meaning of the color brown

Meaning of the Color Brown – The Symbolism Behind Brown

Brown is quite a dominating color in nature, as many animals, plants, trees, and the ground itself can be some shade of brown. Even though it is such a prevalent color, many people would likely not choose brown as their favorite color. Even so, as a neutral, brown is still quite popular in other aspects, such as interior design. This is where the meaning of the color brown comes into play. Below, we are going to learn about how brown can make you feel and what the various color associations are.



Meaning of the Color Brown

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Saddle Brown#8b45130, 50, 86, 45139, 69, 19 

Since brown is associated strongly with nature, it is seen as an earthy, stable, strong, and reliable color that is friendly, trustworthy, dependable, and practical. Brown is also perceived as a shade of orange, which is warm and welcoming, and a reminder of the fall season. Many might say that brown is dull, however, it can rather be defined as offering simplicity. Brown is neutral, the same as white and black, which makes it quite versatile when paired with other colors. Below is a list of both positive and negative meanings of the brown color.

brown color meaning
Brown color meaning infographic. Click on the image to download a printable PDF.


Positive Traits of the Color Brown

  • Practical
  • Strong
  • Reliable
  • Friendly
  • Trustworthy
  • Dependable
  • Honest
  • Warm
  • Sensitive
  • Stable
  • Protective
  • Approachable
  • Supportive
  • Comforting


Negative Traits of the Color Brown

  • Boring
  • Predictable
  • Materialistic
  • Timid
  • Decay
  • Isolation



Psychological Meaning of the Color Brown

The brown color offers warmth and comfort, as well as simplicity. Brown is sincere, hardworking, sensible, and reliable. The color brown has a down-to-earth quality and can evoke feelings of honesty, support, and protection. Brown also encourages you to enjoy the simple things in life.


Symbolism of Brown

Brown is a representation of the earth, and it is a symbol of strength, safety, nurturing, security, and dependability. Consider a large tree with many branches that provide all these things. The tree offers support and protection from the world and its roots also provide a strong and stable foundation. However, brown symbolism can come from an individual perspective, or it can be introduced through cultural influences. So, it can have separate meanings for different people.

brown symbolism


Elegance of Brown

Brown can be down-to-earth, but it can still offer some sophistication. Consider a rich and dark wood table or beautiful wooden floors. Even though it is seen as more elegant, it still provides that sense of strength and steadiness.

Brown also provides a sense of ruggedness and resourcefulness, which can be associated with the warmth and comfort of home.


Boring Look of Brown

Brown symbolism can also have a negative association with being dull and uninteresting. It can also be unoriginal and is not eye-catching or vibrant like other colors. Brown is not often a color that is trending, but it is a color that remains timeless, even if in a subtle and understated way.

brown symbolism boring



Personality Traits Associated With the Color Brown

When considering protection, brown is a color that offers support and security to families. Brown has a strong sense of belonging and family and takes these obligations seriously. Brown personalities are honest, confident, and easy-going people who value themselves and respect others. However, they can come across as arrogant on occasion. Brown personalities are responsible, hardworking, and reliable people, they are always on time and are considerate of others.

However, they also insist on the same from everyone else. They desire an organized and predictable routine and are not ones to be spontaneous or adventurous.

The brown personality is friendly, loyal, approachable, and enjoys the simple things in life. They offer support and encouragement and are easy to talk to. The brown personality types like the good things in life like a nice home, good food, and companionship. However, they can be frugal and do not like to waste money on extravagant or unnecessary things. If they do spend money, it will be on quality and things that are useful.



Physical Effects of Brown on the Body

Colors not only affect the mind, but they can also produce a response in the body. Some have found that brown can help relax you and increase the tryptophan levels in the body. This is an amino acid that helps with supporting sleep and elevating the mood. Brown may also help to elevate the mood and soothe feelings by increasing serotonin levels. So, brown is a relaxing color and will help to produce warm and settled feelings, which can remind you of your home and family. Brown is also known to help stimulate the appetite and is often used in food brands.

brown symbolism physical effects



The Color Brown in Different Cultures

Colors can have different meanings due to cultural influences. In the Western world, for example, in the United States, brown is the dependable, earthy, wholesome, and comforting color that is often used for food packaging.  Here are a few other meanings of brown in other countries and cultures.

  • In various Eastern cultures, brown is perceived as the color of mourning.
  • When it comes to Feng Shui, brown represents the earth element and soil.
  • Brown is seen as a sign of decay, lifeless, and unpleasant in South America, specifically Nicaragua and Colombia.
  • In the Middle East, brown is seen as a color that offers security and harmony and is connected with the earth.
  • India: In this country, brown is seen as a symbol of death.



