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The Psychology of Brown Interior Design: Bringing Comfort to Your Home with a Brown Aesthetic


interior design tips - living room with a brown theme, leather brown couch, brown decor, houseplants and cosy ambience

The colour brown has always been a classic choice in interior design but is often perceived as somewhat basic and overshadowed by more vibrant options, such as pastels, bright shades, pale neutrals and the classics such as white. A brown room theme isn't often sought after, but there are many ways earthy tones can uplift your interior design and improve the atmosphere.

What Are the Benefits of the Colour Brown?

interior design tips - bedroom with a brown theme, wooden bed frame and side table with flowers

We see brown in elements of nature - the bark of a tree, soil in the ground, a sandy beach or mushrooms growing in a forest. Studies show that the presence of things like plants and natural materials in the home can help to relieve stress. Nature is all around us, but with the general population spending more and more time indoors, it's important to include natural elements in our environment.


In the psychology world, shades of brown are associated with feelings of comfort, peace and security. Furthermore, experts in chromotherapy (colour therapy) believe the colour brown can help to connect us to the earth and make us feel more grounded and, therefore, calmer. With this in mind, it makes sense that the colour brown (in a variety of earthy tones and materials) can uplift the vibe in our indoor spaces.

How to Incorporate Brown into Your Interior Design

interior design tips - living room with a brown theme, leather brown couch, brown decor, houseplants, natural sunlight and cosy ambience

Brown is timeless and versatile. Whether you're choosing kitchen cabinets or painting your bedroom walls, brown carries an inherent sense of quality, making your space feel more luxurious. So how can you reap these amazing benefits of the colour brown in your interior design? Continue reading for some tips on how to make the most of earthy shades!


Start with Small Touches of Brown

interior design tips - kitchen with a brown and cream colour palette, brown decor items, houseplants and cosy ambience

Consider weaving brown accents into your home decor with strategic placement of throw pillows, curtains, and small decor items in natural tones that suit your preference. Small additions can instantly increase the comforting vibes, so you can benefit from the colour brown without overwhelming the space.


Natural Elements: Elevate Your Space with Organic Materials

interior design tips - rustic room, natural wooden dresser, natural materials, wicker chair, and cosy ambience

Brown can be easily integrated into your home without opening a single tin of brown paint. Natural wooden furnishings, and other natural materials, such as stone, wicker or rattan, can help to create an earthy aesthetic and subtly blend brown into your home without overdoing it. They are also brilliant sustainable choices!


If you like the idea of using natural materials in your interior design you might like this: Japanese Wabi-Sabi: Beauty in Imperfection in Home Decor

Brown Furniture and Flooring

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Both elegant and classic, brown furniture and flooring can really anchor a room's design, creating a versatile base upon which to build your style. A brown leather sofa is stylish and luxurious, wooden tables provide rustic appeal, and genuine wooden flooring is amazingly grounding underfoot. Brown is adaptable in various design styles, whether you're aiming for a traditional, contemporary, or eclectic vibe.

Creating Depth and Dimension with Texture

interior design tips - leather brown couch, textured throw pillow, knitted blanket

Texture should always come into play in interior design. Think bigger than brown paint on your walls or wooden furniture and consider including rattan, suede, wool, and tweed fabrics in your home decor. These materials create a comforting atmosphere while making your design more dynamic and adding visual interest.

Using the Right Lighting

interior design tips - bedroom with a orange-brown theme, leather brown couch, brown decor, houseplants and natural lighting

Lighting has an amazing power to dictate the mood and ambience of a space. Warm lighting casts a golden glow that enhances brown tones and brings the design together. Whether it's a well-placed floor lamp, pendant light or even small touches such as string lights or candles, your lighting choices can make or break a brown interior.


Want to know how to create cosy ambient lighting? Check out our blog post for some tips: Create a Cosy Home with Ambient Lighting: Warm Lighting Ideas for Your Home (On a Budget)

Metallic Accents to Finish Your Brown Space

interior design tips - entryway/hallway with copper accents and metalic decor, houseplants

Metallic accents can add a luxurious feel to any space. Consider introducing elements like copper or gold into your design palette to complement your brown components. Copper and gold are especially complementary to warm earthy shades. Think picture frames, gilded table legs or metal lamps.


The Best Rooms for a Brown Interior:

interior design tips - bathroom with natural wooden wall panelling

When selecting your colour palette, assess how much natural light each room you are redecorating gets and at what time of day as this can dictate which shades of brown will pop. The examples below give you some ideas:


North-Facing Rooms:

Lighter browns can be seamlessly integrated into your decor, as they are neutral and provide more brightness. Opt for beiges and pale tans in north-facing rooms, as these rooms get the least natural light.

South-Facing Rooms:

In south-facing rooms, you can afford to go a little darker with mahogany or walnut, as these rooms are graced with the longest periods of bright sunlight. You can also embrace cooler browns in a south-facing room - perhaps a dark truffle or a greyish umber.

East-Facing Rooms:

East-facing rooms receive the most morning sunlight and would benefit from warmer shades, such as a rusty orange or a warm tan.

West-Facing Rooms:

West-facing rooms, where the sun sets, tend to do better with cooler shades, and in the world of brown, you could choose a medium ash brown or mushroom.

