What colors go with a brown couch? 8 of the best colors to elevate this versatile, neutral tone

From dusky pinks and deep plum, here are the best colors to pair with a brown couch

What colors go with a brown couch
(Image credit: Tim Lenz/Farrow & Ball/Jessica Brydson Photography)

Brown is experiencing something of a renaissance in our homes – and it’s easy to see why. It’s a color that has peaked and troughed in popularity through the decades, including mid-century palettes and 1970s retro. But now, the love for this deeper neutral is on the rise for 2024 – and a brown couch is a staple, a simple way to bring the shade into your home.

Today, a brown couch is a versatile piece of furniture that will suit every style tempo. Whether you choose a dark chocolate velvet or a light tan leather, a brown couch is a timeless investment that won’t let you down.  

So, if you’re considering investing in a brown couch for your living room, it’s good to know which colors can be paired with this earthy shade. Here we asked interior designers which color combinations they think work best.

8 best colors to pair with a brown couch 

As we mentioned brown couches may have been on the out over the past few years, but as interior design trends are starting to move away from our ever-loved grays and whites to warmer colors, the brown couch is making a comeback. 

However, bringing a living room with a brown couch up to date for 2024 is about the colors and textures and styles you pair it with. So what are the best colors to go with a brown couch? We asked interior designers for their top tips. 

1. Create a tonal look with layers of neutrals

Dark living room with patterned ceiling

(Image credit: Naomi Astley Clarke/Paul Massey)

For a warm, cocooning space, pair dark brown seating with fellow deep shades of umber, chocolate and walnut on the walls and ceiling. Then lift with lighter, golden accents. 

As interior designer Naomi Astley Clarke says, 'Brown’s appeal is often linked to the color’s ability to make us feel close to and grounded by the earth. It’s such a versatile and earthy tone, yet some still shy away from it, worried it might make their home feel dark and dated. The key to achieving a chic brown scheme is to only employ as much as your space can handle and to balance it out with thoughtful color combinations. 

'Pair a rich, brown sofa with warm creams, dusky pinks, and sage greens to uplift and freshen. If you’re looking to create a darker, moodier scheme, employ pops of color such as golden hues and yellow tones. This will instantly energize the space.'

Naomi Astley Clarke
Naomi Astley Clarke

London-based interior designer Naomi Astley Clarke has worked in the interior design industry for more than 20 years and has a client base of movie stars, producers, music moguls, professionals, and entrepreneurs. She creates uplifting and exciting renovations and refurbishments of both residential and commercial properties. 

2. Soften a brown couch with earthy taupes

Modern living room with bookshelf and brown couch

(Image credit: Arsight)

Located in Tribeca, New York, this chic apartment is a considered, sophisticated design where varying tones of brown combine to create a really restful living space. It has hints of modern retro thanks to the boxy, low-slung sofa made up of a black-stained oak frame and soft brown upholstery. 

'Our aim was to choose the most natural upholstered materials available, while also considering durability to ensure it lasts for many years,' explains NYC-based interior designer Artem Kropovinsky founder of Arsight. 'The color of the sofa was chosen to echo the natural hues of clay, sand and limestone for the walls and ceiling and to align with the concept of ‘quiet luxury’.'

The result is a timeless and comfortable space to live in, a fusion of Scandinavian design and mid-century elements. The use of lighter, warm taupe tones gives the brown couch a lift, everything still feels soft but there's freshness too. 

Artem Kropovinsky headshot
Artem Kropovinksy

Founder of NYC-based interior design firm, Arsight, Artem Kropovinsky has a decade of extensive global design experience, connecting a cohesive, collaborative team of passionate professionals, who work on interior projects in the US and worldwide.  

3. Use a brown couch to ground paler tones

White living room with brown leather couch

(Image credit: Audrey Scheck)

'Brown is having a huge resurgence in interior design, and we don’t anticipate the trend going anywhere in the coming year,' states Texas-based interior designer Audrey Scheck. 'We love utilizing brown couches to bring this warm hue into a space. To complement a brown couch, lean into an earth-toned color palette. Opt for pillows and textiles in shades of green, beige, and blue to create a grounding and cozy environment.'

Keeping upholstery fabrics fresh and neutral but playing with lots of different textures is key to adding depth and interest to a brown couch.

'It’s also important not to overfill your space, to allow lots of room around your couch for a more contemporary, gallery-style feel,” adds Holly Beazley, creative director of architectural interior design studio Elicyon. 'This can also be enhanced by lots of natural light, if that’s at all possible.'

Audrey Scheck
Audrey Scheck

 With more than a half-dozen years of experience in remodels and renovations, Audrey Scheck leads Audrey Scheck Design, a full-service interior design firm based in Austin, Texas. 

4. Bring in both warm and cooler colors

Neutral living room with pale brown sofa and dark marble fireplace

(Image credit: Tim Lenz)

In this open-plan family room, designed by J. Patryce Design, a custom chaise in warm brown chenille is complemented with bother deeper brown and blue pillows. Being a neutral a brown couch can handle a mix of warm and cool colors

'We opted for a custom chaise/sectional for maximum seating and family lounging,' says Joan Enger, principal and owner of New York-based J. Patryce Design. 'We complemented the light brown sofa with rich plum and teal hues and a custom lumbar pillow in Dedar fabric to tie the palette together.'

