colour & design surgery… how to use brown in my interiors without looking like a ’70’s flashback

Colour and design surgery - brown and gold luxury bed banner. This opens a new browser window.

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.

Colour and design surgery - brown and nature colour inspiration. This opens a new browser window.

This colour scheme is in tonal harmony based on the warm colours of nature.

Colour and design surgery - brown chocolate food inspiration. This opens a new browser window.

Inspiration - This dessert has a ready made colour palette and rich with textures from the smooth and silky to the nubby.

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.

 Colour and design surgery - brown luxury bed with dog. This opens a new browser window.

Layering - this is a great example of how to use a mix of textures - from the textured wallpaper, the bedhead to the satin pillows to the woollen throw.

Colour and design surgery - brown luxury living room. This opens a new browser window.

A neutral colour palette of browns made interesting with a variety of textures and lighting sources.

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!

Source: glamorousinteriors.blogspot, alenamanuylov.blogspot, blog.lemonpi, brunchatsaks.blogspot and housetohome.co.uk.

If you enjoyed this month’s Q&A, why not check out the library of colour & design surgery Q&A’s.

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