Brown is officially back for decorating our homes. Not since the 1990s have shades of tan, taupe, burlap and bronze been so en vogue, their renewed popularity cemented when Dulux named Brave Ground as its Colour of the Year 2021.
Brown is the perfect choice for a living room, warm; cosy, and inviting. Its varied shades can be layered together or injected with contrasting shades such as teal, blush pink and rich navy blue.
And, of course, brown tones blend seamlessly with natural materials such as wood, leather and terracotta. So if you’ve got a living room with wooden floorboards, or have your eyes on a tan sofa, brown is a choice that’s easy to work with.
Here’s a selection of effortlessly stylish brown living room ideas.
Brown living room ideas for decorating
1. Layer tones for a sophisticated take
Brown has got a bad rap as being an old fashioned, trad shade when it comes to decorating. However as this fine example shows tones of brown and gentle taupe can exude an air of contemporary style, that feels both cosy and sophisticated in equal measure for a favourable living room colour scheme.
Layering is the key to mixing a brown tonal colour palette, working different depths of the shade on walls, flooring, furniture, wall decor and soft furnishings to create a beautifully harmonious brown scheme.
2. Cocoon with grounding neutrals
A soft earthy shade on living room walls aims to create a safe space in which we can take comfort from the busy world outside. To be brave with this grounding colour a great living room paint idea is to incorporate the ceiling in the same shade, to create a cocoon effect of colour, making it feel more immersive.
Dulux’s Brave Ground, seen above, is a warm and grounding neutral shade as ‘that will enable people to draw upon the strength of nature to help them find the courage to embrace the future.’
3. Set the scene with bark brown woodland wallpaper
Embrace the brown tones of nature with a woodland themed decor. The best way to make a decorative statement is with a hero feature wall. The dominating branch and foliage pattern of this bark-brown coloured wallpaper helps to captivate in this cosy living room. Surrounding a traditional log-burner it’s the perfect pattern to create a rustic country-feel.
Lighter brown tones of taupe on the armchairs and the earthy tones of the accessories helps to build upon the beauty of this brown living room scheme.
4. Make it feel retro
Brown is the perfect shade to anchor a retro decor around. With accents of punchy burnt orange and versatile grey this nostalgic look can be enhanced with plentiful touches of wooden furniture to inject the brown element.
5. Use wood panelling on walls to introduce natural hues
Wall panelling ideas are more on-trend than ever right now, offering a great way to decorate walls with warming brown tones without having to commit to paint shades. This approach is a more contemporary way of decorating with solid shades of brown, as natural wooden textures lend more depth to look.
Wooden wall panelling pairs beautifully with solid wooden floors to create a cohesion of texture and colour. Tan leather furniture pieces, like this statement Massimo curved ribbed lounger in brown tan leather, are a great way to keep the look modern.
6. Add pattern with wallpaper
Avoid colour-blocking with brown walls by choosing a decorative wallpaper instead. This subtle brown wallpaper features a stylised geometric pattern to introduce both the colour and pattern, without overwhelming the room. Heavier accents of brown are felt with the addition of a large leather sofa and statement dark rug.
7. Welcome a feature wall of colour
To avoid the shade from overwhelming a small space use the power of a focal feature wall to draw the eye and make the space feel bigger. This cream living room welcomes a brown feature wall idea along one dominating wall to create a sense of space.
Rich wooden furniture placed on the opposite wall helps to pull the colour outwardly, into the rest of the room.
8. Compliment earthy brown with warming reds
Create a warm and inviting space by mixing chocolate brown hues with earthy red pigments. The rich colour palette works perfectly with natural brown wooden flooring, adding a warming element.
In a living room or bedroom cushions and throws in this warm colour combination, especially in touchy-feely textures, invites you to cocoon and retreat – feeling at one with nature.
9. Combine golden brown with pale mint green
In this space, Dulux has combined two consecutive Colours of the Year – the caramel-beige Spiced Honey and minty-sage Tranquil Dawn. The contrast in colours creates a statement look that is both cosy and fresh, soothing and strong.
10. Let white features pop against honey brown
Brighten up your whites by placing them against a backdrop of warm brown. In this living room, Spiced Honey gives a strong definition to the skirting and door frames, as well as the simple structured white sofa and monochrome prints ready to be hung on the walls.
11. Embrace country living with burlap shades
Texture is everything in this rustic living room, from the burlap-coloured wallpaper to the tweed sofa to the chunky wooden mantel. Hints of red and orange add heat to the more neutral brown tones.
12. Sink into brown velvet
Choosing a luxe fabric like velvet in an earthy colour like brown gives a living room a smart yet not too stuffy look. Expand on this further by mixing in shabby chic painted wooden pieces with chic grey accessories.
13. Mix sandy browns with soft blush pink
Fresh sandy browns can look so pretty with soft candy pinks, and by choosing a soft brown sofa, you can use it to tie together furniture in different wood finishes.
14. Introduce tones with timber cladding
Timber cladding needn’t scream Swedish sauna. By breaking up this brown backdrop with a cream sofa laden with country textiles featuring trailing florals and stripes, and painting the walls white, the walls add warmth and character without overwhelming.
15. Use a tan sofa to add character
A coppery brown sofa can transform a living room lacking in features, its rugged looks tipping a hat to American Colonial interiors, particularly when teamed with bold Ikat prints.
16. Stay sophisticated with taupe
Can’t decide between brown and grey? Taupe brings the best of both – a neutral backdrop that is warmer than grey, but that can also blend with it.
17. Go bronze for an opulent feel
If you’re looking for a more glam look but still want to welcome the warming tones of a brown colour palette, seek a metallic finish to add an element of luxe to the look. Bronze brown walls are a great way to add an opulent feel to any living room.
Enhance the look further by adding pops of jewel colours, like rich teal and burnt orange on sumptuous velvet furniture and accessories.
Is brown a good colour for living rooms?
‘Brown is the ‘Mother Earth’ of colours and like all good mums it’s versatile, supportive, warm, elegant and familiar – a quiet hero’ says Marianne Shillingford, creative director of Dulux. ‘It’s a colour that we instantly recognise and feel safe with plus it works beautifully with everything we already have.’
‘Soft, warm browns work beautifully on their own in places where you want to relax like bedrooms and living rooms. Teamed with other colours, brown becomes a neutral colour and it can create very different looks from energising to tranquil depending on its depth and tone.’
Does grey and brown match in a living room?
Grey and brown match in a living room, because both are grounding colours that don’t fight each other for attention. Of course it depends which tone of grey and which tone of brown you are considering, but generally speaking most colour combinations work in harmony. Try going to the darker end of the colour spectrum in one tone, to the opposite for the other – so use a light grey with a deeper, rich brown for instance. The different tones will help to balance the contrasting colours.
‘Grey and brown are both earthy, neutral colours but they can go well together,’ agrees Marianne. ‘If paired thoughtfully you get an organic look that captures the natural beauty of wood and stone. Grey is cool, versatile and casual so it can work as a canvas on which to express yourself, whilst warming browns make a living room cosy and inviting.’
How do I add colour to my brown living room?
You can add colour to a brown living room with accents throughout soft furnishings, furniture and accessories. If you have chosen brown walls but are looking to add a mint accent colour you can add this secondary colour with a luxe rug or statement cushions on a sofa.