No matter your personal style, budget, home type, or aesthetic goals, most design plans start with a color scheme, and most color schemes start with choosing a neutral color. As we know, neutrals can go in many different directions, which makes them appealing color choices—and one such great color choice is brown.
Wood tones, leathers, natural and organic textures, and even metals like brass and bronze all come in a range of brown hues that work in a variety of contexts. If making the first move to develop a color story seems overwhelming, we have the solution: tons of inspiration for colors that pair easily and effectively with brown.
Not only will these spaces help you envision how brown works with other colors, but they'll help you narrow in on which shade of brown you're thinking of using. As with other neutrals, there are nearly infinite particularities and shades within the brown family to utilize.
Read on for our favorite colors to pair with brown—because with that decision down, you'll be well-positioned to start defining the rest of your space.
Brown + Fatigue Green: Timeless & Versatile
Of course, this color combination is intuitive if you think about it—just consider camouflage. But, you'll be surprised to find out how versatile it is. This combination's timeless character lends it to children's rooms, as seen here in a design that kids can easily grow into with age. But, we can imagine it working just as well—if not even more so—in a laid-back family room with perennially chic sage and rich brown leather in the form of a well-loved vintage sofa.
Brown + Black: Definition & Energy
It's no surprise that neutrals have never-ending mix-and-match potential. It's part of why we keep coming back to them time and time again. But, as this dining area so flawlessly shows, combining inky black with the rich, natural character of true-brown leather and wood tones packs a surprising punch. We'd hesitate to put this combination under the moniker of "neutral"—though it technically is—as it brings so much more definition and energy than a stereotypical neutral space. It's all about picking the right textures to show off these classic hues to their best effect.
Brown + Indigo: Classic & Playful
Another tried-and-true combo we never seem to tire of is indigo and brown. Think: classic denim and saddle-leather, for one. This children's room pulls in a few tones in the indigo family to add depth and visual interest to the bedding—with the addition of a playful pop of pattern-mixing—making it ideal for kids' whimsical imaginations.
Brown + Beige: Neutral & Rich
We're always fond of drawing entire color palettes from the same color family—or even the same paint chip card. And with so many neutrals to choose from these days, beige is a far cry from the one-note hue we used to think of it as. In this dining area, tactile material gives these beige chairs lots of personality, while rich mid-tone wood cabinets really steal the show—in the best way.
Brown + Blush: Modern & Chic
Pink and brown might call to mind chocolate box color schemes or even a trip to the local ice cream parlor. But, there are so many ways to pull off this pairing that are unexpected, modern, and thoroughly chic. With a little Eastern-inspo and cool accents, this pink and brown bedroom feels feminine yet unfussy.
Designer Anne Sage DIY'd this headboard, and you can, too—just in case you need a little extra push to get your bedroom remodel started on the right foot.
Brown + Teal: Classic & Adaptable
Calling in a little contrast is never a bad idea, and if you're fond of browns with a bit of orange to them, like this cognac-hued pillow, you can make no better choice than nod at orange's complementary color with a bit of teal or turquoise blue. It's a color pairing that really pops—which is probably why variations on it are trending right now—and who could argue with the classic and adaptable appeal of these two hues?
Brown + Acid Yellow: Bold & Wild
Not for the faint of heart, so-called acid yellow is a hint brighter than citrus-inspired hues and can include an almost-green tone at times. So, it's reasonable that you might need a tried-and-true neutral to mellow it out. The warm brown shade selected for the rug in this room is just the right color for the job, even with the addition of wild leopard print, which we love.
Brown + Navy: Coastal & Timeless
The nautical appeal of navy is timeless for so many reasons—partially because it goes with almost any color you can throw at it. Believe us, we've tested this out. Naturally, brown is no exception to this rule—and while we may most often associate navy with coastal design, pairing brown and blue together can also evoke a host of other landscapes, since it's an intuitive earth and sky-style pairing.
For a traditional home or even a midcentury modern one, brown and navy are an effortless color scheme to start any redesign with.
Brown + Lilac: Quirky & Natural
We've covered brown and pink, but we couldn't forget to mention a similar—though less commonly seen—pairing that we also adore. Lilac brings a little more quirkiness to classic brown, and actually multiple shades of it as seen here: a rich chocolate hue and a more sandy version on the wall covering. It's another color scheme evocative of nature, especially with this beautiful floral blooming throughout the room.
Brown + Red: Refined & Traditional
Start with brown and red, and you can go anywhere—from the handsome, refined vibe of a home library or study to this airy and easygoing remixed-traditional bedroom. The key to unlocking the versatility of these colors? Being mindful of proportions. Here, white is the dominant color of the space, which tones down the pop of bright red and gives it room to breathe. In a more moody, historically inspired setting, darker hues would definitely be the base layer—and the effect would be much different.