Brown and Gray Together

April 29, 2012



Have you noticed all of the brown and gray color combinations being used together lately?



Martha Stewart

Not only have I seen more gray painted walls with chocolate brown furnishings, I have also noticed that lately a number of designers have been using gray with stained woodwork.

Look how beautiful this pale blue gray works with the wood ceiling:


Martha Stewart

One of my favorite designers, Sarah Macklem, at The Yellow Cape Cod, pointed out very wisely how brown and gray work so beautifully in nature:


And we know Mother Nature is always perfect with her color combinations!


Martha Stewart


Martha Stewart

I have found if you are working with dark browns such as espresso or walnut in your wood tones, stains or furnishings, almost any silvery gray with blue or green undertones will work. A couple of my favorite grays with blue undertones are BM Sterling 1591,Pebble Beach 1597, Silver Lake 1598 and Winter Solstice 1605.


Steven Gambrel

A few beautiful grays with green undertones are BM Revere Pewter HC-172, Edgecomb Gray HC- 173 and Manchester Tan HC-81.


Steven Gambrel

A  lot of people have chocolate brown sofas and chairs and it is always nice to find color alternatives to use. Gray is fresh and clean and can really update your room. It is also great to have a new color option to use with stained trim.


Steven Gambrel

Have you used a gray on your walls to work with your stained woodwork or brown furnishings? Do you agree it is a great color combination?

If you need help choosing colors for your home, contact me today.

Similar Topics You Might Enjoy:

Another Color Option For Pinky-Beige

Finding the Undertones in Gray Stone

Updating Your Chocolate Brown Furnishings


  1. Hi there,

    I really need your advice.

    I’m an interior decorator by heart, but unfortunately not by profession…

    I have a three seater as well as a two seater couch that I want to get reupholstered.

    I was originally thinking brown, because I have an amazing chocolate brown recliner that I absolutely LOVE, but, brown isn’t my favorite color, and I just love charcoal gray. It looks really elegant and so good with a pop of color.

    Should I even consider having one brown recliner with two charcoal gray couches in the same room?

    Your advice is appreciated!


    • Hi Kushka,
      Yes, I think two gray sofas with the chocolate chair will work. You did not mention what the brown fabric was but I would buy the gray sofa pieces you love and find a throw with gray and brown colors and throw on the back/side of brown chair. That will tie them together. It will look fabulous! 🙂

  2. I recently bought a a new comforter that I love, it’s grey, white and a pop of light orange,peach color. I then went and bought a new bed that is chocolate brown/cloth. I am torn I love both but can’t seem to think of any ideas to tie the room together. My plan was to do a grey accent wall, but right now it’s a blank canvas and am stuck. I also have a old dresser that I want to refinish, but not sure what color to paint it. I am so stumped on what curtains, paint, dresser color to do. I literally have the bed and that’s it right now, because dresser is not finished due to me not knowing what to do. Please help!!!!

  3. I am remodeling my kitchen and I would love to have grey walls ! My counter tops are cream and a chocolate brown mix with white cabinets ! Can you recommend a grey color of paint with brown undertones or anything that would match well !! ! Greys are so hard ! They can look blue and green !! Thanks so much !

  4. hi I’ve got brown striped wallpaper and was considering buying a dark grey with black cushions but unsure if it will go would you be able to advise if it would go please

  5. Hi Kelly,
    Very interesting article ! I personally love gray, silver, light blue. I am struggling with colors for a empty new house. There are lots of dark brown, walnuts wood finish. Wondering if match up with grayish sofa. or better suggestions on living room setup. thanks very much for expertise and time.

  6. Hey! I just purchased a gray tv stand. I hv a chocolate brown livingroom set, if I get some gray pillows will that look ok? Please help I’m glueless!

  7. hi,
    I have been looking for accents chairs for a while to fill the two empty corners of my living room i have a white fire place with a chocolate brown leather sectional, i saw today to dark grey leather accent chair (i would buy two for each side of the fire place) that i can’t get my mind off of however i am worried that all my furniture is dark. My wall color is light sandy color. Your help would be greatly appreciated

  8. Hello. We just purchased a dark gray microfiber couch and loveseat that we really liked. I have mint green walls in my living room and an older fabric medium green recliner off to the side in the room already. We want to purchase a chair to go with the new set. What color/fabric would you recommend to go between the new couch and loveseat?

