I was chatting with a neighbor last week who mentioned having lots of wood in different tones and not being able to pull together all of that brown. Its easy I told her. I should mention that I have nothing against brown and its not a poor choice. It's just all too easy to end up with nothing but brown.
First, why do so many people end up with so much brown and beige in their homes when Americans, according to House Beautiful, choose blue as their favorite color? When deciding on furniture and wall color many people think, "I love blue (or another color) but I don't want a blue room" and they choose the neutral because "it goes with everything". Brown leather furniture is popular for its durability for people with kids and pets and, well, why not buy leather...it's a classic. Pretty soon they end up with a bowl of raisin bran colored everything and wonder how it got that way when they made safe, classic, standard choices.
I will show you two ways to banish a total case of the browns. The first, admittedly has a lot of blue, but it is a bit more budget friendly and other colors can be substituted. Both looks can be done incrementally.
I left the curtains, sofa, and wall color the same in this view because those are often the most expensive or time consuming to change. I think buying large pricey furniture in neutrals is a good idea and color should be used on mostly less expensive items so that changes in decor are easier to incorporate without redoing everything.
In this first view the imaginary person who loves blue bought the blue chair she wanted. The look is lightened with various metals and glass and the blue is repeated in pillows, poufs, and prints.
The blue chair is very affordable from Lampsplus.com
The mirror, poufs and sideboard are from Wisteria.com
The coffee table and side table are from Target.com
The prints are from The Pink Pagoda.
I took the idea a little farther and added a few more expensive items in the second version.
I kept the sofa, curtains and that new blue chair but changed the wall color to a pale, cool gray.
I added a petite antique dresser. Yes, its more brown but its a rich, aged brown and a classic style.
The white swivel chairs are from HDbuttercup.com and are high quality neutral pieces that lighten the overall look. I used more metallic finishes with the silver garden seats from Wisteria.com and the upholstered bench is from Deringhall.com.
The artwork is available on Etsy.com and is by Elena Petrova. I am crushing on her paintings and they are very affordable.
The bottom line is that adding bling with metals and some glass or light, airy items helps with the heavy, browns. It is also important to understand that using a large item in a non-neutral does not mean that you have to commit to a an entire color scheme based on that color. Both of these looks could easily have incorporated greens, pinks, or lighter blues.