Tips and Guides

4 Ways To Work With Brown

Make this neutral hue more appealing with these ideas

Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: Pat Martires Pictorial Direction: Nat Clave Interior Designer: Hannah Acab-Faustino

While neutral colors are easy to work with because they can be paired with almost any color, too much of those hues in a room can make the space look dull. An abundance of brown, for example, can make a room seem lifeless and dated. Don’t fall into this trap—let these tips help you:

1. Use different shades in a space.

Layer variants of brown in a room to make the space warm and sophisticated. Mix chocolate brown with light taupe and light mocha to balance out the intensity of the deep hue. 

2. Add white elements.

Tone down the moody feel of brown by way of white soft furnishings and accessories. In this dining area, the white table cloth, tea set, and animal accessories not only provide contrast but they also make the space look light.

3. Add other earth colors.

The red border and yellow curtains in the living area remind you of the sunset, which suit this spring-themed space just fine. The red border is also a clever way of distinguishing the living area from the rest of the space. 

4. Play with texture and patterns.

Inject patterns to jazz up your brown space. Accents in lighter shades of brown can sport patterns—like these ottomans with thin stripes—so the space won’t look monotonous. Meanwhile, the shag rug adds a soft and cozy finishing touch. 

Read the original article (“Spring Has Come") in the July 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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