Brown carpet, from dark chocolate tones to light tan ones, is a hardworking part of a home. It's utilitarian and is often the default in rental homes because it's inexpensive, durable, and ideal for hiding dirt and stains. It also provides that soft warmth beneath your feet that hardwood floors can't. Still, brown carpet can be a challenge to design around. But with the right coordinating paint color, you can make it look like an intentional — even beautiful — part of your interior decor.
In spaces with brown carpet, the rich neutral may seem to dictate a limited, earthy palette. But while nature-inspired color schemes are warm and inviting, brown is a surprisingly versatile hue that won't keep you limited to the outdoors for inspiration. Every shade of brown contains notes of all three primary colors — red, yellow, and blue — which means it can coordinate well with a vast number of tones.
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Think of it this way: Brown paint is created by mixing all three primary colors together at varying ratios to create different shades. Browns with more blue in the base are cooler, while shades with stronger red or yellow notes are warmer. Before choosing your coordinating colors, first determine your carpet's exact shade of brown. An easy way to do this is by comparing the carpet color with a paint chip deck or sample cards from a houseware store's paint department.
From there, the sky's the limit. Mary Jo Major of Rise Interiors gravitates toward softer hues. "Pale lavenders and mauve-toned paints look wonderful with brown carpeting," Major tells Hunker. "Their gray undertones help bring a fresh look to the deeper color and embrace the moody depth. Combined with brass accents and ivory textures, the room can immediately feel glamorous."
3 Colors That Go With Light Brown Carpet
Blue-gray tones (especially those that lean more blue, like the wall color in this Lindsey Black Interiors-designed bedroom) pair perfectly with light brown carpet. Several neutral colors make an appearance in this room, from the white headboard and bedding to the black sconces and natural wood bedside tables. The blue-gray backdrop brings them all together, creating a soothing space to start and end each day.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore Bedford Blue
2. Seafoam Green
A muted, dusty seafoam green might not be your first instinct for a paint color to pair with brown carpet, but we're here to prove that maybe it should be. This is a successful color scheme, whether you're working with carpet or a nearly wall-to-wall area rug, like in this dining room designed by Maggie Griffin. It evokes a regal feeling that's perfect for showing off ornate accessories, like chandeliers.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green
There's no going wrong with white, as Living With Lolo proves with this calming bedroom design. The crisp, bright white paint color provides a stark contrast against the light brown carpet, allowing the carpet's texture to stand out and sunshine to bounce around the room. For a more subtle effect, opt for a softer off-white.
Get the look: Benjamin Moore White
5 Colors That Go With Dark Brown Carpet
Love Grows Wild went with a neutral tone-on-tone design for her living room in order to make the most of the small space. Beige wall paint and curtains keep the room looking bright and open, while the brown woven coffee table and pale gray armchair and sofa provide a subtle contrast. A striped area rug brings the dark brown carpet into the light color palette.
Get the look: Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin
The award for Best Unexpected Color Combination goes to lavender and brown, courtesy of this Kim Gordon-designed living room. Together, the hues feel fresh and cheerful, making for a festive space anyone would gravitate toward. If you aren't working with a dark brown carpet, a large brown area rug works just as well and allows you to add a bit of pattern to the space too.
Get the look: Glidden Little Lilac
The beautiful contrast in this living room by The Jolly James shows just how well warm and cool colors can go together. The navy blue walls and dark brown carpet bring out the best in each other, while the brown also keeps the blue and white palette from looking too stark. A gold starburst-shaped mirror brings warmth to the walls as well.
Get the look: Graham & Brown Brave
Most of us aren't lucky enough to have a home theater (we wish!), but you can still take inspiration from this color scheme: dark brown carpet with taupe walls and all kinds of neutrals in between. This room, designed by Lindsey Brooke, is decked out in a neutral palette so nothing will distract you when the lights go out and the movie starts.
Get the look: Sherwin-Williams Attitude Gray
If you're shopping for paint with warm undertones to enhance your dark brown carpet, a sandy tan might be the way to go. That's what Kim Armstrong Interior Design selected for this living room, and the effect is welcoming and relaxing — just what you want for a room where everyone gathers. The neutral palette allows you to go wild with your accessories, and you can add as much color as you like through accents like throw pillows or artwork.
Get the look: Behr Seaside Sand
Colors That Go With Brown Carpet
The moral of this story: Brown carpet, whether light or dark, lets you play with color more than you might think. While a neutral palette is always a good idea, going bright and bold — with lavender or seafoam, perhaps? — can create a lively feeling in a room grounded with a functional piece of flooring.
Here's a recap of colors that pair beautifully with brown carpet:
- Seafoam green