Bring in the Drama

red velvet sofa by

And Good Morning to you! Or evening come to that depending on what time you choose to drop in. So today we are bringing a little drama into things. A client came to me this week who wanted help with her sitting room. She had chosen one new sofa, which she planned to upholster in grey, and wanted to talk about the paint colours, rugs, curtains and another new sofa.

We chatted about painting the walls white to contrast with the exposed brickwork and to lighten the north-facing room, and decided that it might be fun to the do the many, and large, windows in a soft black (probably Railings by Farrow & Ball). She had some furniture she wanted to keep, notably a rather fabulous dark wood chest with brass handles and a lot of lamps that needed replacing.

Lizzy Janssen's ex-jewellery shop apartment, via Design Sponge
Lizzy Janssen’s ex-jewellery shop apartment, via Design Sponge

We both agreed that we hate things matching so the all important question was what colour should the second sofa be? We went round and round for a bit until I asked her what her favourite colour in her wardrobe was. And there we had it. She loves red. We have settled on a red velvet sofa.

It’s going to look fantastic in this mostly monochrome room. I’ll have to ask her if I can share a picture with you when it’s all done.

Found on
Found on

But picture or not. The point is that sometimes we need to be daring. We shouldn’t always choose those safe neutrals and then just rely on a few cushions. I know they’re more affordable but it’s always very safe way to introduce – – dreaded phrase – – pops of colour. That’s boring. Why not be bold and make a statement in your room?

Your room should make your heart sing when you come into it. My spotty staircase does that for me. And so does my pink sofa below. Your favourite colours will probably always be broadly similar so use them and use them LARGE.

Enid on the chaise

Regular readers and twitter followers will be familiar with my pink velvet chaise longue that has been taken over by a certain Enid Cat. Now I would never have chosen a pink sofa from new but that was the colour it came in when I bought it from the junk/antique shop many years ago. And it turns out that it has been perfect in every sitting room in every house we have lived in.

It’s a colour I love and it’s a colour I wear. I have both shoes and handbags in this shade (and probably too many tops to count). This needs reupholstering now but I think we may well choose the same colour again. Well, in an ideal world, I’d go for a paler, slightly more blush version, but I may not get away with that in a house of males and a dark grey cat… Still we can dream.

Have a happy day people and remember: think LARGE.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


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