Espresso Color: A Perfect Blend of Cozy and Modern

While grey has been trending as the neutral of choice in recent years, brown will eternally be a neutral of neutrals.

Espresso Color

That being said, some brown tones and shades are more timeless than others, and espresso color is just such a shade. Just as its name suggests, espresso color is reminiscent of roasting coffee beans and the resulting espresso – that color between brown and black that works beautifully as either one.

30 Ideas for Adding Espresso to Interior Design

1. Espresso with Metallic Accents

Espresso Color for Living Room


The rich depth of espresso brown color pairs anchors nearly any visual space. That’s why pairing it with some metallic components, such as an espresso lamp shade with a gold or brass lamp base, strikes a great aesthetic balance.

Espresso Color - Lamp and wall

Metallics and dark wood-based colors like espresso can help give rooms a moody, dramatic energy while also showcasing modern design elements at the same time. 

2. Espresso Message Mat

Espresso Color Oil Painting

One of the primary reasons that espresso color is so versatile and relevant as a neutral (all neutrals are versatile, of course – that’s what makes them neutral) is its richness and depth.

Espresso is such a dark brown that it’s almost black. A fun thing about this decor choice is that you can pick a customized mat with pretty much any saying you can think of on it, from literary quotes to personal mottos. It’s a unique way to put your own impressions on the space.

3. Espresso Sofa Seating

Espresso Color Seating

In fact, in some settings, it’s hard to distinguish between whether you’re looking at espresso or black. That’s the beauty of this color. In places where black might feel simply too heavy but any lighter shade would contradict the space’s vibe, espresso steps in to strike the perfect balance and blend.

Placing espresso seating against other dark colors like these royal purple draperies and rugs is a dark look, but it’s still nuanced too. When using dark-on-dark colors like this, pops of white or ivory serve as effective contrasting accent pieces. 

4. Espresso Gator Skin Side Table

Espresso Color Side Table

Some people might worry that espresso won’t work in their design because it isn’t a true black. But the color’s versatility allows it to successfully be used in a variety of ways.

So, unless the espresso colored piece will be exposed to direct sunlight, you needn’t worry about the variance. Even though espresso is a dark color, you can still use it to create a layered look by incorporating espresso pieces with strong textures like this gator skin side table. The highly reflective surface of espresso on a glossy surface makes any texture stand out. 

5. Espresso Collage

Espresso Color Wall Art

Other names for espresso color include mocha, chocolate, and espresso. Often, paint brands will have their own version of/name for espresso color. But the concept behind the hue is the same – that deep brown is a shade that feels cozy and warm while still looking contemporary and clean.

Even though this collage has a haphazard, asymmetrical look, it still feels balanced due to the clean lines and repeating geometric shapes. The shadows created by the break in the two halves of the artwork also add visual interest against the taupe wall behind it. 

6. Espresso Lamps

Espresso color hanging lamps

In the world of design, pieces will be listed as “black” color when they are actually espresso. In fact, jet black finishes are less common than espresso finishes, despite what the color listing says. As mentioned previously, lighting (including direct sunlight) plays a key role in how the color actually reads in a space.

A benefit of decorating with a brown espresso in an interior design versus true jet black is that it reads as a less stark and forbidding contrast. This is also the reason why many painters will use brown paint for shadows rather than black. Espresso wood grain gives even hard geometric shapes in modern lighting a soft, quasi-organic look. 

7. Espresso Wall Art with Jewel Tone Accents

Wall art in espresso color

Espresso color provides a gorgeous, grounding appearance when paired with brighter, bolder, or even truer colors. On this wall art combination, for example, espresso color bridges the gaps between the color blocking and gives that deep, solid foundation without looking heavy. Use recessed or spotlighting to get the most out of metallic artwork with reflections. It’s also important to spotlight wall art like this because many of the smaller details of the work are not apparent in dim lighting. Even though each piece of this triptych artwork is different, the repeating shape of the three panels gives it a unified feel. 

