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Decorate with Terracotta: living room, kitchen, bedrooms and more

Warmer colours are having a moment, be that on feature walls or home decor accessories. One of these colours is terracotta. With its origins deep in human DNA, this earthy colour creates a cosy effect and connection to nature.

This article will show you how to decorate with this gorgeous colour, everything from living spaces, bedrooms, kitchens as well as exterior spaces.


1. The origins of terracotta colour

Terracotta finds its origins in clay (the Latin for baked earth or clay is terra-cocta) which has a deep burnt orange/brown colour.

This colour is ingrained in our DNA; some of the first interiors created by man (yes, caves!) still have paintings in this colour, which has been used for thousands of years to paint homes, inside and out.

Fireproof by nature, terracotta has long been used on floor and roof tiles. See the beautiful villages around Sienna in Tuscany (Italy) that use this traditional material. It's strong and can be moulded to any shape - which also explains its wide use in pottery and sculpture. Incorporating the clè tile artisan design, terracotta tiles can also be transformed into unique, handcrafted pieces that reflect both tradition and contemporary artistry.

Terracotta gets its distinctive reddish hue from the amount of iron that it has which reacts to oxygen.

It can have many different hues - from the orange-red that we mostly know it for, to a peachy colour, pink, brown and even grey.

The home of Georgia O'Keefe in Abiquiu. Photo by Brittany Ambridge

2. Terracotta Home Decor: Pendants and crockery

One good reason why this warm colour is having a comeback is the increase in products that are handcrafted.

Beautiful earthenware like this Sue Pryke jug range which is glazed inside with a white tin glaze and unglazed outside to contrast the earthy colour of the red clay (see the full range here) are popular with not just consumers but with interiors brands too.

We often see these products used in photoshoots. Similar to Sue Pryke's half glazed style is Nick Fraser's Geometric Terracotta series (trio of small pendants shown below, photography Nick Fraser Design) which includes pendant shade, vases and pots.

3. Terracotta colours in Wallpaper

In 2017, renowned wallpaper brand Cole & Son introduced a series of wallpapers using this colour in their collaboration with Ardmore. They invariably call the colour burnt orange or tan but at the end of the day, what you get is still terracotta effect colourways.

Some of our favourite wallpapers:

Terracotta Astral wallpaper in Copper from the Jane Churchill Atmosphere Wallpaper Volume II Collection

Above: A design that combines antiques, art and recovered chairs with bold fabric. Interior Design by Blair Clarke and photography by Brittany Ambridge. For a similar wallpaper try the Astral in Copper from the Jane Churchill Atmosphere Wallpaper Volume II Collection.

More Color Inspiration:

4. Terracotta colour in Paint

Designers Dimore Studio, have used terracotta hues in Casa Fayette in Guadalajara, Mexico (photography by Adam Wiseman).

Inspired by local tradition (orange and pink are super hot in Mexico), this colour is perfect indoors, balancing the light. For a similar colour try Copper Blush (Colour of the Year 2015) or Burnt Autumn 3, both by Dulux.

Design by Roberto Baciocchi (PRADA). Photography by Simon Watson for Times Magazine.

Farrow and Ball have two colours in this hue, one is Red Earth, a light terracotta hue taking its name from the very soil beneath our feet. It is a rich blend of red and yellow pigments which create a warm earthy feel in homes both old and new.

The second colour is Book Room Red, but this comes out a lot more red than it appears on the Farrow & Ball website.

Photo is by Farrow & Ball and Ramacieri Soligo

Above: If the colour is too intense to apply on an entire wall, you can always try the colour blocking trick of applying it low around the room like it's done below. The lower colour is Red Earth and just above it is Nancy's Blushes.

Below: Book Room Red sample and applied on walls. See what I mean about the colour looking less red on the sample than it does on walls?

More Colour Inspiration

Little Green offers the option of Tuscany (below) and Tuscan Red in its colour card.

What do you think of this new trend? Is Copper Blush returning or will terracotta hold its own this year? Are you a fan of the earthenware I showed you and will you be working this colour in your homes come Autumn?



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