A Color Story... Brown

Did you know that there is more to color than what you can see? There are reasons why people are attracted or even repelled by various colors and why certain colors are used in designs. Colors evoke emotional responses and specific shades convey different meanings. In this blog series Interior Designer, Macy Smith, will dig deeper into the colors of the spectrum and expose the history and meanings behind each. Welcome to the newest J & M blog series!


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For the month of November, we will be focusing on the color, Brown!

Appreciation for the color brown has a long history and it continues to make an impact today. Most do not play the color up as an exciting color and view it as just a mixture of colors or just an earthy tone. On the contrary, brown has a rich montage of meaning and there is a continuous development of its context and the concepts of the color’s usage.

Brown was the color most often used for men’s and women’s work uniforms, as the dyestuffs were very inexpensive and always readily available. Another perk of the brown uniforms was that they were functional and would not “show the dirt”. Brown is the most identified color of the earth and is perceived as a very gentle and non-threating color. This perception led to it being heavily used in outdoor gear for hunting, fishing, hiking and camping. Outdoor pursuits have become fashionable and stylish with wannabe outdoor types.

Many companies took advantage of the boom of the outdoor look and the use of the color. For example…

            Coldwater Creek, L.L. Bean, G.H. Bass & Co., Eddy Bauer, etc.

Along with being a very earthy color, brown also speaks of a rustic, more primitive nature rather than modernism. Brown brings wholesomeness and a very organic quality, which is why it has been used to great advantage in the natural food movement (Whole Foods being an example).

Having red, yellow and orange undertones, brown is an amazing appeal to the appetite and brings a sense of luxury to our foods. Coffee and chocolate are now some of the most luxurious of brown foods. They have been around for ages but have been rebranded to be more luxurious and elegant. Coffee and chocolate are now served in various fanciful presentations, making it more of an art form. More of an experience.

Chocolate/Coffee browns are described as being delicious, rich, appetizing and robust. Earthy browns are steady, wholesome, natural, traditional, warm and grounded. Tans can be more rustic, organic, woodsy and rugged.

Looking to introduce and bring some of these feelings and colors into your home? Stop into our showroom and consult with our designers, we would love to assist you!

Stayed tuned for the continuation of the color series in December: introducing the color, White.