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What color should I paint my room if I have dark brown furniture?

Choosing a wall color to complement your existing dark brown furniture can be tricky. The shade you select can drastically affect the overall feel and aesthetic of the space. When decorating around bold, dark wooden pieces, you’ll want to be strategic in your color selection to create a cohesive and stylish look. Here are some helpful tips on selecting the best paint color for a room with dark brown furniture.

Consider the Room’s Purpose

Before choosing a paint color, think about how the room will be used. Is it a bedroom, living room, dining room or office? The room’s purpose can guide your color selection:

  • Bedrooms tend to work well with calm, serene colors like light blues, greens and grays.
  • Living rooms and family rooms can handle bolder, brighter shades like orange, yellow or red.
  • Dining rooms look great in elegant, subtle colors like sage, light gray or taupe.
  • Offices benefit from crisp, clean colors to aid concentration like white, light blue, pale yellow or gray.

Pick a color that aligns with the room’s vibe and activities.

Go Lighter Rather than Darker

Since your existing furniture is a rich, dark brown, you’ll want to avoid going too dark with the wall color. Choosing a dark paint shade could make the space feel heavy and enclosed. Instead, go for light to medium color tones to create an airy, open feel.

Soft whites, ivories, light grays, tans and light blues are great options that will offset the dark furniture nicely. They’ll make the room feel bright and spacious.

Try Different Color Undertones

When selecting a lighter paint color, consider different undertones that will complement the warm, reddish-brown tones of the furniture:

  • Cool undertones: Go for light colors with blue or green undertones like sage green, muted blue-gray, pale blue or seafoam green. These bring a relaxing vibe.
  • Warm undertones: Look at off-whites, beiges or subtle yellows which have yellow/peach undertones. This creates a cheerful, welcoming look.
  • Neutral undertones: Soft whites and tans with barely perceptible gray undertones give a clean, neutral look.

The undertone you pick can significantly impact the feel of the space.

Leave One Wall a Different Color

Painting one wall a different shade than the other three is a fun way to add personality. The contrasting wall draws the eye and becomes a decorative focal point.

For rooms with dark brown furniture, some eye-catching accent wall color ideas include:

  • Forest green
  • Rich burgundy
  • Deep blue
  • Charcoal gray
  • Chocolate brown
  • Burnt orange

Keep the other three walls light to prevent the space from feeling too heavy. An accent wall with a saturated shade gives just enough bold color without going overboard.

Coordinate with Accessories

Don’t just consider the paint color on its own—also think about any decorative accessories you plan to use. Items like throw pillows, area rugs, curtains and artwork should complement the wall color.

For example, if you’ll use burnt orange as an accent wall color, bring in pillows, blankets, frames, vases or floor coverings in matching burnt orange tones (as well as browns, golds, yellows and tans) to really pull the whole room together.

Create Contrast with Trim & Ceilings

You can make the wall color really stand out by selecting a crisp, contrasting shade for the trim and ceiling. Bright white trim framing light gray walls looks bold and elegant. Navy blue walls with bright white crown molding confers a nautical vibe. Use this strategy to add interest and define the architectural details.

Sample Paint Colors on Walls

Rather than just going off paint chips, buy a few small samples and paint swatches directly on your walls. Seeing colors on the actual walls (not just on strips of paper) can change your perception. You may end up liking colors you originally thought you didn’t and vice versa.

Some colors to sample if you have dark brown furniture include:

  • Soft ochre
  • Warm tan
  • Dove gray
  • Pale green
  • Antique white
  • Sand
  • Light ivory
  • Lilac gray

Be sure to view the samples at different times of day as natural light can alter shades.

Consider Sheen

The sheen you select for the paint also affects the look. Here are some guidelines for sheen based on room purpose:

Room Recommended Sheen
Bedrooms & Living Rooms Eggshell or Satin – Provides soft, subtle sheen
Dining Rooms & Offices Semi-Gloss – Gives a sleek, shiny look, especially on trim
Bathrooms & Kitchens Gloss – Most reflective surface, ideal for wipeable areas

The right sheen accentuates the color and gives the desired decorative effect.

Don’t Forget the Ceiling!

It’s easy to overlook the ceiling when considering a room’s color palette, but it occupies a large percentage of visual space. Don’t default to basic white—use the ceiling color strategically to enhance the room’s aesthetic.

For a room with dark brown furniture, some stylish ceiling color ideas include:

  • Pale blue – Gives an open, airy feeling like a beach cottage
  • Robin’s egg blue – Crisp and cheerful
  • Citron green – Fresh and vibrant
  • Lavender – Soft and romantic
  • Gray – Sophisticated and elegant

A colored ceiling can be a unique design touch that rounds out the overall look.

Get Creative with Paint Techniques

In addition to solid wall colors, some creative paint techniques that look fantastic with dark brown furniture include:

  • Two-tone walls: Paint the bottom half of walls one color and top half another. For example, navy blue bottom with light tan top.
  • Ombre: Paint walls darker at the top and gradually lighten towards the bottom for a gradient effect.
  • Herringbone: Paint a herringbone pattern on accent walls for texture and interest.
  • Faux finish: Use sponges, cloths, etc. to create an artificial decorative finish like lime-washing, strie, etc.

Paint techniques add eye-catching style that pops against dark brown furniture.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Statement

Sometimes people play it too safe with wall colors, sticking to basic beiges and whites that end up feeling bland. Since you have strong, bold furniture pieces, this is a chance to really make a statement with your wall color if you want.

Vibrant paint choices like jewel-tones, bright saturated shades and deep dramatic colors create an impactful, artistic look alongside traditional dark wood furniture. Think royal purple, sapphire blue, emerald green or brick red.

The bold color contrast can feel fun, creative and lively—so don’t shy away if that excites you. Just be sure to also incorporate some balance through lighter accent pieces.


Choosing wall colors to match existing dark brown furniture provides lots of fun possibilities to give your room a stylish, put-together look. Lighter neutrals, bold accent walls, coordinating accessories and creative paint techniques all beautifully complement the rich depth of dark wood.

Trust your instincts, sample out potential shades and don’t be afraid to get adventurous with paint. With smart color selection, your dark brown furniture can feel like a timeless, integral part of a totally refreshed, cohesive space.