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From the Resene colour choices booklet

Before you hurry to turn the page, wait – give brown another chance.

Using brown in interiors

Walls in Resene Road Trip (try Resene Cement for another option) and floor in Resene Colorwood Bark wood stain.

The word may conjure up images of dowdy old-fashioned rooms decked out in shades of dingy brown. But given a pinch of grey or a twist of gold, brown can be a wonderful colour with which to paint your walls.

In fact, let’s not call it brown. Try these descriptive tags and brown turns from yuck to yum: cocoa, chocolate, leather, cinnamon, sepia, nut, russet, rust and mahogany.

Brown is generally thought of as a masculine colour that promotes feelings of strength and stability. It’s comfortable, warm, approachable and reassuring.

Nutty and warm

Many an interior scheme has been built on tonal colour schemes, using varying strengths of one of the gorgeous pale neutral browns from the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection. Resene Tea (described as a complex river-boulder beige) always ranks high on Resene’s list of most popular colours. This type of ‘greige’ (grey beige) colour is hugely versatile and useful in interiors. And of course, one of our most-loved decorating materials – timber – is brown. So we’re actually quite used to seeing this colour not only in our homes, but also in nature.

Add yellow for boot-leather tones and tawny browns, like Resene Korma, or add black for dense rustic browns, like Resene Lignite. Tobacco browns, like Resene Sandal, work well with traditional interiors, especially for more intimate spaces like bedrooms and studies. Or add a squeeze of orange for rust-browns and terracottas that have more warmth and zing.

Using brown in the bedroom
Walls in Resene Mondo.

Some combinations to try

  • Brown and ice-blue or dusky teal
  • Tonal colour schemes based on varying strengths of the same brown
  • Tawny brown and green, two of the most prevalent colours in nature
  • Leather browns and terracotta with texture
  • Mid brown with creamy vanilla white

Positive – Brown is associated with seriousness, warmth, nature, reliability and support. It is a soothing, comfortable colour and wears well, so it’s ideal for a family room. Combined with shades like pale blue or fuchsia, browns can also be exciting and ooze sophistication. They work well with spicy or warm colours, too, and you’ll find a shade that’ll work well in most rooms.

Negative – Picking it wrong gives an impression of lack of humour and sophistication, and heaviness.


Download a PDF of this article

Resene colour choices booklet
Choose colour with confidence and creativity

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