Warm and inviting, brown is said to evoke feelings of safety, security and comfort. Just as green connects us to nature and blue emulates the serenity of the sea, brown brings us back down to earth, keeping us, quite literally, grounded. It’s an inviting sentiment to emulate in our homes – spaces where comfort and relaxation are invariably on the cards – so it’s little wonder this warming hue is trending in interior design circles (and beyond). The beauty of this palette is in its diversity, ranging from the palest latte to the deepest darkest bark, allowing for myriad opportunities to bring the hue into your home. Here are a few of our favourite ways.

Three brown cushions sit on a neutral sofa
A cosy sitting room with brown walls, a yellow armchair and grey sofa.

Think Tonally

Though the trend for colour drenching – using multiple shades of the same hue in one room – speaks to the more vibrant end of the spectrum, there’s no reason you can’t look to this technique when it comes to decorating with brown. In fact, as a colour with so many shades, it lends itself perfectly to a tonal look. For those looking for brown living room ideas, for example, we’d encourage you to use a mix of light and dark tones to really get that layered and inviting effect ­– consider pairing a jute rug with a tan leather sofa, for example, and incorporating some cushion covers in darker brown tones for a mix of shades.

A brown wooden dining table and chairs sit on a terracotta rug

Nod to Nature 

For an easy way to incorporate the brown colour trend into your home, look to nature. Tactile textures bring warmth and wonder to any home, no matter the colour scheme, but with this particular palette they really come to the fore thanks to the likes of wood, rattan and linen. For those who are hesitant about the trend and wondering how to make brown look good, this is your easiest option – a simple wooden side table or a rattan basket will nod to the style without overwhelming your space. Don’t feel you need to stick to larger pieces, either – a woollen cushion or throw in shades of coffee or chocolate will add a tactile touch to your sofa while making it look all the more inviting.  

A sitting room with neutral furniture, jute rug and plaster walls
A close-up of a brown leather ottoman with gold edges

Make it Modern 

Though brown can be earthy and rustic, it can also be smooth and contemporary. It’s all in the material – if you want to avoid the shade’s cocooning feel, lift the look with glossier finishes such as tortoiseshell, bronze and leather. These sleeker styles feel instantly more modern than their more tactile counterparts. To ensure the look remains timeless, focus on classic designs that will never go out of fashion – such as leather upholstery, tortoiseshell glassware and bronze lighting.

A white sitting room with blue accents and wooden furniture

Mix in Accent Colours

What colours look best with brown? Despite the wealth of shades on offer, it’s a hue people often find tricky to pair – and yet, it’s actually one of the easiest to work with. It depends what effect you’re hoping to achieve; if you want to emphasise the colour’s cosy quality, dusky pinks, terracotta and deep oranges should be your go-to. For those looking for a lighter look, bright white can temper the darker tones of wooden furniture. Brown can also work as the perfect neutral base for a more vibrant scheme; those wondering how to decorate with a brown sofa, for example, needn’t fret – you have the ideal springboard for a colourful look. Cobalt blue cushions will really pop against a warm, tan leather, while shades of navy and green create a moodier, inviting effect.  

A brown wooden sideboard holding a lamp and accessories
Two wooden lamps, decorated with striped lampshades, sit on a white sideboard

Let it Glow with Lighting

Lean into the warm nature of the colourway and emulate that through your lighting choices – selecting a lamp or lampshade in your favourite brown hue is an easy way to tap into the trend. This could be a rattan shade or base that combines both textural and tonal appeal, a sculptural table lamp crafted from smooth wood, or a pretty pleated shade in a natural colour that gently diffuses the light throughout the room ­– creating an inviting, cosy feel that this palette is so perfect for.

What to Be Conscious of When Decorating with Brown

While we don’t believe there’s a wrong way to tackle a trend (truly the only right way is to follow your own style) there are a few elements you may want to be conscious of when decorating with the colour of the season. Firstly, think about the size of the room – a space with high ceilings and lots of natural light will be able to handle brown walls, for example, whereas you may want to avoid using anything too dark in smaller spaces as they can end up feeling a little oppressive. In this instance, less is more – embrace the lighter end of the brown spectrum with accessories and accent pieces. Whatever the size of room that you're decorating, we’d also encourage you to seek multiple shades of brown, rather than stick to one hue – darker brown in particular can be overwhelming when used in this way. 

Now you know how to decorate with brown, why not embrace the trend with our edit of our favourite brown furniture and homeware pieces? Click the button below to get started.