Is this the perfect shade of brown? Designers talk us through the rise of cinnamon tones for spring 2024

Brown has replaced grey as the most versatile and appealing neutral – specifically this mid-tone hue favored by designers everywhere

three images of brown interiors
(Image credit: Pippa Blenkinsop)

It's no secret that brown is having a moment in interior design. Over the past few years, the earthy color has slowly but surely been gaining traction in homes, eclipsing the cool grey hues that used to dominate the ever-popular minimalist style. 

Decorating with brown has established itself as the new modern neutral, and its warming presence is not just for fall and winter. As long as you opt for the right hue, the color will look chic throughout the seasons. We spoke to some design experts to hear about cinnamon brown and why this color trend the perfect shade for all year round. 

How to decorate with cinnamon brown?

Cinnamon brown could be the ideal hue for creating comforting and characterful spaces. If you are planning a modern refresh, take note of these useful tips from designers who have worked with the shade before welcoming this adaptable color into your space.

1. It creates a great backdrop

plinth with zig zag edge with vase of flowers against brown wall

Walls in Coming Up Roses from Atelier Ellis.

(Image credit: Atelier Ellis)

The beauty of a mid-tone brown is that it has a rich and interesting quality without adding too much weight or intensity to a space. It creates the perfect backdrop for displaying a jug of flowers, a pile of beautiful books or a group of ceramics.

Cassandra Ellis, founder of Atelier Ellis, suggests trying their color Coming Up Roses. She says 'it's a warm, rich, magenta-based brown. It feels old and nostalgic but it is comforting and feminine. I made this color using umber, yellow ochre and the magical magenta pigment. By avoiding black, the color feels both alive and very familiar. It’s been popular for kitchen cabinets, as well as rooms that are happy in evening light or – much better – candlelight.’

2. It will enhance your mood

office corner with brown painted walls with desk and chair and rug infront of window

(Image credit: Simon Brown)

Cinnamon brown is ideal for an everyday space, particularly if you want your surroundings to boost your mood and help you to feel calm. In a room like a home office, a mid-tone brown will feel uplifting on bright sunny days, as well as suit the low-lit glow of a table light in the evening.

Claire Sa, director of the interior design company De Rosee Sa, is all for using a cinnamon brown in a work-from-home space.  ‘For this intimate home office setup, we decided to paint the walls with Paint & Paper Library Caddie. It creates an intimate and cozy atmosphere, complementing the dark wood as well as the pattern on the rug’, she says. 

Claire Sa

Claire Sa is the director of the award-winning London-based design studio De Rosee Sa. Working on mostly residential projects, the company provides a boutique service spanning both architectural and interior planning.

3. It works from dusk till dawn

bedroom with brown painted walls and grey headboard and grey and blue neutral bedding

Walls in Split Pink from Little Greene.

(Image credit: Little Greene)

In a bedroom, cinnamon brown is a beautiful choice. In the morning light, it will reflect an energizing golden glow, and lit by a gentle reading light or a candle in the evening, it will feel cocooning. 

Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene suggests trying Split Pink, describing it as an ‘Elegant and earthy, a wonderfully warm, brown-based pink hue.' suggests 'For skirting, try color-drenching, or opt for a coordinated color such as Attic II or dramatic deep blues and greens such as Obsidian Green or Dock Blue.’

Ruth Mottershead

Ruth is the creative director behind the independent, British paint manufacturer who have been producing paints and dyes since 1773 (trading then as The Little Greene Dye Work). Today the business is family run and continues to create an extensive range of both contemporary and traditional paint finishes.

4. It casts a flattering glow

shot through arched doorway of brown walled hallway with bench and wall lights and black and white marble checked flooring

Strie fabric wallcovering by George Spencer Designs.

(Image credit: Mike Garlick)

For Rosanna Bossom, founder of the eponymous interior design firm, the advantage of mid-tone brown is the ambiance it creates and the way it bounces light throughout a space and yet still always feels warm and cozy.

Of this entrance hall she says, 'We chose this color because it’s flattering on your complexion, as the warm tones give off a lovely glow. It’s a gentle shade that doesn’t darken a hallway with little natural light.' 

5. It's the perfect bedmate for other hues

dining area painted in orange brown with inbuilt dining bench and table with kitchen through door in background

(Image credit: Plain English Kitchen)

You might think that the rich quality of cinnamon would make it tricky to pair with other shades. However, a medium brown is neutral enough to sit happily with a multitude of colors. It can soften and balance out the effect of stronger tones.

This was the intention of Merlin Wright - design director at Plain English, when planning the scheme of this dining space. ‘The pinkish, smokey glow of Plain English’s Kipper creates a soothing nest-like space. For the pantry, we chose our Boiled Egg – a theatrical color that brings sunshine to smaller spaces. Kipper beautifully offsets the rich yellow.’ 

portrait of man
Merlin Wright

Merlin Wright is design director at Plain English, with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Plain English is a kitchen and bespoke cupboard design studio that was founded in 1992 and today has showrooms in London, New York and Los Angeles.

It's no wonder this spiced hue is becoming a go-to for interior designers. Classic and contemporary all at once, it creates spaces that both look and feel uplifting. More compelling than grey or white, cinnamon brown is versatile enough to be incorporated into most decorating schemes, making it the perfect neutral for now. 

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.

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