I've always believed in upholstering large pieces of furniture in solid fabrics. Sofas in particular can be quite overpowering in a room if done in a bold pattern. Solid fabrics have more longevity. Just change out the pillows and you can have a brand new look.
I just had this sofa reupholstered for a job.
It looked like this before.
We will have lots of color and pattern in pillows, window treatments, and smaller pieces of furniture, but a solid color is a great base to build a room around.
Here are some beautiful examples of solid upholstery as a base.
Laura Moss - House Beautiful
Richard Mishaan - Architectural Digest
Suzanne Kasler - Architectural Digest
Timothy Corrigan - Architectural Digest
This room above by Timothy Corrigan has a lot of pattern and movement, achieved with accent pillows and art. The solid color upholstery serves as a perfect backdrop.