colour & design surgery… how to use brown in my interiors without looking like a ’70’s flashback
This is part of the colour & design surgery series, answering questions from clients and readers.
Question: “I’d like to know how to use brown in my interiors so that it looks all luxurious and rich and dark (like chocolate!) rather than 70’s polyesterish. It seems to be a fine line!”
– reader, Tamsin Fox-Davies.
Answer: Really good question. It’s easy to get caught up in nostalgia and before you know it you’ve created a museum piece! Unless of course you are aiming to create an authentic replica. Given this isn’t what you are after, it’s about taking an idea and making it contemporary, giving it a modern twist.
The trick here is to look at a tonal harmonious colour palette you wish to use, the shapes, textures and the lighting sources. Blending this all together to create a contemporary version on a past trend. By injecting your own personality into it, it can’t help but be unique to you.
I’ve selected a couple of images to illustrate how inspiration is all around us.
You mentioned you love chocolate brown which is a rich, warm brown. By the way, brown just happens to be a dark version of orange. One way to add a touch of luxury to chocolate brown is to pair it with warm gold. Those two colours will look stunning alongside a warm ivory white as your balancing neutral.
Once you have the colour scheme, look for fabrics and materials that you love. That could be heavily textured fabrics, soft furs, silks and satins.
I hope that has given you a few new ideas and sources of inspiration. I think you’ll agree it’s a world away from the 70’s brown polyesterish…
Enjoy getting creative!
If you enjoyed this month’s Q&A, why not check out the library of colour & design surgery Q&A’s.