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Browned off or brownie points, what a brown sofa can do for your interiors

Browned off or brownie points, what a brown sofa can do for your interiors

As a colour for soft furnishings, brown doesn’t always have the best of reputations, brown is often viewed as boring or dull, brown pieces are sometimes described as mud-coloured, dark and sombre and brown seems to lack any of the advantages of black or deep blue. But, look again at brown, it might offer you more options than you think.

A brown sofa can be classic and sophisticated, creating a warm and homely atmosphere in almost any interior ranging from the period to the uber modern. Brown is one of the most versatile of colours with shades and tones for every taste and room design. Choose from a rich cocoa-bean hue in dark sumptuous fabrics to chic tan and lighter, creamy caramel, coffee and hazelnut colours that match perfectly with on trend gold, white, silver and grey for an interior that is both stylish and crisp, yet welcoming and relaxing.

So, if you have your heart set on a brown sofa, what colours are going to work with it when it comes to choosing decoration, textiles and other furniture?

Colours that work well with a brown sofa

Neutral tones work really well with a brown sofa irrespective of the shade of brown and don’t think neutral has to be understated or dull, use the full palette of white, cream, silver, gold, taupe and grey to both complement and contrast with your brown sofa.

Stylise and highlight a sharp brown sofa with scatter cushions in orange, pistachio or baby blue and pale pink, for bold, minimalist interiors.

A brown sofa in chic tan is the perfect backdrop for tartan throws or blankets, creating a colourful and stylish look which is still warm and comforting. For a rustic, country feel, add check or patterned textiles.

Brown sofa style

It is unfair to describe brown as a ubiquitous colour but it is definitely one of those shades that works with just about any style of sofa, traditional or modern, and in almost any fabric or covering. Whether you are looking for a square sofa with clean lines reminiscent of the minimalist styles of the 1960s and 1970s which are so on trend or a plush, contoured corner sofa with footstool or even a neat two-seater for a small space, brown will work with all of these designs and sizes of sofa.

Leather sofas

A brown leather sofa is a classic piece that will look good anywhere, whether you opt for a traditional red/brown Chesterfield or a sleek tan sofa with minimalist lines for a contemporary setting. Brown sofas don’t have to be made of leather and leather sofas don’t have to be brown but there is something just so inviting about an iconic brown Chesterfield with a deep buttoned back and roll top arms, a timeless appeal that never dates and goes out of style and oh, so comfortable. And let’s face it, leather is both very practical and hard wearing which for a busy household could be the deciding factor.

What are the options for a brown sofa apart from leather?

Brown works with a range of different fabrics depending on the look you want to achieve and the style of the sofa.

Choose an upholstered satin finish with bold contours and swags for an opulent drawing room or bedroom. A coarser fabric with an element of grain will look the part in a rustic setting and allow you to off-set the brown with complementary tones as well as providing a textured finish which works well in a room with plenty of natural wood such as a country cottage or period apartment.

Choose brown velvet with a buttoned back for a cosy sitting room or sumptuous bedroom or even a large hallway or landing, inviting and restful.

Living room design ideas for a brown sofa

  • Embrace nature with a woodland themed interior, create a feature wall with a dark brown wallpaper in a branch and foliage pattern, bringing the outdoors inside. With a lighter brown sofa and armchairs, dress with taupe accessories and a woodburning stove to create a rustic country feel that is both cosy and stylish
  • Mix a chocolate brown sofa with earthy red pigments and cocoa-bean hues on brown wooden flooring in a living room or bedroom. Add cushions and throws in pinks and greys with plenty of different textures to create a welcoming and tactile space
  • Combine a golden brown sofa with cool mint, either as an accessory colour or splash out and create a statement wall – make a restful space with nature’s own hues
  • Introduce a sofa in spiced honey tones, perfect against white walls and in a monochrome minimalist room, adding just a touch of warmth
  • Match a chunky tweed sofa with a brown dominated pattern with greys and creams for an artisan interior that is both subtle and rich at the same time
  • Choose an earthy brown sofa with caramel tones in rich velvet for a faded, shabby chic look, smart but not stuffy, this works beautifully with painted wood floors and tables and dressed with grey accessories
  • Accessorise a sandy brown sofa with blush pink accessories and lots of painted white wood, perfect for a bedroom or a cottage look in a small living area with plenty of light to create the illusion of space
  • Combine a tan or copper brown sofa with mid blue or navy textiles to create a look that is both smart and casual at the same time – pick checks or stripes to create a country feel or a seaside vibe
  • Match your brown sofa with chairs in a different shade and use grey or taupe walls as your backdrop

Brown sofas are practical

In a busy household, a dark coloured sofa is a must but blue, black or burgundy can be very unforgiving when it comes to pet hair and fluff from clothes. Brown is a great, practical colour for family life and if you choose the right fabric, a brown sofa can be hard-wearing and still look good even with a lot of use.

Don’t forget beige

Beige is the close cousin to brown and beige armchairs match perfectly with a statement brown sofa if you want to mix and match other colours and materials. Beige textiles such as cushions and throws can create a lovely cappuccino effect with a sleek chocolate brown leather sofa and plain wood flooring and tables.

Brown is a colour that has not been fashionable for interiors for a long time but furniture manufacturers have kept the faith as it has always remained a reasonably popular choice just for a sofa simply because of its practicality. But a brown sofa doesn’t have to be viewed as neutral or the link piece to other more exciting pieces of furniture, a brown sofa can be a design choice in its own right rather than just a safe bet so why not choose a brown sofa as a statement piece and dress the room around it?

Brown has more shades and tones than just about any other colour and so there will be a brown sofa to suit your interior design irrespective of the look you are trying to design and the age of the property.

Brown has a universality which means it is one of the few colours that works with just about any style of sofa so it really can be all things to all people. For the biggest and most diverse range of looks and styles, brown is the most versatile and chameleon of colours – a brown sofa can be a showcase piece or used to blend in with other earthy tones and works with just about any other colour apart from black.

If you want furniture that will last and last even if you do change your interiors almost every year then a brown sofa will be that piece. Able to blend in with any design, clever use of decoration and accessories mean that a brown sofa can be styled to suit numerous different looks and rooms around the home.