Much of what you see in Blog Land features white slip-covered furniture. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful home with brown or black furniture in your living spaces. (Or in my case, faux dark leather furniture.)

You can work with the furniture you currently have, and still have a look that is stylish and warm decor-wise.

Leather furniture doesn’t seem to conjure up the cozy image of cottage or farmhouse style as much as white slip-covered sofas and sectionals. 

But you can certainly warm up a room with what you have. And change that perception in its tracks.

Let’s look at ways to do that…

1. Lighten up the furniture with patterned pillows. Throw pillows always make a space look more warm and cozy. As well as a comfy throw.

2. If you have dark furniture, use light window coverings to balance the look. 

3. Choose a few colors for contrast and paint wood furniture in these colors. (My paint colors seem to revolve around oregano green, a light French blue, and a pale gold/yellow.

4. Texture is important in any room. Bring in wicker, galvanized metal, or other textured surfaces in which to create vignettes or add as wall displays.

5. Create a gallery wall. Display a quilt. Distract the eye from landing right on the dark furniture by using your walls to draw the eye in first.

There are all kinds of ways to make your darker furniture fit in with the popular cottage or farmhouse style. You just have to think about what you need to complement what you already have.

I promise you can make what you already have work with a style you really love. 
Shop the house and play around with different looks. You’ll find that with a little inventiveness, you can achieve your goal of having a warm and cozy room.

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  1. I am looking for the link to purchase the round coffee table with dark stain top and vintage stain legs. Please provide link.

    Thank you!

  2. The all white look is lovely in photos but has never been something I've wanted to live with. These rooms are really nice looking, and I sure could go for one of those comfy leather sofas. But I'd have to get some more color in there with an afghan or some pillows!

  3. As a person who lives in a beautiful home with my hubby, BUT with both the livingroom And Den looking like two mancaves, ie leather furniture, I've been thinking how to lighten up the look. All the paint is beige/cream so that's ok and we have big beams in the ceiling, it's a lodge look. I'll have to look for lighter throws, pillows, etc, to make it look more like a livingroom.

  4. I always love your "shop the house" advice and it has become a guiding principle for me. I am saving money in the process!! Few of us can just go out and buy new furniture when our taste changes. But shopping the house, yes, and often with greater, more personal results

  5. While white on white is really pretty, it would never work at my house. I love color and my own sofa is a warm burgundy. I decorate in a cottage style, maybe more English country, and it all works. I'm happy everyday when I wake up in my little house filled with color. I always enjoy seeing photos of your apartment, Brenda, since you use so much color in decorating too.

  6. I actually went through a "white furniture" phase about a year and a half ago, and soon became bored with it. I have since sold my white slip covered furniture and bought a camel colored sofa. I am now enjoying a more earthy, rustic look featuring a soft aqua blue, camel, browns, and dark avocado greens. It is cozy, restful and peaceful. I have quit following all the blogs I used to enjoy as they all have one thing in common: white, white, and more white, and I find them starting to all look alike. This is why I still enjoy your blog Brenda, as you like color and I really enjoy seeing your evolving decorating style.

  7. Thanks for this post, Brenda! I have always LOVED that room from The Painted Hive and have gotten a lot of inspiration from it–even printed and framed those botanicals she has over her couch. I always like seeing the white slip-covered pieces, but we have leather furniture and it works *for us*. While I might enjoy the white, my husband would not–and it's important to me that he feels comfortable in our home, too. (Funny thing, years before I was ever born, my grandparents had leather pieces in their farmhouse that are very similar to The Painted House's. Growing up, that chair of my grandpa's was my favorite place to sit! I'd give anything to still have that chair now)

  8. I actually like the look of darker sofas – especially if it's a beautiful leather sofa or a deep jewel-colored sofa. I have a beige sofa in the living room and it's "OK". Not my favorite. We need a new sofa and I'm not sure what color we'll get. The white slip-covered ones are pretty, but I don't want my room to look TOO cottage-y and definitely not farmhouse. I like a little bit more of a tailored look.

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