5 Underrated Sofa Colors Designers Want to See More of in 2024

It's easy to opt for classic shades when picking a couch, but these 5 are underrated, say designers

A rust colored sofa in a living room
(Image credit: Shannon Mcgrath. Design: Alessandra Smith Design)

If you're in the market for a brand new sofa, picking the color is the fun part, although it can be a difficult decision. It's tempting to play it safe and go for a muted or neutral shade that has timeless appeal, but your couch also presents an opportunity to have some fun. It's the focal point of the room, so making a statement with the fabric stops it from fading into the background and can really speak to your personality.

For Adriana Chetty, senior designer of Cuppett Kilpatrick Architecture + Interior Design, your couch color should be impacted by the wider aesthetic of the room. 'I’d like to see sofa textiles that are influenced by the context of the room; analogous to the room’s paint colors, or matching a thread in a rug or brushstroke in a piece of art,' she says. 'An intentional selection that compliments always feels most thoughtful.'

But what are the colors you might not have considered for your living room to give it a bit of character? We ask the experts for their five favorite underrated shades.

1. Aubergine

A textured living room with patterned sofa

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Styling by Katja Greeff. Design: Evan Edward)

There is something indulgent and luxurious about a deep smoky purple. Purple is a shade that has been avoided in recent years, and is often seen as dated, but we think purple is working its way back into fashion, particularly the darker more mysterious tones of purple that have a magical quality.

'Aubergine is one of my all-time favorite colors for sofas,' says Christina Nielsen of interior design studio, Christina Nielsen Design. 'Aubergine to me is a natural shade and goes with literally anything.'

Aubergine is a daring tone and not one to be approached lightly. It's all about selecting the right colors that go with purple of this tone. Make sure your living room has plenty of dark natural wood and browns, and enhance aubergine's role as a cozy color by introducing plenty of texture. This East Village loft by Evan Edward works an aubergine couch into the mix perfectly.

2. Rust red

A living room with rust red sofa

(Image credit: Shannon Mcgrath. Design: Alessandra Smith Design)

Rust red has an earthy appeal, yet also feels regal and luxe with its jewel tone. Its this flexibility that makes it an overlooked tone for your sofa. 'A statement-making red living room sofa is an overlooked gem,' says Rylie Fitzgerald of Rylie Fitzgerald Interior Design.

The great thing about red is that there are so many tones that bring a different vibe to your living room. From rustier hues to bright reds. 'I am drawn to earthy reds such as rust and Moroccan tones for their grounding and unique appeal,' says Rylie. For Christina, red presents an opportunity to go for something deeper. 'Oxblood red is all over the runways this season and I fully get it,' adds Christina. 'It's such a rich, lush color that screams chic!'

The couch was upholstered in a luxurious warm red velvet which adds a sense of drama to the space designed by Alessandra Smith Design. 'The room is layered with books, objects, and artwork which ground the rich materiality and allows the room to feel cozy with a strong sense of eclecticism,' says Alessandra. 'We chose to embrace the inherent moodiness of the room by painting the plaster walls and ceiling in a golden hue, which envelops the space and enhances the sense of warmth and comfort that the room exudes.'

3. Green tones

olive green sofa in living room

(Image credit: Shade Degges, Design: Huma Sulaiman Design)

While it's commonplace to rely on green for paint ideas for walls, green doesn't get as much of a look in when it comes to selecting sofa colors. But green in all its hues is a timeless living room color, and should be considered the next time you're picking a sofa. 'Green sofas offer both a pop of color, as well as a timeless look,' says Kathy Kuo of Kathy Kuo Home.

'Try sage green as an alternative to a light grey or beige couch, or forest green as an alternative to charcoal or mahogany brown. Green tones are easy to pair with a variety of color palettes and they bring a touch of soothing organic charm to any living room,' says Kathy.

Sage green has certainly been in vogue in recent years, but Christina is tempted by the softness and contemporary feel of celadon green. 'I have been into this color lately for upholstery,' says Christina. 'I like to use this when a client is looking for something crisp and clean but with a twist. This feels much more interesting compared to white and grey, but is subtle enough where one won’t tire of it and works in many schemes.'

4. Orange

An orange sofa in living room

(Image credit: Le Whit)

For something punchier, embrace orange. The color works well in a minimalist or neutral living room that needs warming up and a touch of color. It goes with so many colors too. Get clever by looking to the color rules and wheel for inspiration - cool your orange down with denim blues, or go for an analogous color scheme with pinks and reds next to your orange.

'Orange is a very underrated color that pairs well with other jewel tone solids or patterns,' says Christina. 'It’s a color that feels worn in and distressed and is especially lovely on a couch in a lush velvet,' says Christina.

5. Blue

A blue sofa in a living room

(Image credit: Northside Studio. Design: Rylie Fitzgerald)

In the realm of underrated sofa colors, blue may be the one you're most likely to see, but it's still overlooked compared to neutral picks. 'Whether in soothing muted tones or electrifying bold hues, blue has the power to transform a space and should always be considered when picking a sofa,' says Rylie.

Consider the striking blue couch in the retreat of the Collingwood project (above). 'It was the pivotal part of the material palette and effortlessly elevates the ambiance, adds depth, and makes for a dynamic focal point within the room,' says Rylie.

When picking colors to match your blue, take your cues from the outside world and embrace a natural living room palette. Try burled wood accents for a warming contrast, and consider warmer shades like browns, and terracottas. Avoid too much grey and black for the risk of creating a space that feels stiff and formal.

'Especially in white-painted rooms, a deep saturated color like dark blue can bring a lot of life to a room,' says Christie Ward of Ward + Gray. 'This helps it to pop against the walls and really stand out.'

3 couches in underrated colors to shop now

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.