The highback armchair: making it cool again

pair of brown leather highback armchairs

pair of brown highback leather armchairs

The trend for armchairs has taken a bit of a back seat (pun intended) over recent years with the humble highback armchair in the living room replaced by oversized, overly plump L-shaped sofas and jewel-coloured velvet loveseats. But, the best thing about trends is that they come, they go and come back around and the style statement of a single armchair is growing momentum. That’s right, the highback armchair: making it cool again is coming to a living room near you.

The best comfy chairs are made for escaping it all and a highback or wingback armchair offers a private, intimate space to unwind and enjoy a moment of me-time. Carefully positioned in your living room, the bedroom or even an open-plan kitchen/diner, a highback chair provides the perfect spot to curl up with a book or relax at the end of the day and with its elegant silhouette it brings a certain amount of style to a room.

An interior classic that’s good for the planet

With sustainability high on everyone’s agenda the desire to buy once, buy well is replacing the throwaway culture. The environmental implications of buying once are well-known and a high-quality leather armchair, whether that’s a highback chair or wing chair will last a lifetime. And because of its classic shape, it is sure to suit all interior tastes. From a distinguished chesterfield wingback chair or tweed highback armchair to one with a modern twist, this iconic armchair will not only stand the test of time, but ever-changing trends as well, making it the ultimate investment piece.

How to style a highback armchair in a modern room

Elegance abounds with a highback armchair, but because a distinguished leather armchair is such a design classic, it can also sit in a modern or more rustic space. Mixing old and new pieces in a room is a well-trodden interior design hack as it helps add character and creates a lived-in eclectic mood, perfect for modern homes.

To get the right balance it’s important to be aware of the scale of each piece within the space. A leather wingback chair in a minimalist setting becomes an eye-catching standout piece, but in a room crowded with other big items of furniture, it could look cluttered and lost. Keep things understated by choosing a high back wing chair in a classic colour such as brown or tan, or go against tradition and choose a contemporary bright colour.

Shop highback armchair

Grayson Fabric Armchair – Grey

A modern fabric armchair is a perfect piece of furniture to add colour and style to a living room and this beautiful accent armchair combines both comfort and sophistication.

Edward Leather Armchair

Take a seat on this stunning brown leather armchair with a solid oak frame, the perfect addition to any stylish living space.

Our styling tips for a leather sofa or armchair

Our styling tips for a leather sofa or armchair

If you love the look and feel of a leather couch or armchair, but are not sure how it will blend with the rest of your living room furniture, you’ve come to the right place. With investment furniture pieces such as these, it’s important to know how to keep it relevant as interior trends come and go to avoid them falling into the outdated trap. To make sure your leather seating looks the part season after season, read on for our top styling tips.

Why we love leather furniture

Hard-wearing and versatile

An armchair or sofa upholstered in leather is bursting with benefits. Aside from its luxurious style and versatile design which can complement almost any interior, it’s truly one of the most hard-wearing and durable fabric seating options. Leather boasts longevity and over time it will only ever look better with age. General wear over the years adds to the furniture’s character, the common creases and natural changes in colour help create a beautiful, unique patina. It’s handy to know that leather can also withstand most food and beverage spills, repel the collection of dust mites and pet hair and won’t absorb smells the same way other fabrics will, reducing maintenance and keeping your living space both looking and feeling fresh. What’s not to love?

Adds instant warmth and personality

If you have a modern home, a leather armchair is just what you need to give your space character. If your living room is lacking personality, bring home a touch of the countryside-chic with a weathered brown leather armchair paired with some rustic furniture for a warm and comforting feel. Weathered leather, also known as aniline leather, is rich with natural features, bearing all of its original markings and scars. Unlike printed reproductions, the authenticity showcases the leather’s history making this the perfect addition to add some character to your home. If the farmhouse style isn’t your vibe, you can also use leather seating to add mid-century charm, an industrial loft-living look or a classic revisited feel to elevate modern homes.

Best colours to pair with a brown leather sofa or armchair

If you’re wondering what colour interior goes best with your leather seating, white and neutral walls will always create a sophisticated, clean lo ok whilst giving your leather seating centre stage. The minimalism will really bring the leather to life and create a visually interesting focal point in your living space. Leather also looks fantastic with a lick of colour. Olive greens and watery blues are commonly seen with brown in nature, which explains why they create such an inviting environment when paired with a dark brown leather sofa. 

white living room with brown leather sofa

Turn up the heat with vibrant reds, yellows or oranges, the warmer side of the colour wheel can look great when paired with dark leather seating. Light to medium leather however can look outdated if overwhelmed in warm tones, so be sure to mix it up. To make a statement, pair a black or dark brown leather sofa with a citrine yellow feature for a striking yet modern contrast. If a dark interior is more your mood, be cautious not to drown out your leather couch, especially if it’s on the darker side of brown. Balance darker leather with lighter accents, such as cushions or mango wood furniture to ensure your seating doesn’t get lost in its surroundings.