  9. Hello,

    My husband and I are considering removing all the wood and carpet from our main floor and lay down tiles. However, we have been experiencing difficulties choosing the right tile colour. My husband prefers a gray tile with veins. I could send you a video if you need to see the space.

  10. What do you think about cholate hardwood floors throughout the house. Using a dark gray tile in the bathroom the kitchen cabnits are white and so are the bathroom vanitys. I was gonna use Browns in the back splash for the kitchen and and a lighter grey in the bathrooms. Dose this work? Grey and brown? What colors do I paint the walls? Help?

  11. Ok I love this silver gray comforter but my headboard is a chocolate brown and so are my drapes and bedskirt my husband doesn’t think it’ll match.. it will right?

  12. I have light grey walls, white shaker cabinets, granite has a lot of grey. Grey tv stand. I am looking to buy modern bar stools. Do you think I should buy white or grey stools? My living room and kitchen all in a open area. My sofa is a natural beige with brown and grey throw pillows.

  13. I have brown tile in my master bath and tan carpeting in my master bedroom. I wanted to go with gray and blue or gray a green. Would this work with the flooring in both rooms? If so which gray tone and green or blue?

  14. I just pained my spare room light gray on the top half and darker gray on the bottom half. There is a dark brown Day bed and the floor is medium brown wood and a dark brown desk.. I have a problem with coordinating day bed cover area rug and material on top of white window blinds. I am thinking blue or maroon but I don’t know how all these patterns can be pulled together. Day bed covers hard to find in a contemporary style ( I did see one in blue and a beige/ white strip pattern?).Should I make one of the three problems a solid color??

  15. I’m loving the grey with brown ATM. We are about to start renovating our whole home but my husband does not want to paint again and we want to leave our lounge and curtains. Our lounge is a medium to dark brown and curtains are a dark brown that have a slight pinkish shine and our feature wall is a dark beige colour. We really like these greystone tiles but unsure whether to go with dark grey or light grey. Our other furniture is white with a dark stain timber top. We are trying for a modern French feel. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks

  16. Hello Kelly. I just bought an open concept house and have a medium brown sectional with red accent pieces for our family room. The kitchen and floor colors and in the brown family as well. For the entry/formal living space I found a couch and love seat that I love. It comes in gray or a medium brown. I like the gray color better with blue accent pieces but I’m not sure if it would go with the rest of the house since it is open concept? Which color should I get the couches in? Should I stick to one color family?

    • Hi Casey,
      I think the gray would work. You mentioned the blue accent pieces- can you bring in blue accent pieces in the rooms next to the entry/living space? That would tie the rooms together. I say if the sofas are not directly across from each other, it will work. Hope this helps you!

  17. I have warm beige walls, darker taupe flooring, dark brown blinds and orange accents. I love all the warm colours but I’m purchasing a sofa and I don’t think I want to stick with all the brown tones. How would a grey sofa work?

    • Hi Bev,
      A darker gray sofa would work if you bring in accessories with both gray and brown such as area rug and pillows. Another suggestion to think about would be a navy blue sofa. Again bring in navy and browns in rugs and pillows. I hope this helps!

  18. My walls are a little darker than mint green, my French doors are chocolate brown, and my trim is white. We want to get a grey couch. Would that go with the brown doors and ceiling. Help

  19. We are buying a hazel color love seat and the recliners we picked out are grey, will this work.We also are buying an accent chair in black and grey.

  20. I have charcoal carpet, chocolate lounge chairs plus pine and some darker wood coloured furniture, What colour curtains would go with that. TIA Kim

    • Hi Kim,
      I would look for curtains that have a background of cream with maybe just a touch of color. The contrast of the cream would look really nice in the room. What colors are your walls?

