How to Decorate With Black and Brown


Black and brown are both neutral colors. Brown is also a warm color, with an undertone of red. When decorating with black and brown (colors traditionally considered more masculine and somewhat formal), it's a good idea for the black to also have an undertone of red; this allows the two colors to coordinate more easily within a room. Because both of these colors are neutral, they create a base for an additional mixture of colors. Other accent colors and textures should be brought into the space to provide a dynamic contrast and add energy to the decor.

  • Select a "clay" color for the walls and ceiling. Clay is a mixture of brown and gray. This means the color will unify the black and brown colors. Select a ceiling color two or three shades lighter than the wall color.

  • Choose a floor color that is either dark brown or black. Bring in an accent color to highlight trim moldings; a good choice for the trim is a white.

  • Use white and metals to offset the darkness of brown and black furniture. A white rug and draperies with a brown, black and white pattern will reduce the intensity and darkness of the furnishings.

  • Add texture to the furnishings by finding elements in the same colors that have strong geometric or patterned elements. The addition of texture will add depth to the furnishings.

  • Select strong and vibrant art pieces that are large and dynamic. Bring an additional accent color from the art into smaller objects in the room. This color will move the eye around the room. The color can be clear, a metal or a color.

  • Add extra light fixtures and lamps to bring additional light into the space. Dark colors can absorb light so it is important to replace the absorbed light to properly showcase the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider mixing rustic and modern furniture and objects using this color palette. A rough-hewn table juxtaposed with lacquered-black furnishings can look stunning.

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