Bring in texture and fabrics

Mixing your leather seating with different fabrics and textures will break up the monotony and help create balance throughout your space. A room full of leather will feel overwhelming, try styling your seating with natural linens, sumptuous velvet pillows and a traditional pale rug to soften the leather and stay on-trend. If you are thinking about mixing and matching fabric and leather seating, pairing modern fabric sofas with a leather armchair will instantly create a comforting and welcoming room, the contrast of fabrics and textures will inject the perfect ratio of style, warmth and charm into the space. If you’re feeling adventurous, introduce a splash of the exotic with a traditional Moroccan-style throw. The abstract pattern will help create more depth and be sure to catch your guest’s eye.

brown leather sofa with large green house plants

How will you style your brown leather sofa or armchair? Leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation! To discover more interior styling tips take a look our Ideas & Inspiration or if this has tempted you to buy a brown leather sofa or armchair, visit us at Modish Living and browse our collection.

3 colours that complement a brown leather sofa

Brown leather sofa with floor lamp and dark green walls

The classic brown leather sofa is a timeless piece of furniture that is found in thousands of stylish living rooms up and down the UK, if not the world. There’s a good reason for this – it’s such a versatile colour that can be styled in many different ways with many different colour schemes and furniture, including rustic furniture or modern furniture. If you’ve invested in one of these interior classics, to help you make the best decision for the colour scheme of your living room, we’ve picked three of our favourite looks that we think complement a brown leather couch beautifully…

brown leather sofa with dark green wall

Best colours for a brown leather sofa

1. Glorious Green

Green and brown are the colours of nature and work so easily together. We’re not talking bold bright greens here, but a subtle shade that could used as an alternative to bright white walls. Sage green is a popular hue this season as is a darker more moodier shade of green. This can be introduced as an accent wall in a more neutral colour scheme or if if you’re feeling bold, cover all the walls, skirting boards, coving and even the ceiling in a dark brooding green! For more subtle pops of green, large house plants are the perfect accessory, along with layers of green cushions, a lamp shade or rug. If you want the room to appear brighter, consider a lighter tan leather sofa paired with an accent piece of furniture like a modern armchair to add an extra eye-catching feature to the room.

Brown leather sofa in open plan living room and white kitchen in background

2. Beautiful Blue

A brown leather Oswald sofa and pale blue work so beautifully together – reminiscent of a classic Wedgewood blue. This pale elegant colour will not only brighten your room, but will allow the beauty of your sofa to stand out, let’s face it, a gorgeous Oswald sofa is one that you really want to show off. Whilst pale blue is a lovely soft shade to pair with a leather couch, it would be shortsighted to not also consider a rich peacock or navy blue. These hues work well with reclaimed wood furniture as well a brown leather sofa by adding depth and balance to the scheme. Bring in a contrasting accent colour via accessories or furniture, especially if you have chosen a modern leather sofa.

Brown leather chesterfield sofa against blue wall with oval coffee table on light blue rug

3. Devilishly Dark – Grey or Black

If you’re fond of the boho style, a dark grey or black colour scheme with leather furniture is a win. It can also work if you’re wanting to achieve an industrial style living room – what doesn’t feel more NYC loft style living than a brown leather sofa paired with an industrial coffee table featuring black metal legs and exposed steel beams in the ceiling. For a more boho take, pair your sofa with natural materials, such as jute, rattan and rustic furniture with black or dark grey accessories, such as a Berber style rug and a wooden side table with black steel legs. If you’re wanting to create a cocooning space then a brown leather sofa with dark painted walls, such as Farrow & Ball Railings, will make a statement. The brown hue of the sofa will soften the darkness adding instant warmth. Black as a colour scheme is always popular and is re-invented time and time again as interior decor trends change, as does a brown leather sofa. By marrying these two classics together, you have a timeless scheme that will stand the test of time.

brown leather sofa next to floor to ceiling window

Relevant articles


Our 2021 best selling rustic furniture of the year

our 2021 best selling rustic furniture of the year

As we come to the end of 2021, it’s time to reflect over the past year before we start anew. To ensure we are offering you the type of rustic furniture and reclaimed wood furniture you most covet, we look back at your most popular pieces of the year. From industrial dining tables to bedroom furniture let’s see just what your homes are proudly wearing.