  21. I have light camel color sofa and dark brown brown not dark fireplace two orange chairs will very walls match

  22. Hi Kelly, quick question. Looking at getting a grey wood “rustic” bedroom set. I have a nicely refinished kona (dark brown) stained armoire that I would like to keep in the master as a focal point as well. I’m having a barn door built for my bathroom door in there with full length mirror on one side (but haven’t decided which side I want that on yet, facing bathroom or bedroom side). At any rate, my gut tells me not to make this match the grey furniture as if you try to get too close, and it’s off, it will look really off. My gut also tells me not to do a dark grey, but that if I were to do a grey, it has to be dark to contrast. I’m thinking that I should pull in the dark colored stain for the barn door like the armoire, which I also think leaves options open in future for changing out bedroom furniture or moving door to other location down the road…what are your thoughts?

  23. Hi Kelly!
    I don’t know so much about decor. I need an advise from you. I live in a townhouse with the kitchen, dining table and living room in the same space. I have laminate gray flooring and the kitchen is light with white bricks. I bought a dark gray “L” couch and a light gray armchair. I need to buy the table. I fell in love with a natural wood table made with teak. It comes with the bench, coffee table and side table. I am not sure whether they will work together or not because there is gray on the couch, dark brown on the kitchen cabinets and gray on the floor. I am so confused right now. I hope you can help me. Thank you so much. 🙂

    • Yes! I just took some pictures. Thank you so much for answer!!

      I attached the photo of the table I talked to you. I’m going to remove the current table.


  24. Hi! Currently transforming a 13 year old sitting area/small dining area from traditional browns to black/grays.
    Purchased a med gray “tweed” love seat I really liked, which matched several gray accent chairs in that store perfectly (I thought). Found some much better chair prices, but waited for couch to come in so I could take pillows from couch to “BE SURE”. At my home, (with a LOT OF NATURAL LIGHT) the gray tweed couch is almost BROWN. grrrrrrrr. Away from the windows, it becomes gray again, but it’s home will be close to the windows. Now I don’t know how to add a rug or accent chairs….afraid if I go with the gray blends (my original intent) they won’t match the love seat?????
    Any suggestions? (even taking the pillow to try and match in a store may not match in my house…..????)

    • I wanted to get back to you on your sofa dilemma. My advice would be to stay away from the gray/browns for your accessories. You have enough in the room so bring in a new color! Gray/browns are great neutral colors, so you can bring in almost any color! My favorite would be dark blues but you can also use greens for example. I would first find a rug you love, then bring in pillows, window treatments, etc. with a color from rug to tie the room all together. Does this make sense? Hope this helps!

  25. Hi Kelly, I have a modern charcoal grey sofa with one teal, one green and one multi coloured scatter cushion on it which works well in front of colourful artwork we have. However we also have a lot of inherited mahogany furniture in the room including a glass topped bureau near to the sofa. Do you have any advice on how I can tie them together? Thanks, Kelly

    • My first thought Kelly was to bring in a throw with one or all of the pillow colors and lay on sofa near the bureau. Then use accessories on top of end tables using same colors to tie it in. An area rug is also a good way to tie everything in room together. Hope this helps!

  26. I have a tan recliner love seat and a tan rocker recliner in my family room. I want to add another recliner. What color can I go with? Do I need to stay with light colors? What about gray?

  27. I have an older house built in 1982 with dark brown wood panel walls everuwhere!!! I would like to have a professional paint the cabinets in my kitchen and dining room and i was really hoping to do grey but im afraid that it will not match. I can only do changes slowly over time due to my financial situation. So can I have grey cabinets w dark brown wood panel walls or is that ridiculous? Should I just accept that I have to change the walls?

    • I think it is fine Shauntell that you do it in stages. We have to start somewhere and I think painting the cabinets are a great way to start. Most of us have to do our large projects in steps because of our budget. I would say go for it!

  28. I have a chocolate sectional, dark brown armoire and black tv stand. I love the color silver because I feel as though it will brighten the room and make it modernized. What color could I use to make the furniture tie in together?

    • I think you can use almost any color you love Kese because of all the neutral furnishings you have. If you like silver, sounds like you like lighter, brighter colors. How about tying in some light blue colors with accessories? You could also use greens, turquoise, etc. Good luck!

  29. We purchased a travel trailer and the curtain panels (very short) behind the bed are dark brown with a tan/taupe printed topper. I have a gray and ivory duvet that I love, will it coordinate with the brown window treatments? I was thinking of using a teal accent pillow to give it pop. What do you think? The color pallet in the trailer is driftwood which looks like taupe; the leather theatre seating and breakfast nook, wood floors etc.

