Brown living room ideas – 10 surprising ways to use this overlooked shade in your home

Will this earthy tone replace grey in 2022?

Brown living room with textured wallpaper
(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

Brown living room ideas; it was the color of the seventies in both fashion and interiors, it was back again in the nineties where it was all dark leather, faux suede and mocha walls. Could it be coming back to rival the place of grey?

The return of the seventies has been influencing interior trends for 2022; with a palette of warm taupes, tan browns and caramel tones that pair well with retro brass lighting and leather seating. 

So if you haven't thought about adding brown to your living room ideas, you could be missing a trick. Here's how to master the coffee-colored scheme in your home.

Brown living room ideas

When it comes to living room paint ideas, brown is probably not on your decorating agenda, but it's time to rethink this once detested shade, as the color is suitable for just about any design style.

1. Consider a clever color combination

Traditional living room with brown curtains

(Image credit: Future)

Create a whole world of drama and impact in your living room with a clever combination of purple and brown shades. This most unusual of living room color schemes creates an energetic, cheerful atmosphere, making it ideal for lively, social spaces. The addition of dark flooring can add depth to a large space, and make it feel more intimate and cozy.

2. Stick to brown for the floor and furnishings

Brown living room with white walls, striped rug and animal print cushions

(Image credit: Simon Bevan / Future)

A dark brown floor is ideal for coping with high-traffic areas such as living rooms and hallways. If you’re struggling to find a wall color that will adapt and grow with your interior scheme, maybe introducing color on the floor is the answer. This way, you can stick to simple, timeless white walls and still ensure that the room is packed full of personality.

3. Use brown to decorate a small living room

Small living room with brown and grey color scheme

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

A dark living room color scheme – using a plethora of brown hues – is perfect for a small living room where dust, food and dirt are often prevalent. 

Marianne Shillingford, Dulux's Creative Director says, ‘Creative decorating techniques like layering, adding shapes and painting the ceiling in a color rather than white can completely alter the appearance of a room and make it unique to you.’ 

4. Pair brown with a complementary color

Brown living room with blue walls

(Image credit: Polly Eltes / Future )

Brown is a wonderful neutral that can pair with just about any other color. Here, a brown and blue color scheme is as American as apple pie. We adore the way this rich, chestnut brown adds an element of warmth to a country living room, making it feel homely, layered and lived in.

5. Decorate in a monochrome palette

Brown living room with white walls and artwork

(Image credit: Jan Baldwin / Future)

Decorating with brown and white living room color gives you the blank canvas you need to add in either splashes of bright color, warmth with natural materials, such as wood, or texture in rugs, throws and other textiles. 

Link two separate spaces together using this marvellous monochrome color pairing – putting it on architectural elements, such as doorways and paintwork in one area, and on furniture in others creates a subtle visual link between the two that's understated and elegant.

6. Add warmth with taupe, greige and chocolate 

Living room with L-shaped sofa and red chair

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

We have seen the revival of greige and grey living room ideas in interiors over the last seasons but this time it's combined with wood tones to instantly add warmth and depth. This grey-brown color can give a calm and relaxed feel to the home, and is a fresh alternative to the classic neutral palette and acts as a great backdrop to introduce splashes of other colors.

7. Layer tonal accents

neutral living room with antique furniture and art

(Image credit: James Merrell / Future)

Forgo brown paint and flooring in favor of mocha, taupe and truffle-colored accents and furniture. 

Inspired by the color of ‘the teapot on nana’s table’, this scheme has the perfect mix of warmth and sophistication. This brown shades hold their own, but can be softened with blush, teal, ochre and moss green. We’re calling it our new neutral. 

8. Introduce variations of brown

neutral living room with textured wallpaper and brown curtains

(Image credit: Catherine Gratwicke / Future )

The nuances of brown are often underplayed but one look at this brown living room shows how complex and interesting the shade can be. Deeper than ochre and earthier than gold, this rich yet understated tone strikes a refined note in the living room. In north-facing rooms it will create a cocooning field and in brighter spaces it allows the opportunity to layer other shades of brown for more impact. 

This hue favors neutral furniture and other colors rooted in nature like forest greens and creamy whites. But a burst of a bold bright will also give it a wondrous lift.

9. Let nature in with wooden elements

Beige living room with white walls and wooden accents

(Image credit: Paul Raeside / Future)

If the thought of painting your walls in a chocolate shade doesn't appeal to you, try introducing brown tones with wood, instead.

Dark timber designs have stepped into the light. The traditional hues and craftsmanship of antique furniture have been deftly brought up to date with the introduction of contemporary lines.

‘Combining darker tones with lighter finishes allows our designers to balance the feeling of solidity and depth, whilst still making the most of any natural light,’ explains Andrew Hamilton Barr, director, Espresso Design

10. Create a brown color scheme with leather, wood and linen

A living room with wood floor

(Image credit: Matthew Williams / Future)

One of the most popular ways to add brown to your living room is with a leather sofa. Brown leather furniture adds a touch of elegance without feeling forced. Mix in complementary neutrals such as a linen curtains, wood and wicker for a simple but inviting color scheme.

Is brown a good color for the living room?

Brown is a wonderful color for the living room. This season sees a return to simple, restrained palettes – and being close to nature has moved from greens of the forest to a soft, neutral palette of fossil tones and natural elements, such as stone, textures of cotton and linen with soft earth and milky browns, clay putty tones as a contrast. 

Which leads nicely into artisan craft, the rise in the value of traditional craftsmanship, using natural materials to create something sustainable. This trend celebrates hand-made features, using red-toned terracotta, visible wood-grain pieces, glazed and un-glazed ceramics.

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. 


Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.