Can't believe I'm saying this, but fall is coming - fast. In the fields I'm already seeing tall, brown grasses and signs of harvest. The days are long, but they're getting shorter. Kids are going back to school soon. I'm getting a craving for homemade apple pie from freshly picked apples. And I'm totally stocking up on the last of the fresh berries at the grocery store!
August is a mysterious, hot time of year, when the natural, rustic world collides with the last weeks of summer vacation. It's bittersweet, really. I love summer - I hate to see it go. But I also love autumn.
In celebration of the turning time of year, I'm going to spotlight a terracotta color palette. Before I begin though, you can now purchase this palette to receive the links to each item you see! It's a great way to order samples to see if this palette is right for your space.
It's funny because as soon as I designed this month's palette, terracotta items started to pop up in my inbox. It just got me more excited about the possibilities of using this color! A lot of people will shy away from its boldness but when used correctly it can really warm up your space.
Terracotta is a shade of orange that many people associate with deserts, southwest architecture, and unglazed pottery. You can also find this awesome shade in many industrially designed spaces like city lofts or older buildings. Brick is probably the biggest item that showcases this amazing color and we all know how much I LOVE brick!
I mean look at that area right there. You can just feel the breeze and soak up the culture in this space. This natural, lovely orange appears absolutely everywhere in the New Jersey landscape at this time of year. You can see it on the curled edges of the leaves on the trees, in the pumpkins starting to ripen. It's the perfect color for a living room, a home office, or a kitchen.
Is a Terracotta Color Scheme Right For You? You Might Be Surprised!
Terracotta is a color some people love to use, and some people approach cautiously. Terracotta might seem bold, but it’s actually much easier to decorate with than you might guess. And it’s fun! It’s warm, grounding, and lively - all in one color.
Actually, here are some common questions that clients bring up when I suggest a color palette that includes terracotta:
“Does a terracotta color scheme take over the room? I don't want my room to be too "orange."
I like to balance terracotta with other earth tones like cream, warm brown, and shades of muted green. To prevent your room from becoming too orange, I suggest scattering terracotta colors around the room with some well-chosen pieces of pottery, terracotta floor tile, or exposed brick. Combine that with accents of green or muted blue-green, maybe in some throw pillows or pillar candles. Keep this in mind: even the most colorful palettes aren't too overpowering if they're presented in moderation.
“Can a terracotta color scheme be used with blue?”
Absolutely! I know I suggested using terracotta with shades of green, but I love using terracotta with shades of gray blue or denim. It’s always helpful to consult with your designer to get the most out of your terracotta color scheme.
“Is terracotta too dark to use in a small room?”
While you do have to be careful when using dark colors in small rooms, you can definitely find ways to incorporate terracotta into a smaller space. I think the best rooms for this type of color scheme are rooms that have a lot of natural daylight. Of course, I recommend using terracotta in moderation in small spaces. Balance it with the blues or greens I've described.
“Is terracotta stylish?”
Terracotta is a color that trends from time to time, but I see this color as a classic, timeless shade, rather than a trendy color. I've used this color many times with clients, always to great effect. I even incorporated it into my own home!
Benefits of Terracotta
So, here's what I love about using terracotta in home decor:
Versatility. Terracotta works in just about every room to create a sense of warm homey-ness. In fact, you don't even have to make terracotta the focal point of the room. When you install terracotta floor tile, for example, the floor tile blends into the background and creates a warm backdrop for the other colors in the room.
Sophisticated. This up-scale color can be found in the most sophisticated living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens and more. This is definitely a "grown up" color.
Works in many design styles. Despite all the associations I mentioned earlier in this article, you aren't limited to southwest design styles when you use terracotta. You can use this color with modern minimalist styles, transitional styles and more.
How to Decorate with Terracotta
Ok, so how do you decorate with terracotta?
First of all, I always suggest working with a professional for best results. Terracotta is a bold choice that you can go very wrong if you're not careful. A well-trained professional will have ideas about how to create a balanced color palette that shines.
Next, know your goals. What kind of environment are you hoping to create in your home? What motifs and decor would you like to see in your environment? What kind of flooring and furnishings are you imagining in your space? Know the answers to these questions.
Some tips for working with terracotta:
Choose the exact shade of terracotta and the balancing shades of blue or green before you start decorating.
Remember that less is more. Just a little of this color goes a long way.
Lighten the room with creams and whites. If you're worried about going too dark, pair this color with fresh, milky white. Use natural day lighting and artificial lighting to your advantage.
When to Use Terracotta
First, evaluate your love of terracotta before you start making design choices. Terracotta isn't a color that you can cover up once you've installed terracotta floor tiles, for example. If you'd like to use terracotta in your home decor but don't want to marry yourself to the shade, consider adding in some accessories to begin with! My design shop now has these below and other items that will go great in any room!
Because terracotta is such a natural color, it combines well with small splashes of unusually bright colors like sunny yellow, turquoise, and fire-truck red. This is why you see terracotta combined with vibrant painted tiles in southwestern architectural styles. Don't feel limited by my suggestions to combine terracotta with blue or green. Remember that this color - though bold - is almost a neutral. Do what you want! Go crazy!
Want Terracotta in Your Home? I Can Help!
Whether you strive to create a desert feel with a southwest style room or you're just hoping to create a rustic, natural space that everyone can enjoy, terracotta is a color I often recommend to clients.
This color is the perfect addition to a home where natural elements play an important role in the decor. If you're worried about using terracotta in your house, but you'd like to incorporate some signs of nature and the natural world in your home - or you’re not sure whether you want terracotta to be the main color in your home or an accent color - work with your designer to create a color scheme that will meet your needs.
And, if you're looking for a designer who can help you in New Jersey, contact me to get started with your home's interior decorating scheme. I've got lots of ideas and I'm always excited to help a new client create an indoor space that they'll love. Click here to learn more about my services!
Until next time friends,
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