Meaning of the Different Shades of Brown

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Light Brown#b5651d0, 44, 84, 29181, 101, 29 
Dark Brown#6543210, 34, 67, 60101, 67, 33 
Tan#d2b48c0, 14, 33, 18210, 180, 140 

Brown is a versatile neutral that comes in many different shades and tones. Lighter and darker shades of brown can produce a somewhat different look and feel. Some browns can be light and airy, while others show more sophistication and depth. This also depends on the colors that are paired with brown.

brown symbolism hues


Light Brown

The lighter shade of brown is more friendly, honest, and approachable. It is a warm and healthy color that works well to provide a more open and spacious feel. Pair it with greens and blues for contrast, or with shades of orange or beige to add more warmth and make it more cozy.


Dark Brown

The darker shades of brown offer a richer and more sophisticated appeal and can also represent strength and dependability. Dark brown is a solid color that represents security and safety. However, dark brown can also become depressing and can evoke feelings of sadness, isolation, and loneliness. To avoid this, pair dark browns with lighter shades of blue or green.

Pairing it with other neutrals like white and beige can also help.



Tan is a desaturated or muted brown that evokes a sense of timelessness and offers warmth and comfort. It is uncomplicated, natural, and a simple color to work with. Tan is a very popular neutral, as it works well with most colors.



Is Brown a Chakra Color?

The chakras are a belief system that stems from Hinduism and Buddhism and involves energy centers located throughout the body. These energy centers or chakras are each linked to a specific color. There are seven major chakra colors, ranging from red to violet. There are also other associated colors like brown.

brown symbolism chakra

Brown forms part of the root chakra (red), which is found at the base of the spine. The brown represents security, humility, authenticity, and safety as well as balance. When this chakra is healthy, you will be grounded, stable, and safe. If this chakra is unbalanced or blocked, you may feel afraid and anxious, and have feelings of insecurity. To balance the chakras, you can try meditating, yoga, or affirmations.



Interesting Phrases, Idioms, and Famous Quotes About the Color Brown

Since colors have meaning, many of them have also become part of a more descriptive way of expression. There are quite a few brown idioms and phrases that might be familiar to you. Many famous people or celebrities have also provided some interesting brown quotes.

Let us have a look at some of these below.


Phrases and Idioms About the Color Brown

You might think that brown is a boring color and cannot possibly have any interesting idioms or phrases. However, over the years, people have contributed a few interesting phrases. The following are a few sayings you might recognize. 

  • Brown bagging: To pack your own lunch to take to work.
  • In a brown study: This is describing someone deep in thought. Others might see it as a way to illustrate melancholy.
  • Brown nose: This is used as a verb and means to be obsequious, for example, if you become overly flattering to your boss to gain recognition.
  • Experiencing a brownout: When the electricity has partially failed and is not as bad as a total blackout.
  • Brown as a berry: This is used when somebody has a very dark tan.
  • How now brown cow: The phrase is used as a humorous greeting, especially by actors, who use it to warm up before a performance.

brown symbolism phrases


A Few Famous Brown Color Quotes

Brown may be a nondescript color, but it does have its fair share of quotes. How about this famous quote by Winston Churchill who quoted, “I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.” Consider a few more famous quotes below.

  • “The color brown, I realized, is anything but nondescript. It comes in as many hues as there are colors of earth, which is commonly presumed infinite” by American novelist Barbara Kingsolver (Born 1955).
  • Oh, come on! Nobody’s favorite color is brown!” by the American playwright Lee Blessing (Born 1949).
  • “Brown is a manly color” by author Cassandra Clare (Born 1973).



Some Fun Facts About the Color Brown

When painting with brown, the color can either come from a tube, or it can be made by mixing all of the primary colors. Unlike blue eyes, brown eyes are more commonly found around the world. Take a look at a few more fun facts about the color brown.

  • Brown sugar is unrefined and contains molasses, unlike refined white sugar.
  • When glass is being made, nickel is added to create the brown glass.
  • During the roasting process, cocoa beans form certain substances known as melanoidin, which makes chocolate brown.
  • Brown is the perfect camouflage color.

brown symbolism fun facts


Brown is the most dependable, honest, practical, and comforting color that is strong, grounding, and stable. These attributes make brown a popular choice when used in various design applications. For most, brown might not be a favorite color, however, it is versatile and popular for creating warm, comforting, and sophisticated fashion and interior designs. 




Frequently Asked Questions


What Does the Color Brown Represent?

Brown is the color that represents protection, support, and reassurance. When you think of brown, it is the color of the earth, which is strong, comforting, and grounding.


What Does the Color Brown Represent Spiritually?

Spiritually, brown represents the earth, nature, growth, fertility, and death. It has a two-fold meaning that can represent both life and growth, but also decay.


Is Brown a Calming Color?

Brown is warm and encouraging color, and is closely connected to nature. When used properly, brown can help to create a calming and safe feeling.


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Meaning of the Color Brown – The Symbolism Behind Brown.” Art in Context. February 6, 2024. URL:

Lewis, C. (2024, 6 February). Meaning of the Color Brown – The Symbolism Behind Brown. Art in Context.

Lewis, Charlene. “Meaning of the Color Brown – The Symbolism Behind Brown.” Art in Context, February 6, 2024.

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