Oftentimes, when we think of terra cotta, our minds immediately imagine the ceramic material used for planters. In terms of color ideas, terra cotta is a warm and earthy burnt-orange hue with a tint of brown. Depending on the shade, or the lighting, terra cotta can oftentimes lean more orange, brown, or even pink. And while it is used a lot in desert-inspired spaces, the hue can actually work with a variety of different aesthetics.
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When it comes to weaving terra cotta into your home, the options are seemingly limitless, although wall paint is a popular method. The color can also be showcased through decor such as bedding, accent pillows, furniture, vases, and throws. "Terra cotta can be paired with any style from contemporary to classic, cottage to coastal, through planters, lighting, and natural elements," says Leslie Lehr, founder of Leslie Lehr Living. "I love to see the serene color added to the interior of the home and exterior in unexpected ways, like using a vintage garden piece inside the entry of the home," she notes.
So, what colors pair well with terra cotta? "We like to think of terra cotta as a versatile neutral," says Jason Bell, director of design at Blackberry Farm Design. "Its warmth and richness pair beautifully with a deep cool color like an oily navy — at the same time, it works perfectly with bright pops of color, like an acidy lime." Bell adds, "It can serve as a beautiful starting point that is far more interesting than just cream and beige."
Need a little more inspiration? No problem. Scroll on for our favorite colors to pair with the earthy hue.
15 Terra Cotta Color Combinations
1. Terra Cotta and Black
Moody black accents make a sleek statement in this dining room belonging to Lone Fox. The terra cotta accent wall, complete with matching shelving, provides loads of warmth — not to mention a rich backdrop to showcase treasured pieces of home decor. The black dining chairs and sideboard offer a modern edge.
Paint the HVAC vent the same color as the wall for an uninterrupted finish.
2. Terra Cotta and Olive Green
In this lofty bedroom belonging to Jessie Ruane of Jessie Finds, the similar yet slightly different tones of the exposed brick walls, hardwood floors with matching furniture, and terra cotta-colored comforter all work together beautifully. The olive green upholstered headboard, lush foliage, and white linens add contrast and help temper the warm scheme. The result is a boho-industrial setup that feels oh-so-chic.
3. Terra Cotta and White
A neutral bedroom belonging to Kate Pearce gets a jolt of color in the form of terra cotta bedding. Follow the lead of this setup, and pair the burnt-orange shade alongside crisp white if you want it to really pop. You can achieve the same look in the living room, by opting for a terra cotta-hued sofa or armchair.
4. Terra Cotta and Pink
An upholstered headboard flaunting an earthy shade of terra cotta is the perfect match for the ash rose linens used in this bedroom belonging to Dominique Gebru. The combo is reminiscent of an idyllic summer sunset and further demonstrates the versatility of the muted pink hue. Off-white bedding has a cooling effect on the warmer colors.
5. Terra Cotta and Yellow
Sunny yellow is always a crowd pleaser, and with one look at the muted shade used in Lareese Craig's bedroom, it's not hard to see why. The cheerful hue pairs beautifully with a whole range of earthy tones — terra cotta clearly being one of them. Here, marigold linens set the stage while terra cotta and pink accents complete the colorful bedscape. The tan paint color, light wood furniture, and brass lighting fit right into the warm, desert theme.
6. Terra Cotta and Gray
When it comes to the color gray, it's hard to go wrong — especially if you're looking for a lighter alternative to black. Take a page out of Sunlover Home's design playbook, and opt for a vibrant terra cotta accent wall behind a charcoal gray headboard in your bedroom. Complete the high-contrast color scheme with linens showcasing more than one shade of gray. A patchwork quilt is an effective and charming touch.
Fact: Terra cotta pairs wonderfully with pretty much any shade of blue, and navy is no exception. In this setup by Sabbe Interior Design, a corridor with terra cotta walls frames the entrance to a navy blue kitchen flaunting terra cotta and white floor tile. An oversize painted portrait in the hallway and patterned wallpaper in the kitchen tie the whole look together seamlessly.
8. Terra Cotta and Brown
Terra cotta limewash walls look lovely with natural wooden furniture as seen in this bedroom by Shrutika Raut. After all, the color is inherently reminiscent of nature, so it will look beautiful with wood finishes of all shades, including brown. The pieces in this setup lean midcentury modern, but the clay color would complement rustic furniture and decor just as well.
9. Terra Cotta and Hunter Green
An easy way to weave more than one color into your space is with decorative accents or wallpaper à la this powder room by Heidi Caillier. The burnt orange and hunter green floral pattern on the walls is the main attraction, but the natural stone countertop complete with rust-colored veining makes quite the impression as well. The rich wood cabinet finish complements the warm palette while adding a subtle dose of texture.
10. Terra Cotta, Black, and White
There is no denying that black and white color palettes can make quite the impression. However, sometimes the high-contrast duo can come off feeling cold and stark. Follow the lead of this living room by Homestyling By Tan and add terra cotta to the mix. Small accents — like candles, a throw pillow, and a blanket — echo the clay-inspired wall color and help keep the space looking cohesive.
11. Terra Cotta and Red
Get a load of this stylish laundry room by Justina Blakeney. The cozy space is picture-perfect proof that a lack of square footage shouldn't keep you from experimenting with bold colors. And as if the terra cotta walls, ceiling, window and cabinet trim weren't enough, the creative designer also threw in red cabinet doors, light blue-green tile, and patterned wallpaper to complete the scene.
12. Terra Cotta and Cream
If you like the idea of using a bold color like terra cotta in your space, but it still gives you pause, start small like this bathroom design from Lorla Studio. The white walls and cream shower tile are met with terrazzo flooring flaunting tiny terra cotta-colored flecks. The burnt orange towel hanging on the wall ties the whole look together.
13. Terra Cotta and Beige
Neutral colors like beige are the perfect match for a more eye-catching hue like terra cotta because they add balance without taking away any warmth. For example, in this bedroom, the earthy beige walls (note the uneven plaster finish used behind the bed) temper the bold duvet cover without watering down the scheme — in fact, it feels cozy as ever.
14. Terra Cotta and Teal
Here is another instance of terra cotta and blue resulting in a strong pairing. In this living room, a jewel-toned teal sofa by Joybird makes a major style statement perched in front of a terra cotta wall. Bonus: When you decide to go with a bold palette you don't need much else in the way of decor — the colors do all of the heavy lifting.
15. Terra Cotta and Greige
Terra cotta color palettes don't always have to be bright and over the top. Avenue Design Studio paired a muted sienna area rug with walls flaunting a greige plaster finish, resulting in a dreamy living room that's equal parts stylish and relaxing. The floor-to-ceiling greige curtains and curved cream sofa add a luxurious note without interrupting the peaceful scene.
The Best Colors to Pair With Terra Cotta
Even though terra cotta is a strong color, it works surprisingly well with a variety of different hues — from neutrals to sunny yellows and greens to calming blues. It really all comes down to the vibe you want to evoke in your space. Do you want a dark and moody bedroom? Or a bright and energizing bathroom? Perhaps, you're looking for something in between? No matter what you decide, just keep in mind that the amount of lighting and the shade of terra cotta that you choose will affect your overall design.
Group your paint and fabric swatches together in your room and live with them for a few days. This will give you a better idea of how the color combinations interact with each other as well as your space.
As you finalize your space, here is a recap of our favorite shades to pair with a terra cotta color palette:
- Olive green
- Navy blue
- Hunter green
- Black and white