The combination of plush woven chenille in for the couch and decorative linen pillows adds texture and pattern. A custom rug in a cream and light teal grid pattern complements the tones and creates visual interest. 

Built around five years ago, the Tudor-style home is located in Tenafly, a charming residential suburb of New Jersey. 'We added warmer architectural details and custom enhancements to the original design,' adds Enger.

Joan Enger
Joan Enger

 J. Patryce Design is a full-service, luxury residential firm in the New York Metro Area led by principal and owner Joan Enger. Founded in 2005, JPD offers a comprehensive design approach, collaborating on all types of residential with a passion for historic homes. 

5. Elevate a brown couch with pale blue

Corner of a white living room with a brown leather couch and pale blue futon

(Image credit: Amy Bartlam/22 Interiors)

'Our favorite color to pair with a brown sofa would be a pale blue,' says Lucie Ayres, principal of interior design agency 22 Interiors. 'The combination feels both sophisticated, warm and timeless.'

This light and airy living space is part of a newly built single-storey property based in Beverlywood in Los Angeles, California. 'We went with brown leather since the room is so bright with lots of natural light, bright white walls, and tall ceilings,' she adds. 'The brown leather is an incredibly grounding material – it will patina with wear and age and look beautifully worn in time. We added a pale blue velvet tufted ottoman in the center of the sectional as a soft contrast to the cool leather and as a way to dress up the room with a dash of formality.'

Lucie Ayres
Lucie Ayres

With offices in Los Angeles and New York, 22 Interiors is an award-winning interior design agency working on projects throughout the United States. Principal Lucie Ayres set up the design company in 2009, creating beautiful residential homes and commercial environments. 

6. Create an on trend combination with purple

Open plan living room with brown couch and purple accents

(Image credit: Jessica Brydson Photography/Goldenbird Design)

'A brown sofa can offer a great neutral foundation,' declares McKenzy Golding, founder of California-based Goldenbird Design. 'I’ve been particularly loving browns and purples together lately. In this San Francisco living room, we painted the baseboards and bay window trim in Farrow & Ball’s Brinjal. The deep aubergine color paired with mixed metal accent tables adds a laid back sophistication to the brown boucle sofa.'

McKenzy Golding
McKenzy Golding

 McKenzy Golding is founder and principal designer of Goldenbird Design, a residential interior design studio based in San Francisco, California. McKenzy’s enduring love of nature and inclination for layered colors, patterns and textures are a trademark of Goldenbird Design’s work. 

7. Lean into the warmth of a brown couch with a muted pink

Brown couch in a pink and green living room

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

A brown couch is the perfect interior design tool to anchor a space. The modern silhouette of this rich, cocoa-colored sofa acts as a neutral focal point and allows the playful combination of Farrow & Ball’s Setting Plaster and Lichen to make a statement on the walls and ceiling.

'Brown furnishings have an effortless versatility, complementing most colors from dramatic dark shades to soft pinks and cool neutrals,' explains Charlotte Cosby, creative director at Farrow & Ball. 'The warm undertones of Setting Plaster particularly lend itself to rich browns and mustard furnishings.'

charlotte cosby, creative director of farrow and ball
Charlotte Cosby

Having worked at Farrow & Ball for over 15 years, Charlotte Cosby is responsible for the brand’s creative direction as well as developing new colors for the signature palette and licensing partnerships.  

8. Pair brown with brown

Brown couch with brown walls

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Layer deep brown saturated hues for a dramatic space that’s also highly liveable thanks to the neutral scheme.

'For a bold look, opt for brown-on-brown by matching the walls to the sofa,' advises Helen Shaw, color expert at Benjamin Moore. 'This creates an ultra-luxe, all-encompassing scheme that exudes an intense feeling of grandeur. Pair with staple vintage-style pieces such as traditional, gold brassware to create a classic and timeless look.'

'Varying shades of brown and green will always work together too as they mimic forest colors, creating a pleasing and natural mood,' adds Helen. 

expert headshot of Helen Shaw, Benjamin Moore paint
Helen Shaw

Helen Shaw is part of Benjamin Moore’s UK division. Color expert and international marketing director, Helen and her husband Craig are founders of Shaw Paints, acquired by Benjamin Moore in 2020.  

Shop the best brown couches

Brown in general is looking to be a huge color trend for 2024, and as part of that brown couches are becoming living room staples once more. A couch is a pretty dominant piece of furniture so it's key you consider it as one of the main shades in your color scheme and work out what colors it will work best with. Luckily, brown, even in its deepest form, works like a neutral and there are plenty of options depending on the look you are after.

Contributing Editor

Lara has worked in the ever-changing world of interiors and lifestyle journalism for many years. She cut her teeth in a busy newsroom of a kitchen and bathroom business title where she gained vast product knowledge and industry contacts that would prove invaluable. She now freelances for a variety of magazines, newspapers and online blogs and relishes the changing landscape of the interiors world