colourful sofas that make for winning schemes

There are so many variables when it comes to choosing a sofa: size, style, texture and colour all need to be carefully considered. After all, it's a large piece of furniture that you're going to be living with for some time. So it's understandable that so many go for the safe option and plump for shades of grey, adding colour with cushions and accessories.

Yet sometimes it pays to be daring with colour. The designers of the schemes that follow have refused to play it safe. They have branched out with a wide range of colourful sofas that command attention and set the tone for the entire room.

The majority of the schemes have a calm, neutral backdrop, with bold splashes of colour or pattern introduced through the upholstery.

Buy a good sofa that's built to last and that suits your room and it can live on in many different guises, as in the case of florist, Nikki Tibbles, whose Terence Woodgate sofa is onto its third reincarnation with the addition of a fresh, floral fabric.

If a colourful sofa is a commitment too far, think about a neutral base with upholstered seat pads in a bold print, like the striking example covered in House of Hackney's Palmeral velvet. This can easily be updated at a later date without having to replace or reupholster the entire sofa.

Feeling brave? Then dive right in. Some sofa manufacturers, like Loaf or Sofa.com won't limit you to their own fabric selection, they will let you choose customfabrics from your favourite store. And where better to seek inspiration than from the Queen of Colour herself, Tricia Guild? Two of the examples that lie ahead have been covered in velvets from Designers Guild and both get a 'yes' from us.

So consider your space and find colour ideas that will take your room to the top of the style stakes.

TARTAN ARMY

(Image credit: Alex James)

TARTAN ARMY

This room is a perfect mix of the owners’ interiors taste. It has a sumptuous feel, but the enormous rug was bought in a sale for just £100. The glitter ball was hung for one of the owners’ fiftieth birthday party and the ceiling lights turn into nightclub mode at the flick of a switch. Get the look The blue sofa is from Roche Bobois’ Les Nouveaux Classiques collection. The rug was found at the Roche Bobois Warehouse Sale. The vase and faux flowers are from Brissi.

IN THE PINK

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

IN THE PINK

The owners of this home like to find furnishings in thrift stores and on their travels, and buy artworks from fairs and friends. The only furniture bought new for the apartment is the pink Muuto sofa. Get the look This is the Rest three-seater sofa by Muuto at Heal’s. The artwork above is by Sister Corita Kent, a nun who became a prominent pop artist in the Sixties.

THE RIGHT ANGLE

(Image credit: James Merrell)

THE RIGHT ANGLE

Tongue-in-cheek artwork, punchy design combos and architectural surprises have dragged this converted factory out of its grey, industrial past. Get the look The sofa is a bespoke design by Ligne Roset at Harrods. The First Lady needlepoint throw pillow and vases are by Jonathan Adler. The operating theatre lamp was found at Spitalfields Market – for similar, try Shoreditch Lighting. The pendants were installed by the property developer Chapman Button. The Jade painting is by Sharon Pinsker. You can purchase her work at art.co.uk. MASS does concrete flooring like this.

candy colours

(Image credit: Nato Welton)

candy colours

Handsome pieces of furniture take centre stage in the living room. The formal seating area contains a chic handmade coffee table, white velvet armchairs and a Neisha Crosland rug. Get the look Pink sofa in Designer’s Guild velvet, Sofa.com, coffee table, Poltrona Frau. Rug, Neisha Crosland for John Lewis. Floor lamps, Pooky. Shades, John Lewis. Mirror, Coach House. Boy Scout photograph, Vee Speers, from The Little Black Gallery.

over the rainbow

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

over the rainbow

Architectural elements are the crucial foil to these punchy pastel shades, and give a fresh zing to the space. The architects gave the intersecting steels of the building coats of rich purple and turquoise and also created a triangulated light fixture for the vaulted living area. Get the look The sofa is from loaf.com, custom-upholstered in fabric from Designers Guild. The cabinet was bought at The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea (decorativefair.com). The two fairground panels on the wall are from The Old Cinema. The glass pendants are from Heal’s.

blooming lovely

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

blooming lovely

This Terence Woodgate sofa is in its third reincarnation. New bold, floral upholstery has given it a new lease of life. Get the look This is the Triangles rug by Bertjan Pot for Golran. The painting above the mantelpiece is called Minkiquittine by Andrea Byrne. The Terence Woodgate sofa is covered in Beacon Hills’ Moon Blossom in Midnight. The photographs hanging above the console table are by Martyn Thompson from his Heart of Glass series.

wake up call

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

wake up call

These impossibly tall windows are swathed in a Pierre Frey tropical fabric that could be straight out of a Slim Aarons print. Rebekah Caudwell, the interior designer owner loves how the blues and greens in the room sing against the sunshine yellow. It’s like a blast of Palm Springs, in London. The red cabinet acts as another décor wake-up call. Get the look The Lampert sofas and X-benches are by Jonathan Adler. The artwork is by Yves Krief – find his work at byart.co.uk. The red cabinet is from Miami-based Sabina Danenberg Atelier. For similar modern lacquered furniture, try Julian Chichester. The side tables are by Nicola Falcone. This is the Sellarsbrook Yellow rug by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company. The curtains are made in Pierre Frey’s Mauritius linen.

wake up call

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

wake up call

These impossibly tall windows are swathed in a Pierre Frey tropical fabric that could be straight out of a Slim Aarons print. Rebekah Caudwell, the interior designer owner loves how the blues and greens in the room sing against the sunshine yellow. It’s like a blast of Palm Springs, in London. The red cabinet acts as another décor wake-up call. Get the look The Lampert sofas and X-benches are by Jonathan Adler. The artwork is by Yves Krief – find his work at byart.co.uk. The red cabinet is from Miami-based Sabina Danenberg Atelier. For similar modern lacquered furniture, try Julian Chichester. The side tables are by Nicola Falcone. This is the Sellarsbrook Yellow rug by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company. The curtains are made in Pierre Frey’s Mauritius linen.

blue velvet

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

blue velvet

Vast, sink-into sofas from Caravane and a pair of circular coffee tables, which were a bargain from French store Petite Friture, give this living room a cosy feel. The interiors are owed to interior designers Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock of Turner Pocock. Get the look This is Caravane’s Victor sofa. The cabinets were made bespoke. These are Hollo coffee tables from Petite Friture and the Form 2 rug by Tom Dixon for The Rug Company. The vases are from a selection from Anthropologie and Holly’s House. The grey throw is from Cologne & Cotton. The cactus candle is from Zara Home.

flamboyant flavour

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

flamboyant flavour

This house is teeming with sharp ideas that maximise its appeal. Get the look The sofa is covered in House of Hackney’s Palmeral velvet in Midnight/Azure and Midnight/Green.

rustic retreat

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

rustic retreat

This is a formal area for entertaining. The room is popular with its owners in the winter with the roaring fire and Fuschia velvet sofa. The fireplace was designed by the owner and custom-made by a local blacksmith. Get the look The fuchsia sofa, hexagonal table, lamps and rug are all from Graham and Green. The Hessian chair is from Roche Bobois.

BOHO BEAUTY

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

BOHO BEAUTY

Designed by interior decorator, Sera Hersham-Loftus, this beautiful home is hard to categorise. Sophisticated bohemian comes close, but in truth it’s a lot more decadent, sexy and exotic than that. To keep the look creative rather than confused, Sera artfully employs colour, with a dark ceiling to ground the space. Get the look Fibreglass shell lights, from 1950s. Green armchairs, sofa and stools, all Sera of London Privee. Ceiling in Off Black Estate Emulsion, Farrow & Ball.