In recent years, brown anything in a living space was considered by some arbiters of decor as drab and outdated. But this fall the hue is back in favor, in part because of the unsettled, anxious state of the world.
“Brown traditionally makes people feel comfortable and safe, and those are feelings that many of us are looking to our homes to provide,” says interior designer Dawn Hamilton of Oakland Park, Florida.
It’s just one of the trends in decor this season, when the pandemic has made home an even more essential space for living, working, studying and more. Also on the watch list: flexible rooms, indoor and out.
Hamilton says today’s brown palette is being used in new ways, as a neutral in all kinds of materials, and as an accent color.
“Brown feels very earthy and rich. It’s warm and inviting, and has the same grounding properties as black, although it’s not quite as harsh,” she says.
New York designer Becky Shea also cites brown’s organic versatility: “It’s a tone that works cohesively with neutrals as well as dark, bold tones like navy, graphite and black.”
Eilyn Jimenez of Sire Design in Miami is adding a mocha brown vanity to the guest bathroom of a “minimalist, French chateau-style” home she’s designing. “It adds a layer of depth with a vintage feel,” she says.
Don’t overdo brown, she warns, but blend it with modern materials like marble for beautiful juxtapositions.
“Bringing it in with light woods, leathers and other natural materials can help make a space feel timeless,” Jimenez says.
Melissa Morgan of M Interiors in San Antonio, Texas, thinks brown’s rebirth is “a reaction to years of very light, tonal interiors. Clients are looking for warmth and sanctuary in their homes more than ever.”