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September 24, 2019

Interior Design Trends: Brown is Back!

A sleek, modern brown upholstery chair sits in a library

Someone finally said it and said it fearlessly: “Brown is waking up from a sabbatical with a vengeance.”

Li Edelkoort, former president of Design Academy Eindhoven, recently rocked an audience of designers attending a 2020/2021 trends seminar in Basel. Edelkoort, whom Time Magazine noted as one of the 25 most influential people in the world, anticipates the color brown will influence design for the next thirty years. Edelkoort is so convinced that she’s already coined it as “The Brown Age.”

Earlier this year, brown had a fair share of the spotlight at Fashion Week, from Marc Gong’s dark brown leather to Brock Collection’s tweed. Brown is expected to be a key color trend in September, too, as designers introduce their spring/summer collections. At last it may be acceptable to wear brown in warmer months.

interior room design with dulux spiced honey paint

Spiced Honey: Dulux Color of the Year 2019 (Image Source:

Warming Tones in Hospitality & Healthcare

Brown is also experiencing an upswing in interior design. “Spiced Honey” was identified as the Dulux Colour of the Year for 2019, which sets the trend for interior design. Spiced Honey is a dark beige tone that was chosen for the mood it creates. According to Heleen van Gent, Creative Director at the Global Aesthetic Center at AkzoNobel, Spiced Honey recalls a sense of relaxation in hospitality environments. In healthcare environments, Spiced Honey and its soft complementary colors evoke a sense of positivity.

WGSN, a premier trend forecaster, predicted the importance of brown in its Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 forecast. WGSN has particularly noted brown’s mark in the hospitality luxury sector, observing designers pairing brown with rich heritage colors to create warmth and depth. The research also shows brown has been one of the fastest growing colors for women’s apparel in the UK and the company expects the color will have broader design appeal in 2021.

So why are we head-over-heels for brown?

“Tobacco Brown,” “Tudor Brown,” and “Chocolate Brown” all paired with avocado, orange, and harvest gold and harmonized in the Brady Bunch kitchen.

Color psychologists say brown communicates strength, reliability, and stability. It evokes feelings of comfort and safety. Brown also creates a sense of nostalgia, when life less complicated, more down-to-earth, and common sense prevailed.

Psychology aside, the natural color works beautifully in almost any color palette.

Standard Textile Custom Knit Scarf & Pillows in Flourish Malt

Fabric Trends: What We See at Standard Textile

At Standard Textile, we’re seeing requests for fabric samples in brown color tones for both hospitality and healthcare. In hospitality, customers are pairing brown with orange, green, teal, and chartreuse in tones that nod to midcentury modern. We’ve also been combining brown with jewel tones of green, red, purple, and blue to create rich, luxurious spaces. In healthcare, we’re seeing brown paired with light hues of green and blue, which creates a very soothing, comforting palette.

See browns and other colors in our fabric gallery.

Whatever the reason for brown’s resurgence in design, we’re excited to see how our customers are bringing a fresh approach to the market as they incorporate brown in new and stylish ways.