Trend setters in paint companies are starting to talk about Terracotta again. A much maligned colour for years, people denounced terracotta for being related to the colour schemes of the 80s and 90s. It has been seen to hold no place amongst the smart neutrals and cutting edge blacks, whites and greys of contemporary times. Thankfully, this has changed and the beautiful warm colour of terracotta is making a comback and softening the landscape as it goes. Of course it has never been out of style throughout the Mediterranean but I am glad to say it is making a return to global mainstream decorating trends.
Terracotta and the Bohemian look
A classic Bohemian interior scheme will have some colour, some more than others, and this is where you can incorporate beautiful rugs and cushions into your look. If you are hesitant about introducing colour then it makes sense to turn to a natural hue like terracotta which works so well in Bohemian style rugs and accessories. You get the gorgeous richness but without the strong full on impact.
So, what is the great appeal of Terracotta?
The fundamental appeal of a Mediterranean colour palette lies in its relationship to the natural landscape of the region. Terracotta is one of the main contributors to a classic Mediterranean palette as it is a beautiful natural colour that blends perfectly with the surrounding environment. The Mediterranean look has been admired and duplicated for years by architects and designers wishing to evoke the same feel in their own habitat. Silvery greens from the olive groves that dot the landscape, soft ivory and yellow of the chalkstone hills and rich ochre, umber and sienna from the local soils make up the cornerstone of Mediterranean style.
How to make Terracotta work
The key to ensuring that a Mediterranean colour scheme works is to ensure that all elements, from the paint for the walls, the tiles and timber for the flooring through to the soft furnishings and window dressings are all natural products. Lime wash paint produces a soft, weathered patina and new buildings assume an established air and in time, the lime will bloom to create an ageless look. Floor tiles should be a natural stone, ideally terracotta while timber should be a mid to dark tone with a simple matt finish.
The beauty of Terracotta for the outside
The great appeal of a colour or design renaissance is that it never comes back quite the same as before as designers add a modern feel and use the style or colour in a different way. I can see Terracotta emerging as a lovely accent colour to be embraced more for elements of exteriors and in particular in garden design where beautiful natural terracotta pots sit happily with hip and trendy Corten steel. Corten steel really is a great exterior product which is often used now for accents on houses – if you haven't come across it, I highly recommend you follow it up as it adds a really beautiful statement in a garden setting.
So, finally, I still love the decorating mainstays of neutrals and white and I have championed the benefits and appeal of grey in particular for years, but I am very happy to see the warmth and beauty of nautral Terracotta in design once more. And who can resist the beautiful images that this gorgeous colour evokes of sunny Mediterranean days?
I always look to nature and the natural landscape for colour inspiration and I really like this image of the Mediterranean. This beautiful photograph was taken by Anthony Delanoix and I have used it to put together the following colour palette.
I hope that this article has given you some inspiration to use some beautiful warm colours in your decorating and if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you in the section below.
Related: 4 key elements of contemporary Bohemian Style
Related: My Guide to Moroccan Style
12 thoughts on “Let me show you how to use Terracotta”
Very inspiring, my mountain home is in the throughs of redecoration,this is just what I need thankyou,living in the Pyrenees near the border,difficult for me to choose colours that will suit hot summers and snowed in by the fire. Certainly I don’t feel suffocated with the relaxed tones you have showed
Sounds a beautiful part of the world Amanda – hope the redecoration goes well Samantha
Love this!!! Love Mediterranean Styles, but also live the modern neutrals. Think it’s great that we can combine the both! Fantastic!!!
I have been trying to locate terracotta pots for my house and garden recently due to my admiration of some artwork which I saw when holidaying in Competa in the mountain area of Andalucia. I love the look the colours that you have shown around these pots that turn up in auctions from time to time give. I have now come to terms with my terracotta carper thar goes all the way up the stairs and landing in our house. I think I need to incorporate my love of plants into the house a d change my current choice of wall colours. Thanks a million for your article.
Thanks Evelyn – I’m glad the article has inspired you!
Beautiful work!!! Congratulations!!!
I have terra-cotta tiles on my kitchen floor with maple cabinets…I want to re-do my tile countertops, but don’t know what would go best. I’ve been looking at soapstone. Any suggestions?
Hi Terri Terracotta is a lovely natural floor and with the maple will give you a gorgeous natural palette. I would look to keep the natural look, possibly with some soft earthy tones for the benchtop rather than a clinical white, black or grey. Hope this helps Samantha
Thank you I am leaning toward soapstone..I will send a pic when I’ve decided!
Hi Samantha…I was wondering what the dark olive green paint color was. We have just purchased a ‘fixer upper’ in Terceira and are feeling a bit overwhelmed with paint colors to go with the Spanish tile throughout. Any suggestions on a grey as well?
Hi Liane I’m afraid I don’t know what the colour is and could offer an Australian paint colour but that wouldn’t help you in Portugal. Perhaps take the image to a local paint store and they may be able to colour match it for you? What a fabulous project you have ahead of you! Good luck Samantha
Hello Samantha, I just came across this article and absolutely agree! Terracotta is becoming very popular again, especially as it is being incorporated in modern design in softening outdoor landscape to white painted brick houses. I sell Impruneta Terracotta Pottery imported directly from Italy. I also source clay Terracotta Pottery from Sienna. Please come to http://www.tuscanimports.com and check us out! Thanks again for this lovely article!
Tuscan Imports, Inc.