Have lots of brown furniture in your home? You probably own more brown pieces than you think: Just consider that leather sofa in the family room, the wooden desk in your office, and the brown velvet chairs in your dining room, for example. While brown furniture is quite common, but many homeowners struggle with the issue of what color paint to pair with such pieces. Should you go bright and bold? Keep it neutral? Opt for something in between?
To find out, we asked interior designers what paint colors they most prefer to use when working on rooms full of brown furniture in their projects. Keep reading to hear their answers and gather decorating tips in order to make your own space shine.
Pick a Warm Gray
“Warm grays are my go-to neutral to pair with rich brown furnishings," says designer Allison Knizek, who is particularly drawn to Benjamin Moore London Fog. "It's like a soft blanket of gray haze, but rather than having a black base, it possesses a subtle, warm undertone," she adds. "Both in incandescent and natural light, the cozy aura it emits is the perfect backdrop for deep, earthy furnishings."
Designer Terra McNutt is also a proponent of what she calls "warm neutrals" when working with brown furniture, having used Sherwin Williams Repose Gray in a recent project. And, McNutt assures, the hue is anything but blah. "Don’t let gray in the name of the paint color fool you," she says. She offers some advise for those deliberating on the perfect color. "I suggest looking deeper into the undertones of the paint and seeing if it is warm or cool, which will tell you if it goes better with warmer or cooler complementing colors," McNutt advises. "Earthy tones, such as the greens, caramels or tans, and deep blues pair nicely with the warm gray neutral wall paint and brown undertones of the floor and sofa."
Go for a Stony Blue
Who doesn't love using a bit of blue in their home? When dealing with a room containing mostly brown furniture, designer Marybeth Christopher's wall color pick is Sherwin Williams Hamilton Blue, specifically. "It pops because the leather has an orange undertone," she says. "Blue and orange are complementary colors, which means they are at opposite ends of the color wheel, so they have the highest level of contrast." And Christopher says that there's no need to worry about this contrast posing an issue. "The combination is dynamic and energetic, but also very pleasing to the eye," she explains. When they say 'opposites attract,' it really is true when it comes to color."
Opt for Brown on Brown
There can never be too much of a good thing, after all. "Make brown the hero," designer Lance Thomas urges. "Try going monochromatic, much like the all-white Instagram rooms we are used to seeing—except with brown." The world is your oyster when it comes to specific shades to pick. "Think coppers, caramels, walnuts, and stone," Thomas suggests. "Layered textures, colors, sheens, and patterned browns can exceed your wildest expectations." Designer Mel Bean agrees that brown walls are the way to go and particularly approves of Farrow and Ball Salon Drab, which "is a rich and neutral chocolate paint color." Jazz up the rest of the space with brown and neutral throw pillows and accessories to add a welcoming feel to the room while staying on theme.
Try a Green
Go green! Everyone's doing it—a number of paint companies named green the color of the year for 2022. Feel like taking part in this trend? Here's how to best pair green with your brown furniture. "We went with Essex Green by Benjamin Moore for this bedroom lounge to pair with the brown leather sofa," designer Bryan Yates says of the space shown here. "By using a richer color, we were able to offset the brown piece helping blend the space together and not making it feel so heavy." Coordinating accents—such as a plush throw blanket and patterned pillows featuring a similar green hue—help to cozy up this space even further and make it feel more complete.