Color Trend

Chocolate browns and caramels are warming interiors now.

After a decade of cool airy grays, brown is bringing depth to interior spaces. You’ll see it in home accessories, paint palettes, and leather seating. Even high-end appliance makers, like Viking and La Cornue, have added brown to their lineups. 

“Whether it’s beige or taupe or warm leathers, we’re seeing a lot of brown returning to the world of design,” says Tracy Morris, of Tracy Morris Design in McLean. “It’s a natural color that grounds a space, infusing it with an authentic, lived-in patina.”

Morris cites the “grand millennial movement”—young people putting a fresh spin on the traditional style favored by their grandparents. The shift has also inspired a renewed appreciation for antique furniture. “I have clients with beautiful walnut pieces that we incorporate into their spaces,” Morris notes. “It’s important to keep your history.” 

“Traditional brown, antique furniture is 100 percent back,” designer Nate Berkus told Swatchbox.com, a platform for architects and interior designers. “And I think that’s great because it’s been undervalued for a really long time.” 

Some clients are going all-in, choosing rich Jacobean or espresso stains for wood floors and banisters and opting for wood kitchen cabinets over painted. “We’re doing them in a mid-toned white oak—the color of rye whiskey,” says Morris. 

But a few thoughtful accessories, like an animal print pillow or a chocolate cashmere throw, can also warm up a cool space. A well-placed touch of paint can, too, says Morris, a member of Benjamin Moore’s Designer Alliance. “For one client, we’re painting all the interior doors in the house a rich brown,” she says. Her go-to browns include Benjamin Moore’s Branch Port Brown, Lenox Tan, and Smokey Taupe. 


This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue.

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