Published on April 15, 2019

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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea

It happened slowly. A mini succulent here, a southwestern-style print there. Over the course of the last few years, the beginnings of a desert-inspired design movement formed. Then, the isolated mini fads came together, the official trend reports started forming, and suddenly desert decor was everywhere. Among all the organic materials and subdued prints, a certain color scheme started to pick up steam. Terra-cotta, especially when complemented by other sunset hues, seems primed to be the It color of 2019. Luckily, the versatile shade is super easy to adapt.

How do we know this? For one, Sherwin-Williams picked Cavern Clay, a similarly sun-washed shade, as its 2019 Color of the Year, citing the “cowgirl-chic” aesthetic. When we polled 15 leading design insiders to predict the trending colors for spring, two chose shades of the natural hue as their pick. Aelfie Oudghiri is one terra-cotta devotee: “The color can add earthy drama to an interior through something small, like an unglazed pot, or through painting a whole room,” she says.

Terra-cotta has its roots in history, having been used by civilizations as early as 3000 BC for pottery. As such, it’s an interesting mix of contemporary and antique, which means that unlike other color trends, this one has staying power. Whether you want to instill a dash of desert style in your own home or just really like the sunset hue, here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate this trendy but timeless color into your own space.

If the KonMari method is your worst nightmare…

Add to your ever-growing collection of tchotchkes with a largely useless but incredibly stylish terra-cotta knot. If every available surface in your home is covered in a hodgepodge of curated finds, this piece will bring an earthy touch to your eclectic assortment.

If you could write a book about the art of minimalism…

Pick up a sleek terra-cotta vase. The clean lines and simple silhouette make it prime for die-hard minimalists. Add a simple sprig of greenery or dried flowers (in a subdued hue, of course) for the tiniest pop of color or keep this vase empty and use it as a sculptural accent.

If you aren’t big on art…

Bring interest to your walls in another way—via a beautiful beaded sconce that can easily double as artwork. If your overhead lighting isn’t cutting it, add a couple of these sconces to your walls to create a cozier ambiance while integrating a fun decorative element.

If your tea cabinet is always fully stocked…

Why settle for a run-of-the-mill tea kettle or—gasp—the microwave when this terra-cotta teapot exists? The matte finish and oak handle make for one chic kitchen accessory that you’ll want to display on your stove at all times.

If your sofa is your favorite place…

Show your living room some love by updating your throw pillows. At under $13 a pop, these linen cushion covers are a budget-friendly way to update your sofa. The crisp material paired with the earthy color makes for a southwestern-friendly refresh that’s perfect for warmer weather.

If you just installed open shelving…

You need dinnerware that can double as a kitchen accent piece. Enter: This rustic little plate. Pick up a few to stack on your new shelves and bring a pop of color to your space in the most utilitarian way.

If you religiously read DIY blogs…

Make your next weekend project a gallery wall and kick things off with this abstract print. Available in a range of sizes, this terra-cotta-colored piece is just subtle enough to complement most patterns and hues while still making a statement.

If you collect candles…

Tapered candles are an effortlessly elegant accessory, either as mantel decor or as a centerpiece, and they deserve an equally sophisticated vessel in which to live. This terra-cotta piece is a refreshing departure from traditional bronze candlesticks.

If you treat your plants like your children…

When plain old terra-cotta pots won’t cut it, elevate the style without sacrificing the organic color with a cool new planter. This sculptural piece is certainly an investment, but if your home could essentially double as a greenhouse, treat your plants to a chic new pot.

If you need a versatile finishing touch…

If you’re a minimalist and your living room is an ode to neutrals, drape this rust-colored throw over your white sofa for a subtle pop of color. Conversely, maximalists will also love this textile: It’ll look great paired with bold-colored bedding, like citron yellow or navy blue, for a color-block effect.

See more color trends:
Join Me in My Quest to Resuscitate Avocado Decor
How to Bring This Of-the-Moment Color Combo into Your Space
10 Neutral Finds That Prove This Classic Hue Is Anything But Boring

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