May 2, 2022
You love to see your jade plant or fig tree in its beautiful terra-cotta planter. But have you ever thought of taking decor inspiration from the clay-based ceramic?
The gray trend in home decor that’s held us in thrall for so long seems to be giving way this spring to a warmer color palette in the terra-cotta family. And the hue is all about the fresh vibes.
“Terra cotta is Italian for ‘baked earth,’ and there is a grounded and timeless appeal in both the color palette and the material,” says Lauren Yarbrough, director of design at Livio Designs in Louisiana. “The material dates back to about 10,000 B.C. from Greece and Egypt, but gained popularity in Europe around the 14th century.”
Want to bring this ancient warm and earthy shade into your home decor—and this century? Here’s a rundown of all the ways terra cotta can bring a modern breeze into everything from your bathroom to lush linens.
While colors fall in and out of favor with homeowners through the decades, terra-cotta floors seem to be trend-proof, perhaps because they’re so practical.
“Terra-cotta floor tiles are durable,” says Dan Wiener, founder and lead interior designer for Homedude. “They’re perfect for kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas because they’re easy to clean and maintain.”
They also come in various tones and patterns and work well with many decor styles, from rustic to boho to the Mediterranean to Euro farmhouse.
Concrete countertops and sinks in terra-cotta hues have been a kitchen trend for a few years, and now they’re being manufactured for bathrooms, too. Companies are firing up made-to-order basins and sinks in a veritable rainbow of colors. Peach and pink look fresh with the brass fixtures we’re all coveting at the moment.
Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to bring a terra-cotta color scheme to your home.
“If you are looking to add a touch of natural warmth to your home, then terra-cotta walls might be a perfect choice,” says Wiener.
Or “even just the rich, muted hue of terra cotta on a focal wall can do the trick,” suggests Sara Ianniciello, director of design at Whitehall Interiors.
If your walls are monochrome white—and you like it that way (or if you rent and have no choice)—you can incorporate the latest trend by choosing furnishings in terra-cotta tones that stand out against the neutral backdrop.
“Try incorporating earthy tones and natural materials into your home decor,” suggests Wiener. “Think leather furniture or pieces with leather trim in earth tones.”
Wicker and bamboo furnishings also have the natural, earthy tones this look requires.
There’s no need to swap out your furniture to get the new terra-cotta look. Instead, you can achieve it by adding textiles like pillows, throws, and rugs.
“Throw blankets and pillows are an easy and affordable way to change up and update your style,” says Yarbrough. “Don’t be intimidated by the array of terra-cotta colors and how to match them. Since terra cotta is a bit of a burnt orange, it pairs beautifully with creams, dusty pinks, maroons, and mustard.”
Or tie it all together with a rug in a monotone earthy color.
“If you want the terra-cotta look without the price tag and the hassle, hand-knotted oushak rugs are a great option,” she adds.
Another trick decorators use to add a statement color and dimension is employing wallpaper. Anyone who has ever renovated a home will probably groan at the thought of wallpaper, but you can use it judiciously to great effect.
“Wallpaper has made a huge comeback in the past few years, and we are using it everywhere,” says Yarbrough. “This is a great way to incorporate new color trends like terra cotta. You can do a full room, a single wall, or accent the back of a bookcase if you aren’t ready to commit fully to the color,” she adds.
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