Back to Earth: How to Decorate with Terracotta
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.’
HOW TO USE TERRACOTTA
THE BEST TERRACOTTA PAINT COLOURS
BEST TERRACOTTA PAINT FORCREATING A WARM RESTFUL SCHEME
‘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.’
BESTTERRACOTTA PAINTFORSMALL SPACES
‘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.
BEST TERRACOTTA PAINT FOR CO-ORDINATING WITH OTHER SHADES OF TERRACOTTA
‘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.’
BESTTERRACOTTA PAINT FOR AN AUTHENTIC MEDITERRANEAN FEEL
‘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.’
BESTTERRACOTTA PAINT FOR USING WITH A NATURAL STONE FIREPLACE
‘The palette has moved on from the stippled paint-effect Tuscany style of the Nineties,’ says Tor Vivian of Tor Interiors. ‘Update it with muted colours, such as dove grey, or stronger colours like teal, black and white to create a warm space with graphic accents.’
BESTTERRACOTTA PAINTFOR LIFTING A SHADY ROOM
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.
Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.
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