How to Style an Earthy Color Palette

How to Style an Earthy Color Palette

Home should be a comforting sanctuary in which even the most basic of daily tasks enriches your life. And there is no better refuge than the natural world and exploring the vast array of colors, shapes, and textures it has to offer. In this guide, we get into how a bit of color inspiration from nature can help facilitate a deeper connection with your home.

How to Create a Color Palette

Analogous Colors

earthy color schemes

Creating an earthy color palette in your home doesn’t require you to be a nature expert, and it can be achieved through simple color science. If you’d like to add more color into your home and want to feel like you’re in a meadow rather than a toy store, start with a muted version of a color you really like. Then group it with a bunch of similar colors that are also muted. This is called an analogous color grouping (colors next to each other on the color wheel). It generally feels relaxing and pleasing to the eye because of the reduction in contrast and the similarities to the way we see color variation in nature. Think about many greens mixing together in a forest, or the various browns and yellows of a prairie.

Complementary Colors

After settling on your main color grouping, pair it with its complement, the color opposite on the color wheel. You can also choose something analogous, meaning closely related, to that complement for a less extreme pairing. The farther colors are from one another on the color wheel, the more intense they make each other look. The closer they are on the color wheel, the less intense they make each other look. So, introducing the complement to your color grouping will make their colors more vibrant, while introducing something adjacent to your complement will reduce that effect.

Examples of Natural Color Schemes

Using warm and cool colors together in this way creates harmony for the eyes. Diversifying the singular feeling of a more limited palette creates a more soothing and balanced environment in your home. Below are a few nature-inspired color palettes in action. They include examples of analogous color schemes with their complements, followed by their earth-toned versions.

Green & Peach

While using all neutral tones is often the sophisticated go-to for organic interiors, you can challenge yourself to work in a touch of vibrancy. For this look, we used the subtle blue-greens of alpine mosses while still maintaining that natural earthy look.

Analogous color grouping: Green, Yellow-Green, Blue-green
Complements: Red, Red-Orange, or Red-violet
Earthy equivalents: Olive, Lichen, Seafoam
Complements: Rust, Peach, or Pink

Terracotta & Periwinkle

Projected into 2023 is the use of warm and sandy tones for a sense of calm. People are really craving a sense of comfort in their homes at the moment, so we’ll continue to see the use of an organic color palette with chocolate brown, camel, putty, ochre, and rust. For this look, we pulled from the peachy terracotta hues of desert sandstone and a lavender horizon at sunrise.

Analogous color grouping: Orange, Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange
Complements: Blue, Blue-Purple, Blue-Green
Earthy equivalents: Clay, Rust, Ochre
Complements: Sky Blue, Periwinkle, or Aquamarine

Using Juxtaposition in Your Color Scheme

As we’ve seen by pairing warm and cool colors together, juxtaposing opposites can have a stunning effect. It keeps things interesting, fresh, and fun for you and your guests. For example, combining rugged materials like rock, clay, and wood with a richer earthy palette can look and feel invigorating while still maintaining some of the subtle delicate vibes of an all-neutral home.

Focusing on juxtaposing opposites can also help you execute your design during moments when you feel stuck or uninspired. It guides you toward meaningful objects you might not have thought to introduce otherwise. With an earthy color palette, objects found in or resembling those in nature will inevitably look at ease in your home. Their dramatic difference in appearance will heighten the organic feel. Consider an abandoned bird nest from your backyard or a cherished collected beach shell. Choosing objects of significance facilitates a deeper bond for you and your space. Just like nature, this can positively affect your overall mental health.

Once you’ve chosen your earth tone color scheme, shop furniture and decor at Overstock to get free shipping on everything!* Looking for more ways to bring the outdoors in? See our trend guide to Biophilic Design for tips on how to restore nature to your home.

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