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Design Recipes: The beauty of brown

Like black, the color brown is neutral, blends well with other colors and adds a sense of luxury. For many, brown is a wonderful and soothing alternative to black while viewed as not as harsh. The beauty of brown is it adds warmth to nearly any space without overwhelming it. Looking for ways to incorporate brown into your home? Here are some top tips.


1. Do pair tints, tones and shades of brown in a space.

2. Do use shades of taupe and cream in spaces where you wish to incorporate shades of brown.

3. Do use brown in spaces of the home where you want to add warmth and coziness.

4. Do use shades of brown for upholstery, accents and accessories.

5. Do use artwork as a way to infuse bold elements of brown into your home’s color palette.


1. Don't be afraid to pair black and brown in the same space.

2. Don't bring in too many dark shades of brown in the same space.

3. Don't avoid a monochromatic color scheme. Tints, tones and shades of brown will work well in the same space.

4. Don't bring in too many brown elements in the same space, such as too many heavy furniture elements.

5. Don't ignore blending darker shades of brown with lighter shades of brown and white to soften darker brown colors in a space.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at