How to Decorate Around a Red Sectional Sofa

Owning a sectional sofa in a bold color like red leaves you with two basic choices for decorating. You can either emphasize the red color or try to play it down. The direction you choose may depend on the other furnishings you already own, but remember that editing is important when designing a room with a large sofa. Limit additional furniture to avoid crowding the room and making it look busy, especially with a red sectional already taking up a great deal of floor space.

Make the Sofa the Focal Point

Bold colors like red can be a challenge when decorating.

Step 1

Paint the room so that it contrasts with the red sofa.  For a bold, graphic look, paint the walls white with black accents.

Create a more subtle contrast by painting walls in a neutral beige.  The red sofa will still "pop" against a beige wall, but the effect will be less dramatic.

Step 2

Position an area [rug](https://society6com/rugs?utm_source=SFGHG&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=8775) that is similar in color to the wall paint under the red sectional.  Setting the sofa on a contrasting floor covering will help highlight the red upholstery and draw the eye's attention.

Step 3

Arrange a few basic pieces of furniture around the sectional, such as a coffee table, ottoman or an occasional chair.  Additional pieces can be in neutral or wood tones, but should not be red or else they will compete with the sectional for attention.

Step 4

Accessorize with a few red items to prevent the sofa from looking like a "sore thumb" Use a red pillow on the accompanying chair and a trio of red vases on a table across the room to carry the color through the rest of the space.  Match the color of the accessories as closely to the sofa as possible.

Camouflage the Sofa

Step 1

Paint the walls a color that is analogous to red.  Purple and orange are next to red on the color wheel, making them analogous.

Painting the walls a light shade of either of these colors will tone down the red sofa and make it less noticeable.  Paint only the wall directly behind the sectional in orange or purple and use a neutral shade on the remaining walls if the idea of a lavender room is displeasing.

Step 2

Put an area rug with red accents under the sofa.  Using a floor covering with red accents will ground the color and prevent the sofa from looking like it's "floating" in the room.

Step 3

Select additional furniture pieces that are also in analogous colors.  A chair with lavender upholstery or a table painted in a shade of orange will de-emphasize the red sectional and add harmony to the overall color scheme of the room.

Step 4

Spread red accessories liberally around the room.  Use lamps, pillows, textiles and art to create splashes of red in the room where the sectional is and any adjoining rooms.

Choose items in a lighter shade of red or those that are red-orange or reddish-purple.  Adding more red into the decor steals attention from the sofa and creates cohesion in the design.

Things You Will Need

  • Paint
  • Painting supplies
  • Area rug
  • Accessories


  • Decide exactly where to position your sectional by drawing a scale diagram of your living room on graph paper and cutting out scale models of all your large furniture pieces. Moving the paper cutouts around first will save time, and it's a lot easier than moving the real thing.

About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.

Photo Credits

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