What Colors Go With Brown? Try These 18 Combinations

updated Oct 2, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Everyone has thoughts about the color brown, and let’s face it: many times, those thoughts aren’t exactly positive. But it turns out, there’s a world of design ideas when it comes to using brown and the colors that go with brown in home decorating. Even if you’re not a huge fan of brown, there’s a good chance the shade plays a significant role in your home’s color palette

“Brown should not be overlooked for a home,” says designer Julia Newman Pedraza of Julia Adele Design. “Whether it’s the softer tones found in woods and tan variations or rich tones best seen in saturated paints and fabrics like velvet, brown can create the ultimate warm environment.” Look around your space, and you’ll likely encounter wood floors, natural finished wooden built-ins, or a mid-century modern credenza. It’s likely that the warm-toned hue has more of a presence in your home than you initially realized.

How to Pair Colors With Brown

So, what’s the best way to accentuate and embrace brown and the colors that go with brown in your home? Good news: This shade can look pretty amazing when paired with a complementary color, some of which are combinations that may surprise you. Here are some tips from design experts: 

  • Take a cue from nature: “You find layers of brown in nature, from weathered cedar shingles to varieties of tree bark, and the best complementary colors also occur naturally in the sea and sky,” says designer Lisa Quina, principal at Barefoot Dwelling. “When we want to accentuate mixed warm woods in an interior, we introduce cool teals and deep blues with landscape paintings, pottery, and glassware. We also layer in plants with a variety of green leaves to add texture and contrast for an organic palette.” 
  • The sky’s the limit: “I tend to think of brown as a good neutral, as it is very versatile and can go with just about any other color,” says Jennifer Jones of J Logan Interiors
  • Use different tones and textures: “Layering warm, sandy browns and creamy whites creates a casual, monochromatic palette that’s anything but bland.” For designer Danielle Chiprut, the key to nailing this palette is using different tones and textures to create depth and visual interest throughout your design. “Make sure to include organic elements and natural materials for a truly relaxed, California-cool design aesthetic.”

Take a look at these 18 stylish rooms that feature brown, all of which illustrate how nicely it plays with different colors.

1. Brown and Cream

Brown and cream are a match made in neutral heaven, as evidenced by the accent pillows in this 1970s Oregon ranch house.

2. Brown and Gold

Brown doesn’t have to be boring. For example: A woven wicker headboard in this Bronx apartment is perfectly complemented by a glam set of golden angel wings.

3. Brown and Purple

Brown and purple might seem like an unlikely pair, but they actually work quite well together. Just take a look at the purple-gray hutch with brown wood backing in this Michigan home.

4. Brown and Brown

Who doesn’t love a monochrome moment? Layers upon layers of brown make this rustic Washington living room incredibly stylish, welcoming, and cozy.

5. Brown and Orange

Few color pairings scream “1970s aesthetic” quite as loudly as brown and orange. If you’re a fan of vintage vibes, turn to this groovy U.K. living room for inspiration.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

6. Brown and Mauve

As a color, mauve is similar to pink, but with a touch of purple to deepen the tone for a slightly more grown-up look. Since it’s a darker hue, it looks amazing paired with light browns (think rattan, wicker, light-colored wood floors), as shown in this light-filled living room

7. Brown and Coral

Coral is a fun color, no matter what you pair it with. In the bedroom of this Mumbai home, it’s featured alongside a medium brown hue for a classy look with just a touch of whimsy. 

8. Dark Brown and Light Gray

This tastefully decorated bed by @slate.custom proves that yes, brown and gray can go hand in hand. It’s a surprising combo, but when executed correctly it can create a sophisticated space. 

9. Brown and Blue

The Australian home above features a dining space comprised of browns and blues, and it’s easy to see why this pairing creates balance — the moody blue walls are matched in intensity by the golden woods.

10. Brown, Slate Blue, & Cream

“To me, there is nothing more beautiful than this easy, breezy bohemian color palette,” Chiprut says of combining brown with slate blue and cream. You can see these colors at play in the Cape Town home above, which pairs blue and cream peacock wallpapered walls with a brown wooden bookcase. “It is earthy, natural, and serene. The cool tones in the blue bring harmony and balance to the warmth in the brown, and the cream gives your eye a rest and brightens up the other two deep colors.”

Chiprut likes to accent this palette with handwoven baskets, homespun linens, and a pop of brass to dial in on that warm, homey look. She suggests using this tranquil trio in a bedroom for maximum relaxation.

11. Sandy Brown and Creamy White

Think faux sheepskins, chunky knit pillows, linen drapery, or even a statement woven wall hanging (as seen in the Australian space) can add texture and personality to a neutral color pairing.

Credit: Viv Yapp

12. Brown and Black

Don’t be shy about combining these two darker hues. “Both neutral colors, [brown and black] pull out the best in each other and can create an incredibly sophisticated, timeless design,” Chiprut explains. “The black plays off the warmth in the brown, while creating drama throughout a design. The brown tones down the starkness in the black and creates a welcoming environment.” 

According to Chiprut, you can use this versatile combination anywhere from a rustic bathroom or living room to a sleek, modern dining room. You can see the latter in the above Hong Kong home, and even though the palette is limited to mainly browns and blacks, the room is graphic and anything but boring.

13. Brown and Green

“This down-to-earth duo works perfectly every time,” Chiprut says. “Combine a deep, intense green with a dark wood built-in cabinet (similar to the setup in the Florida home above) to create a moody, masculine study or pair a sage green with a mushroom brown for a light and airy living room.”

If you have a lot of wood toned furniture, incorporating houseplants and greenery is another way to riff on this combo and add an extra layer of visual interest and life to your space.

Credit: Minette Hand

14. Brown and Camel

“Brown tones, whether in wood or fabrics, pair beautifully with camel and tan tones,” says Newman Pedraza. She adds, “I always think these combinations bring out the best in the color.”

These colors scream cozy, particularly when amped up with texture, as seen in the Scandinavian-inspired New York loft, where a camel chair pairs nicely with various wooded pieces and a shaggy Beni Ourain rug.

Credit: Andrew Bui

15. Brown and Brass

“The brass craze isn’t going anywhere anytime time soon, and nothing makes it pop more than pairing it with a deep chocolatey brown,” Pedraza says. In the Brooklyn apartment, various shades of brown complement the brass trunk.

There’s something decidedly ’70s about this pairing, so if you like a vintage look, this may be a good jumping off point for decorating. Of course, you can work other colors into the mix, but stick to these shades for your bigger pieces.

Credit: Kylie Fitts

16. Brown and Pink

Brown and pink, as seen in Chiprut’s own New York home, can work together to liven up a living space. Her space features textiles and artwork with pink tones that look lovely paired with brown leather and woods. Moroccan poufs remain a popular accent and are an easy way to bring brown into any room. They’re also quite functional pieces, given that they can serve as both footrests or extra seating.

Credit: Andrew Bui

17. Brown and Rust

Subtle burnt orange, red, and rust accents shine in this largely brown Harlem living room without overwhelming the space. This room successfully weaves together various brown hues by mixing contemporary pieces with vintage-looking finds for a charming, eclectic look.

18. Brown and Mustard

Brown can hang with mustard, too, and this combo is becoming more popular as yellow is staring to surge in popularity again. With the right accent pieces, this duo make a for a simple, earthy pairing that works like a charm when you want to go bold. This modernist Melbourne home features multiple rooms with a brown and mustard color combo, all of which look lovely with hits of teal and orange.