    • HI Wanda, If I had a gray and ivory quilt I loved, I think you will like your room with window curtains as bright and light as the bedding. Is the curtains look blah and dirty next to comforter? I would replace curtains if that is possible to something lighter like your bedding.


    • Hi Sherry,

      I would bring in green curtains, area rug, pillows and window treatments. It will look like a new room! Blues would work well also. Try in bring in fabric that has a pattern to it for windows to really make them pop. Good luck!

  31. Hi Kelly,

    I just bought a charcoal gray couch and love seat. It’s a change for me because I love earth tones (mostly blue, green, & brown). Can I use green, cream, and blue for the area rug, throw pillows, lamps, and wall art? Can I use shades of brown or wood for the end tables and book case? It’s a new house for me and the previous owners recently painted the walls a tan color which I did not change.. Thank you!

    • Hi Teri,
      One of the best things about gray is that it works well with so many other colors. Instead of the cream though, with the blue and green, I would look for whiter and cleaner backgrounds. For instance for a rug, instead of an ivory or cream background, I would use a white background for an updated look with your new sofas. Hope this helps!

  32. Hi Kelly,
    I am have two chocolate brown couches (3 seat each and 2 large mustard color chairs (muted). My walls are light gray and I have medium tone hardwood floors. I have bought kiwi green accents (pillows, vases, etc) to have a pop of color. I have also incorporated white (pictures, table). I was wondering if I should use a different accent color since the green trees and grass can bee seen through the windows. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Hi Tonya,

      I am sorry for the delayed response. I just got back from vacation and catching up.

      I think the green is perfect! Do you have a mirror in the room? It would look so nice to have the reflection of the green outdoors into the room and work with your green. I think it was a great color choice!

  33. I have a question regarding wall color. I just painted my bathroom a warm taupe, more beige than grey. I love the color and want to use it in the foyer and hallway. I have plans to paint the livingroom a very pale yellow and use light grey for the kitchen. Is this too much of a clash? My home is not open concept. The kitchen and livingroom are both off the foyer and hallway. Thank you!

    • Hi Clem,
      I do not think it is too many colors if the rooms are not all open to each other. Just be sure to check the new living room and kitchen colors with the foyer and hallway color to be sure they work well together. Good luck with your project!

  34. Hello. I am about to.move and I already have a grey reclining couch and chair. My parents are about to give me a brown leather reclining couch the same size(3 seat). M question is what can I do to make those pieces more cohesive. My walls at my new home are frosted grey.

    • Hi Angel,

      Sorry for the delayed response, I was moving all week.
      To tie in the two sofas, can you bring in an area rug? Just to be sure it has some gray in it. Then pull another color out of the colorful, (if possible), rug, blue, red, green, and use as pillows on both sofa and throws. Both brown and gray are neutrals, so you just have to find a color to bring them together in the room. Hope this helps!

  35. I have a dilemma , need help desperately as I’m on my 6th sample paint quart . Trying to change my great room from this dark mustardy gold walls (80s) to the more modern cleaner warm grey n white trim . My dilemma is my furniture is a dark taupe n can’t seem to find a grey that won’t clash ! Sooo many greys that are warm but end up looking beige or green and I want it to look more gray , Any suggestions? Here’s the couch color .

  36. I have a dilemma my husband bought a grey sofa and chair granite grey color. And I have driftwood carpet a brown with other colors in it. My curtains are dark brown with silver pattern and I’m worried the sofa and rocker won’t go with the carpet. I can change the curtains. But the carpet is new. The walls are painted waterfowl kinda a beige. Can you give me advise if the sofa would go with the multi brown carpet.

    • Hi Cindy,
      You mentioned a carpet with different colors in it. I would pull one of those colors out, such as blue, green, etc. and use them for pillows and throws around the room. If you can do the same with window treatments that would be good. That will tie the new gray in with the existing brown carpet. Hope this helps!

