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What paint colors make reddish-brown?

What paint colors make reddish-brown?

Reddish-brown is a versatile and warm paint color that can work in many rooms throughout a home. When selecting the right reddish-brown paint, it’s important to understand what colors combine to make this hue and how different shades can create different moods. In this article, we’ll explore what paint colors can be mixed to create appealing and livable reddish-brown tones.

The Basics of Mixing Reddish-Brown

Reddish-brown sits between red and brown on the color wheel. It combines the energy of red with the earthiness of brown. To mix it, you need to bring together paint colors from the red and brown color families.

Some examples of red paint colors that work well in reddish-brown are rust red, brick red, and terra-cotta. For the brown shades, options include chocolate brown, chestnut brown, and mahogany. You can experiment with different ratios, but often a one to one mixture of red and brown creates a balanced reddish-brown.

In addition to straight red and brown paint, don’t be afraid to pull in other paint colors to modify the tone. For example, adding a small amount of purple can deepen a red, resulting in a more sophisticated reddish-brown. Likewise, incorporating golden yellows will liven up the mix.

Light, Medium, and Dark Shades

Reddish-brown paint colors span a range from light to dark. The shade you select can dramatically impact the feel of a room. Here are some tips on working with different tones:

Light reddish-browns have a higher ratio of red to brown. They create an airy, upbeat ambiance. Lighter shades work well in rooms with minimal natural light. Consider using them in dens, libraries, and bedrooms.

Medium reddish-browns strike an even balance between red and brown. Often called “russet” or “rust,” these versatile, middle-of-the-road tones complement many design styles from traditional to modern. Use them in living spaces like family rooms.

Dark reddish-browns lean heavier on brown. Deep chocolatey browns with red undertones feel refined and cocooning. Use these richer shades in dining spaces and bedrooms. Just take care not to make rooms too dark.

Choosing Finish

When working with reddish-brown, you’ll also want to consider paint finish. Finish affects the sheen level, which impacts how the color looks. Here are some top options:

Matte or flat finishes offer a complete non-reflective, velvety look. They help darker reddish-browns feel warmer and more enveloping.

Eggshell finishes provide subtle shine. They give reddish-brown a classic look.

Satin finishes have light reflective quality. They allow reddish-browns to retain their vibrancy.

Semi-gloss finishes boast medium reflectivity. They make reddish-browns feel clean and lively. Use them in kitchens, baths, and kids’ rooms.

High-gloss finishes have a mirror-like shine. They create a bold, dramatic effect with rich reddish-browns. High-gloss works well on trim and accents.

Choosing Undertones

When mixing up a custom reddish-brown, you can also control the undertones. Undertones subtly affect the look. Here are some top options:

Reddish undertones boost vibrancy. They keep the color energizing. Use colors like scarlet or crimson to achieve this.

Orangey undertones add warmth and golden richness. Try mixing in shades like terra-cotta or rust.

Purplish undertones create a more sophisticated, antique look. Add eggplant or maroon to get this effect.

Grayish or greenish undertones tone down the color for a more neutral effect. Incorporate dove gray or olive green.

Paint Brands for Reddish-Brown

Some top paint brands offer pre-mixed reddish-brown shades, which takes the guesswork out of color mixing. Here are a few options to consider across top brands:

– Mountain Berry – A light, vibrant reddish-brown with red undertones
– Clove – A muted, earthy mid-tone
– Chocolate – A deep neutral brown with subtle red undertones

Benjamin Moore:
– Caliente – A lighter, orange-infused clay red
– Fox Hollow – A versatile mid-tone reddish-brown
– Essex Green – A green-influenced classic brown

Sherwin Williams:
– Pleasanton Beige – A warm light brown with hints of red
– Roycroft Bronze – A popular rich, darker reddish-brown
– Rustic Red – A lighter orange-red brown

– Canyon Echo – A soft reddish tan
– Leather Club – A medium rosy brown
– Bourbon – A deep chocolate brown with red tones

Rooms for Reddish-Brown

Now that we’ve covered mixing and selecting reddish-brown paint, here are some rooms where it works beautifully:

Living Rooms – Try light to mid-tone reddish-browns here. They create an inviting backdrop for furniture and decor. Layer lighter tans and deeper reds.

Dining Rooms – Use richer chocolate browns with red undertones to create a refined dining space. Accent with brass and wood tones.

Bedrooms – Both lighter and darker reddish-browns can work here. Use lighter shades to energize and deep tones to cocoon.

Offices – Livelier orange-influenced reddish-browns encourage productivity. Or go muted for focus.

Entryways – Ground an entry in warmer reddish-brown. Try cream trim for contrast.

Kitchens – Use as a classic accent on lower cabinets. Also consider on walls with creamy painted upper cabinets.

Pairing with Other Colors

Ready to complete your reddish-brown paint color scheme? Here are some top color pairings:

– Cream or light tan – Contrasts and enhances red undertones
– Navy blue – Sophisticated and dramatic
– Forest green – Earthy and harmonious
– Raspberry red – Pops the red tones
– Gray – Mutes and modernizes
– Yellow – Cheery contrast
– Teal – Vibrant yet soothing

Look for these hues in accent pieces like rugs, pillows, and artwork. Use bolder companion colors sparingly and lighter shades generously for balance.


Reddish-brown paint is endlessly versatile, looking right at home in traditional farmhouses, modern apartments, and everything in between. By thoughtfully mixing red and brown paint in different ratios and finishes, you can achieve a wide range of light, medium, and dark reddish-brown hues. Lighter shades liven up rooms, while deeper tones create cozy spaces. With the right complementary color accents, you can make any space pop. Experiment and explore the possibilities of reddish-brown paint next time you want to give a room a fresh, inviting update.