When it comes to selecting a color palette, we don't blame you if brown isn't a hue that initially generates a lot of excitement. At first glance, the earthy shade might seem drab, dull, or boring, but brown tones have a way of effortlessly lending a warm and utterly inviting vibe to any space, be it a modern kitchen or a traditional living room. In fact, when we stop to think about it, the neutral hue sneakily weaves its way into almost every room (thanks to wood trim, accent furniture, and cabinetry).
Brown shades are grounding earth tones that connote feelings of stability, nature, and strength. Although most people think of chocolate brown when referencing the hue, it comes in a wide range of options from pale sand to reddish-chestnut to orangey russet. Brown is considered a neutral, which makes it complementary to a whole host of colors, including pink, navy, and monochrome shades of gray, black, and white. Additionally, you can't go wrong pairing brown with virtually any shade of green: Both hues commonly found in nature, the two work together to conjure up fresh, outdoorsy feelings. When selecting a shade of brown to use in your home, the tone will play a big factor in what colors it will pair best with.
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"Brown is a warm neutral that gives interiors an earthy richness. Deep chocolate brown walls will evoke a sense of luxe sophistication in your bedroom or dining room. You can also pair brown with pink or aqua in a child's room to create a lighter and brighter feel," says Daleet Spector, founder of Daleet Spector Design. "I always love using brown, earthy accessories like rustic wood bowls, trays, picture frames, and boxes to warm up spaces and add texture and layers."
With that being said, we've rounded up 24 color ideas that will convince you brown is the missing link to your perfect palette.
24 Brown Color Combinations
1. Brown and Light Gray
Brown and light gray work especially well together thanks to their inherently masculine vibe. To keep the palette from feeling heavy or lackluster, try adding another lighter shade — like white or beige — into the mix as well. In this moody living room surrounded by chocolatey brown walls, a silver-colored sectional sofa is the star of the show. Light accents such as the curtains, crown molding, and sheepskin throw ensure the scheme doesn't feel too heavy.
2. Brown and Turquoise
Brown can feel a bit heavy or somber, but you can bring out its playful side by pairing it with vibrant shades like turquoise. This maximalist living room by Angie Hrawnowsky goes big on the blue-green shade with patterned wallpaper, lampshades, and a pair of club chairs. A chocolate brown sofa, a neutral rug, and plenty of woven accents temper the vibrant hue.
3. Brown and Rust
Just like brown, the color rust is an earth tone, making them two peas in a pod. We recommend bringing in burnt orange shades in a bold but limited manner. For example, in this lofty living room, an area rug allows the palette to pack a punch without overwhelming the space while a light brown sofa grounds the fiery hue.
4. Brown and Mint Green
If you're worried that brown will feel too serious or drab in your space, look no further than a brown and mint green combo to shake things up. We particularly love this color idea when paired with black accents, as witnessed in this dining room by Decus Interiors. All you need to complete the look are glass bubble pendant lights for additional texture and a bit of glam.
One look at this swanky powder room by Decus Interiors, and it's clear that brown and shades of blue go together effortlessly. Here, the brown striated granite backsplash, counter, and integrated sink add loads of warmth that balances the cool navy blue wall color. The brass mirror, pendant light, and faucet are the icing on the cake and add a welcome dose of sparkle to the mix.
6. Brown and Greige
Brown has an inherently cozy vibe, making it particularly ideal in cocoon-like spaces such as bedrooms. Consider pairing it with warm neutrals, like greige, for a sophisticated look that feels utterly timeless. The combo makes an appearance in this welcoming bedroom by Mark D. Sikes in layered patterns and prints, which don't look visually cluttered thanks to the restricted color palette.
7. Brown and Yellow
If you're a fan of autumnal vibes, consider pairing brown with a vibrant shade of yellow. The color combination takes a contemporary turn in this bedroom when it's showcased in a graphic wallpaper print. The solid brown headboard helps ground the space and prevents it from looking visually overwhelming.
8. Brown and Tan
Brown is a versatile shade that plays nice with a range of aesthetics from traditional to eclectic to contemporary. In this desert-inspired living room, a brown leather sofa provides just enough contrast in a mostly tan space. The result? An earthy scene that's guaranteed to relax anyone who enters.
9. Brown and Teal
If you really want to make an impact, follow the lead of his living room by Heidi Caillier. Despite the bold teal wall color, this space doesn't look visually jarring. Neutral accents such as a brown sofa, dark wood coffee table, brick fireplace surround, and hardwood flooring all work together to temper the blue-green hue.
10. Brown and Green
We said it before and we'll say it again, brown and dark green are a winning combination, and this stunning kitchen by Nordiska Kök pretty much proves our point. The Verde Alpi marble backsplash and countertops contrast beautifully with the dark oak cabinets, eliminating the need for much else decor-wise. The lighter herringbone floors offer a visual break from the dark scheme.
