Gray couches are popular. Gray in design is popular. It’s a great neutral color to work with as you’ll see below.
While it’s a classic choice, it can feel a little, well… too gray on its own. With some decor touches, you can take the “too gray” and make it great.
1. Add colorful throw pillows or blanket
The first method is so effective, I set out four different examples.
Throw pillows/blankets are the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to make your gray sofa look so much better no matter how neutral the entire room. In fact, if the entire space is fairly neutral, these small splashes of color will truly stand out and make your room so much better. Seriously, imagine the above examples of gray sofas without the splashes of color.
Speaking of adding splashes of color, what colors work with a gray couch?
IMO, colors that go with a gray sofa do so because they spice up the neutrality of gray so go bright with blues, yellows, greens, orange and/or reds. Don’t jam too many different colors into the mix though. One bright color is more than enough.
2. Use contrasting grays in the same room
You can go the opposite direction of incorporating bright colors and instead go all in on gray like this room. The light gray sofa is enhanced with the charcoal gray fireplace and wall. In this instance, the dark wall, which admittedly is more stunning with surrounding floor-to-ceiling windows, pops out very nicely. You’ll notice there’s also a yellow pillow on the sofa but that’s not what really makes this room work… it’s the dramatic charcoal gray fireplace.
I need to comment about the cowhide area rug because it works. It’s interesting because the yellow throw pillow does nothing yet the brown cowhide area rug makes the room bringing the two grays together (sofa and fireplace). I would not have figured that brown would work in the space, but it does.
3. Brightly colored accent chairs
This living room is in this celebrity Palm Springs home.
I love this living room because I love the idea of using bright accent chairs to enhance a space with a gray sofa. What’s amazing about design is so often you can’t imagine it to look as good as it does. For instance, if I suggested to you a living room with a gray sofa and two green accent chairs, you’d probably think I could do better. Now that you see it, you likely realize that it truly is an effective design.
What’s more important about the above is the room itself is nothing special. There aren’t wrap-around glass walls. The floor is boring. The size isn’t especially large. The walls are white. Given all that, those two green accent chairs sure pull their own weight in the design.
4. The full gray spectrum and different shapes
What sticks out to you in the design above? For me, it’s the round ottoman-style seats. Interestingly, they are gray; a darker gray than the two gray sofas. The varying gray tones work wonderfully together when it’s different shapes involved. The round pops in an otherwise very square room. See the rest of this home by Jenny Martin Design.
5. Brick, brick and more brick
The industrial warehouse-into-loft look isn’t for everyone but if you’re a fan, brick makes anything look great. In fact, you want neutral furniture with that much brick. Notice also the white area rug with the dark gray sofa… very effective. That combo would work in any room IMO. See the rest of this home.
6. Shag carpet with splashes of color in the room
I included the above because it shows how a shag area rug can enhance a room full of gray furniture. The yellow splashes of color definitely help. See this entire home.
7. Use natural wood tones to accent the gray
Wood is magical when it comes to interior design because it’s almost impossible for it to look bad as long as it’s not overused. The above is a great example where incorporating some natural wood in a very gray space (sofa, rug and walls) creates a warm, pleasant space.
8. Use bookshelves
Colina House designed by FGMF Arquitetos.
You hardly notice the gray sofa in the above design and that’s by design. The focal point of the living room is the fabulous white and natural wood bookshelves that span the entire space. The shelves alone are pleasing but the room is further made nicer with the books and art on the shelves.
FYI, shelving almost always makes a room look better.
9. Monochrome the room making the gray sofa pop
Casa AP by Linea Vertical.
Above is a fascinating example because it does the opposite of what so many examples in this article do. Instead of trying to jazz up the gray, this living makes the lone gray sofa the star of the room by basically going beige monochrome throughout. It’s not my favorite design but it works.
Here’s another example of going monochrome to contrast the gray except this room uses white to do the job. I prefer the white than the beige above. White works well with gray; all shades of gray. Interestingly, the area rug, which works great is also a neutral but it pops out because it’s approach shag in texture which serves as another example showing that a shag area rug can do wonders for improving an otherwise dull space.
10. Colorful sculpture
The Point by Kor Architects
Okay, the yellow/gold throw pillows work great but the glass bright yellow sculpture on the coffee table is the shining star in this room. The other sculpture works as well for jazzing up the two gray sofas and this is on a fairly non-exciting area rug and tile floor. Of course, the all-glass walls help the space big time. Most houses don’t offer that (mine sure doesn’t).
11. Natural wood and art
Mosman House by Rolk Ockert.
You barely notice there’s a sofa in this room thanks to the extensive wood and matching accent chairs. Then there’s the massive abstract wall art and scuplture-like pendant light. It’s as if the sofa is used solely as a functional item leaving the rest of the space to do the heavy decor lifting.