The brown trend is doing the rounds — here's 7 ways to make it work in a small space

Interior designers delve into the brown trend and explain how to style it in smaller homes

We love the brown trend. Here are three pictures of this - a kitchen with dark brown panels and kitchen island with rattan seats, a wooden door frame with a fireplace, blue couch, and blue rug, and a bedroom with taupe walls, a gray velvet bed, and white sheets
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore / Emily Minton Redfield / Lick / @amirahashish / Chris Tubbs)

It's official: the brown trend is in right now. At first, I was surprised to see this color make a big comeback. But, after speaking to interior designers, I'm officially converted to its versatility and warmth.

We delved into why they're loving decorating with it and how to bring it into small spaces. One of my apprehensions about the color is the fact it can make spaces look dark, so I've asked them for tips on how to avoid this. Embracing brass accents, adding reflective tiles, and opting for lighter browns are easy ways to enjoy it.

If you're looking to follow interior design color trends for the year, bringing brown into your small space is a beautiful way to go.

Brown trend — everything you need to know about styling it in small spaces

Following small space color trends for the year is a brilliant way to find new shades you might not have thought of using.

My interior designer experts have recommended specific buys to help you get the look throughout, which I've curated highly-rated matching picks from trusted retailers. 

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Embrace brass or gold accents

A small bathroom with a gold round circular mirror, two cube wall sconces, a dark brown patterned wallpaper wall, and a white ceramic basin, with an open brown wooden door

(Image credit: Emily Minton Redfield)

Add sparkle and shine with brass or gold accents, which are also one of the biggest summer decor trends this year.

“These metallics complement brown beautifully by adding a touch of elegance and warmth,” explains Andrea Schumacher, interior designer and founder of Andrea Schumacher Interiors.

“The rich tones of brass and gold highlight the depth of brown, creating a luxurious and inviting space,” she adds.

Andrea suggests using gold-framed mirrors, brass light fixtures, or gold-accented furniture (the Etta Avenue Leslie End Table from Wayfair comes fully assembled and is made from strong aluminum) to enhance the brown elements in your room.

2. Try taupe tones

A white door frame opening up to a bedroom with light taupe walls, a gray upholstered bed with white sheets, a beige crossed throw, and a square orange throw pillow

(Image credit: Lick / @amirahashish / Chris Tubbs)

While darker colors can make a small space look darker, going for taupe when bringing in this brown trend is a smart move — especially as it’s one of the best colors for north-facing rooms.

“Light taupe tones are the best if you have a small and limited space, as they won’t overwhelm the area and will create a sense of openness,” explains Priyanshi Jain, interior designer and founder of Pixels & Spaces.

She recommends coloring the walls with it (Lick's Taupe 03 Paint Sample is the same shade pictured above and has warm red undertones) or laying down rugs in taupe tones (the Laine Ivory & Natural Rug from Ruggable comes in three different shapes and is washable) to create a cozy, relaxed vibe. 

Accessorizing with taupe is an enjoy way to enjoy the brown trend without committing to putting the hue on your walls or buying brown big-ticket furniture items.

3. Choose slimline furniture

A living room with a light brown pleather bench with two beige pillows, two industrial pendant lights above this, a side table and striped rug in front, and a shelf behind it with books and dried flowers on it

(Image credit: Pappelina)

Choosing small space furniture in brown trending tones is an easy way to bring in the color — but when you do so, be sure to choose pieces that are slimline. 

“Opt for furniture pieces that are not overboard or too bulky, as these types of furniture can make the place feel clustered and overwhelmed,” suggests Priyanshi.

You don’t need to spend a lot to do this, either — for example, the Mainstays Side Table from Walmart is under $15, folds, and is portable.

4. Pair blue and brown together

A wooden arched door frame opening up to a wooden paneled living area with a white fireplace, a dark brown sideboard with lamps on, a navy blue couch with throw pillows on, and a blue and white patterned rug underneath

(Image credit: Emily Minton Redfield)

Even though brown is trending, this doesn’t mean you have to solely bring this color in when incorporating it into your home.

“Pairing brown with blue can bring a balanced and harmonious feel to a small space — for instance, a blue couch or a blue rug can complement the warm tones of brown furniture or walls,” says Andrea. 

I have my eye on the Mercury Row Brumback Velvet Couch from Wayfair, which has over 600 five-star reviews from shoppers on Wayfair who say it’s vibrant, sturdy, and ultra-soft.

“The coolness of blue contrasts with the warmth of brown, creating a visually appealing and dynamic look,” she continues.

If you want to brighten the area, Andrea recommends opting for lighter shades of blue. “On the other hand, darker blues can provide a richer, more dramatic effect,” she adds.

5. Paint an accent wall

A kitchen with dark brown walls with plates on, a white ceiling with wooden beams, a dark brown marble kitchen island with wooden panels and two brown rattan bar stools either side, with a vase of red flowers on top

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

If you’re really committed to going all-in with the brown trend and want to paint your walls with it, you might not want to cover all of them.

“Instead of coloring the whole room brown, consider coloring an accent wall with a chocolate brown shade,” recommends Priyanshi.

For those looking for the perfect rich shade, Benjamin Moore’s Wenge pictured above (available as a paint sample) is a delicious, deep shade that pairs well with taupe, beige, and light pink.

Priyanshi says choosing a darker tone like this will add a touch of depth and coolness to the area.

6. Reach for glossy brown tiles

A kitchen counter with light brown glossy tiles, a wooden countertop with a gold faucet and a vase of pink roses on it, and brown drawers and cabinets with brushed gold pulls

(Image credit: Marlborough Tiles)

Want to zhuzh up your kitchen or bathroom tiles with a color that isn’t just plain white? The brown trend can look gorgeous and glossy in this format.

“Brown tiles can add a natural, earthy element to the space — consider using brown tiles with different textures or finishes to add visual interest and depth,” Andrea suggests.

Whether it's a glossy brown subway tile for a sleek, reflective look or a matte, textured tile for a more rustic feel, Andrea says tiles can effectively anchor the room in warm, inviting tones.

I'm a big fan of this idea, so I've added the Bond Tiles Arbor Porcelain Tiles from Wayfair to my basket, as I love the geometric shapes and the fact they're water-resistant.

7. Vary the brown tones

A snug living area with dark brown wooden beams and a star pendant light, a wooden wine rack, a stone wall, a dark brown round table, three light brown leather chairs, and a dark blue area rug

(Image credit: Emily Minton Redfield)

Create dimension and interest in your trendy brown small space by varying the brown trend tones you bring into it.

“The vibe you're trying to achieve greatly influences how you should use brown,” says Andrea.

To brighten a space, she suggests pair brown with lighter colors, such as light blues.

“Or, if your goal is to create a more intimate and darker ambiance, consider using varying shades of dark brown or even incorporating black,” Andrea adds. 

This monochromatic approach can add sophistication without making it feel cramped, as enjoyed in two-tone kitchens.

Whether you want to go all-out with paint or would rather go for something more subtle, this color is a must-try.

“Using the brown trend in your home strategically can make the place look warm, inviting, and spacious,” Priyanshi finishes by saying.

One of the other trends we’ve seen pop up this season is Amalficore, which brings together earthy tones and colorful accents.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.