11. Brown and Mauve
Mauve is a pale purple with brownish undertones, so it's no wonder that it looks right at home alongside rich shades of brown. The team over at Studio Life/Style opted for the calming duo in this sophisticated dining room, resulting in a space ripe for leisurely meals.
12. Brown and Hunter Green
Brown looks lovely with all shades of green, but if you're looking to enhance a room's rustic beauty, consider pairing it with hunter green. The combination looks particularly soulful with reclaimed wood and velvet lounge chairs flaunting old school fringe, as seen in this living room by Jersey Ice Cream Co.
13. Brown and Brown
You don't need a high-contrast color palette to create conversation-worthy spaces. In fact, some of the most beautiful rooms are tone-on-tone. The trick is to add texture and vary materials to highlight the differences between shades. Despite the shared color palette, the differing shades of brown in this living room by Soeur Interiors have depth and dimension thanks to a mix of elements like the tufted cognac leather sofa, lighter linen pillows, and rich espresso walls.
14. Brown and White
While not quite as severe as black, brown still makes a great companion to white for a high-contrast color palette. Avenue Design Studio nailed the look in this kitchen with matte brown walls and white countertops, shelving, lighting, and artwork. The rich wood cabinetry provides a dose of additional contrast and warmth.
15. Brown and Light Blue
Dark chocolate brown and light blue make a regal color duo full of richness and drama. A bedroom, like this one belonging to Chris and Julia of Chris Loves Julia, makes the ideal spot to showcase the winning combination. Complete the decadent scene with a crystal chandelier.
16. Brown and Cream
Soften the intensity of brown by pairing it with another neutral color like cream. In the case of this airy living room, Studio Life/Style brought together cream walls, curtains, and a sofa with a floor-to-ceiling, bronze-clad accent wall. The patinaed finish offers a mottled look that's full of dimension and steeped with rustic appeal.
17. Brown and Lilac
If you want to make a glamourous statement with the color brown, consider peppering in accents in a pastel shade of purple. Take cues from this setup spotted on Finn Juhl, which showcases a pair of lilac lounge chairs sitting against dark brown wood paneling on the walls and matching wood floors. The red marble coffee table and beige accents complement the handsome living room beautifully.
18. Brown and Mustard Yellow
Looking for a playful, sunset-inspired color scheme? Try pairing brown with mustard yellow. In a guestroom at Ovolo The Valley in Brisbane, the golden shade looks simply stunning against a warm brown wall. A pair of pink pendant lights and a matching throw pillow offer a striking accent color that just feels like summer.
19. Brown and Beige
Similar to other neutral shades like white or cream, beige is a no-brainer when it comes to brown color schemes. Even though the two hues are quite opposite, they are both warm colors as proven by this tranquil and cozy living room.
20. Brown and Charcoal Gray
Dark bedroom color ideas are unmistakably chic, especially when the feature shade is charcoal gray. Interior designer Becky Shea shows us how to pull of the depth-defying look in this dreamy setup. The cognac leather chaise provides the perfect pop of color and warmth.
21. Brown and Sage Green
Brown and green make beautiful companions thanks to their references to nature. Although both come in a range of shades, the soothing pale brown and sage green combo that Heidi Caillier used in this little boy's room is equal parts sophisticated and youthful. Blanketing the walls in grasscloth adds both dimension and texture.
22. Brown and Red
In the world of interior design, most people shy away from using red — but don't be so quick to disregard the bold hue. As witnessed in this living room, all you need is a healthy dose of brown to temper the notoriously lively shade and render it cozy. Here, the brown furniture and decor infuse warmth and result in an inviting rustic vibe.
23. Brown and Pink
Brown is often overlooked for use in children's rooms out of fear that it's too serious or mature, but it functions as a great foundation on which to flaunt youthful colors. Annsley Interiors struck the right note in this little girl's room by pairing brown walls with pink patterned drapes and a cushy lounge chair, resulting in an age-appropriate space with staying power.
24. Brown and Black
Elevate brown to a new state of elegance by pairing it with black. To keep the look from falling flat, choose a shade of brown that offers some degree of contrast. For example, the mocha hue on the walls in this refined space spotted on My Paradissi is light enough that the cushion on the daybed stands out. The wood base and floors provide warmth despite the muted color scheme.
Colors That Go with Brown
Brown is an earth tone that adds depth and will anchor just about any space. It comes in various shades ranging from light to grayish to almost black. Thanks to its neutrality, it looks stunning paired with many different colors. When trying to decide what shades would work best, just be sure to keep in mind the overall look and feel you hope to achieve as well as the amount of lighting (both natural and artificial) that is available.
Here is a recap of some of our favorites hues to pair with brown:
- Light gray
- Mint green
- Navy blue
- Hunter green
- Light blue
- Mustard yellow
- Charcoal gray
- Sage green