8. Monochromatic Espresso Wall Display

Decorating walls with Espresso Color Arts

Espresso color also looks rich and gorgeous all on its own. It has the capacity to feel warm and welcoming while also retaining a sense of sophistication and elegance. Few colors strike that chord as intuitively as does espresso. Pairing a warm-toned espresso wall sculpture with warm creamy peach wall colors will make you feel like you just stepped into a Parisian cafe. 

9. Espresso and Rose Decor

Decorating the living room in espresso color

When paired with other browns, espresso color becomes the “adult” in the room, as far as color goes. The monochromatic brown space that incorporates espresso color automatically has depth and balance.

It might be a good idea to select the espresso pieces carefully – with simple, clean lines – so they don’t overpower by nature of their darkness.

When you’re using a color like a rose with white accents, the room can run the risk of looking quaint or precious. Big blocky espresso furniture brings the design back down to earth and creates a visually interesting contrast. 

10. Espresso Dining Room Chairs

Dark Espresso Color For Dining

Much of the warmth of espresso’s aesthetic is a result of its inherent chocolate tones. Sometimes, in certain direct lighting, espresso color can have hints of reddish hues.

Regardless, the color truly looks like a cup of dark joe, maybe with a swirl of creamer. Espresso is found in many dining room designs since the dark shade looks fantastic on long banquet style dining room tables and chairs. Pairing just as well with bright colors as it does neutrals, it’s a great foundation for any space. 

11. Espresso Statement Chairs

Round Espresso Chairs

In a space that has the potential to read as young, juvenile, and/or busy, espresso color is an excellent choice to lend an appropriate and stylish dose of gravity.

This is particularly true when the color is used on statement or unique furniture. Statement furniture is a smart way to add some texture to your espresso color palette if you want to include the color without it taking over. It’s easier to include a few patterned statement chairs along with some more grounding neutral sofas without overpowering the room. 

12. Modern Espresso Sofa

richness of espresso color

The richness of espresso color makes a lovely pairing with visually lighter weight components. This sofa exemplifies this balance beautifully; notice how the bright lighting makes the color’s reddish tints come through, more so than the deeper blackish tones.

Since espresso is such a heavy color, adding these lightweight components like thin metal bracing or lucite can make espresso look softer and more modern at the same time. 

13. Espresso Pendant Lighting

Espresso Industrial Hanging Lamp

Espresso began trending more in the design world a couple of years ago, reaching a high popularity in 2014 and 2015 because of its modern, chic, and bold appearance.

Finishes of espresso color on furniture, accessories, and lighting have become more popular, and thus more common, recently. Espresso is also a good option for lighting if you want to channel the look of a metallic accent, but you want to go a little bit darker with your color scheme.

Silver or brass fixtures might draw too much attention, but a metallic espresso pendant light can add drama without overtaking the room. 

14. Espresso and Ivory Color Combination

Platform bench with two seats

One classic color combination that involves espresso color includes espresso and some version of cream or ivory.

Simplicity and minimalism are inherent with each color, and this remains true when they’re combined. The warm, modern look of espresso pairs beautifully with the clean elegance of cream.

Stick to solid fabrics to help accentuate the contrast between the two shades. Combining these classic neutrals together is the perfect way to channel a coffeehouse vibe in your own home. 

15. Pair Espresso with Pastels

Amman Gallery Voice Strength

As we’ve discussed, espresso color can certainly hold its own in great design. Some of the color palettes that contrast well with espresso include green-grey, blue-grey, light olive, and mint green. Because of espresso’s dominance as a color, a softer contrast color becomes almost an accent color.

If you want to use a light color like white, ivory, or pastel peach as an accent color, pairing it with a dark espresso complements the lighter shade and has the effect of making it look both softer and brighter by comparison. 