  37. I have 2 chairs from Pier one Imports, that have Brown faux leather in the back, and the front is like mushroom linen with brown bronze nail in the bottom. I do have a darker gray accent wall and dark brown flooring. Fireplace is white with white and gray porcelain tile surround. I need a rug and Need a Sofa. I am not a blue person, but I do have an open concept from living room to Dining and kitchen. Kitchen is all White Cabinet with Dark Gray backsplash, but Dinette area is Neutral with Brown 48 inch round table. My main concern is the living room. I bought so many rugs and had to take them back, it just would not go… Biege background on a rug does not go, and probably need white background.

    • HI Mary,
      Yes, I think it will work together. Are you using an area rug? If so, bring some gray into it. Same with pillows for the sofa, bring in gray to tie together with the brown. Hope this helps!

  38. This is what I am working with I recently purchased a home that has emerald/forest green kitchen and bath counter tops the cabinets were a medium brown and had gold hardware. Since replacing the counter tops is not an option and I am working with them. I have chosen a grey almost slightly shaded brown for my cabinet color and have purchases a light grey for my walls which flows into my dining and den area where I have a large wall that has a rock fireplace with built inns. My problem is in the den there is chair rail molding not the pretty kind and taking it up is not on my want to do list should I paint the chair rail the same color as the wall to make the room flow or should I make them pop. also should I paint the built ins the same color as the walls or a contrasting color like the color o my kitchen cabinets also I want to brighten up the stone fireplace but not to much and am unsure if I should keep the fireplace mantel the original wood because I am adding a custom variated wood island in the kitchen area.

    • Hi Katesa,
      For the chair molding, it sounds like you do not want to attract any attention to them, so I would paint the same color as wall to help them disappear. I do not want to give you bad advice on built ins or fireplace and it is hard for me to offer advice without seeing. Are you able to send me a photo?

  39. Great article…..Nursery for boy due in April and we are under the gun a little bit. We love existing mid/dark gray paint color of room “Anonymous” by BEHR, so likely to keep it. ” A” frame bedroom high ceilings, double windows East and South. I was thinking brown and gray would be tough until reading this. Initially was thinking a light/natural finish for the Nursery Furniture. In the set we love the finishes are limited and now thinking this brown might work well? Any guidance appreciated link to pics of furniture (Silva – Cappuccino )

    • Hi AJ,

      I went to the website- it says that it is out of stock- did you know?

      If you have the Anonymous on walls, did you consider white for the furniture? It is such a pretty combination and neutral enough that you can bring in any accent color you like. Hope this helps!

      • Hi Kelly. Thanks much for the comments. The link I sent previously just shows better pictures and is not where I am getting it from. It is in stock and I did order the furniture. We shied away from white as our daughter has slightly white distressed set and we wanted our sons to be a little different.
        Found a good pic against gray on manufacturers website. Anonymous will be darker, at least when not in direct sunlight. Attached link to that pic and two of the room in prep mode. So debating the full repaint vs the quick refresh coat. Hmmmm.
        Thanks again!!!

    • Hi Joyce,

      I am not sure a light gray will work as well as a tan or a dark gray sofa. If you are using a light gray sofa, try to bring in a brown patterned pillow for the sofa or a brown throw to help tie together. If you are using an area rug, pull a color from that into room for pillows and throws to tie all pieces together. Hope this helps.

  40. I have chocolate brown leather couch and chair. I have a oriental rug with a lot of colors and I picked the cranberry color for my accent pieces. What color should I paint my walls.

  41. Hi,

    I just moved into an apt that has light brown carpet. I have mid charcoal gray couch. What accent wall would you recommend? I was thinking a light teal.

  42. Hey there! I am need some advice on decorating my living room.

    We have a dark brown couch with light grey walls and we want to incorporate navy blue. So my question is what color of end tables would look the best? What color should the coffee table be as well? Last thing what color should we get a single seat chair in?
    (Sorry for asking so many questions)

    • Hey Peyton,
      For end tables and coffee tables, it does not matter what color your sofa or walls are. Either wood or glass, the tables do not have to be planned around the colors in room. If you would like to bring navy into the room, an area rug with the navy would look nice. Then bring some of that navy up and use as pillows and throws. For a single chair, if there is no pattern in the rug, I would suggest buying a navy printed accent chair. Then bring in pillows and throws for sofa to match the chair. Hope this helps!

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