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Does orange go well with brown?

Does orange go well with brown?

Pairing colors in fashion and interior design can be tricky. While some color combinations are classics, others can be more daring or divisive. So when it comes to orange and brown, you may wonder if they go well together or if they should be avoided.

The basics of color theory

Before looking specifically at orange and brown, it’s helpful to understand some color basics. The main factors that impact how colors work together include:

  • Hue – The pigment or dominant wavelength of a color, like red, blue, green.
  • Saturation – How pure and intense a color is, from muted to vivid.
  • Value – How light or dark a color is.
  • Temperature – Colors are either warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (blue, green, purple).
  • Complementary colors – Colors opposite each other on the color wheel, like red and green.
  • Analogous colors – Colors next to each other on the color wheel, like blue and purple.

When combining colors, hue, saturation, temperature, and complementary vs. analogous relationships are all factors. In general, colors work well together if there is enough contrast between light/dark, warm/cool, and complementary values to create visual interest.

How orange and brown interact

Specifically looking at orange and brown:

  • They are both warm, earthy colors.
  • Orange is a secondary color, made by mixing red and yellow.
  • Brown is a tertiary color, made by mixing primary colors like red, yellow, and blue.
  • On the color wheel, orange and brown are analogous colors, situated next to each other.
  • Orange has a vivid, energetic hue while brown is more muted and neutral.
  • The saturation of orange can complement the subtle, natural look of brown.

With their analogous relationship and shared earthy quality, orange and brown can work well together. Their contrast in saturation provides visual interest. The boldness of orange enlivens the more relaxed brown.

Factors impacting the orange and brown pairing

As with any color combination, there are some additional factors that impact how harmonious orange and brown will look:

  • Shades chosen – A burnt orange will interact differently with a chocolate brown vs. a terra cotta orange and camel brown, for example. The exact shades and tones matter.
  • Proportions used – If orange is dominating overpowering amounts of brown, or vice versa, the balance can be off. The right mix is ideal.
  • Texture – Adding interest through varied textures can make the palette work better. A matte orange with shiny brown, for instance.
  • Personal preferences – Some people will always dislike certain color combinations as a matter of taste.
  • Context – An orange and brown modern living room may seem bold, while the same palette could feel traditional for a bedroom.

So while orange and brown can pair nicely, thought should be given to getting the details right. Subtle variations in tone and plenty of textural contrast can elevate the combination.

Ideal ways to mix orange and brown

Here are some foolproof ways to mix those warm orange and brown tones:

1. Earthy color scheme

Use shades like terra cotta, burnt umber, ochre, and mustard to create a natural, organic palette. This works well in spaces like kitchens, bedrooms, and rustic living rooms. Think cozy cabins and Tuscan-style homes.

2. Bright accent wall

Paint an orange accent wall to jazz up a mostly brown color scheme. Shades like pumpkin or coral will pop against neutral browns. Include brown furniture, pillows, frames and vases for balance.

3. Modern color blocking

For contemporary spaces, color block orange and brown in graphic, striking combinations. Pair burnt orange furniture or art against chocolate brown walls. This makes a bold, energetic statement.

4. Print mixing

Mixing floral, striped or geometric prints in orange and brown can give you color without it being overwhelming. The patterns will blend more seamlessly than solids. Use this in upholstery, curtains, throw pillows and area rugs.

5. Metallic sheen

Metallic accessories like copper, bronze and brass add shine and sophistication. Pair a copper pendant light with wood brown furnishings. Use bronze vases or candle holders to complement burnt orange decor. The metallic sheen nicely elevates the earthiness.

What works well with orange and brown

If orange and brown alone seem a little too bold, you can soften the palette by blending in some additional colors:

  • Other neutrals like white, tan, cream
  • Secondary colors like green and purple
  • Cool tones like light blue and slate gray
  • Natural textures like wood, suede, leather

These colors and textures will provide balance and allow the orange and brown to stand out. They prevent the scheme from feeling overwhelming.

Orange and brown color scheme examples

Some inspiring ways to see an orange and brown color scheme in action include:

Interior design

Room Color Combo
Living room Burnt orange walls, chocolate brown sofa and chairs, off-white area rug
Dining room Pumpkin orange table runner, dark walnut table and chairs, bronze pendant light
Bedroom Terra cotta colored headboard, camel pillows and throw, neutral bedding
Bathroom Coral orange towels, brown marble countertop, white paint


  • Burnt orange top with chocolate brown pants or skirt
  • Pumpkin dress with copper heels and cognac handbag
  • Coral blouse with espresso fitted blazer and brown loafers
  • Terra cotta tank and cargo pants with brown ankle booties


  • Warm toned eyeshadow in orange and brown hues
  • Burnt orange eyeliner and chocolate brown mascara
  • Lipstick in spiced orange and brown lip liner
  • Terra cotta blush and cocoa bronzer


Orange and brown can be a sophisticated, earthy combination when done right. Contrasting shades in the right balance and adding other accent colors creates a warm, inviting vibe. Use orange as a bright pop of color against neutral browns. Or, take a more muted approach with softer terra cotta and tan tones. Either way, this analogous pairing has plenty of potential to elevate your style!