History of Hues: Tan

Updated: May 31

In this edition of History of Hues, we are learning about the color tan. As one of the many shades of brown, tan is a color that evokes a sense of security, warmth, and dependability. It is a color that is found abundantly in nature. Look to the woods, down at the forest floor at the shades of the dirt. Look out at all the trees in the varieties of browns and tans. Think about the sand at the beach or a field of wheat. The abundance of tan in nature validates this color as soothing and reliable.



Tannin is the German word for Oak Tree. The acid compound that is used in process of tanning leather is called tannin. making leather is a process that has been around for hundreds of years. Lether comes in many shades of brown, including tan. It wasn’t until 1590 that tan was used as a color name in the English language.


How to decorate with tan?

A soothing, calm, and sophisticated environment can be created with shades of tan. It is warmer and more personal than an all-white room. Subtle shade changes of tan can elevate the space. You can create a monochromatic look by painting the walls a very light shade of tan and hanging window curtains that are a shade darker, like the room darkener tan. An oak floor could be the next step in the tan palette. The further away from the walls and the window treatments, venture into richer tans and browns for the furniture and accent pieces like area rugs and decorative pillows.



The opposite end of this decorating spectrum is to use tan to bring stability to a space. If the sofa, throw rug and accent pillows are a riot of colors, then neutral walls and tan draperies will contain the excitement and energy. They can offer a place for the eye to rest and relax.


When decorating with tan there are many options. This is a color that can be paired as a complement to most colors on the color wheel.



The room darkener is a triple woven construction that will help keep light out. The density of this fabric will also provide insulation around your windows reducing the transfer of hot air out in the summer and cool air in during the fall and winter. This rich shade of tan is the perfect neutral window curtain addition to any décor.