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Image via Nathan Dumlao

It feels like a switch is flipped the morning after Labor Day and all things become Fall. Wardrobe, decor, food, and music instantaneously shift and the watermelons are replaced with pumpkins, wedges traded in for boots, and linen switched out for cashmere.

September quickly rolled right on into October and just as the air chilled I noticed colors warmed up. Earth tones, specifically shades of brown, waltzed into the spotlight making a big comeback after years of a minimalist palette. Those cooler grays that took center stage over the past decade were replaced with luxurious coffee-like shades.

To embrace this return to "warmth", I have been gravitating towards all things Café au Lait. The perfect soft brown, it is rich and elegant yet simultaneously cozy. Truly representative of that perfect coffee shop latte.

Though every year a different color is dubbed "the new black", it seems like across the board coffee inspired hues are the go-to neutral.

Café au Lait is one of my favorite shades because of its versatility in virtually every application. It is a dream to decorate with as it immediately establishes a warm, inviting, timeless space. Similarly, in fashion, it puts a softer spin on the classic black look. It is the perfect tone to offset popular metallics and it teams up flawlessly with both bold and neutral colors alike.

The color Café au Lait literally implies something that is awake and lively; the way one feels from consuming the caffeine in coffee. Like the drink, it indicates comfort, warmth and community.

In color theory, light brown is the color of material security. Due to the "earth" component, it is associated with resilience and viewed as a color that provides safety and structure.

It reminds us about the things that are most important-our connections to home and family. It encourages us to stay grounded and inspires an appreciation for the small things.

In color psychology, light brown as a hue is regarded as honest, genuine and sincere. Valuing quality above all else, it is a color which implies common sense- think from a practicality standpoint like selecting a fabric which perfectly hides dirt.

I love both decorating with and wearing Café au Lait in the Fall because it really evokes those feelings of warmth. It also shows a degree of sophistication depending on color combinations. For example, one of my favorite pairings, Café au Lait with soft white or ivory can appear stylish and elegant no matter day or night. (Take a look at September's Moodboard for more pairing inspiration).

In design, 'coffee' rooms are experiencing a real renaissance. For many years now, light brown was regarded as the dated and dreaded "beige" but lately more and more designers are trading in cool greys for these warmer grounding shades.

Café au Lait is great to incorporate into interiors because it encompasses such a wide array of shades from tan to mushroom to taupe and can be used to create a myriad of looks ranging from calming to dramatic.

‘Brown interiors are the epitome of elegance, incredible with blues, pinks and lighter muted neutrals oozing sophistication and style,’ say the team at Edward Bulmer Natural Paints.

The pandemic appears to be the real driving force behind this move back towards warm. After spending more time at home than ever before, the real focus became on creating a sanctuary like space. The mindset slowly shifted away from cool tones and minimalistic furnishings to more richly layered rooms in a comforting palette.

Image via Miles Redd

We have also seen a resurgence in brown furniture. People are no longer afraid to use deep woods for furniture pieces. Designers are embracing the return to classic wooden case goods or antique pieces and off-setting them with cleaner modern art and more contemporary fabrics.

Image via Susan Ferrier

Though they are “warm”, these coffee colored shades are definitely not the drab reddish-browns of the ‘90s. The underlying cream or grey tones keep everything feeling fresh and make it possible to decorate with a variety of complimentary colors.

Image via Simon Bevan

A nod to nature, Café au Lait is a perfect complement to popular natural materials such as rattan, jute and various stone finishes. It of course works perfectly with an all neutral palette of soft earthy colors.

However, on the opposite end of the spectrum when paired with something like an apricot or a pale blue or even a bright fuchsia, the grounded color completely comes alive taking on a contemporary feel.

Image via London Brown

You definitely don't have to look hard to find these latte like colors. From small touches like a patterned pleated lampshade to the coziest cashmere throw to a show-stopping earring this coffee colored hue is definitely here to stay.

Warm up your look and home as the weather cools off with some of these recent finds:

Shop the Board

Very wedding guest chic

This scenic sepia wallpaper feels decidedly Fall

New coffee table inspiration to enjoy over morning coffee

There is something so glam about this mini lamp

A reversible cashmere throw for chilly evenings on the sofa

Pair this top with high waisted pants for an effortless Autumn outfit

Her earrings somehow always remain delicate while making a bold statement

A leather wrap belt made for sweater dress season

The prettiest printed lamp shade for an easy seasonal update

Can't wait to try this complexion perfecting makeup

I love the lines & color on their newest sectional


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