Ideas + Advice


11 Colors That Go With Brown

Brown, often seen as a safe and neutral color, is packed with style and story. To dive deep into how to pair it with other colors in clothes, decor, illustrations and more, we consulted with interior designer Courtney Marquez. Read about how brown fits into the color wheel — plus Courtney’s tips for bringing out the best of it.
Brown is an excellent starting point for many color combinations. Unlike vibrant primary hues, brown is a composite color, often associated with the earth, wood, and strength. Because brown conveys warmth, reliability, and comfort, it makes a natural choice for creating a welcoming atmosphere.

Different Types of Color Schemes

Various color schemes can be used to pair with brown:
  • Analogous Schemes: Colors adjacent to brown on the color wheel (like yellow-brown and orange-brown).
  • Split-Complementary Schemes: A variation on the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses two adjacent colors from its complement.
  • Triadic Schemes: Three colors equally spaced around the color wheel.
Earth Tones
Courtney’s top tip for colors that go with brown goes to earth tones. According to Courtney, “brown is the ultimate grounding color. Pairing it with other earthy tones like green, terracotta, or yellow can create a serene, nature-inspired color story that feels calm and inviting.”
Monochromatic Elegance
The designer’s next tip for best colors that go with brown nods to monochromes. “Brown,” she says, “is particularly fond of lighter or darker shades of brown to achieve a monochromatic look.”
Subdued Sophistication
Finally, Courntey recommends a little bit of calm to surround brown. “Muted and dusty tones like mauve, sage green, or a desaturated navy blue”, she says, “can complement brown beautifully.”

Home Decor and Design

If you're decorating a room with brown furniture or accents, consider:
  • Layering different shades of brown with cream or beige for a warm and cozy environment.
Clothing and Fashion
When putting together an outfit with brown:
  • Pair brown leather with olive green or mustard yellow for a vintage-inspired look.
  • Warm Brown Shades + Undertones

    What colors go into brown?

    Brown can be made by mixing the primary colors red, blue, and yellow in varying amounts. The exact shade of brown depends on the proportions of each color used. Adding black can darken the resultant brown, while adding white can make it lighter and more muted.

    Which color goes with brown furniture?

    The color that goes with brown furniture depends on the shade of brown and the desired ambiance. For a cozy, grounded feel, opt for warm tones like rust, red, or terracotta. For a fresh, modern look, light blues, soft greens, or cool greys can create a beautiful contrast with brown furniture. Creams and whites are always safe choices for a clean and classic pairing.

    Brown Hues + Dark Wood Color Palette

    What is the color wheel for brown?

    While brown is not traditionally found on the basic color wheel, it's considered a tertiary color. It can be created by mixing opposing colors on the wheel (complementary colors), like mixing red and green, blue and orange, or yellow and purple in different proportions. The color wheel can be utilized to find colors that complement brown, such as its analogous colors (colors next to it on a wheel) or contrasting colors (colors opposite it on a custom wheel).

    Classic Color Brown + White Combo

    What color goes well with brown?

    Brown is a versatile color that pairs beautifully with a range of hues. For a natural, earthy look, consider greens, blues, and beiges. For something more vibrant, mustard, burnt orange, and even rich purples can complement brown nicely. Lighter shades like cream or white can also create a striking contrast.

    What color compliments chocolate brown?

    Chocolate brown pairs wonderfully with a wide range of colors. For a sophisticated palette, consider pairing it with muted shades like teal, dusty pink, or soft lavender. Earth tones, such as terracotta, olive green, or sand, enhance its warmth, creating a harmonious look. If you're after a bit of drama, crisp white, bright yellow, or even metallics like gold can add a vibrant contrast to chocolate brown.

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    Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.