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Decorating & Furniture/Mixing two leather colors on chairs and sofa?


QUESTION: We have a medium-dark mushroom (color name) sofa in the FR with an Oriental Weaver Pinnacle (green tones) area rug over hardwood.  With the advice of a designer in a local upscale furniture store, we ordered two chairs in a striped fabric to coordinate.  Unfortunately, there is a quality issue; and the store owner has agreed with us that the chairs are not acceptable.  He would like us to choose other chairs.  The only other chairs in stock that "might" work are a dark brown leather, which is beautiful, but I am unsure about mixing two colors of leather.  The seating arrangement of the sofa and chairs will be in an "L" configuration with the two chairs side by side facing a brick fireplace.  

I would appreciate your advice.  Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Susan,

So sorry to hear about your troubles with your new furniture.  It takes such wind out of our sails when things don't go as planned.  HOWEVER, it is good that the company you purchased your furniture from is 'making good.'  

Susan, I have serious concerns about having all of the furniture in your family room in leather.  Even with the two colors of leather, you really need fabric to break the coolness of the leather.  Is your retailer only willing to replace your chairs with something that is in stock?  I know that you are disappointed and want your room finished NOW, however, I would strongly suggest that you bite the bullet and order new chairs and wait for them to be delivered.  In the long run, you will be far happier with a room that looks beautiful and works well as opposed to a room that is 'finished' but doesn't work, DESPITE spending all of that money.

The designer you worked with had a good suggestion, a stripe is a wonderful offset to the leather, along with your rug.  You can also consider a textured pattern, in a heavier weight fabric that will also work well with your leather sofas.

Best of luck to you,

Julie Henry
Julie's Interior Designs
308 Main Street
Hackettstown, NJ  07840

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Julie, thank you for your response.  We would rather not reorder anything else.  The leather chairs that I mentioned in stock are from the same manufacturer, but they seem to be much better constructed, and I have no idea why that would be so.

I should have mentioned in the original post that we also have a Palecek Calgary Wing Chair in the FR.  The wicker is a dark brown stain with ebony rattan accents on it.  The loose fabric seat cushion and two matching pillows on the sofa are made from a fabric with a black background and large pineapples in a staggered design.  The pineapples are beiges and taupes with just a hint of red near the bottom of the pineapples.  The tops of the pineapples are a sage/mossy green which looks great with the area rug as well as the sofa.  

The pineapples work well for us as we have enough palm trees in sunny FL and my husband doesn't want anything floral on the furniture.  There are also 4 very large windows in the FR that need stationary drapery panels for color.  Maybe the stripe would work well there.

Hi Susan,

Thank you for taking the time to write back.  I am sorry I have not gotten back to you sooner as I have been ill.  

On to your question!  It sounds, from what you are saying, that the only choice you really have are the additional leather chairs that your retailer has in stock.  An additional option on these leather chairs would be to have pillows made from the same Palecek fabric to tie the room together.  This and the striped fabric should make a wonderful clean tailored look that will also be very comfortable and very chic in FL.

I agree with you that the striped fabric would be perfect for the drapery panels.  
Best of luck to you!  Thank you for writing.

Julie Henry
Julie's Interior Designs
Hackettstown, NJ

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Julie Henry


In the past 22 years, I have assisted countless residential (and some commercial) clients in the design and decorating of their homes. Within reason, I can assist on ANY question for the interior of your home. From design of a new home or addition, to layout, color, truly custom window treatments or just accessorizing... as our brochure says... from ceiling to floor, windows to walls and EVERYTHING in between... if it is for the Interior of your home, call Julie's Interior Designs. Well... you don't have to call, just write and ask!


With twenty two years of experience, 18 of them self employed with a large showroom/retail store and great staff on my team, there is little I/we haven't encountered. For several years I enjoyed being the on air "Home Editor" of the local cable station and have written a column in several local newspapers for years. Taught Interior Design at the college level. My work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. This is the greatest job on earth, and not nearly as easy at it looks...

William Paterson College, NJ, Ramapo College NJ, Continuing Education with trade periodicals, etc.

Awards and Honors
Multiple for custom window treatments, best local business in our county (located in northwestern NJ,) best home furnishing store in our county, etc.

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