered through affiliate links which means I could get a small commission if you order. That will never influence what I find lovely and want to share with you. I always offer suggestions I would buy for my home or recommend to a client. Also, rest assured it won’t affect the price you would otherwise pay.