How to decorate with terracotta - 4 ways to use this earthy colour for a luxurious-looking room

Our colour experts share four ways to make this colour work in your home

Terracotta sofa with terracotta walls
(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Terracotta is fast emerging as the vibrant alternative to neutrals when creating a luxe-looking living room scheme. It summons up visions of Mediterranean getaways and warm summer days. This paint trend has an all-around warm feel to it, making it the perfect spin on beige or grey for creating a relaxing and luxurious-looking home.

We have already seen terracotta garden ideas, dominate outdoors and the earthy shade popping up as an accent shade in home furnishings in cushions, vases and rugs. However, don't overlook the power this colour has on the walls. You can drench walls in a pinky terracotta, or highlight features with lashings of vibrant red-toned terracotta, the options are endless.

How to style terracotta

'This shade reminds us of being abroad, deep sunsets and mosaic floors,' muses Sophie Smith, founder at Zhoosh Paints. 'It's exciting and calming at the same time, and brings joy with a natural cosiness - perfect for modern and older homes.'

If that all sounds like the tone you want to set with your living room colour ideas or bedroom colour ideas then we've rounded up some of the best ways to style it for a sensational look.

1. Go bold in a hallway

Terracotta hallway

(Image credit: Earthborn)

'Terracotta has a reassuring earthiness that exudes timeless simplicity,' says James Sirett, head of product at Fired Earth. 'With the exception of "muddy" or burnt-orange shades, it can be surprisingly opulent too. Opt for rich, vibrant red or orange-toned terracottas for a warm, welcoming hallway.'

Freckle claypaint, £57.50 for 2.5l, from Earthborn is the ideal warming orange terracotta shade hallway colour. However, if you prefer a more dramatic vibrant red hue, consider Riad Terracotta wall paint, from £55.95 for 2.5l at Annie Sloan.

2. Pair with natural materials

Terracotta walls with wooden bench

(Image credit: Fired Earth)

'Rich earthy tones add sophistication and warmth to any interior. Terracotta is versatile, pairing well with a variety of textures, such as natural fabrics, and other colours such as biophilic greens,' says Anna Hill, brand director and colour consultant at Fenwick & Tilbrook.

The earthy and grounding nature of terracotta makes it a match made in heaven for natural materials for curating a smart scheme. Think rustic wooden furniture, textured rugs and plenty of earthenware.

3. Mix in warm neutrals

Terracotta sofa in living room

(Image credit: Snug)

If you want to spice up a neutral colour palette, terracotta is the perfect soothing shade.

'Terracotta shades offer the ideal alternative to the classic neutral palette, blending seamlessly with a range of design style,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown Paints. 'I love to see rich terracotta tones paired with warm neutrals and dark browns that accentuate its richness.'

4. Warm up a dark room

Terracotta red kitchen with grey walls

(Image credit: Little Greene)

If you have a poorly lit room terracotta is a great shade to add warmth, according to Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball.

'While fashion often looks to neutrals, don't forget reds and pale terracottas to spice up an interior space. Used judiciously, they can bring warmth to a poorly lit room and even flatter the complexion when used in a bathroom,' he explains.

Where should you not use terracotta?

The key to making terracotta work is using it in rooms that highlights its undertones, this means you should generally avoid using it, or at least a deep terracotta shade, in a darker room.

'A complex brown colour like terracotta, with its red and orange undertones, is best used in a space that allows its subtle variations to shine through,' explains Annie Sloan, colour and paint expert.

'Avoid a deep shade in a darker north-facing room; the nuances will be lost and it could look a little muddy.'

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend. 

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