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Can brown and purple go together?

Can brown and purple go together?

As an interior decorator, one of the most common questions I get from clients is whether brown and purple can be paired together in a room. At first glance, these colors seem very different – brown is associated with earthiness and warmth, while purple connotes royalty and luxury. However, with some careful planning and styling, brown and purple can actually complement each other beautifully.

The Color Theory Behind Brown and Purple

On the traditional color wheel, brown and purple sit opposite from one another, which typically means they would clash. However, more modern color theory shows that colors opposite each other on the wheel can create vibrant, striking combinations under the right circumstances. The key is balancing the warm and cool tones.

Brown is a predominantly warm, neutral shade. Depending on the exact hue, it can have undertones of red, orange, or yellow. Purple, on the other hand, is a cool tone, associated with blue and magenta undertones. When styled properly, the warmth of the brown can balance out the cool tones of the purple, creating a harmonious look.

Tips for Combining Brown and Purple

If you want to unite brown and purple in your home, here are some tips to follow:

  • Use muted, dusty shades – Deep, saturated versions of brown and purple can clash and feel overwhelming. Opt for softer, more subtle hues like beige-browns and lavender-purples.
  • Incorporate metallic accents – Metallics like bronze, copper, and gold can act as a bridge between the two colors and tie the palette together.
  • Layer neutral textures – Natural materials such as stone, wood, linen, or velvet in cream and gray tones can provide separation and balance.
  • Repeat colors in different rooms – Use one color in a main space, like brown in the living room, and purple in the bedroom for visual continuity.
  • Ground with greenery – Plants and floral arrangements can soften the bold color pairing and connect the palette to nature.

Brown and Purple Color Combinations

Some classic brown and purple pairings to consider:

Brown Purple
Coffee brown Lavender
Camel Wisteria
Cocoa Eggplant
Hazelnut Lilac
Chestnut Thistle
Tan Grape
Mocha Mulberry
Taupe Plum
Beige Orchid

As you can see, brown and purple work best when they have warm and cool undertones respectively. Keep the shades muted and earthy for brown, and opt for soft violets and lavenders for purple.

Interior Design Ideas Using Brown and Purple

Here are some inspirational ways to incorporate brown and purple in your home’s decor:

Living Room

Paint the walls a warm coffee brown and accent with purple pillows, throws, and accessories. Add in wood furniture, cream upholstery, and brass accents. Use a patterned rug to tie the palette together.


Style a lavender headboard with chocolate brown nightstands and bedding. Include touches of gold metal and white linens for contrast. Use sheer purple curtains to soften the look.

Dining Room

Create a moody dining space with deep purple walls and a long chestnut brown dining table. Outfit brown leather dining chairs with purple cushions. Add mirrored accents and silver candlesticks for shine.


Go for a more neutral take with cream cabinetry, taupe walls, and purple mosaic tile backsplash. Tie in hints of espresso brown with barstools, kitchen utensils, and vases for an elegant culinary space.


Make the most of the color pairing in a spa-like bathroom with chocolate brown wainscoting, a stone vessel sink, and purple towels. Paint the upper walls a complementary pale lilac. Display white and purple flowers.

Pro Decorating Tips

To successfully combine brown and purple, interior designers recommend:

  • Opt for multiple shades of brown and purple for depth.
  • Add plenty of light through windows and fixtures to brighten the rich tones.
  • Use brown on larger surfaces, like walls, and purple for accents.
  • Incorporate lots of neutrals like white, gray, and wood tones.
  • Add metallics sparingly as a bridge between the colors.
  • Anchor the palette with natural textiles and greenery.


With its regal elegance and earthy warmth, purple and brown can make for an unexpected yet eye-catching color combination. The key is sticking to muted, complementary shades and plenty of neutral textures. Use brown as a base and purple for accents for a put-together, stylish look. With a professional decorator’s tips, you can easily blend these rich tones in any space.