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Is brown a good wall color?

Is brown a good wall color?

Brown is a classic, natural color that can work beautifully in many homes. When used well, brown walls can create a welcoming, earthy feel. However, brown paint colors come in so many shades and undertones that picking the right one can be tricky. Here’s what you need to know about decorating with brown walls.

The Pros of Brown Walls

There are several advantages to choosing brown as an interior wall color:

  • Warm and cozy – Brown evokes feelings of warmth, comfort and security. It creates a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Classic and timeless – Brown is a neutral that has remained popular for decades. Brown walls are unlikely to feel dated.
  • Natural – As an earthy, organic shade, brown connects us to nature. It brings the outdoors in.
  • Versatile – Brown goes well with many other colors and can fit a range of decor styles from traditional to modern.
  • Dramatic – Dark browns can make a bold, dramatic statement and create an intimate, enveloping feel.

Potential Cons of Brown Walls

However, brown isn’t necessarily the right choice for every room. Here are some potential downsides:

  • Dark and gloomy – In rooms with limited natural light, dark brown paint may feel too dark and cavelike.
  • Boring – Pale, flat brown shades run the risk of feeling dull and blah if not executed well.
  • Dated – Some shades like mustardy browns can read as 70s retro in a bad way.
  • Makes rooms feel small – Dark browns can make spaces feel closed in and smaller than they are.

Choosing the Right Shade of Brown

Picking the perfect brown involves paying attention to its undertones. Here’s an overview of common shades:

Warm Browns

Browns with warm red, orange or golden undertones tend to feel cozy and inviting. Popular options include:

  • Camel – A light, natural beige-brown. Provides a subtle neutral backdrop.
  • Khaki – An earthy light-medium brown with green undertones. Feels casual and relaxing.
  • Brunswick – A gray-brown that still reads as warm. Good balance point between warm and cool.
  • Acorn – Has a touch of golden color. Warm and welcoming without being too orange.
  • Chestnut – A rich, dramatic reddish dark brown. Makes spaces feel enveloping.

Cool Browns

Browns with cooler blue, gray or green undertones tend to feel more sophisticated. Such as:

  • Mocha – A medium-dark brown with gray undertones. Feels refined.
  • Chocolate – A darker brown with subtle purple/red undertones. Luxurious and indulgent.
  • Taupe – A grayish brown that serves as a versatile neutral. Works in modern or traditional rooms.
  • Brownie – A dark gray-brown. Feels sleek and stylish.
  • Latte – A soft beige-brown. Subtle and trendy.

Avoid Orangey Browns

On walls, browns with prominent orange, yellow or green undertones can come across as dingy and dated. Steer clear of:

  • Mustard browns
  • Yellow-browns
  • Olive browns

Where to Use Brown Paint

Here are rooms and spaces where brown walls work especially well:

  • Living rooms – Warm brown paint creates a cozy TV room. Deep shades make a statement.
  • Dining rooms – Brown dining room walls feel rich and welcoming. Lighter taupes enable color flexibility.
  • Bedrooms – Restful, soothing browns help bedrooms feel like a sanctuary. Avoid going too dark.
  • Offices – Earthy browns work well in home offices. Cooler grays prevent distraction.
  • Small spaces – Stick to light and medium browns to keep things airy.

Brown typically works best on feature walls rather than full rooms. Use it strategically instead of overwhelming a space.

Pairing Colors with Brown Walls

Brown is a flexible base that pairs nicely with many accent colors. Try:

Color Why it Works
Blue From navy to sky blue, brown’s earthiness balances out cool blues.
Green Green and brown are a natural combo, feeling connected to the outdoors.
Yellow Cheery yellows liven up brown and keep rooms feeling bright.
Purple Regal purples play up brown’s sophisticated side.
Orange Vibrant orange injects energy into earthy brown spaces.
Pink Feminine pink provides a fun contrast to brown’s masculinity.

When decorating a whole brown room, stick to a simple two or three color scheme for balance. Monochromatic browns with neutral tones like white or black also work beautifully.

Furniture and Decor for Brown Walls

Fill your brown rooms with furniture and decor that enhances the walls’ earthiness:

  • Wood furniture – Walnut, oak and teak furnishings complement brown’s natural vibe.
  • Leather seating – Big leather sofas or chairs make brown rooms feel luxe.
  • Stone and marble – Work in granite, slate or marble accents and textures.
  • Warm metals – Brass, gold and copper metallic decor pops against brown.
  • Cozy textiles – Layer in wool, velvet, cotton and linen fabrics.
  • Greenery – Lush, oversized plants breathe life into earthy palettes.

Rustic, vintage, bohemian and traditional styled decor all work nicely with brown walls. Avoid going too sleek or modern unless you’ve chosen a cooler taupe shade.


Brown makes a warm, welcoming paint color for many rooms when executed thoughtfully. Stick to camel, chestnut and latte shades of brown for walls. Accent with punches of color through decor and textiles. Fill spaces with natural materials like wood and stone to complement earthy brown walls. With the right hue and pairings, brown paint creates a cozy, livable feel.