Move Over, Cool Gray & Black — Warm 70s Brown Is Making a Comeback

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WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on June 1, 2022

Welcome (back) to the era of all brown everything. Once a mainstay in 1970s fashion and interior design, warm, earthy brown has officially made its way mainstream once again. While high contrast black and relaxed grays will always reign supreme, brown is making recurring appearance in countless on-trend closets and homes by way of furniture, decorative accents, and textiles. It’s no longer dated and dusty — today’s version feels luxe, organic, and comforting.

While the color certainly recalls retro 1970s interiors, it’s a warm neutral at heart, and therefore just as versatile as black, gray, or even white. We’ve seen it sing in more traditional interiors, as well as retro-modern spaces.

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

How to Decorate with Rich Brown

If you’re crushing on this on-trend color, too, we don’t blame you. Ahead, Havenly designer Kasee Smith shares a few ways to bring rich shades of chocolate, espresso, cognac, and tan into the home:

Leather: A cognac or tan leather sofa is a timeless way to add a pop of rich brown to your living space. If you’re not ready to invest in a large piece, opt for lighting, hardware, or decor with brown leather details, like this CB2 lamp

Rugs: A neutral rug with various tones of brown, tan, and ivory is a low-lift way to anchor a room while adding on-trend texture and dimension. 

Wood: From vases and decorative objects to furniture, wooden pieces add a warm, organic touch to any space. If you want to lean slightly retro, opt for striking burl wood accents.

Velvet: There’s something so luxe about brown velvet. This rich yet timeless fabric works well across large and small pieces, from furniture to throw pillows. Plus, it’s incredibly durable!

Metals: Iron, brass, and copper metals can all lean brown, depending on the exact finish. Go for a lamp, side table, pendant light, or decorative accent with a well-worn look.

Prints:  Add a touch of brown via printed chairs, throw pillows, or even artwork — have fun with it! Don’t forget to mix both small and large patterns for a sense of balance.

Next up, bring the look home with our 12 favorite pieces of the moment:

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

1. Aisley Wood Vase

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

For a touch of natural brown, we absolutely love this raw wood vase from Pottery Barn. It complements a wide range of design styles (from farmhouse to warm minimalist, and looks great on its own or with an oversized floral arrangement.

2. Aurora Brown Sofa

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

With warm cognac leather upholstery and a distinctly modern silhouette, this low-slung couch from Maren Home is modern-classic perfection. This beauty will warm up any room — pair it with boucle swivel accent chairs and warm white paint for a touch of high-contrast color and texture.

3. Carmen End Table

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

For a subtle hint of brown to complement a brown throw or pillow set, look no further than this teardrop cocktail table. An Anthropologie gem, this piece boasts the most gorgeous, rusty-brown hue that’s sure to blend with any warm minimalist or modern-retro interiors.

4. Chocolate Faux Mohair Office Chair

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

Is it weird to call this chocolate office chair delicious? Because that’s the first word that comes to mind. From the gorgeous brown hue to the sumptuous faux mohair and rolling, bolstered seat, it basically encapsulates the retro-modern trend (down to the chrome legs).

5. Reyla Mocha Rug

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

For a neutral area rug with a bit more depth, we love this texture-rich beauty from Loma Threads. With ivory, gray, and mocha thread, the finished look is almost two-toned and always adds dimension and visual interest to any space.

6. Piazza Espresso Modular Sofa

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

From the armless ends to the clean, bench-style cushions, his modular sectional was basically plucked from a 1970s lounge (and we’re absolutely here for it). Go all-in on the trendy color with this statement piece, and balance out the look with natural accents and a touch of greenery.

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7. Antelope Linen Print Pillow

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

Animal print is one of our favorite ways to add a little pop of natural tan and brown, and this linen pillow is a no-brainer. It’s understated enough to blend with any design style — we love that it doesn’t scream “animal print” or lean too themed.

8. Architect’s Task Floor Lamp

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

Gold and brown are a match made in heaven, and this antique brass task lamp offers a touch of both (thanks to the hand-applied finish). Pair it with modern, low-slung brown accent chairs for a traditional touch — just look at that worn finish and ornate detailing!

9. Taj Leather Strap Chair

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

If you’re just looking to add a trendy brown accent to your space, a statement chair is a great place to start. This leather strap chair from Crate & Barrel is current yet timeless, thanks to the classic frame and on-point rich brown hue.

10. Baylor Queen Bed

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

We 100% support going full-on 1970s with this wood paneled brown bed frame. From the rounded edges to the rich, earthy brown hue, it’s the perfect retro statement piece for any guest room or main bedroom.

11. Velvet Cognac Throw Pillow

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

Seriously, does it get any more luxe than this cognac velvet throw pillow? This is the perfect low-lift accent to embrace if you’re just looking to dip your toe into the retro brown trend — the gorgeous, almost gilded color is perfectly rich.

12. Woven Rattan Vase

Brown color scheme | Brown color trend design

If you prefer to stay in warm minimalist territory as opposed to veering into full-on retro 70s, test the waters with a natural accent, like this woven rattan vase. Take notes from Pottery Barn and fill it with “dried grasses or faux botanicals to further its organic appeal.”

From trending colors to perfecting room flow, our designers are chock-full of expert tips. Start with our style quiz to work with a design pro one-on-one.

Words by Kelsey Clark