There’s nothing new about using terracotta in design—in fact, the color dates back thousands of years. While the hue has never gone out of style, it’s seen a resurgence recently thanks to its soothing down-to-earth feel, which is just what we all need.
What Is Terracotta?
Think of the color terracotta like the fired clay it’s named after: a warm, rich, reddish-orange hue with a touch of brown.
“After years of cool shades, like blues and grays, dominating décor, people are ready for some warmth,” interior designer Sarah Cole says. “Designers are infusing rooms with colors like terracotta because it has a way of looking sophisticated but also natural, and people are definitely embracing that shift.”
Translating to “baked earth” in Italian, true terracotta is just that and the terracotta color evokes just that. Beyond actual terracotta pottery, there are plenty of ways you can incorporate terracotta-colored pieces into your home, whether through textiles, wallpaper, paint, or otherwise.
Here are 10 of our favorite ways to decorate with terracotta in your home.
Meet the Expert
Sarah Cole is a Massachusetts-based interior designer and owner of Sarah Cole Interiors.
Add a Terracotta Throw Blanket
To dip your toe into using the tone terracotta, start with adding a practical accessory like a throw blanket to your bedding. An oversized throw not only makes for a cozy piece to cuddle up in, but can be mixed and matched with all kinds of tones.
“To use terra cotta in the bedroom, I like layering it with other natural tone colors,” Hilde Leiaghat, designer and CEO of L.A.-based textile brand, Pom Pom At Home, says. “It's very easily mixed with nudes, sands, and blush, or if you prefer darker, you can mix it with chocolate browns and even charcoal.”
Go Big and Bold With Terracotta Drapes
You’ll be hard-pressed to find drapes that are more elegant than the floor-to-ceiling ones in this living room designed by Jessica Lagrange Interiors. The lush terracotta color elevates the space both in feel and height, since they oh-so brilliantly draw your eye all the way to the ceiling. Here’s proof just how versatile the color is too, since it pairs easily with the other tones in the room, like ivory, mauve, and brown.
Add Texture With Terracotta Upholstery
A standout way to incorporate terracotta into a bedroom is to upholster a headboard with the earthy color since it pairs well with all kinds of wood tones. (even better if it coordinates with the wallpaper, too). Cole, who designed this space, agrees.
“Terracotta has an organic vibe that works with popular wood tones, like walnut and natural oak,” she says. “Terracotta also has a depth to it that is lacking in more vivid shades of red and orange—it's more soothing and can therefore make an impact visually without looking harsh.”
Create a Conversation Starter With a Terracotta Refrigerator
There’s nothing subtle about a terracotta-color refrigerator, like this one by Big Chill, and that’s what we like about it. This one evokes a ‘50s vibe, yet (almost) blends in with the surrounding wood cabinets. It’s unexpected, it’s charming, and it’s bound to stir up lots of conversation amongst guests.
Seek Out Terracotta-Colored Leather Pieces
Terracotta can be introduced through all kinds of materials, including leather. Take these woven leather dining chairs from Lindye Galloway, for instance. They bring rich color, rich texture, and a rich style that will only look better as they’re lived in.
Add a Piece of Terracotta-Colored Furniture
For a large dose of terracotta, opt for a standout piece of furniture, like this Makeva Anise Brown Swivel Chair from Article. It's likely easier to pair with your existing furniture than you may initially imagine.
“Terracotta-color furniture is versatile and invokes a sense of warmth and coziness in the living room while packing an earthy punch,” Madison Adam, the interior design service manager at Article, shares with us.
Commit (Kinda) With Peel-And-Stick Wallpaper
On one hand you’re a risk taker, down to outfit your walls in a wild terracotta-colored patterned wallpaper. On the other hand, maybe you live in a rental that’s not permanent wallpaper-friendly or you’re prone to complete room redos every few years. Sound familiar?
In that case, consider peel-and-stick wallpaper, like this Cabana in Heat Wave design by Tempaper, your friend. It’s just as easy to apply as it is to remove, without leaving any residue behind. If you’re renting, you will get your deposit back—we promise.
Mix and Match Different Terracotta-Patterned Pieces
We’ve already established how effortless terracotta can be introduced into a bedroom design, especially in your bedding. If you’re eyeing pieces to add to your bed, take notes from this Joshua Smith Inc.-designed space. Here he utilized pillows and all kinds of terracotta-colored bedding pieces in various patterns and textures, creating a cohesive yet layered look.
Incorporate Terracotta Planters Into Your Home
Terracotta planters are a classic. Whether they’re made of true terracotta or simply terracotta-colored, the tone coordinates perfectly with the vibrant green of your plants. If you’re looking for a subtle and sophisticated way to incorporate the color into your home, this is the place to start. You’ll never tire of the tone, and your thriving plant babies won’t either.
Go Classic With Terracotta Tile
Terracotta tile has been a mainstay in homes for centuries, and for many good reasons. It’s elegant, timeless, simple, durable, and gets even better with age. You can’t ask much more of tile. This mesmerizing Clé Tile pattern is Exhibit A. Its varying tones bring serious character and charm to this bathroom, or any space where you’d lay this quintessential terracotta tile.