Asked on Jun 19, 2014

Decorating around ugly couches

Angela G
by Angela G
I am in the process of renovating my ugly family room complete with wood paneling. We are way over budget so we unfortunately cannot replace our ugly, overstuffed sage green couches. They look very similar to the couches in this picture. I have also included swatches of our carpeting, tile and wall paint. We wanted to keep this very neutral for when we choose new furniture.
I need help in jazzing the room up a bit though. I hate that we need to decorate around these ugly couches but that's what we have to do. Can I do something with drapes and accessories to liven it up a bit? I thought about chocolate brown drapes but is that too boring? I'm really not good at decorating or picking paint colors. We are also on a limited budget for accessories. Any help would be very much appreciated!
This is not my room. But the couches look similar to this.
This is the carpet we chose.
Behr Vintage Linen on walls. Trim will be white.
Tile in front of door.
  21 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 19, 2014
    Personally, I think these couches are FANTASTIC! The color is a bit drab, but they sure do look like what I would want for a nap or watching a game on TV! (And they look comfy to allow a friend to spend the night on!) You could add a lot of color with a bright does not have to be a designer hand woven wool or silk rug. The brightest colored rugs are made from synthetic fabric and they are virtually stain proof. I put expensive wool rugs in my living room but put a synthetic one under my dining table. Get one with a lot of different colors like red, orange, yellow in already have yellow in the walls and red and orange are opposite the color wheel from green. If you keep the rug you have, add a colorful throw and some colorful pillows!
  • Angela G Angela G on Jun 19, 2014
    Thanks! They are very comfortable! I was also thinking that orange might be nice. Red seems like Christmas maybe?
  • Pat Pat on Jun 19, 2014
    I too think the couches look comfy. I think aqua or red or orange would be great for an accent color. Get a throw for your couch in the same color. I think white curtains/drapes would look clean and bright. A coffee table or ottoman or end tables w. lamps would complete your room.
  • Dee Ann Dee Ann on Jun 19, 2014
    Perfect for switching out pillows with the seasons! Orange/rust for fall, maybe even a green. Try lighter shades for spring/summer, such as aqua, lighter greens/blues, yellows. Find a fabric for balances or window panels that has neutral subdued print or stripe so it goes with whatever you choose for pillows. Country Curtains is a reasonable source, but can be found so many places, such as Target, Home Foods, Hobby Lobby, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. And choose framed wall art and decorative accessories that echo colors you choose. Consignment stores and Goodwill/other thrift stores are inexpensive places to look. Frames are easy to paint if you find artwork you like, but isn't framed in right colors. Hope this helps!
  • Pamela Dikeman Pamela Dikeman on Jun 19, 2014
    Stay with a sheer curtain for brightness and expansion- sage/army green is considered the new neutral- choose any bright you like to use with it but be sure you use it in several areas. I love the cranberry family with the green. You can very what ever accent color you choose with different shades in the same family- you can find tons of fun sheer curtains on ebay- The look of the grommet top is in and they are soo user friendly!
  • Angela G Angela G on Jun 19, 2014
    Thank you all!
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jun 23, 2014
    I'm a big believer in plants (real or artificial) to soften edges, add interesting shapes to corners, etc.. I have found great artificial tropicals, end table, nice lamps missing a shade, etc. at the curb for disposal! Take it grey carpet sample is for wall-to-wall. Would add an area rug on top with some pattern and colours to complement sage green couches. Would not do choc brown drapes - too heavy looking. If you like brown, use it in a patterned area rug to help ground the room. I'd hang the 3 pics lower, or find another spot and replace with a pic with some colour. - or a mirror if there is a good reflection Think you need an end table, lamp, coffee table, and a throw for the sofa. Check at thrift stores, back alleys, consignment stores, etc. Sofas are bulky and already have pillows so would not add toss chushions.
  • Jen Jen on Jun 23, 2014
    So so funny. I have the same exact couches and have had the decorating blues for years because of em. I've wanted to try my hand at slip covering them at least for the spring and summer months but am scared to :). Plus it would be so costly if they didn't turn out good. I keep everything else in the room light. I put a cream throw on them and even buy light colored thin blankets or pretty linen fabric on sale and wrap/ tuck it in on bottom cushions. Also because we have a four legged friend who uses them as well :). I use light colored throw pillows as well. I like the couches come fall and winter because my color palette changes to darker tones and it works with it then. But they leave me feeling drab come spring. The fabric helps a bit. I would actually love to take the stuffing out of the arms and I think that would help the appearance a bit. There is actually a zipper under the arm cushion that would allow for that. Then I/u could just tuck the xtra fabric in. Same thing with back pillows. Zipper is hidden underneath. If you have even basic sewing skills you could make new lighter colored back pillows the same size and unstuff the ones on couch to stuff your new ones in lighter color then just cover the bottom cushions in same color. That would definitely help to lighten em up. Sorry post is so long. Been thinking about this for years!! Good luck.
  • Angela G Angela G on Jun 23, 2014
    Thanks, Jen. I think part of the issue is also that these are big couches and I have the whole three piece set. It might look nicer with a more eclectic mix of furniture like a beige chair instead of the green one. Best of luck with changing out the cushion colors. I think that is beyond my expertise!
