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Phillips Collection
  • Phillips Collection

    Feel free to think outside the box when it comes to the color and finish of your leather furniture. Photo: Phillips Collection

  • Natuzzi

    Shades of plum, amethyst and eggplant are hot in the world of leather and suede furniture. Photo: Natuzzi

  • Magnussen

    If you're looking for a neutral color other than brown, go with mocha, cream or taupe. Photo: Magnussen Home Furnishings

  • Ekornes

    For a contemporary feel, go with red, yellow or green leather furniture. Photo: Ekornes

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For a contemporary feel, go with red, yellow or green leather furniture. Photo: Ekornes


Stuck on Brown

Still unsure about straying too far from brown for your leather furniture?  Consider other neutral variations such as mocha, cream and taupe. 

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  • Swatch Watch: Leather

    The latest looks in leather are going beyond brown.

    by Joan Gunin

    Now that you’ve decided your next sofa has got to be leather, you may want help with choosing a color. You’re probably wondering: What color is right for me? Does it have to be brown?


    Brown Is Still Big

    “Brown still rules,” especially with classic traditional or transitional styles, says Harry Cierler, director of North American operations for Italian leather upholstery manufacturer, Chateau d’Ax.

    There is nothing wrong with brown, it’s still the predominant color, but don’t limit yourself: Think outside the box when it comes to color and finish.

    In lieu of brown, today’s new hues are trending toward “livable colors,” says Amy Archer, director of merchandising for American Leather.

    According to Archer, the revamped color palette is shifting toward eggplant and plum—“from smoky to deep to brown-edged plums.” 


    Comfort Colors

    Leather looks have been toned down in part because they were “almost too grand,” says Lauren West, director of education and development for Natuzzi Americas.

    Offerings from Natuzzi that are less rich in tone, yet still luxurious, include darker colors such as burgundy, eggplant and cinnamon—“soothing tones that reflect general wellness and health.” Joining these “comfort colors,” are “luminescent” subtle hues like bronze, pearl, amethyst and a vapor frost, all inspired by nature, says West.

    At Moore & Giles, a leather hide provider, president R. Sackett Wood says modern looks create opportunity to inject more color interest within design schemes. “It’s all about saturated color,” he says. “It creates a visual that is very appealing.”

    If you’re seeking an even more contemporary feel, don’t be afraid to embrace the soft reds, tiger lily oranges, sea glass greens or yellows in shades of dijon to marigold that are coming on scene, recommends American Leather’s Archer.

    Aside from color, another way to add an elegant yet modern touch to a leather seat is in the finish. Many manufacturers are using a textural approach by varying the size of the grain in the hide or by choosing an understated sheen, characteristics that will add finesse to your decor.

    In terms of finishes, leather is moving beyond the bold patent leathers evident on handbags and shoes toward a more subtle approach. For example, American Leather’s latest collection, Shimmer, intersperses modest sheen with “a hint of light” and a gentle metallic undertone.