By Kelly O’Roark
The main room of the house where people do life together – gather to talk, laugh, snack, watch movies, and unwind – should be a place that’s warm and inviting, and an earth tone color scheme for the living room can help to create that welcoming environment. There’s something comforting about rich cocoa browns, red earthy clays, and muted blues as they bring the tranquility of nature into your home.
Have you ever hiked through a breathtaking natural park or walked along the shoreline of the ocean, and wished that you could bottle it up and take it home? The sound of the breeze among the leaves and the waves gently rolling in isn't the only reason that you feel relaxed in those settings, as the sights and the colors also play an important role in creating that peaceful feeling.
Implementing a color scheme that’s inspired by lush forests, sandy beaches, and peaceful ocean waves not only creates a relaxing ambiance but also creates a space without distractions. (Bright yellow couches are fun, but let’s keep them in the game room.) You may have shied away from this color scheme in the past for fear of making your living room look too drab or because the thought of seashells and piles of driftwood in every corner of the room wasn’t appealing. I hear you on that one. You want a room inspired by nature, not necessarily taken over by it.
I’ll show you how to incorporate these colors in a way that makes your living room look timeless and truly brings your shared family space to life. Here are three ways to design an earth tone color scheme for your living room.
1. Beige Walls
I know what you’re thinking (boring!), but hear me out on this. There are multiple reasons to paint your interiors with subdued neutral colors, one of them being that it adds to the resale value (who wants to have to repaint a purple living room?).
More specifically, it’s the perfect backdrop to implement bolder colors with your decorative statement pieces. Furniture, area rugs, vases, and paintings will give you the warmth and vibrancy that you need, and there’s no better place to bring that warmth to the forefront than with beige walls.
2. Terra Firma-Inspired Furnishings
“Terra” what? Here’s your vocabulary word for the day! “Terra firma” refers to dry land, ground, rocks, and woods only (not bodies of water or the sky), so your furniture should mimic these tones. Rich mahogany, coppery tan, and dark cherry wood create a warmth like none other, and they’re the perfect way to set the tone of the room.
These solid color pieces, such as sofas, love seats, recliners, and coffee tables, are the perfect canvas for which to add intricate designs with pops of color inspired by opalescent oceans, majestic mountains, and vibrant volcanoes (yes, lava red is an earth tone)!
Placing various shades of reddish mahoganies and nutty browns (think chestnut and walnut) give the right amount of visual interest without making the room look muddy and monotone. When designing an earth tone color scheme for the living room, the main furnishings will play a supporting role as the color palette broadens into the decorative accents – and couches, table, and chairs with terra firma-type colors are the perfect way to achieve that.
3. Mountain and Ocean-Inspired Décor
Now that you have the ground work laid out (yes, that pun was totally intentional), you can decorate with other earth tone colors that are outside of the brown family, such as sage green, aquamarine, gold, cream, and even red for a bright pop of color to contrast the woody tones from the walls and furniture. Throw pillows, plants, and paintings are great ways to implement these colors, and elaborate patterns are the perfect way to turn them into statement pieces.
When implementing an earth tone color scheme for the living room, an area rug with oceanic greens and blues, as well as seashell-like creams and sand-like golden yellows, can bring cohesiveness to the room to tie your theme together. An intricate design also adds an ornate touch to offset the solid furniture that surrounds it.
Elegant floor vases are also a great way to incorporate the breathtaking colors that you find in a magnificent mountain view. Adding wooden reeds, green foliage, and flowers that are found in nature adds a unique and tranquil touch while bringing subtle hints of the great outdoors into your indoor space.
Now that you’re ready to design a living area with a color palette inspired by nature, you can carry that tranquil color theme to some of your other favorite rooms, like the master bedroom (because relaxation is a theme with which everyone can get on board).
What are your favorite earth tone colors? Is there one particular color that would take center stage in your design or do you prefer to give multiple colors equal time to shine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images used with permission, courtesy of Kelly O'Roark