Sofa placement, design dominate room


January 17, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer

In discussing the placement and treatment of a sofa, I must first admit that this is my least favorite piece of furniture. Because of its imposing and, at times, cumbersome dimensions, a sofa tends to dominate a room and to make subtlety in design difficult to achieve. .

Still, sofas do play a useful role in home design. They make it easy to organize a room. Once its placement has been figured out, a sofa acts like the biggest piece in a jigsaw puzzle. The other parts of the picture -- tables, chairs, lamps -- seem to fit together naturally after the major piece has been placed.

Even though sofas are generally placed against a wall, there's no rule against putting them somewhere else. For example, a sofa situated across the width of an especially long space will help to foreshorten it.

The kind of covering to be used on a sofa is often more important than the actual style of the piece. Color and pattern can transform the appearance of an object to which they're applied.

In general, the safest approach for a large sofa is to cover it in a solid-colored fabric with perhaps a textured or woven pattern. Small-scale designs are most appropriately used on small chairs or pillows. Blending the sofa's covering with the color of the walls and floor covering will make a small space seem larger.

Relaxed and elegant styling can be achieved in a variety of ways. Silks, velvets and damasks will certainly produce an aura of luxury, but simple patterns and textures can do the same if they're dressed up a bit. They can readily be made to look more elegant when accompanied by trim and by accessory fabrics on the throw pillows.

Let's look at the coverings on the sofa shown in the photo. All the fabrics seen here were adapted by Brunschwig & Fils from designs found in a French chateau. The fabric collection is called "Thoiry."

The woven cotton plaid resembles a madras pattern. It makes the sofa look comfortable and inviting even as the decorative fringe affixed to the base gives the piece a somewhat more formal appearance. The pillows are covered in a small Indian pattern. It all works well, I think, with the Persian carpet and the paisley shawl that serves as skirting for the end table.

Rooms with an eclectic styling often make use of fabrics in various textures and patterns to help coordinate different types of furniture. The success of an interior design can depend on how well this is done.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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