16. Espresso with Slate Blue

Create a serene retreat

To create a serene, moody retreat, don’t be afraid to combine dark, deep shades on the floor, walls, and furniture. Espresso color, a deep slate blue, and rich mahogany make a beautiful color palette for just such a space.

You don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s okay to combine espresso with any color. Because it’s a neutral color, espresso can be easily combined with just about anything as long as you include some kind of lighter accent to act as a contrast. In this design, shades of slate blue, rose, and espresso are offset by pops of lion gold and white. 

17. Monochromatic Espresso Furniture

Creating an executive office in espresso color

In smaller, more confined spaces, espresso pieces tend to look more like the black side of the spectrum than brown.

Painting the walls and shelving on those walls all in espresso color (in other words, an espresso monochromatic space) makes the space feel smaller yet cozier and more somber and intimate.

Monochromatic espresso color palettes are perfect for more areas with a more serious or studious function, such as libraries, studios, and home offices. 

18. Smoked Glass Espresso Coffee Table

Oval espresso coffee table

Espresso makes a gorgeous shaded (or tinted) glass. As a glass coffee table, this is an excellent option because it carries with it a similar translucency for an airier feel, but the deep espresso color makes it more substantive.

The juxtaposition of traits is striking in this modern setup. This is another design choice that takes advantage of how good espresso looks presented as a reflected surface.

With an aesthetic feel that reminds you of time-polished hardwood, it looks refined in any room. 

19. Geometric Espresso Stools

Espresso Small Coffee Tables

Of course, just because espresso color isn’t a version of grey itself, that doesn’t mean the two can’t be paired together.

In fact, the combination of espresso with a lovely warm, medium grey is practically neutral heaven, like this curvy grey love seat and the geometric espresso stools. While these geometric stools might not fit in with a more casual or rustic decor, they’re right at home with contemporary interior designs. 

20. Espresso and Burnt Orange

Espresso and Burnt Orange

As a relatively cool brown color, espresso offers a sharp contrast to bright warm colors such as burnt orange and goldenrod.

Because it’s such a solid, strong neutral color, espresso-colored furniture acts as a dramatic backdrop to bright patterned accents. Off-white or cream-colored walls help balance and offset both accent colors.

Burnt orange can be incorporated in espresso interior design through comforting touches like throw pillows and throws. This color was very popular in the sixties and seventies in both interior design and fashion, so it’s a good choice if you’re trying to match vintage midcentury architecture with an interior design to match. (via HGTV)

21. Espresso Home Office

Espresso Home Office

Espresso is a popular color when it’s used in home offices since it brings to mind the large dark bookcases in traditional studies and libraries.

One of the reasons is that the dark color of espresso in furniture makes for a nice contrast to books on the shelves no matter what color the books are. If you use an espresso color with a cool tone, it can create a calming effect to pair it with other cool shades, such as oyster gray walls and bright white countertops.

Adding dark espresso cabinetry with white walls and flooring can be a more grounded look than adding white cabinets. This dark-and-light color combination is an especially effective pairing with contemporary aesthetics. It also looks good in minimalist designs, where the bold neutral color choice can take the place of textures and natural elements. (via The RTA Store)

22. Espresso Flooring

Espresso Flooring

In spaces where espresso on the walls or furniture would be overwhelming, another option is to incorporate espresso coloring in the flooring.

Flooring is a smart way to incorporate espresso in a room where it would cause the room to feel cramped and dark if it was placed on the walls instead.

Hardwood is a classic espresso flooring option that blends both vintage style and modern sensibilities. To soften the look of an espresso floor, try adding a colorful area rug to the floor to help break the color up and pull accent colors from the rest of the room. (via A Blissful Nest)

23. Espresso Range Hood

Espresso Range Hood

Espresso is a popular addition to kitchen color palettes, but you don’t have to stop there when you’re incorporating it into an espresso-heavy design.

