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Ways to use brown/beige without it looking dated

From the Resene decorating blog

Browns and beiges are back – and better than ever! Now, don’t let your mind enter flight mode and hark back in haste to the over-the-top 1970s. Nor should you feel bored when recalling what may seem like the blandness of the 1990s.

Dusky and earthy brown tones

Bring in dusky, earthy tones to your interior with a wall in Resene Grey Olive (top left), Resene Earthen (bottom), Resene Route 66 (vertical stripe), Resene Napa (upper right). This look can be brought down to earth with a floor in Resene Quarter Spanish White. A textured vase in Resene Barnstorm adds the final touch. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Browns and beiges are relishing in a revival that will leave you spoilt for choice when creating a breathtaking interior. These sandy shades are bolder, full of character and downright sophisticated. Yes, the minimalism of the 90s has returned, but will a little more heart. Say goodbye to cold, flat neutrals, such as cool greys – we loved them at the time – and embrace the warmer, more fleshy earthy hues of now. Think friendlier, more interesting neutrals that are a pleasure to live with.

Warm and comforting, yet subtle and sophisticated, beige’s comeback is all down to these qualities, which quite frankly, is what we’re all seeking right now. Beige will provide a place to reconnect with yourself and find yourself again. There are many variations of neutrals such as beige – try nude, mushroom taupe, terracotta, greige and warm stone grey. These all bring a touch of subtle life into your home with their complex, yet understated, base layers.

Try the full bodied beige of Resene Double Tea, the sweet taupe of Resene Eighth Joss or step out with the pale terracotta of Resene Beethoven. Simple, soothing, these sandy hues are some of the easiest colours to accessorise with and suit almost any part of the house.

Pair with sunny Resene Smoothie, earthy Resene Tapa or dive into some bold navy with Resene Aviator or the delicious hot red of Resene Pohutukawa. Dusky pink of Resene Shilo allows for a gorgeous coral effect next to the yellow-based cream of Resene Colonial White.

What you pair with your beige is key to stopping it appearing dated. Stylist Emily Somerville-Ryan suggests tying in fresh whites, grey green, pale wood and charcoal with beige to suit today’s homes.

Bring in the slow pace of a Mediterranean-inspired décor. This is all about clean lines characterised by warm, neutral colours. Beautiful beiges, browns and terracottas play key roles here, next to whites. Try Resene Teak and Resene Moon Mist, accessorised with natural fibres, exotic textiles and hand-crafted ceramics and you’ll be on your way.

Masculine brown hues in a lounge

Masculine hues evoke a cosy, cocoon-like atmosphere in this lounge. The walls, in Resene Monkey, and the floor, in Resene Space Shuttle, anchor the space. Tiny vases in Resene Americano and Resene Double Felix add a touch of light neutral, while the side table is painted in Resene Kilamanjaro, books are in Resene Kabul and Resene Space Shuttle, tall plant pot on the shelf (with dark plant) is in Resene Felix and the arch vase is in Resene Monkey. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Brown brings about so many dimensions than its name initially suggests. What colour embraces such boldness and refuge better than the sultry hue of chocolate brown? Rich and luxurious, it provides a sense of depth, shelter and protection. Be careful to consider the amount of natural light in your room when choosing your colour, and if it’s a cooler room, opt for a warmer tone. Hot go-to browns are the deep walnut of Resene Monkey, industrial Resene Space Shuttle or the copper of Resene Cinnamon.

Tie in colours that really resonate with coffee browns such as Resene Bitter, Resene Roxy and Resene Ayers Rock for some earthy, yet zesty, impact.

A warm brown bedroom

Sophisticated chocolate brown

Bedroom: Catering to both boys and girls in a bedroom doesn’t have to be tricky. The warm brown of Resene Cinnamon as seen in this curved headboard and small bud vase brings an element of fun to this shared bedroom. A lower wall in Resene Rakaia, upper wall in Resene Half Athens Grey, dado rail in Resene Ebony Clay, skirting board in Resene Eighth Masala and floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash provide the base. Painted shapes on the curtain are in Resene Eighth Masala, painted shapes on the hanging organiser are in Resene Rakaia, with a small plant pot with cactus in Resene Crail, stool top in Resene Blackjack and hook rack in Resene Ebony Clay. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.  Moodboard: Luscious, modern browns will fill your home with a sense of stability and security. Gone are the days of retro browns, think sophisticated chocolates, modern cinnamons and warm nuts. Set against a background in Resene Black White, these A4 drawdown paint swatches are in (from left to right) Resene Monkey, Resene Barista, Resene Kabul, Resene Americano and Resene Tide. They resonate with Resene Double Felix, on the arch vase, Resene Bunting, on the large vase, and the small vases with Resene Americano (top) and Resene Bunting (bottom). Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Terracotta browns bring us down to earth, which is what we need. Try Resene Redwood, paired with grounding greens such as Resene Finch and Resene Woodrush or coffee creams of Resene Putty or Resene Double Pavlova.

Browns both dark and light are great options to introduce especially if teamed with a complementary shade to really set them off, says artist Greer Clayton. “Resene Dusty Road works nicely with colours like Resene Edward and Resene Jet Stream, where there is a balance of warm and cool tones. Earthy darker shades such as Resene Dune and Resene Talisman alongside soft blue of Resene Half Eskimo can look amazing as exterior combinations.

Bedroom painted in milky coffee cream

Milky coffee creams invite a sense of restoration into this bedroom. Go for walls painted in Resene Tea, softly contrasted by the floor in Resene Blanc. A bedside table in Resene Bison Hide, table lamp in Resene Black and shade in Resene Bison Hide, small Bowl in Resene Black, a vase in Resene Tapa and print frame in Resene Tapa add to the zen-like scheme. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Resene Stonewall in its varied strengths is another favourite for outdoors but also as an interior colour – go lighter using Resene Eighth Stonewall indoors.

Look at the tried and tested Resene Ironsand, a popular roof colour choice because it works with a multitude of exterior colours.

Classic navy blue and warm amber oranges are the perfect partners for chocolate browns, says Penny Fussell, interior designer at Home Creative. “Consider pairing these tones with brass accessories to add extra warmth and texture to the scheme,” she says.

A lounge with hexagonal wall art

Resene Brown Sugar works beautifully on the wall of this lounge beside hexagonal wall art painted in Resene Ming, Resene Summer Green, Resene Blue Night and Resene Bush. The cabinet pops with a coat of Resene Ming. These tones are all set against a base wall colour of Resene Tea and a side wall in Resene Summer Green. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Laura Heynike, director of Pocketspace Interiors, says she is specifying a lot of ‘greige’ (grey mixed with beige). “It’s a perfect compromise for those wanting to bring a bit of warmth and richness in without looking too traditional. This is commonly used when we have a brown-toned floor to work with. It is best to stay away from the pink-based browns and look for the green-based browns. This cools down the warmth of the back tone and makes it easy to match with other whites such as Resene Poured Milk and greys.”

A perfect brown family to start with is the Resene Stonewall range, Laura says. “With autumnal colours trending it is a great base to work from, and if you have grey carpet, it will work well together. Some spaces that tend to suit the browns more than grey would be your lounge and dining. It provides a cosy background to warm up with wooden furniture accents.”

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Smoothie

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Earthen

Resene Route 66

Resene Barnstorm

October 28, 2020

Get more inspiration with the room and colour filter tool to quickly find ideas to suit your project. Then visit your local Resene ColorShop for everything you need for your decorating projects.

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