  • Angela G Angela G on Jun 23, 2014
    Yes, I should add plants too. I'm trying to find some easy low, maintenance ones (I do not have a green thumb!) and maybe a fun planter to put them in. Thanks, Marion!
  • Carole Carole on Jun 23, 2014
    The couches are not too bad in style and if they are comfy then why not recover them with a different fabric? If your budget does not stretch to that, try slipcovers if you can find something that will fit, failing that - bright throws and pillows in an uplifting colour would work. Personally I would steer clear of reds or greens as this will definitely look Christmassy. A new rug that picks up some of the colours in your cushions/throws - does not have to be expensive, so don't go for wool - too pricey - just something that will tide you over till you can afford to go all out with your new décor. A colourful vase that matches your colour scheme, and try to include some different texture in the things that you chose. Sometimes we focus so hard on the colour, that even if we get the colour right the room can still look bland as it lacks texture. To give you some ideas on texture - glass, suede, leather, knitted cushions covers - chunky knit - nothing too fussy - textured throws, wood, shaggy rugs, framed objects - use box frames, group your décor items on cabinets or coffee tables to make a little vignette of objects that are interesting and compliment each other. Also if you have the space, an ottoman or chair in a different colour or style - if you are replacing the chairs eventually, perhaps just even recover one to make it into an accent piece. These days furniture does not have to match. Check Craigs list or thrift stores for an accent piece of furniture to add some interest. You can paint it whatever colour you like or add fabric to introduce some colour. I would avoid picking the colours that are in the rug in your first photo as these are very muted shades and you need to give the room a blast of colour to lift it out of the doldrums. A burnt orange shade could look good. If you can, take one of the cushions from the sofa to compare the colour when you go shopping and see what looks good with that colour and makes it pop and what seems to drag it down and look bland or boring. Good luck!
  • Yvonne Goins Yvonne Goins on Jul 12, 2014
    Big Lots has lots of affordable end tables coffee tables lamps and toss pillows.
  • Jean Ouellette Jean Ouellette on Jul 12, 2014
    I have the same color couch and love seat!! Mine have cherry wood on the fronts (with cat scratches and all) ... I will never own another microfiber set! I too stressed out bigtime about what colors to paint my living room and what accents to use... I went with Revere Pewter on 2 walls and a gray blue color on the other walls... I added blue and green accents on the fireplace, tan curtains with a little green and blue in them, and bought a blue/green material to make pillow covers for throw pillows... it all tied in pretty well together...
  • Lana Baker Lana Baker on Jul 12, 2014
    You definately need some color. Have you thought of using a pale, or lemon yellow with the couches? Like for the curtains, or deco in the room. A splash of rust, or orange mixed in would be pretty.
  • Ann Ann on Jul 14, 2014
    Your couches look super comfy and are a very good neutral color for you to decorate around. You could go really bright with red or blue pillows or more subtle with rich chocolate brown and creamy whites and leafy green. Check out the color mixes at a fabric store and find some neat combinations. I found my livingroom colors in a painting. This will be a fun project. You can do it!!
  • Hannah T Hannah T on Jul 14, 2014
    If you want to keep things neutral, zebra print throw pillows might help to add some interest to the "blah" feeling you have towards your couches, or choose different sizes and shapes to help layer them up and add interest for the eye. It depends on the color of the wood paneling for your accent color as some hues of orange or red can really fight with the color of wood. Good luck!
  • Mary Brien Mary Brien on Jul 14, 2014
    I would go with white curtains (IKEA does some lovely ones for very little cost.) If you really hate the couch and love seat try buying some drop cloth or have a look at for inexpensive covers. Add color with the use of pillows, throws and accessories. Maybe add a gallery wall of pictures or maps. You don't have to spend a lot... shop what you already have and simply spray paint to give a more uniform look to frames.
  • Sandy Bendick Sandy Bendick on Jul 23, 2014
    Take your couch and loveseat and bring it closer to the edge of your area rug then put an end table between both of them with a lamp on it. use the colors in your rug for a throw and accent pillows. get a coffee table , plants and candle groupings also add a comforting charm. And this will tie it all together.
  • Patricia Linn Patricia Linn on Aug 31, 2014
    Add color with accessories such as pillows and throw(s) fall and winter are coming! Couches look super comfy!
  • Opal Opal on Sep 01, 2014
    I hear gold/brass is back in and I see it in your tile along with a darker blackish green. In a totally different direction, I think a purple or navy throw; a combo of large pattern and small pattern pillows with a combo of purple, green, white, gold/brass/yellow (Orange), black; a mirror in either the same color as the feet on your furniture, brass/gold, wrought iron black, or bamboo. I think you have a lot of different options, a throw, pillows and rug would be on the top of my list. Look on a fabric site for different color combos. Check out this link for a napkin and other linens at world market:
  • Lucille D Merchant Lucille D Merchant on Jan 03, 2022

    Hi: Have you ever thought of painting the upholstery? I did this using several youtube videos. It was a HUGE success and worked perfectly on my old seating. Also, I'm with you on a color-----CORAL!!! Good luck!