Purchasing an espresso-colored range hood can help pull the shade around your kitchen and create a more monochromatic, unified look than a metallic hood range would. Dark colors can be effective in large kitchens to help keep them from feeling too sterile and uncomfortable. (via Carla Aston)

24. Espresso and Animal Print

Espresso and Animal Print

Animal print can be an overwhelming pattern to use in interior design in large amounts unless it’s tempered with a dramatic neutral to help tie it down and ground the look.

This makes espresso the perfect shade to pair with giraffe, leopard, tiger, zebra, or any other animal print you could think of. While animal print typically can’t be applied in large blocks without looking garish, espresso lets you get away with a little bit more than a lighter neutral like ivory might.

Try to bring in animal prints with a light ivory or cream background to provide the highest level of contrast to the espresso. (via Colorado Style)

25. Espresso and Jewel Tone Furniture

Espresso and Jewel Tone Furniture

The advantage of espresso being a neutral shade is that it can be successfully combined with a wide range of other colors.

The most dramatic of these are jewel tones, where espresso wall colors can provide a flamboyant and moody backdrop for turquoise, rose, and jungle green.

Repeating an espresso wall color in the trim of jewel-colored furniture can help pull the room together into a deliberate look without the two colors clashing head-to-head for attention.
(via Kathy Kuo Homes)

26. DIY Espresso Stained Furniture

DIY Espresso Stained Furniture

If you want to incorporate more espresso shades into your interior design plans, it doesn’t require going out and buying new furniture.

A dresser or console table provides the perfect small remodeling project if you want to add some espresso color to a pre-existing piece of furniture you already own.

Restaining furniture to match across the entire room is also a great way to bring mismatched pieces together in a less eclectic design. It’s also a good way to instantly give fresh life to any furniture pieces that you pick up from yard sales or thrift stores. (via Monica Wants It)

27. Espresso Wall Color

Espresso Wall Color

Espresso paint is an extreme choice due to the darkness of the color, but it can be well worth the risk once you see it up on the walls.

While dark wall colors can make smaller rooms feel small and claustrophobic, they can be used effectively in larger rooms with vaulted ceilings to make the space feel more cozy and intimate.

If you plan on painting your walls espresso, be sure to allow for plenty of coats to make sure that the paint is dark and even. Any imperfection will show with a color this deep. Be sure to break up the espresso color on the walls with artwork or photos that can make it look less somber. (via Oneoffto25 on The Spruce)

28. Espresso Cafe Style Backdrop

Espresso Cafe Style Backdrop

To make espresso the focal point of the room, you should make sure that it’s the most dominant color your eye sees.

This cafe style wooden backdrop behind the bar ensures that espresso is the dominant color in the space. While it can be challenging to keep this much espresso from feeling cramped, adequate warm lighting can help brighten things up and bring out the rich red shades in this color. (via Marvel Building)

29. Espresso and Marble

Espresso and Marble

One of the major advantages of using espresso as one of your base colors in an interior space is that you can use it to either dress up or dress down the look of the room.

When paired with rustic elements, it can be very cozy and informal. However, if you pair espresso trim or furniture with more refined materials like marble, it helps to elevate the color to a more sophisticated look. Choose a cool-toned espresso color to complement the cool white and gray tones in marble countertops. (via Homework Remodels

30. Espresso Leather Sofas

Espresso Leather Sofas

A popular way to incorporate espresso into a living room design is to bring in some espresso-colored leather sofas.

This is also a softer way to bring in espresso colors to your interior design than adding hard reflective espresso surfaces like tables or bookshelves, but the glossy appearance of espresso leather still gives off a sophisticated, classy vibe. It also makes espresso the most dominant color in the room without adding it to the flooring or walls.(via Atlantic Home)


Espresso is one of the more challenging colors to use in an interior design since it can be a very commanding shade. If you don’t place it carefully alongside other colors and textures that work well with it, the espresso color can easily overpower the room. But if you’re looking to boost the refinement and drama of your space, look no further than this rich coffee hue.