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25 February 2022
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25 February 2022

Shades of Brown Are 2022’s Favorite Neutral


Shades of brown are divisive. Some in the all-white minimalist camp prefer to call it a trend while neutral-lovers embrace the color as a cornerstone hue. There’s also a whole group of people who can’t separate the color from its heyday in the late 2010s. But one thing’s for certain, “the ’70s did chocolate brown best, but it was often overdone,” shares Paige Wassell, interior designer and fan of the color. She advocates for incorporating brown in small accents versus full room takeovers—that means no wall-to-wall brown shag carpeting. Paige sees brown’s resurgence in interiors as “the desire for warm and cozy vibes amidst what’s been a turbulent time.” Plus, the color plays nicely with other trendier shades of pale blue, pink, and even the trendiest of trendy greens that have been filling our feeds of late.

Marjon Carlos’s Togo sofa is, indeed, the perfect shade of brown. 

Photo: Christopher Tomás Smith

Edith Young, an artist, designer, writer, and author of Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes, loves chocolate brown with “light blue⁠—icy or a paler cornflower, both sing with brown.” As she further elaborates, “The pairing immediately brings to mind luxurious stationery with an embossed monogram.” Edith’s advice for adding touches of the color for tentative decorators? “Consider introducing a dose of brown in stripe form—there’s a reason why Henri Bendel’s graphic identity remains iconic after its doors shuttered,” she says. “Tekla has been ahead of the brown curve here with delectable duvets, sheets, towels, and bathrobes.”

Checking local thrift stores and online secondhand offerings is a no-brainer way to embrace brown without over-investing in something trend-based. Search terms like “70s” or “vintage boho” are to be employed with caution. With a careful eye, and a curious sense of caution, you’ll find yourself hopping on what Paige lovingly deems the “brown bandwagon.”

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ALKY Lounge Chair by Giancarlo Piretti for Anonima Castelli

This corduroy chair is surprisingly versatile and ready to transform that awkward corner you can’t find anything to fill into your new favorite spot to scroll.

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Stools are the sort of thing you don’t know you’re missing out on until you have one—or five. This darling ’70s option gives very on-trend mushroom energy.

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Danish Winged Falcon Chair by Sigurd Resell

Looking to finally upgrade your home office? Though this chair doesn’t promise excellent back support, it does offer a very lux look to your Zoom background.

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Flair Low End Tables Marc Held for Prisunic

Side tables should be cousins, not twins, as the saying goes. This vintage French set from the ’70s is the secret to transforming the sofa you’ve been moving between apartments for eight years into something special.

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Sleek, under-the-radar, and totally modern, this one’s for those hesitant to opt for brown. Once the compliments start rolling in, you’ll get it.

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Hawkins New York Aurora Slim Glass Vase

Start small, like glass vase small. This option from Hawkins New York is a fun way to test out the hue. Plus, grocery store flowers look much cooler in a brown vase.

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Guerra Vanni Eclipse Chocolate Brown Mirror

This special mirror offers a subtle nod to brown without totally committing. Consider this pick if you’re lukewarm on the color.

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Stuart Ottoman, Saddle Leather

As distinguished and elevated as ottomans come, this vintage piece moves with ease from your living room to a guest bedroom.

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Vintage Mid Century Modern King Headboard

For “brown bandwagon” members only, this MCM headboard advertises your allegiance proudly. Paired with an all-white bed set, it’s a total match.

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Mid Century Brown and White Striped Mushroom Table Lamp

Take Paige’s advice and test out your affinity for the color in small doses. This simple, vintage table lamp will do just fine.

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Embrace 20th-century modernism with this gorgeously designed daybed. It’s somewhere between a bench and a chair, and it’s worth the investment.


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