The earthy tone has shaken off its trad image and is right at home in contemporary rooms, say the experts...
Translated from Italian as ‘baked earth’, terracotta has a warm, organic aura.
Create an energising vibe with impact by painting the walls and woodwork in the same shade. Punctuate the intensity with black accents to ground the look and add a sophisticated finish.
‘For me, terracotta transcends the lifestyle of the Mediterranean,’ says Thomas Griem of TG Studio. ‘If teamed with pastels, I would use a dark terracotta to create a strong base. When using it with bold colours, a very light shade can become the mortar, patching the colours like tiles in a mosaic.’
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‘Terracotta works beautifully with soft pinks to add warmth to concrete or Brutalist lines,’ says Russell Whitehead of 2LG Studio. ‘It’s a natural clay, so works with other organic shades, such as sage green. If you’re feeling bold, terracotta looks incredible paired with Yves Klein Blue, which is having a moment.’
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‘Whites work well with this colour, creating a glamorous, Sixties vibe – especially if you use white walls with a terracotta- coloured floor,’ suggests paint and colour expert Annie Sloan. ‘I also love teaming blue-grey with terracotta; the colours contrast beautifully to create a delicious, juicy contrast.
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‘Terracotta can be paired with warm metals to add an extra layer of sophistication, or with pale marbles for a crisp contemporary look,’says Roselind Wilson of Roselind Wilson Design. ‘These striking finishes showcase the versatility of terracotta, adding a sense of depth as well as warmth and character to a space.’
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‘In nature, we often see terracotta boldly contrasting with vibrant greens,’ says Jane Rockett, co-founder of Rockett St George. ‘Do this with accents such as houseplants, Tamegroute pottery or a green jute rug– or you could paint your doors and frames in a silky woodland-green tone. The contrast is spectacular and reminds me of the painted buildings in the busy souks of Marrakech.’
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Use darker shades of terracotta in north-facing interiors and more watered-down versions for south-facing rooms where the light has a chance to reflect back,’ advises Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co Interiors. ‘It’s best to embrace the darkness in north- facing rooms to create cosy, inviting spaces.’
See How to Decorate with Sand, the new neutral.