What Does the Color Brown Mean in a Dream?

A headless man dressed in brown holds a black balloon wearing a hat

Colorful dreams can be exciting and intriguing. But when you think of dreaming in color, you probably don’t imagine brown!

Brown might not be the most eye-catching of colors, but its rich symbolism makes it worth paying attention to. Here’s how to interpret the color brown if you see it in your dreams.

The Color Symbolism of Brown

An empty gold frame sits in front of a flowing brown silk scarf on a brown background

Lots of people find brown to be a “boring” color. But even though it’s ubiquitous in nature, the color brown has a number of symbolic meanings and associations.

The Natural World

This may well be the most obvious and logical association. After all, brown is everywhere in the outdoors, from dirt and autumn leaves to tree bark and rocky outcrops. Many animals are brown, as the color lets them camouflage. It’s no wonder that when many of us see brown, we think of the natural world.


Brown has plenty of positive associations. But like any color, it has its negative meanings, too. One of these is decay. The most obvious connection here is the one to autumn leaves — they start by turning fiery shades of red, orange, and yellow, but they eventually turn dull brown as they decay. Rotting fruits and vegetables tend to have a brownish hue as well.


In most areas of the world, brown is primarily associated with nature and the Earth. However, in India and some other Eastern cultures, brown is a color of mourning.

Strength and Reliability

A wooden barn roof set against a blue sky

Brown often symbolizes strength and reliability. When you think about this, it makes sense — the Earth has been around for millions of years, and we tend to see nature as a constant.

Because brown seems so reliable, it is often used in marketing and branding. UPS delivery trucks are deep brown. So are the logos for Hershey’s Chocolate and M&Ms.


In the Western world, brown inspires confidence in brands and products and drives sales. But in Colombia and some other parts of South America, it actually has the opposite effect.

In Nicaragua and some other countries, brown symbolizes disapproval. So it’s no wonder that brown logos or brown product packaging don’t draw in buyers as they might elsewhere!

Warmth, Comfort, and Groundedness

Brown is a popular color in interior design, partially because many people associate it with comfort and warmth. That may be because it’s an earthy, natural shade (and probably the most common color in the natural world). In a similar vein, because of brown’s connection to the Earth, many people associate it with a feeling of groundedness or stability.


In much of the Western world, brown is a shade associated with poverty as well. This might date back to the Roman Empire, where brown clothing often indicated that a person was lower class. The urban poor were even referred to as “pullati,” a Latin word translating to “those dressed in brown.”

What Does Brown Mean in Your Dream?

A brown car sits in a brown abstract, geometric landscape with a pyramid in the background

Understanding brown and its traditional associations is a great start. But when it comes to interpreting your own dreams, things can get a little murkier. Here are a few suggestions to help you better understand the symbolism of brown in your dreams.

Consider Your Own Associations With the Color Brown

Your associations with brown often matter more than cultural associations. For instance, if it’s a color you absolutely hate, brown isn’t too likely to have a positive meaning in your dreams. On the other hand, positive associations you have with the color may shape its meaning.

For example, let’s say you have a brown house with a primarily brown decoration scheme. If you do, you might associate brown with home, and you might find that brown often symbolizes the concept of home when you see it in your dreams.

Try to Connect the Story to Events in Your Life

If you want to figure out the symbolism of brown (or any color, for that matter) in a dream, you need to do more than just zero in on the color itself. Take a big-picture look at your dream and try to find a storyline. It can be very helpful to write down that storyline, even if it’s just in bullet points.

Many dreams work as allegories, so if you can connect events in your dream to events in your life, you’ll be much more likely to figure out exactly what your dream means. For example, say you have a dream about hiking through a forest. The hiking path frequently splits, so you find yourself continually having to decide what direction to go.

If you’re a college student and trying to make decisions about your future (Should you go to graduate school? Start applying for jobs? Open your own business?), it’s pretty clear that the dream symbolizes the important steps you’re taking to determine the course of your life.

Identify the Role That Brown Plays

The sun shines through a forest onto a winding dirt path

Once you have a decent understanding of your dream’s big-picture meaning, it’s time to take a closer look at a smaller detail: the appearance of brown and what it represents. This can be a somewhat challenging task, especially with a dream that’s set in the outdoors. After all, in the natural world, brown is everywhere!

If this is the case, identify parts of the dream where brown stood out. In the forest dream, you were probably very focused on the brown path. Brown can be a symbol of groundedness, and if you felt secure in the decisions you made in the dream, that very well could be what the color was symbolizing.

Pay Attention to Your Feelings Throughout the Dream

That brings us to another important part of dream interpretation — looking at your feelings throughout. Brown can represent many things, so paying attention to how you felt on the brown path gives you a clue as to what brown represented.

Your feelings in the dream are especially important if they change when a color appears. For example, you might have a dream where you’re walking through a sunny apple orchard, looking at the bright red and green apples. You come across a tree covered in rotting, brown apples, and you suddenly feel a mix of dread and sadness. That feeling lets you know that brown is symbolizing something negative — in this case, probably death or decay.

Analyzing an Example Dream

Brown and white rabbit peers through the round window of a spaceship

Before you drift off to sleep in hopes of having a colorful dream to analyze, it may be helpful to take a look at an example dream:

You’re adrift in space, floating far above Earth. It’s a surreal experience, and the utter vastness of space scares you. So does the absolute silence. You’re alone in your spaceship, and it’s cold.

You have the feeling that you’re going somewhere important, but you aren’t sure exactly where. You also have a sense that you won’t be going back to Earth — a prospect that makes you deeply sad. Even though you’re on a new adventure and surrounded by the wonders of outer space, you start to feel hopeless.

Suddenly, you hear what sounds like knocking on the window of your spaceship. You pop open the window (this is a dream, so you can do that with no ill effects) and see a rabbit. He’s fluffy, brown, and white — much different from the smooth, stark metal of your spaceship’s interior.

The rabbit perches on the edge of the window, looking at you with big brown eyes. You pick him up, running your hand through his fur. He settles into your arms, and you start to feel a little more at peace.

This dream might sound fantastically bizarre at first. But the dream interpretation tip above — trying to connect the dream’s storyline to something in your own life — can make it make a little more sense.

In the dream, you’re alone and floating in space. Let’s say that in your waking life, you’re preparing to move to a different country for work. With that piece of information, you begin to see the space rabbit dream as an allegory. After all, moving to a foreign land and abandoning your old life can feel a bit like being adrift in space.

But what role does brown play? The color appears on your mysterious visitor, the rabbit. The rabbit is significant because he’s warm and comforting (in contrast to the cold spaceship), and he’s also from Earth. You start to feel a little more at peace around the rabbit (and the color), so that’s a good sign that brown is representing comfort, warmth, and stability.

We know that being out in space represents your international move, so the rabbit might represent some token of your home country (or even your memories of your life there). In the dream, the rabbit made you feel better even though you were still alone and in space. So your dream might be telling you your memories of home will carry you through this difficult, transitional phase and bring you peace.

Understand Your Dreams to Understand Yourself

A masked man in a brown blazer with clouds for hair

Dreams can be uplifting, entertaining, and sometimes downright scary. But they’re also windows into our innermost, often subconscious thoughts and feelings. When you take the time to analyze and understand what’s going on in your dreams, you’re taking meaningful steps toward getting to truly know yourself. Happy dreaming!

Learn more about dreaming in color and discover what different colors mean in dreams.