Sunday, September 5, 2010

Brown~The always "it" color

I have been in the design business for over twelve years. I have seen fads come and go, and trends thrown to the wayside for the next up and coming thing. One thing that never seems to lose it's luster is the color ~ brown. I know the new, shiny, fun color for the year has been grey. BUT, like green, brown never goes away. The grey undertone may become more prevalent this fall, but brown is here to stay. People just gravitate to it. Brown is organic, rich, and earthy. It goes with every thing and look in any book from the 1950's to now and what do you see over and over? Brown. It is a timeless color, and one of my all time favorite browns is by Benjamin Moore,

It's oh so bittersweet.....
Benjamin Moore Bittersweet Chocolate 2441

Curious, I contacted my friend and color expert, Kelly Berg over at Arte Styling. I wanted her take on the color, and why she thought it had such sticking power:
"I think browns, in general, have staying power because they are grounding. Humans strongly associate browns with the earth, so using brown in our spaces can help to create a very solid, stable environment."

"Deep, rich browns remind us of chocolate and coffee...while pale golden imbued browns can look like a sandy beach. Deep “espresso” and “chocolate” browns have had particular staying power in the past 10 years, especially in furniture-wood finishes. West Elm has nearly built an entire brand with these chocolate-y hues!"

  West Elm

"While beiges have their time and place,  I feel that most of them lose their grounding quality when they are lightened, making them kind of wimpy, indecisive hues."
Louis Di Calla

"Deep browns are like a softer alternative to black. They allow us to get the depth and drama of black but with a softer, warmer edge. Too much brown - wood or other materials - can be heavy. In an interior space we have to have balance. In nature, browns are balanced with many other colors. Sometimes a color novice will overuse brown and mess up that balance, making the space feel off. We've all been in that house with wood-paneled walls, and dark brown shag carpet, better known as "the 1970's." "None of us need to revisit that trend." ~Kelly Berg, Color Expert

I agree with Kelly and her statement, " can help to create a very solid, stable environment."  This is very true, especially in a time when society needs stability more than ever! 

"Brown has a quality that no other color can provide. It is rich, and can be associated with many things, but most importantly it connects us to nature. Ever wonder why brown and green together are so popular? Think about it..." ~Amanda Burdge, Interior Designer, Nashville Home and Garden, 2008.

Thomas Lavin

I agreed with Kelly one hundred percent, but I wanted to dig deeper. So I contacted Lori Sawaya over at Color Budz to get her take on this theory of ours on Brown. 
According to Lori: 

"Much of brown's appeal lies in it's ability to simultaneously reinforce notions of formational possibilities and create well-rooted security.  It's that unusual juxtaposition of feeling that attracts many to the color brown."
"When I think about using brown interior or exterior my mind immediately reaches for its elegantly purposeful side.  Done right, brown is well-edited and organically edgy." ~Lori Sawaya, Color Expert

 Brown says stability and reliability. It is the color of our earth and all things organic. It gives us a sense of orderliness and connection. It is no mistake that companies like UPS has Pullman Brown as it's iconic trademark color. And what do you think of when you hear Hershey's chocolate? Not only does this word signify a rich brown color, but it also entices our taste buds.

Adrienne Neff

Paint is a dynamic creature. It can be energetic, active, serene, bold, and the list of adjectives goes on. What is unique about brown is it's ability to be all things. Brown allows us to be bold and dramatic, but due to it's suggestion to nature, it is soft, easy and luxurious.

God has a brown voice, as soft as brown sugar and full of beer." ~ Anne Sexton

What does brown signify to you?

What is your favorite Brown Color?

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  1. I am so with you, Amanda! I adore browns! Off to check out the guest post! XX!

  2. I really like browns myself, Amanda. I love that first picture you share with that lovely raspberry settee! Of course, it does make me think of chocolate and raspberries. : ) I even like wearing brown. I find that {although it may sound strange} I look good wearing brown. To me, the word that the color brown says is "grounded".

  3. I have too much mahogany furniture, that I am slowly editing to use brown. Also, floors and beams. I use brown in fabrics, but it needs to be balanced with plenty of color.

  4. These images are rich and sophisticated.

  5. Amanda,
    Everyone that follows me knows that brown is my favorite color in decor. I LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing these beautiful images. One of these images will end up on my inspiration board.
    Have a nice weekend.

  6. Being a brown goat I couldn't agree more!

  7. I love brown and I totally agree that it is here to stay! This is a great post, Amanda. I am particularly loving Sherwin-Williams Urbane Bronze right now -- it is on the intersection between gray and brown. LOVE!!

  8. Amanda, I loved your post so much that I had to include it in my "short list" of highlighted Labor Day weekend blogs! Here's the link.... . Hope you are having a wonderful holiday weekend!

  9. I love brown, its always appealed to me, a very chic choice for both interiors and fashion...heading over to Housewife Bliss now!

  10. beautiful post, and I do so agree about browns. my whole house was deep, deep browns until a couple of years ago. now I love it as accents. that first image you used - one of my faves!

  11. I love brown too and once had a bedroom painted is still my favorite. It enveloped you and made the room feel so warm and cozy. Great post!

  12. I'm a total fan of the chocolate :) It got really, really popular for awhile and then wood went to the expresso, so we were saturated with it for some time. But long after the trend, remains the reason it made it to stardom :) That being, a warm and perfect backdrop to all other colors, finishes and feelings that that to be conveyed in a space. Great quotes and lovely post! XO, Kelly

  13. I love brown :-) To me, brown is warm and rich and earthy. When I was a teenager, I wanted a brown bedroom. The compromise was light walls with brown bedding and wallpaper border (it was the 80s, what can I say?!)

    I recently painted our dining room ceiling Sherwin Williams Bittersweet Chocolate. I wanted to do something dark and dramatic, and it sure fits the bill!! And I love our chocolate brown velvet upholstered bed :-)


  14. Hi Amanda,

    Yes, your BM brown,(ooh,that sounds so bad!, Bittersweet" is beautiful,but how do you make it work with a LRV of only 5.1?

    Traci Z, Love the Urbane Bronze. Had not noticed it before. Thanks for enlightening.

    A brown I like... "Saddle", C2 342.

    Thanks Amanda for posting on brown. Now will you excuse me please? I desperately need some chocolate!

  15. Browns are my go-to color. Sometimes a client will initially be afraid of it's depth but then the idea grows and they end up just smitten. Some clients ask for it upfront. It works with so many different colors and materials and can have interesting undertones. My favorite deep brown project was a side accent wall pared with a client's new granite counter tops that had lots of deep green.

  16. A gorgeous post to show off one of my favorite colours! I like "stabilizing" - it does feel like a very grounding shade. This makes it look beautiful and unboring :)

  17. Thanks so much, Amanda, for letting me put in my two-cents on brown! Your post turned out great, and I'm honored that you came to me for your "research." I've posted a few brown pics on my blog to supplement, if anyone's interested. Thanks again!

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