Picking Your Palette

— An Earthy Color Scheme

You may believe that deciding on a color scheme for your home to be a tricky process. The design of a room is made up of various components and color is an integral part of that; arguably the driving force behind any design scheme. An increasingly popular palette amongst homeowners and designers is one that features and represents the natural world. It is a safe bet for any design project as millions of years of evolution guarantee that it will please our eyes.

Going Earthy; The Benefits.

When we think of earthy colors, tones, and elements, we may think of mud, rocks and mountains. These are the colors most deeply familiar to us as for most of our history we have lived in natural environments- urban landscapes are relatively recent aspects of the human experience. All colors affect our psychology. Consider green; it represents harmony and balance and it can make us feel rejuvenated and nurtured. Brown, tan, and beige represent stability, security and structure and can comfort us. These would be a great choice for a family room especially if it were a light brown which is friendly and approachable. Turning to the sea and sky that frame our view, their breathtaking blues represent peace and calm as well as making us feel safe.

Aside from the psychological and physiological benefits of going natural there are practical benefits too. Many items that work well within an earthy color scheme are free, such as grasses, pebbles, driftwood and sand. The best part of including natural materials in your home is the environmentally friendly choice of “upcycling,” so you reap yet another good feel benefit!

Applying Your Earthy Palette

One way to apply your earthy palette is to adopt a monochromatic approach. This method has a unifying effect and creates a harmonious atmosphere in any room. Quite simply, monochromatic means that you work with varying shades of just one color. By playing with different hues and tones of the original color you create a harmonious space. You may want to consider that as you put your room together to make sure that the undertones match. Two design elements with separate undertones might not look as well as expected when put together, but a matching pair could work well side-by-side. You can also incorporate your favorite earthy color in different tones and textures along with some elements of nature, such as wood.

Image Source: Lumar Interiors

Earthy in Practice

Interior designers are well aware of the appeal of using an earthy palette. Marisa Lupo and Luisa Maringola of Lumar Interiors, Ontario frequently use a monochromatic earthy palette in the designs of their rooms and the end results are exceptional. The soft tones of seafoam and stone grey in this bathroom give it a relaxing feel, almost like that of a pebble covered beach as the sun comes up over the shore.

Image Source: Lumar Interiors

Here is another prime example of how these muted shades of this woodland hills green in this bedroom, along with the comforting sandy beige, make for an exquisitely reinvigorating sanctuary.

Image Source: Lumar Interiors

Debbie Talianko of The Talianko Design Group, shares her design approach that is firmly rooted in her California roots:

“I take my inspiration from the sea, which is where I grew up. Ocean hues and lots of white are often the background for my designs. Soft palettes with rich furnishings but with care to make everything touchable and livable.”
Image Source: Talianko Design Group

In this space Talianko has used warmer tones combined with natural elements like fire and bamboo to create a natural tranquility.

Image Source: Talianko Design Group

Arizona based designer Susan Hersker takes a Southwestern approach to the utilization of an earthy palette by introducing real natural elements into the home on a large scale.

Image Source: Design Directives

With Hersker’s darker and richer Southwest designs we see comforting deep browns and beiges, the natural elements of wood, and greens which add a subtle pop of color as a cactus does in the desert.

Image Source: Design Directives

Making Your Home Look and Feel Earthy

If you do not have the budget for a full scale remodel but would like to make the palette in your home a more natural one there are lots of simple ways you can do so. If you have selected a natural color for your walls use natural elements to complement it. For example rocks and seashells work well with grays and browns. A simple yet effective way to complement a natural palette is to add photographs or artwork that represent the natural world. These pieces can unite the scheme of a room and are a great way to create a natural atmosphere. These oceanscapes in this Lumar Interiors’ designed room do just that:

Image Source: Lumar Interiors

It’s also wise to make the most of natural light in every space, it’s free after all and it makes us feel good. Ensure that any artificial lamps are soft and well positioned. You could also choose natural fibre materials like wicker and hemp for your soft furnishings and floor coverings. If you’re lucky enough to have a view, keep curtains open to let the outdoors blend effortlessly with your living space, creating the feeling that your home is an extension of that exterior space. Finally, you can dazzle the senses with other outdoor reminders from house plants to incense and potpourri.

Image Source: Joanne Jakab

You could do something as simple as filling a jar with pebbles — this is common practice among even the most high end of interior designers. Or introduce a terrarium to your space the brings in a complete eco-system. The trend to combine natural elements has been repeatedly featured in vignettes across home decor stores and industry trade shows including North Carolina’s High Point Market. Here you can see designers combining natural elements to create modern art.

Image Source: Joanne Jakab

Designer Joanne Jakab shares that this combination of wood, metal and linen has a unique and edgy look.

Jakab is also a fan of the monochromatic natural palette approach to design.

Image Source: Joanne Jakab Interiors

Earthy: The Safe Choice

Selecting an earthy color palette for your interior has a range of benefits. Not only will you create a stylish interior, you will have an environment that feels comfortable and relaxing; a home that provides that much sought after sanctuary. The colors of nature are already pre-selected to fit together so it makes it extremely easy to design your room in a way that looks natural, that looks right.