How to Make a Room More Relaxing with Brown

interior design tips - living room with a brown theme, natural wood decor - rattan mirror and bamboo furniture

There are rooms in your home where you are more likely to go to relax, therefore, intentionally placing brown in these rooms may help you to reap more benefits.


Houseplants have an amazing ability to create a relaxing environment in our homes. To get a comprehensive guide on how to select and care for your houseplants check out this blog post: Ultimate Guide to Houseplant Care & Selecting the Best Plants for Your Home -Create an Indoor Jungle


The Benefits of Designing a Brown Bedroom

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Let's start in the room where you relax the most - the bedroom. Having the right colour scheme in your bedroom can set you up for a good night's sleep and improve your mood last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Here are some ways to modestly incorporate earthy shades to create a brown bedroom:


Brown Bedsheets

interior design tips - bed with rust-brown bed sheets

If you don't want to go all out with your brown decor, a great way to integrate it into your bedroom is with your bed sheets. The calming shade can help you to feel more cosy and, in turn, unwind at the end of a stressful day. A bonus is that brown bed sheets help to disguise stains or discolouration that your sheets come into contact with.


Natural Wooden Bed Frames

interior design tips - white, vintage bedroom with natural wooden bed frame

Incorporating natural wood into your is a fantastic way to create an earthy-toned bedroom design. Pine is a durable and affordable choice, or consider maple, oak, mahogany or walnut if you have a bigger budget.

Natural Wooden Storage

xinterior design tips - natural wooden storage with plants

Like your bed frame, consider selecting a natural wooden wardrobe, dresser or vanity table to increase the earthiness of your sleep space.


Incorporating Brown in Your Living Room Decor

interior design tips - living room with a brown theme, suede brown couch, cosy ambience

The living room is a magnet for stains and dust. In addition to being a calming shade, the magic of the colour brown is that can easily camouflage discolouration in your living room, especially if you have children or pets. Here are some ideas on how to strategically add brown into your living room design:


The Brown Couch - a Fan Favourite

interior design tips - living room with a brown theme, leather brown couch

Couches in shades of chocolate, beige or umber are easy to find, making them a great choice for your living room.


Natural Wood in the Living Room

interior design tips - living room with a brown theme and natural wooden coffee table and dresser

Natural wooden furniture in the living room is a popular choice. Wooden coffee tables, television stands and shelving units are abundantly available at both new and secondhand furniture stores.

Brown Decorations and Brown Artwork

interior design tips - boho living room with a brown theme, light brown couch, brown decor, houseplants and cosy ambience

If you don't want to overwhelm your living room with shades of brown, you can select beautiful decor with a brown theme. Paintings of trees and forest floors or pottery with touches of brown make great additions. Earthy-toned rugs are also a brilliant option - especially shag carpets and vintage rugs, which can add to the cosiness factor of your space.

Creating Cosy Nooks with Brown

interior design tips - cosy reading nook with a brown theme, cushy brown armchair, brown decor, houseplants and cosy ambience

In areas of your home where you want to create a cosy feel, such as cushy reading nooks or home offices, you can adopt some dark shades of brown to create a rich, more sheltered atmosphere.


Colours That Go Well with Brown

To create a balanced colour scheme, you want to ensure you are negating an overwhelming brown interior design with the right colour combinations.


Be at One with Mother Nature with a Green and Brown Room

interior design tips - living room with a brown and green theme, brown couch, brown decor, houseplants and cosy ambience

Green is a grounding colour like brown, and, likewise, one of the most prominent tones in nature. Therefore, these two are the power couple of the earthy shades. Greens in olive shades work particularly well with most browns, along with emerald greens, for a brighter look, and sage for a more subtle design.

Go Bold with a Brown and Black Room Theme

interior design tips - living room with a brown and black theme, black embossed accent wall, brown couch, brown decor and cosy ambience

Black can be a tricky choice when it comes to room decor. It's a timeless colour and, when done right, it can add sophistication and elegance, but when overdone, black walls can make a space feel dark and small. It's important to balance darker shades with lighter colours or uplifting decor elements to maintain the brightness in the space. A balanced combination might be a hickory-brown accent wall with a black couch or vice versa. If you want to incorporate black and brown elements into the room but are afraid of the dreaded darkness that dark colours can cause, you could consider lighter or brighter shades of brown such as sand or beige, or more vibrant earthy tones such as rust or cinnamon. Something key when using dark shades is to choose the area of your home carefully and ensure it is well-lit with natural or artificial light.

Warm it Up with a Yellow and Brown Interior Design

interior design tips - reading nook with a brown and yellow theme, brown armchair, brown decor, houseplants and cosy ambience

Brown and yellow make a strong combo if you want to create a space that provides warmth and positivity. Yellow can instantly brighten up a room and is associated with feelings of happiness and optimism. When combined with brown's wonderful earthiness, the duo can be both invigorating and comforting.

Keep it Neutral with a Cream and Brown Design

interior design tips - study with a brown and cream theme, brown decor, houseplants and cosy ambience

Cream is a classic choice to combine with all sorts of shades of brown. Selecting cream for your decor provides a beautiful neutral palette, keeping your space elegant and classic while allowing room for you to add more vibrance in the form of your decorations if you wish.



Though it can be regarded as a basic colour choice, brown offers both versatility and an organic feel. So, don't underestimate the power of this humble hue and consider how elements of brown could positively impact your home, and in turn, your mood.


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