Forget white and gray - brown is the trendiest neutral for home decor right now
- White and gray have been the go-to neutrals for
home decorfor years.
- But recently, people are favoring brown as their base hue for their homes instead.
- The color brings warmth and comfort to
homespaces, according to experts.
Most interior designers would tell you that neutrals are an important part of any home.
They often create balance in a room when opposite bold colors, and they make a space feel inviting.
For years, white and gray have been the go-to neutrals for home decor.
But over the last few months, more and more people are turning to brown color palettes instead - and it's a welcome change, according to experts.
Brown is becoming a popular alternative to traditional neutrals
Interior designers told Insider that people are choosing brown color schemes over white and gray because they're inherently warm.
"People are looking for a bit more warmth and depth in their spaces while still keeping them neutral," Alessandra Wood, the vice president of the online interior design service Modsy, told Insider.
"Browns and other warm-toned neutrals offer a subtle introduction of color that still feels soft and neutral," she added.
Maggie Griffin, the founder and lead designer of Maggie Griffin Design, thinks the transition toward warmer colors is both a response to an oversaturation of white and gray in living spaces and the additional time most people have spent at home over the last year.
"After such an isolating year, I feel like we all are searching for safe, warm, and cozy colors and feelings, and after a decade of so much sterility in white and gray, many are craving a return to this cozy neutral," Griffin said.
Brown neutrals commonly appear in spaces like living rooms where it makes sense for leather or wood furniture to be.
But the experts told Insider that you can make brown work anywhere in a home if you know what you're doing.
"Brown has a stable, confident, non-flashy vibe that can work well in a lot of rooms," Liz MacPhail, the founder and principal designer of Liz MacPhail Interiors, told Insider.
People are favoring wood-toned browns that have a natural look as they embrace the trend.
You can decorate with brown easily as a base
Since brown acts as a neutral in decor, it's natural to have it function as a tone-setter for your home.
For instance, MacPhail told Insider that brown walls can instantly make a home feel warm.
"Go bold with brown paint on the walls in a cozy room like a library, den, dining room, or even guest bedroom," she said. "Make a strong statement with bold, brown walls and then add soft touches of patina, warm colors, and sparkling finishes for a little drama."
Alternatively, you can invest in brown furniture.
"I love to incorporate brown in products that are naturally brown, such as leather and wood," Wood told Insider. "This makes the space feel less trend-driven and gives it a natural, effortless vibe."
Couches, chairs, tables, or bookcases are typically made with leather or wood, so they're great options for bringing the hue into your home.
Griffin added that brown pieces fit with the vintage furniture trend that has been on the rise in recent months as well.
"I love beautiful, antique brown furniture," she said. "A pretty chest in your entryway or sideboard in a dining room are easy ways to warm up a space."
If you are going to use brown furniture, Wood recommends combining it with lighter colors too.
"For a neutral look, layer brown pieces of furniture in with whites," she said. "For a more saturated look, leverage brown within colorful patterns that include earthy yellows or greens. If you opt for an upholstered piece, choose leather or a textured fabric that will offer color variance such as mohair."
But remember that brown isn't a catch-all
Although brown can make rooms feel inviting, the experts warned that it's not automatically going to be a good fit for your home.
For instance, Wood told Insider that she's not a fan of "solid brown, fabric, upholstered pieces."
"You lose the nuance and texture that you'd get with leather, which creates warmth and depth," she said.
Wood also said that dark-brown walls don't look as chic as you would imagine.
"Avoid the 1990s track-house trend of chocolate brown walls, as these tend to give off a gingerbread vibe," Wood said.
Griffin echoed Wood's concerns about brown paint.
"I love a deep-brown hue on a wall, but be careful of choosing a tone of brown to avoid a paint that's too dark or too gold," she said. "Add pleated shades to all of the lamps and the room will be fabulous."
MacPhail said a good rule is not to "overdo it" when it comes to brown.
"If you're going to go for brown walls, add something lighter and colorful to the furniture, rugs, or elsewhere in the space to balance things out," she suggested.
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