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Photo Courtesy of Justin Colt

These Earth Tones Are Perfect for Luxury Living Rooms

Let Mother Nature show you a trick or two with sand, beige, taupe, and terracotta.
Roxanne Robinson May 26, 2021
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Earth tones are trending again—especially, in the living room. It's plausible to thank exes Kanye West and Kim Kardashian for their latest popularity. The 21st-century power couple influenced the masses when they bedecked their massive Wyoming estate in warm, earthy hues. (In contrast, their California abode made headlines for its monastic, all-white interiors). Both celebrities favor these natural shades in their various clothing ventures: Yeezy and Skims, respectively. 

The obsession with the beauty of nature and the earth reaches back to the 1970s and earlier. In the early 19th and 20th centuries, other distinguished Americans James Audubon and President Theodore Roosevelt promoted the care and preservation of the planet’s natural habitats—and, with it, an interest in its basic color scheme. Whoever history credits with the popularity of these terrain-inspired colors is yet to be determined. In the meantime, let Nest Casa show you how to lay the groundwork for optimizing these earthy hues.

What Colors Are Earth Tones?

Identifying earth tones is the first step to understanding how to use them. Rather than being  any hue seen in nature, they don't relate to everything Mother Nature put on the planet. Instead, they refer to substances and items found on the earth’s ground (think: dirt, sand, clay, stones, and rocks). Thus browns, tans, terracotta, umber, yellow ochre, and gray tones that mimic rocks belong in this genre.

The Top Earth Tone Colors

Sara Colombo of Nest Casa enjoys earth tones for their warm and comforting vibes. “Earth tones signify a peaceful, inviting and calming space,” she says. Her theory for their sudden resurgence is that the colors have gone from safe to strong design aesthetics. “The cultural focus on being authentic, natural, and sustainable—whether it’s in the beauty, fashion or design industries—is driving the earth tone trend.”

The founder and design expert chose four favorite Pantone shades that represent sand, beige, taupe, and terracotta. These neutral colors are exceptionally modern with a contemporary, inviting appeal.

What Colors Complement Earth Tones?

The best complementary hues are the ones that appear alongside earth tones in natural landscapes. A light blue with a touch of turquoise resembling a clear blue sky—or a bright green recalling a lush, grass lawn. Even a pale pink that resembles the color of a rose pairs well with these shades. Then again, since earth tones are neutral, it's hard to imagine any color that doesn't work well with them.

Styling a Living Room With Earth Tones

Because of their convivial, attractive vibe, earth tones are perfect for rooms meant to foster relaxation and a good, easy-going mood. With Nest Casa's palette, beige and sand can dominate flooring, cabinetry, and large furniture. Taupe can decorate an accent wall color or even a sofa or sectional. Since it’s the most vibrant, terracotta can be used in final touches, such as throw pillows, lamps, or even a graphic art piece. "The impact of the design comes from the shapes and textures chosen," says Colombo. 

Editor's Picks: Earth Tones

Roxanne Robinson
Roxanne Robinson is an award-winning Paris-based American journalist covering luxury and fashion industries with over 25 years of experience. I spent over 18 years at WWD, covering sportswear, accessories and fine jewelry. My career witnessed the shift from print media to the digital age. I gained expert knowledge of the design world, wholesale and retail markets as well as the marketing that supports them. I met endless creatives and business people who create luxury from inception to POS with the consumer. My work has appeared in Forbes.com, BoF, The Hollywood Reporter, CRFashionbook.com, The Jewelry Journal as well in-house publications and websites at Bally, Pomellato, Au Depart and Editorialist.com among others.
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