industrial dining table with wooden dining bench and wooden dining chairsStandford Industrial Reclaimed Wood Extending Dining Table

Dining Tables

Dining tables are once again our top sellers. The popularity of the Standford Industrial Reclaimed Wood Extending Dining Table continues to rise – it looks as good as a contrast piece in a modern urban home as it does in a loft or rustic cottage. The Farringdon reclaimed wood extendable trestle table is particularly popular with families who are seeking a chunky solid wooden extendable dining table. This table looks especially great with the matching wooden dining bench – a practical choice if you like to entertain with room to fit more guests around the table. Another wooden table with bench that needs a mention is the Lansdowne Industrial. With plenty of other pieces in the collection including a wooden sideboard, with just these items you have set a stylish foundation for your dining room theme.

brown leather dining chairs with black metal legsStandford Brown Leather Dining Chairs

Dining Chairs

When you are looking for seating for your dining room then the classic soft tan leather Standford is your top choice. These leather dining room chairs combine comfort with an industrial style that will complement many different interior styles and colour schemes. Perfect if you’re looking for a more rustic look the Allegro chairs were another top pick for the stylish dining room. Those of you who were looking for a vegan option fell head over heels with our Cleo faux leather seating collection – with benches and bar stools available as well as the faux leather dining chairs, all offered in tan or grey – we weren’t at all surprised to see this at the top of the list.

Bedroom Furniture

The Dulwich reclaimed wood solid bed frame is a classic rustic bed that continues to be the popular choice. Many different styles are available but all feature a solid wooden headboard that has been handcrafted right here in the UK from reclaimed beams, which are often over 100 years old. As well as the Dulwich range our Winchester and Chelwood reclaimed wood collections also proved to be a bedroom essential in your homes. A reclaimed wood table at your bedside was your bedroom furniture piece of choice, adding not just essential storage, but warmth and character than only reclaimed wood can.

Living room furniture

Along with the ever-popular industrial dining table from the Standford collection many of you have decided to opt for an industrial look in the living room too. Our wooden sideboard from the Standford Industrial collection as well as the industrial coffee table have been popular choices throughout the year. Industrial furniture is so versatile – it can blend into any interior scheme and can be softened to create a warm inviting living space. A modern country scheme has also proved desirable this year, with our Chelwood reclaimed wood TV unit being one of our best selling living room furniture picks this year.
We’ve brought you are best sellers, now take a look at what our most read blogs of 2021 were. If you missed them, see our inspiration and ideas to discover some great tips and advice.

Tips to get a family friendly living room

how to get a family friendly living room

We all want a nice stylish living room but some believe that when there are children involved, be it toddlers or teens, that it will all go to pot! In this blog we look at some top tips that we have gleaned over the years to help you keep your living room spic and span and looking fabulous at all times.

industrial coffee table with two drawers next to grey fabric sofa

Stay on top of clutter with clever storage

Nowadays there are stylish storage solutions for everything in the living room. From a large wooden sideboard for books and board games to a rustic coffee table with drawers for coasters and remotes to a reclaimed wood TV stand with shelves for DVD players, games consoles and compartments galore – nothing in your living room need ever be out of place again!

Use adaptable furniture

To add in even more extra storage opportunities you can opt for a Blanket Box that can also double as a hidden storage space perfect for scatter cushions and winter throws. 

Keep the colours bright and approachable

A light and bright colour scheme will always work well in the family living room, but don’t be tempted to go for a pale colour as it will be tricky to match if you need to do any little touch-ups. Of course, you can bring in some bright and bold accent colours for the younger ones in the household – all kids love a bean bag so pick a bright one – perfect for sitting on to flick through a book, a little afternoon nap, watching a film or when extra seating is needed.

hand holding a black and white photograph

Add a photo gallery wall

All kids love seeing photos of themselves and their family around the house – ready to remind them how cute they were and how much they have grown. A family photo wall is also a great way for other people to see your favourite photos, they’re always a great way to start lovely conversations with your family and friends. What’s more, it brings an informal and personal feel to a room. We like to keep it stylish and simple and stick to more monochrome black and white prints.

Invest in a stylish TV unit

Watching a movie is a family pastime everyone enjoys, so keep everything organised and your DVD collection easily accessible with an industrial TV unit like the Ironbridge Industrial Reclaimed Wood TV Unit. There’s plenty of room for games consoles, remotes and other TV and media-related paraphernalia you want to have close at hand, yet out of sight.

two brown leather sofas and round wooden coffee table with black metal legs

Get family friendly furniture

Family friendly furniture is a must-have in your living room with leather furniture being a perfect choice. Choose a 2 seater sofa as it is easy to wipe up any spillages or, of course, there is the faux leather, vegan friendly option. When it comes to furniture go for a rustic coffee table – small wear and tear dents and scratches will barely be noticeable and will blend in with the natural undulations in the wood. Of course being reclaimed and solid wood, any more major damage can also easily be put right by a furniture technician.

