8 Brown Paint Colors That Look Incredibly Rich

Brown, cream, and colors on top — there's no better way to bring the drama.

sisal rug
Maura McEvoy

What is it about brown? Every designer we know is infatuated with it! Could it be because of its depth and richness? Its elegance? That it's earthy, as sensuous as melted chocolate? All of the above — and then some.

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Trevor Tondro
The Look

Brown doesn't always have to be dark and dramatic. In the living room of an historic Charleston guest house, designer Cameron Schwabenton chose a creamy tan that brings a subtle warmth to the space.

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Color Inspiration: Ligonier Tan

"Like the warm glow of candlelight, this soft shade — a mix of pumpkin and putty — creates a feeling of coziness." — Cameron Schwabenton

Make it yours: Sherwin-Williams Ligonier Tan SW 7717

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entry mural
Simon Watson
The Look

A hand-painted mural by Patrick Roullier features the flora and fauna of the Illinois countryside found near this Lake Forest home decorated by Ruthie Sommers. The ivory motif stands out against a background of rich brown — Benjamin Moore's Mink.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Mink

"I feel about brown the way Holly Golightly felt about Tiffany's — nothing bad can happen to me in a brown room. I like the color as close to Coca-Cola as possible, not too umber and not too black. Mix it with McCloskey's glazing compound, which gives it a depth and resonance you're not going to get with gloss paint. I used it in my bedroom and it feels very tranquil. I go into that room and instantly fall asleep." — Eric Cohler

Make it yours: Benjamin Moore Mink 2112-10

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Brown living room
Paul Raeside
The Look

In his Montreal townhouse, designer Garrow Kedigian created a "cocooning environment" by using warm colors — from the deep beige on the walls to the gold accents.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Autumn Dusk

"I have this in my bedroom and I absolutely love it. It's a tea-leaf, caramely brown with a hint of green in it, which gives it more life than the typical brown. It doesn't die at night. Very earthy, yet sophisticated at the same time. It brings out other colors. Try it with mustard, lavender, cerulean blue. Or cinnabar red, blush pink, black, bone." — David McCauley

Make it yours: Pratt & Lambert Autumn Dusk 12-19

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Give visitors the royal treatment: a carafe of water, stacks of books and a bedside vase of blooms.
Paul Raeside
The Look

For the bedroom of his townhouse, Garrow Kedigian chose a brown kissed with a hint of red for a sophisticated look.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Etruscan Red

"This reminds me of those wonderful neoclassical rooms by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Berlin, or Robert Adam in England. It has an excitement that straight brown doesn't have because of that hint of red, and I love red. I would glaze it for extra depth and do the woodwork in faux-stone. Bring in a little gold, a deep green. Modern furniture on bare wood floors with a Greek vase in the middle." — David Easton

Make it yours: Farrow & Ball Etruscan Red 56

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Francesco Lagnese
The Look

Chocolate brown walls set off the glimpses of pink and blue in the dining room of a Brooklyn brownstone by Jonathan Berger.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Chocolate Truffle

"Brown can look very traditional or very modern. Remember the 1960s? That was brown and gold and orange, which I would not do. Too period. I like it with lots of white — and pink or lavender or apple green. I just used it in a powder room with a white plaster mirror and peony-pink accents. The whole thing looked like a strawberry-cream chocolate bonbon. Very yummy." — Stephen Shubel

Make it yours: Benjamin Moore Chocolate Truffle 2096-20

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sisal rug
Maura McEvoy
The Look

Designer Lilly Bunn didn't shy away from statement walls in the Manhattan apartment of a 20-something client. The living room was painted an intense brown with a high-gloss lacquer finish.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Appalachian Brown

"Brown is the new neutral. It's more courageous than taupe. I like my browns the way I like my chocolates — dark and rich. I'd use it in a bedroom, a library, a TV room and add magenta, turquoise, purple, or emerald green. People are generally afraid of dark colors but this is a classic, right up there with navy blue or burgundy." — Larry Laslo

Make it yours: Benjamin Moore Appalachian Brown 2115-10

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Bjorn Wallander
The Look

For her son's room, designer Annie Brahler chose a dark brown paint color that spoke to his love of British history.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Galvanized

"Brown is a masculine color that looks great with feminine colors like pink and coral and robin's egg blue. It's one of nature's neutrals, which is why it works with just about anything. This is the color of the peat moss that covered the flowerbeds back home. It has some red in it, which makes it warm. In a high-gloss finish, the walls are there but it looks as if you could almost go through them, like dark water." —Todd Klein

Make it yours: Ralph Lauren Paint Galvanized UL12

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brown and pink home office
James Merrell
The Look

A brown grasscloth wall covering brings warmth and texture to the home office of a home in Greenwich, Connecticut by Ashley Whittaker.

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brown paint
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Color Inspiration: Middlebury Brown

"Our first apartment was under 600 square feet, and I painted it this dark gray-brown. My husband and I have a lot of stuff, and something about the dark walls made everything look orderly, even if it wasn't. Furniture and fabrics and artwork suddenly stood out. All the moldings were painted white, and that contrast really crisped it up." — Alexa Hampton

Make it yours: Benjamin Moore Middlebury Brown HC-68

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