April 7, 2022 | Updated: March 9, 2023

Trends & Styles

The classic appeal of earthy tones

Earthy tones like brown and beige are just now having a moment in home décor.

These colours evoke warmth and familiarity, which helps create a sense of comfort and protection. We are hardwired to respond to these colours, especially in the UK.

This article explores the classic appeal of earthy tones in home décor. It also explains why, as well as being timeless, they are a valuable tool in creating a homely home.

Earthy tones home décor

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Earth tone colour palette 

Think again if you believe that earthy tones are a limited colour palette. Earthy tones are, in fact, everything except boring and dull. There is a range as wide and as nuanced as each individual interior.

Key questions about earth tones

"Earthy tone" is a term that can describe several different concepts related to colour palettes. Colours that contain brown, literally the colour of the earth in the UK, are referred to as earthy tones. The term also references colours found in nature, on planet earth. It comprises a variety of shades and colour references that includes everything between sky and earth. And finally, the term is synonymous with a more neutral colour palette, non-colours, muted or pastel shades.

With greater appreciation of our finite natural resources, designers and architects focus their gaze more and more on the natural world around us. In the UK, that means the earthy tones of the British landscape (both urban and rural) inspire colour palettes for home décor. This approach includes everything from energy consumption to recycling to environmental awareness in the home. Colour is just another expression of this sensibility.

Earth tones in the UK

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Stuc Grey Nature 120X250cm – Wall Tiles (Available in-store)


Earth tones in the UK

The colours that make up our interior décor often come from the natural world around us. Meadows, mountains, native trees, and wildflowers inspire us when decorating our homes.

However, these shades vary greatly depending on the light qualities, latitude, climate and other environmental factors. Thus, tropical colours tend to be intense and vivid, like the plumage of exotic birds of paradise. The UK, on the other hand, has a more muted light. As a result, softer, more earthy tones look more at home here.

These are the colours that bind us to the places we live:

Earthy tones - Palette 1The greys and mustards of limestone and sandstone that clad public buildings.


Earthy tones - Palette 2The burnt ochre, beige, brown and green shades that cover the landscape like a mantle through the seasons.


Earthy tones - Palette 3The endless variation in the washed-out reds of bricks within our cityscapes.


How to incorporate earth tones into your home

Here we will look at how different earthy tones can add to the various rooms in the home. Additionally, we will provide ideas on the best ways to decorate with these colours.


Earth tone bedroom 

Interior design in the bedroom aims to create a ‘cocoon like’ setting for sleep. And the colour scheme of the room significantly facilitates this. In this regard, colour psychologists emphasise the importance of blue, green and pastel shades for relaxing our minds and disconnecting.

The perfect bedroom palette, just like any other room in the house, is all about colour combinations. Here are some of the most recommended.

  • Cool blue, beige and off-white. Nothing beats calm and relaxing colours for the bedroom, such as teal blue and other variations of blue (painted or wallpapered). For a more refined look, pair with wooden furniture and white bedding.
  • Mustard, grey and brown. Powerful colours for the bedroom walls, like muddy mustard, can act like a warm blanket while lightened by softer accessories. Bed throws, furniture and decorative objects, for example. 
  • Beige, white and raw organic tones. The pictured bedroom augments the daylight with reflective earthy tones based on the raw textures of the materials. Timber and rattan furniture, linen bedding, and taupe walls complement light grey or beige porcelain floor tiles.


Earthy tone bedroom

Stuc Rope Deco Nature 120X250cm – Wall Tiles (Available in-store)

Stuc Rope Nature 120x120cm – Floor Tiles (Available in-store)


Earth tone living room

When it comes to living room décor, the muted, neutral colour palette of earthy tones is the ideal background. To take full advantage of them, layering these colours is highly recommended. It is accomplished by contrasting and combining furniture, accessories, soft furnishings, and artworks.

The earthy colour palette is highly versatile and can underline the preferred décor style of individual living rooms.

  • Traditional. Dusty reds, like crimson, terracotta and mauve, are the perfect background colour for statement furniture like leather chesterfield sofas. Teal and olive green, on the other hand, when combined with timber floors and wicker furnishings, look effortless. 
  • Contemporary. Off-whites, greys and beige shades transmit light and optimism. When combined with designer pieces of furniture, the background colours almost disappear. Individual creativity and flair are added with accessories that, when kept in the earthy colour palette, help layer the space.
  • Industrial. Colours (and non-colours) such as dark grey, black and midnight blues tend to lift the industrial style décor. Rich earthy shades complement metallic finishes and add warmth to what can otherwise be a cold décor.    


Earthy tone living room

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The image above illustrates a bright, sunny living room with large windows overlooking the garden. Timber floors, off-white walls, raw tones, soft furnishings, and beige furniture are combined to bring the outside world indoors. The earthy tones combine both worlds in a unified décor.

Earth tone kitchen 

The kitchen is where earthy tones and the muted colour palette come into their own. The reason is to do with food and our never-ending fascination with authenticity, provenance and the organic. The earthy tone colour palette sets the scene for these conditions with natural wood and other organic materials. Moreover, it helps create a warm and welcoming environment.

Earthy colours in the kitchen offer the following advantages:

  • Timeless appeal. Earthy tones always look familiar to the eye no matter what happens to be trending at any particular time. They never really go out of style.
  • Versatility. Within the spectrum of earthy tones, there is a lot of leeway for individual expression.
  • Raw and sustainable. Earthy tones reflect the popularity of timber floors, cabinets and natural stone worktops in the kitchen. Earthy tones reinforce this notion of sustainable design. 


Earthy tone kitchen

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Earth tone bathroom

After the kitchen, the family bathroom tends to be the area of the house where we spend most when it comes to refurbishing. The characterful yet neutral shades of earthy tones provide an ideal background to designer sanitary ware. Likewise, the lighter browns and earthy beiges reflect just the right amount of light and provide hard surfaces with warmth.

▶ Tip: In wet areas such as the bathroom, high-quality vinyl tiles that replicate authentic wood flooring or porcelain wood effect tiles are some of the best flooring options.


Earthy tone bathroom

Mosaico Durango 33,3X100cm – Wall Tiles (Available in-store)

Durango Bone 33,3X100cm – Wall Tiles (Available in-store)


Earth tone wallpaper

Wallpaper is very much back as a popular choice for home décor, with good reason. The versatility and freedom it offers are peerless. And when it comes to earthy tones, wallpaper has some advantages over paint:


Skins Clarence Beige 53X1005 cmThe combination of organic materials and earthy tones is warm, sumptuous and visually appealing. Textured wallpaper in beige, brown, and olive green shades made from natural, raw fibres is an excellent choice.


Skins Mondrian Beige 53X1005 cmGeometric or abstract patterns in earthy tones help to warm living spaces. Reds, ochres and mustards look especially appealing when paired with more muted browns and beiges. Earthy tones are within the same family of colours and always look good when combined, regardless of the motif.

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