The best seating for modern rustic living rooms

Modern rustic living room with modern white sofa and wooden modern furniture

In this blog we will be looking at seating options to create the perfect rustic living room. The brown leather sofa has been a living room staple for hundreds of years – and now (luckily) there are so many different styles and shades to choose from, you can’t possibly fail to find the perfect one for your room!

Reclaimed wood coffee table with middle shelf and three wicker baskets on lower shelf

First, we suggest you have a think about what furniture pieces are most essential in your living room – consider a rustic TV stand like the handmade Beam cube – which by the way, can be crafted to bespoke sizes making it the perfect choice to fit in a nook or cranny in an older cottage or farmhouse! A coffee table is also needed in pretty much every living room – if you don’t have much space for storage then consider something like a trunk coffee table or one with a shelf below and/or with drawers so it will have a bit of room for some living room storage! However, if you do have space then a console table or a wooden sideboard is a great living room addition.

Rustic wooden chest with removable trays styled with a green plant

Pairing a brown leather sofa with reclaimed wood furniture is a perfect combination – the smell and the feel of natural soft leather complement the beauty and uniqueness of rustic wood furniture. Depending on the shape and size of your room you can consider a 2 seater sofa with a small armchair to pull up to the fire. Go big in larger rooms by choosing a 3 seater and a coordinating 2 seater, plenty of room to spread out and relax on when your are watching TV or have guests over… can also add additional armchairs….. the combinations are endless and restricted only by what space you have available!

Rustic living room with large stone fireplace and brown leather sofa, brown leather armchair and matching leather footstool

We can’t talk about sofas without a mention of the classic Oswald 2 Seater Sofa. A Oswald Sofa is an investment piece of furniture that will be with you for years to come with this timeless design blending effortlessly with a rustic as well as a modern theme. This leather sofa is incredibly versatile, it will mix and match with modern or classically styled armchairs.

It’s very on-trend to mix and match furniture and introduce accent colours for additional features in your room. You can add pops of colour by bringing in throws and scatter cushions. This will add an extra level of comfort and cosiness to a leather sofa.

For contrast, you can blend a more modern sofa with the rustic furniture in your living room. 

Style a rustic dining table with leather seating

Trestle rustic dining table with two leather industrial dining chairs and sun shining across

Wood and leather are a perfect pairing. So here we look at some of the different types of leather and faux leather dining chairs you can style with your dining table.

Spider leg dining table with grey faux leather dining bench with back

Leather dining chairs have always been a popular choice to pair with a rustic dining table – there is nothing like the luxurious feel, the smell, and the durability of a real leather dining chair, but for your family, a vegan leather chair might be a better fit. In this blog we look at just a few ways to team up wood and leather.

Photo featuring: Theo Faux Leather Dining Chair (pair)

1) Styling with a chunky rustic dining table

Here we have the gorgeous Standford large extending wooden table – quite a traditional style, so perfect in a farmhouse style kitchen but also works well in a modern Scandi theme. We think a delicate spindle back chair could look a little lost next to this chunky table. In this image, it has been teamed it up with the Standford industrial reclaimed wood bench.

Photo featuring: Standford Wooden Large Extending Dining Table & Standford Industrial Reclaimed Wood Bench

2) Styling with an industrial rustic table

Rustic industrial furniture is here to stay. Here we have the Rocco Industrial Rustic Oak Spider Leg Dining Table. The rough and rustic wood is finished in a lacquer. It is made using thick solid oak planks, we have styled this with brown PU leather chairs.

Photo featuring: Rocco Industrial Rustic Oak Spider Leg Dining Table

3) Go large

If you love to entertain and have a nice long dining table then you might want to consider a dining bench with back as well as dining chairs. The back will offer a little more comfort for your diners during a dinner party but as it is a bench, you can also squeeze up a bit and get an extra person around the table… without the need for an extra chair. The Cleo is one of those timeless pieces, it is made to order as a 2, 3 or 4 seater bench. Imagine how impressive the 4 seater looks sat along the side of a large dining table, and of course, you can add cushions and throws to add even more comfort and tie in with your dining room decor.

Photo featuring: Cleo Faux Leather Low Dining Bench

Loft living: how to get industrial style in 2021

Girl sat on brown leather sofa facing a large warehouse window with exposed brick wall

It was in the late 60’s / early 70’s that the trendy loft conversions really started to take off in NYC ….and to this day they continue to gain in popularity. This is now spilling over into UK suburbia. Here we have a look at some inspirations and ways to bring the industrial look to your home.

