Brown is Back

Can I just tell you how excited I am that brown is making a comeback in interiors? Of course nobody just calls it “brown.” It’s leather, saddle, mocha, toffee, caramel, whatever… but brown is back.

Gray is fine (we loved our gray bedroom), but it has been everywhere for the past decade. Beige is coming back too, and all white is still all over the place. I liked white for our last kitchen, and of course I love a dark, dramatic wall color like our living room’s black walls, but before I ever had black walls, I had chocolate brown.

Home Library, Brown Walls, White IKEA Billy Bookshelves | Making it Lovely

I mean, this is coming from the Pink Loves Brown girl, so you know I have a soft spot for the color. I had even considered brown for the hallways we’re working on instead of pink, but between the unpainted woodwork of the first floor and the new antelope print stair runners to come, the color is well-represented.

Loloi Anastasia Rug in Making it Lovely's Home Library

Working with all of the oak here has been a challenge. I have no doubt that our house would be beautiful with everything painted, but finding colors to complement the woodwork is a process that I’m enjoying and I’m finding inspiration in the various ways brown is being used these days.

Here are some exceptional examples I’ve seen lately. The cool brown colorway of the Tourbillon wallpaper we chose in pink for the second floor.

Cool Brown Farrow & Ball Tourbillon Wallpaper

Paneled walls painted white with a bit of brown peeking out from the top.

White Paneled Wooden Staircase

A nuanced brown with green undertones.

Green-Tinged Brown Walls

Traditional wood paneling is classically beautiful.

Wood Paneled Walls

And one of my favorites, the home of Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber (now separated).

Naomi Watts at Home

Are you noticing it too? Are you on board?

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  • Laura
    October 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Whew! I was beginning to think I was going to have to succumb to gray. The home remodel/redecorating shows are obsessed with it!

  • Erin
    October 27, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Ahhh the pendulum swings back to browns/tans. I love the examples you have picked. They are sophisticated and show true design. I don’t think anyone wants the builder beige phase back so hopefully it comes back in a more stylish way!

  • Tina slocum
    October 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    All of these rooms are gorgeous! The white staircase with the wood rails and brown upper wall (in in that room below in the corner!) is classic. Naomi Watts and Lieves place is one of the best I’ve seen (every room). I hope she keeps it!

  • Emma
    October 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    As someone who gravitates to cool colors – especially blues, grays, whites and greens – I still find those colors more pleasing to my eye. But I am also a big believer in choosing whatever you love, trends be damned! :)

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      October 28, 2016 at 11:40 am

      I’m with Emma! I think it’s important to find a color palette that’s pleasing to you and also works with the bones of a house. With my light and lakeside location, I can’t see a rich brown wall working as well as the white walls with blue accents I prefer. But in your home, I’m loving the woodwork and warm color palette.

      I wish the design world would focus less on trends (which come and go so much more quickly these days) and more on helping homeowners and renters tease out what works for THEM and their spaces.

  • Kate Riley
    October 27, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    I love the contrast of rich brown and crisp white! Also glad we’re seeing more taupe than cool greys these days, welcome back brown!!

  • Jane
    October 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    I recently moved into a 1928 condo with unfinished wood doors and molding…at first I was not sure what to do with all the brown, but I’ve come to really like it. I’m painting the living a creamy white, and I’ve brought in hunter green, lavender, robin’s egg blue, and red/orange… For me it was the realization that it actually can look beautiful and provide an interesting contrast to more feminine jewel tones that changed my point of view. You were ahead of the brown curve, Nicole!

  • Sarah
    October 28, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I remember first seeing the gray trend in a restoration hardware catalog. I texted my designer cousin and told her I thought it was hideous. Ha! I’m used to it now, but it’s just not me. I live surrounded by gray here in Portland. I need cozy, warm, natural interiors.

  • Wanderluster
    October 28, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I guess i’m not that onboard. The only picture I like is your previous home! I have white kitchen and bathroom walls, and the previous owners had every single wall painted the same periwinkle grey blue. It’s not offensive but I don’t know what to do… but not brown. Unless I modeled mine after your haha.

  • Celeste
    October 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I’m torn because, like grey, brown can be such a tricky color! My friend had this brown living room that was pretty during the day but at night it got swaaaampy. I’m interested but feeling like it will be just as hard to pin down as grey.

  • Lauren
    November 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I love the brown and after reading this post, I love them more. I recently redesigned my home with Furnishr and they also use this color for my home in different ways. I think brown is the color to make people feel warm and calm. It fits my mood as well.

  • Lorinda Turley
    November 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I chose Benjamin Moore’s Clinton brown for our dining room nearly 4-years ago. While other rooms in our home need an update I feel our dining room is classic. It too is one of the most complimented colors in our home. If you want to take a peek find me on Instagram @lorindaturleyphotography there are a few shots there.