Earthy Tones: What Are They and How can You Use Them

When you think of nature and natural elements, earthy tones should immediately come to mind. But what are these earthy tones, and how exactly can you make the most of them when planning the style of your home? For a start, earthy tones mostly refer to browns and shades of brown, the general idea is to create a landscape that reflects elements in nature, from the ground, to greenery, to water, and other scenes that bring about images of the earth. The following sections will cover different aspects of recreating this classic style, from colour palettes, to furniture choices and styles.


To get things started, let’s talk about colours used in this design. Like we mentioned earlier, you’ll want naturally occurring colours, nothing too striking or contrasting. The façade should be neutral, using mainly muted and flat choices which can be achieved with an emulation of natural colours. This gives and expanded the choice of selection with a gradient from auburn to wheat to khaki to caramel.

The colours should reflect the different elements found within nature, but don’t think that this would make your room look plain and boring. With the correct combination of colours, the result can still be chic and tasteful.

Furniture Choices

Image of earthy style furnitures

To match the earthy style, you should aim to incorporate more natural wood into your home and the room. Using furniture pieces with natural wood finishes can help with just that. If you want your room to have a more serious, and old-world style, go for darker woods. If you’re more inclined towards contemporary styles and designs, then lighter wood choices such as birch would be the go-to. For sofas and chairs, dark leather can be a great choice to complete the earthy look with old world, or early 20th century styles, but contemporary styles benefit more from light grey and beige fabric seats.

While darker colour choices are ideal for early 20th century styled designs, and old-world type looks, be careful not to overload the room with too many dark colours. This could cause the room to appear too dark and gloomy which would be very unfortunate and potentially uncomfortable for a living room. You can try to inject streaks and pops of colour in these rooms even with the earthy tones.

While the neutral colours are meant to be the base of the palette, do not be afraid to try putting in more exciting and eye-catching colours to add some life to the room, albeit still in moderation so it does not become gaudy. Hints of orange, red or yellow can mimic sun rays beaming through the room, while flowers and plants definitely add to the natural look and lift the mood of the room.


From mid century to post modern to contemporary to industrial, the types of designs and styles which earthy tones are suited for is extensive. With the focus on neutral and nude colours, the look fits into most minimalist-centric styles.

For example, this Scandinavian styled home gives a new take on the earthy tones. Instead of sticking to the usual browns and beiges, it uses a rust brown paired with reds and oranges to create a warm and alluring look.

Image of industrial design kitchen

You can say that industrial designs would benefit the most from an earthy palette since they both make use of natural elements. The warm red exposed brick and serious dark brown already sets the room with nodes and nods to earthy tones.

Image of contemporary and post-modern living room

Contemporary and post-modern designs also benefit from the earthy tone palette. However, moving away from browns and beiges, the shift now goes towards grey and black. A little different from traditional earthy tones, the look is still classic and stylish with gorgeous arrangements and combinations of colours.