Two Pittsburgh designers take sides over maximalist, patterned sofas.
Colleen Simonds Design
People often talk about making “safe” choices in design, especially for investment pieces. There may be some wisdom to that, but I find that you often wind up with something you’re not all that excited about, and that won’t really contribute to the aesthetics of the room. To me, that is a missed opportunity. If there’s a pattern you really love, why not put it on your sofa and feel happy every time you look at it? In a few recent projects, the patterned sofa fabric was the starting point for the rest of the room. There is no getting sick of it when it’s something you love—what you get sick of is what bores you, and it’s a million shades of gray and ivory that bore me. Sure, if a room has impeccable architecture and tons of natural light, your furniture can be quieter and doesn’t have to work as hard. But until I move into Versailles or a home by an AD100 architect, I want my furniture to have a little more “wow” factor.
Leanne Ford Interiors
When it comes to furniture, it’s all about choosing pieces that simplify the eye and outlast any trend. I stick to a neutral color story to create a sense of calm. I find that when a client comes home to a space that is serene, they begin to feel that way too. Layering in unique shapes and textures keeps things visually interesting—so, yes, that means cozy boucle-covered sofas and sisal rugs, but also walls skim-coated in concrete, beadboard-covered ceilings and paper lanterns, all in a simple, timeless palette. When larger components of the room, like the sofa, are neutral, it allows me to express the homeowner’s personality everywhere else through art, lighting, vintage finds, books, music and plants without over- whelming the final product. Rather than centering the design around a statement sofa, I focus on how all of the home’s different components live together seamlessly alongside the homeowner’s life. That way, they feel at home in their space right now and for years to come.