Industrial loft style living room with large grey metal staircase and industrial coffee table

The features we associate with the industrial loft are bare brick walls, metal, neutral coloured walls, even bare plaster and concrete floors. You can interpret this look by having a grey tiled floor or using reclaimed wood floorboards and painting walls grey or off white. This all sounds a little harsh and cold but you can break it up by adding rugs, prints on the walls, houseplants, throws and cushions to soften the look. Mix different textures and materials together like leather, wood, metal etc. The loft look is supposed to be rustic, functional industrial furniture with simple sharp lines, and not too much fussines!

Industrial living room with exposed brick walls, warehouse windows and brown leather sofa

Loft spaces tend to be large open multi-use spaces – often incorporating a dining space, sitting area and even an office space. We love to see a brown leather sofa in a loft seating area – the brown leather will tie in warm reclaimed wood furniture on an industrial metal frame. The Oldman range is handmade, to bespoke sizes, right here in the UK – so you can furnish your open living space with an industrial reclaimed wood desk, shelving, coffee table and console table all from the same range in the sizes that suit your space. If you wanted an accent piece to slot in with the industrial theme then the Chestey 3 seater sofa in burnished orange velvet will definitely bring a pop of colour and luxury to your space.

Close up of industrial reclaimed wood coffee table on grey rugPhoto featuring: Oldman Industrial Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table

Of course you don’t have to go the whole way with this industrial look, take a more subtle approach by introducing a few elements to your home. The Standford range includes the perfect industrial coffee table that you can build an industrial theme around – bring in an industrial sideboard from the range or the TV unit to introduce more elements. Again, the metal frames have the industrial element with the reclaimed wood adding warmth. In the dining room, you can add an industrial style pendant light over the dining table and opt for a dining bench instead of just chairs.

Industrial reclaimed wood coffee table with two drawers in front of a grey sofaPhoto featuring: Standford Industrial Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table

Style fix: chairs for an industrial dining table

Industrial dining room with reclaimed wood dining table and six velvet dining chairs

In a new regular feature, each month we help one of our customers with a styling quandary. This month our customer is interested in buying some new industrial furniture for her dining room but needs some guidance before making the final decision.

“I would really love to buy an industrial framed reclaimed wood dining table but am hesitating as I can’t decide what chairs to buy for it. Will metal and leather-look too industrial and cold? Would wooden chairs feel warmer? What are my options…?”

This is a great question and one that is often asked! So let’s dive right in and look at some options

Reclaimed wood dining chair next to industrial dining tablePhoto featuring: Standford Reclaimed Wood Cushioned Dining Chair

All wood

The Standford range of reclaimed wood furniture has everything you need to furnish a house in industrial style paired with eco-friendly reclaimed wood. The dining room furniture from this range is definitely our best-seller, so we’ll start here! The Standford industrial dining table is available as a fixed top table as well as an extendable dining table and includes wooden dining chairs that look great together – perfect for a family as the chairs can be wiped down. You can also opt for a wooden bench, which are very fashionable right now. They are easy for people to squeeze up on and a bench fits in perfectly with the rustic-industrial feel. To cosy an all-wood dining set up a little you can add cushions or faux fur throws to soften and bring it into your existing colour scheme.

Brown leather dining chairs around a round reclaimed wood dining tablePhoto featuring: Standford Brown Leather Dining Chairs

Leather or Faux leather

The Standford range also includes a round reclaimed wood dining table – perfect for the smaller dining space – but of course, we don’t want to compromise on comfort just because our dining space is small. We think the Standford leather dining chairs are perfect with this table – stylish industrial legs with a soft Italian leather seat to relax back into – if you prefer not to have real leather then you can opt for the faux leather dining chairs. The Tilde vegan leather chair is also a perfect match!

Photo featuring: Skye Dark Grey Dining Chairs

Luxurious velvet

If you opt for an industrial dining table with a glamorous touch like the Standford then you can add plush upholstered dining chairs, velvet is a top choice – the Celine stone grey velvet chair is a perfect match for a dining room with a west end look. The silver legs of the dining chairs match the silver legs of the Mayfair table, complementing each other perfectly. Of course, these chairs are superbly comfortable, perfect for long dinner parties.

We absolutely love how the Knightsbridge reclaimed oak dining table looks when paired with the modern spider leg Knightsbridge chairs. These velvet chairs are available in grey or striking teal. We think the teal works well to give your dining room a more contemporary feel, for a more neutral colour scheme the grey will work a treat.