Style at Home: Brown Is Back and Better Than Ever

Style at Home: Brown Is Back and Better Than Ever
Brown takes an elegant spin with tortoiseshell flatware and brown glassware on this tabletop. (Handout/TNS)
Tribune News Service
8/19/2022
Updated:
3/16/2023
By Katie Laughridge From Tribune News Service

In New Traditional style, there is room for both the new and the traditional. While we draw upon tried-and-true traditional elements, we always leave room for the new, and often that means looking to trends to spice things up. One color we couldn’t be more excited about right now? Brown!

Now, if upon reading “brown is back” your mind flashes through images of bell-bottomed polyester suits, fringe-trimmed suede vests and corduroy everything, you’re not alone. The color’s roots reach far deeper than ‘70s fashions, however. Like most colors, it has a long and fascinating history, from umber in prehistoric cave paintings to sepia ink used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to raw sienna used by Renaissance artists.

We are seeing brown all over the industry, and in more than just the coffee and chocolate that fuels us as we work the floor. Whether it’s natural woods, rich leathers, moody velvets or tints and hues found in art and accessories, it’s a color we can’t get enough of. Ready to celebrate this color with us? Here are a few ways you can, whether you’re all in or just want to dip a toe into the trend.

Wood furniture

What would a column celebrating brown be without a nod to wood furniture? Whether you prefer it bleached or stained (or anything in between), wood furniture is a perfect way to work brown into a space without going overboard. Suitable for nearly any type of space, you are sure to find a wooden wonder that works for you in both form and function.
A stained wooden chest of drawers with faux antler handles against a brown wall. (Handout/TNS)
A stained wooden chest of drawers with faux antler handles against a brown wall. (Handout/TNS)

Leather

Cigar, saddle, cognac — you cannot go wrong with gorgeous brown leathers. While you can get treated leathers in a plethora of colors in this day and age, there is something timeless about the classics that is hard to beat. Invest in a leather sofa or chair if you love the look and feel, or use it for welt or cording if you want just a touch. Not ready to commit? Pick out some leather accessories instead that can come and go with the seasons.
A leather sofa, metal nesting side tables and wooden coffee table create a warm, cozy space. (Handout/TNS)
A leather sofa, metal nesting side tables and wooden coffee table create a warm, cozy space. (Handout/TNS)

Textiles

You can find a range of browns in textiles perfect for pillows, bedding and upholstery. Whether you want a little (a branch with a bird perched on top) or a lot (a rich brown background velvet), you’re sure to find the right one for your space. Apply it to a pillow, windows, a well-loved chair in need of a refresh — I could go on.
Pillows in black, white and brown featuring organic and geometric patterns add texture to a light tan velvet sofa. (Handout/TNS)
Pillows in black, white and brown featuring organic and geometric patterns add texture to a light tan velvet sofa. (Handout/TNS)

Accessories

The spots where brown pops up are plentiful, and it is often in subtle ways: the frame around a piece of art, painted onto a lamp, the charger of a tabletop display. Incorporate different textures for a layered look or pop a strategic piece in just the right spot to make a statement. You can play with as much or as little as you like.
Stacks of earthenware atop a wooden table are grounded by a glass door cabinet full of coordinating accessories. (Handout/TNS)
Stacks of earthenware atop a wooden table are grounded by a glass door cabinet full of coordinating accessories. (Handout/TNS)

We love to explore color and we have yet to meet one we didn’t like (colors are like carbohydrates in that way, I suppose), and beautiful brown is certainly no exception. We’ve had fun celebrating this color in ways that even those of us who don’t appreciate ‘70s garb can enjoy.

Adapted from nellhills.com. Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design destination Nell Hill’s. For more information, contact Katie at [email protected].
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