Why BROWN is the new grey

Why BROWN is the new grey: Interiors experts reveal walls in shades of coffee, chocolate and toffee make rooms look ‘warm and sophisticated’ and are coming back into fashion

  • Over recent years grey has dominated as the neutral paint colour of choice
  • But brown is becoming increasingly popular, according to interiors experts
  • Shades from toffee to mahogany make a room look ‘warm and sophisticated’  

Grey rooms have dominated Instagram-worthy interiors in recent years but they might soon be replaced by must-have shades of brown, according to experts.  

Paints in shades ranging from toffee to mahogany are proving increasingly popular with leading interior designers, House and Garden reports. 

Brown instantly makes a room look ‘warm and sophisticated’ and works well as a base for other colours that are in vogue, like yellow, pink and orange.

Interior designer Nisha, of Off The Wall Interiors, shared this photograph of her living room on her Instagram account. She mixed the brown walls with rich textures in the space 

Instagrammer Helen Esposito shared this photo of her sumptuous living room in Peterborough on her account inspo_epso 

‘Away from the mainstream, brown is being used by all the best decorators,’ the article notes, pointing out that Ben Penreath, who designed the interiors for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s home of Anmer Hall, Norfolk, chose a deep brown for the walls of his own London flat.

Other fans include London-based interior designer Nisha Parekh, of Off The Wall Interiors, who told FEMAIL the colour can have a ‘cocooning’ effect.

‘Whilst people often think of brown as being dark and dull, in the right context, it is a rich and warm colour that can have a cocooning effect, creating a space that is relaxing, yet sophisticated,’ she said. ‘It’s also great as a base for other colours.’

Nisha used the colour to great effect in her own home, choosing a light, stone-coloured hue for her living room that provides a calm counterpoint to the geometric flooring and sumptuous jewel-toned velvet fabrics. 

Danish Instagram user Simone Baltersen shared this photo of her kitchen on Instagram. The sandy brown walls have a yellow undertone that perfectly compliment the rest of the space

Interior stylist Jo Rigg, of London, shared this photo of her chocolate brown kitchen on Instagram. She explained that brown is a ‘Marmite’ shade that people either ‘love or hate’

House and Garden noted that brown has had a long history as a paint shade, with ochre among the first compounds to be ground up and used as ‘paint’ to decorate cave walls.

In the 1800s-1900s, brown enjoyed a boon in popularity thanks to the Victorians’ love of dark, rich colours. 

A couple of decades later, shades of taupes rose to prominence before being replaced by lighter, brighter colours as the optimism of the post-war years was reflected in interiors trends.  

There were also ‘glimmers of brown in the Seventies, thanks to a Victoriana revival,’ notes House and Garden’s former online features editor Bonnie Robinson. 

‘But then pastels and brights came back in the Eighties, minimalism grabbed hold in the Ninties and the trend for all-white has lingered until now.’ 

Interior designer Margaret Brady of Northern Ireland’s Pearl Redesigns chose this rich colour for a client’s kitchen. The colour is Pine Martin from Irish paint company Colourtrend

Among the homeowners adopting the trend is Instagrammer Helen Esposito, of Peterborough, who shares snaps of her deep chocolate brown walls with her followers. 

Speaking to FEMAIL, she explained she opted for brown after deciding she wanted to be ‘bolder’ with her colour choices. 

She said: ‘After years of living in a house decorated mostly in white, I started to add colour and wanted to be especially bold with our living room. 

‘I never thought I’d choose brown but after seeing the colour in an interiors store, I loved the warmth of it and the way it makes all the furniture and accessories against it really stand out.

‘It’s the perfect backdrop to our grown up living room, making it a luxurious haven away from the rest of the house.’

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