To some, brown means old, dirty, and dull. While its true that objects which are past their prime sometimes do take on a brown patina of dust and grime, brown is also the color of rich wood, decadent chocolate, and luxurious leather. Like most colors, brown is what you make of it. Combined with the right partners, brown can be beautiful.
Ten Color Combos Involving Brown
(with photographic examples courtesy of flickr)
1. pink & brown
This combination (in addition to several others to follow) illustrates one of brown's most interesting qualities-- that is, that close proximation to brown can effectively ground and mature "tutti-frutti" colors and pastels. Straight pink can seem a bit "little girlish" for someone past the pig-tails stage of life, but combined with brown, pink becomes elegant and appropriate for any age. (It's still plenty fun, too!)
Examples: necklace (by BlockPartyPress), cake (by PinkCakeBox), tote (by sushikat)
2. aqua & brown
I had planned for this combo to use a darker teal, but when I started searching, I found more photos with aqua, and as I think they give a similar vibe, I made the switch. (Besides, I can't say "no" to aqua. I just can't. (g)) However, for a bolder look (and something out of this "pastel and brown" theme I'm loving so much right now), you could substitute a more vivid teal. (Something like this peacock feather, maybe: feather (by D.James).)
Examples: assortment (by Posy Cheeks), quilt (by aviva_hadas), bird (by Dailyville)
3. mint & chocolate
I've learned today that some people's idea of "mint" is what I would call aqua. (I think of mint as more greenish than bluish.) So if you just looked at the aqua and were thinking "But that's mint!". . . Sorry! ;o)
Mint and chocolate go so well together-- not only in flavor, but also in looks. It's a fresh, clean color combo that just might leave you craving something sweet and minty!
Examples: frame (by MiySpirit), aero (by RugbyMadGirl), yarn (by Woolly Interlude)
(And here's what I think of as a more "lime" shade of green with brown: tote (by type.wright)
4. lavender (or lilac) & brown
I think lavender has a more pinkish tinge than lilac. . . But whichever you prefer, they both pair well with brown. This is another example of brown's ability to give a youthful color that touch of sophistication that it might otherwise lack.
Examples: iris (by choirbell), tag book (by marzycards), cake (by michelledoll.olson), invitation (by Mad With Power)
5. red/orange/yellow & brown
Reds, oranges, golden yellows and browns seem meant to go together-- perhaps because we see them combined every year as the seasons cycle 'round. Yes, when you see all those colors together in one piece, you're probably instantly reminded of autumn. If that's the look your going for, then-- well, go for it! ;o) If not, try pairing just one of the colors with brown. For instance, red and brown can be a striking color combination with less of an instant "fall" mood. You can vary the effect by experimenting with different reds and browns, too-- warm vs. cool-- rust vs. crimson.
Examples: gourd (by gblane), bamboo print (by m_lee), bag (by ChicBoutique), jewelry (by Iris Mishly), pendant (by BlockPartyPress), pin (bykalliportfolio)
6. peach (or apricot) & brown
Chocolate brown compliments delicate peach or apricot very nicely. Again, a bold color grounds a pale, airy one-- but brown does this more gently than stark black would do.
Examples: wristlet (by ohsewfresh), print (by kia's r kid), flower (by mimbrava), mittens (by cosymakes)
7. brown & gold (or golden yellow)
Dress brown up with a touch of metallic gold-- or use goldenrod if you prefer less glitz. Mustard and goldenrod combined with brown produce instant mellowness. They can also be reminiscent of autumn, but in less of a "showy" way than you get with vivid reds and oranges. (If you like the look of brown with metallic gold, you may want to try other metallics, such as silver, bronze, copper, and pewter.)
Examples: mask (by polymer_woman), arrangement (by doublesneeze), dead weed (by Zamboni), pillows (by craftsfromtheheart), earrings (by APrettyRock)
8. brown & blue
Whether you prefer turquoise, baby blue, sky blue, robin's egg blue, or powder blue-- blue pairs well with brown. Usually, you'll see this color combination with a blue from the lighter end of the scale (as is the case with most of these color combos-- and as is to be expected, since brown can be such a dark, heavy color), but it is also possible to mix brown with midnight blue or navy, though it usually looks best when cream, white or another pale color is applied liberally for contrast.
Examples: cup (by koreana), note cards (by Rachel H), coasters (by star.key.feather), bird (by cordan), collage (by Red Colander), earrings (by ClinkscalesArts)
9. brown & green
I started out planning to make this combo strictly about spring green and brown, but then I came across a photo that convinced me to widen my focus a bit. Green and brown are natural partners, as anyone who's been outdoors will recognize. Think about it-- delicate fern fronds emerging from dark soil. . . a canopy of forest green floating above pillar-like tree trunks. . . lush green lawn and fertile brown soil-- brown and green are everywhere. (Well, for those of us who live in temperate or tropical climates, they are. If you're in a desert, you may have to use your imagination. (g)) You can also take this color combo to the extreme; vivid, electric green goes beautifully with amber brown (as you can see in one of the example photos below).
Examples: abstract (by Brandy Shaul) , jewelry (by chickiegirlcreations), ACEO (by BlockPartyPress), egg (by made_in_lowell), pendant (by me), snake (by mikhailjw)
10. brown & cream (or white)
Some people may not think that putting white or cream with a color is a "real" color combo, but I beg to differ. It's a very simple one, admittedly-- the ultimate "limited palette"-- but that doesn't mean it can't be effective. You want clean, fresh and bright? Pair brown with white. You want something a bit warmer, maybe a little bit vintage? Then take your coffee with cream! ;o) I'll be you could make a very neat "sepia tone" cane worked in a monochromatic scheme with several shades of brown, all the way from dark chocolate to cream.
Examples: pendant (by Anne White Designs), swans (by myfear), bag (by Patchwork Pottery), tea (by smosch), yoyos (by robayre), cupcakes (by Cupcakes 'n Things), shoes (from artsy T)
So there you have it-- several tried and true color combs involving brown. See? Brown is useful for making more than mini chocolates, after all. ;o)