Whether you’re styling a nursery from scratch or planning a room refresh as your little one graduates to toddler stage, kindergarten years, or beyond, chances are terracotta might be less on your color radar. The usual kid space go-tos—from sunny yellow to calming sage—often stay on the lighter side of the spectrum or dip into brighter primary palettes, but the clay-like shade can add a sense of balance and grounding (and what parent doesn’t want more of that?).

No wonder a recent Pinterest report saw searches for terracotta bedrooms increase by 341 percent year over year—and the trend isn’t just for grown-ups. While as a material terracotta may not be the most kid-friendly (i.e., it breaks), its color counterpart feels warm, inviting, and a bit unexpected in spaces for the younger crowd. The best part? The subdued shade acts as a hardworking neutral base, capable of evolving with your child’s style (think: swap out playful safari-inspired prints with a sophisticated stripe). Below, we highlight five of our favorite ways to decorate with terracotta in kids’ spaces from the ground up.

Add a Touch of Texture

Terracotta comes from the earth, after all, so it makes sense that natural materials complement the hue, well, naturally. Mix in tonal textures—rattan, seagrass, raffia—to lend a rich, tactile quality. An added layer of handwoven baskets and soft, nubby knits creates a casually pulled-together look that little fingers will love, too.

Mandarin
Mandarin Paint, Behr
Shop

Play With Pattern

Up the ante with a striking floor-to-ceiling backdrop. Happily Grey blogger Mary Lawless Lee swathed her 14-month-old daughter’s playroom in a cross-hatch peel-and-stick wallpaper. Go all out by papering the whole room, or create a focal point with one statement wall. Bonus: The brick-colored print proves more versatile than you may think. In this case it inspired Lee’s gallery wall of peach, pink, and red prints.

weaveterrasilo_e5ad9301-3bad-4968-85dd-acb020b8a7c6
Weave Wallpaper, Hawkins New York
Shop

Consider a Color-Block

As an alternative to wallpaper (and a more rental-friendly option), two-tone your walls with a terracotta shade that pops against a blank white canvas. Our pro tip when color-blocking with paint? Cut the color off midway up or halfway across your wall for a dramatic effect. Then hang accessories like photos, art prints, or bookshelves over the color’s edge to soften the contrast and keep the eye moving.

Nod to Nature

When sticking to an earthy palette, take a cue from Mother Nature herself. Look to the desert landscape for inspiration and bring the great outdoors inside with nature-inspired elements. Sunset hues, organic shapes, splashes of jungle green, and playful animal accents create an instant oasis sure to fuel your mini explorer’s adventurous imagination. 

Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato Paint, Dunne-Edwards
Shop

Try a Trio

Shades of terracotta range from orangey brown to dusty pink, so create a bit of depth with like-minded hues. In her family’s small London home, Vitamin D Project blogger Africa Daley-Clarke embraced the shade spectrum to outfit a space-saving triple bunk bed in her daughters’ and baby son’s shared bedroom. By hanging light-shielding curtains—a nap-time must—in a gradient of warm hues, Daley-Clarke kept the look feeling eclectic yet still cohesive. And we’re on board for any color that keeps things together.

Chimera+Fabric
Chimera Fabric by RM Coco, Perigold
Shop

Want to read about more kid-approved design tricks, creative organization ideas, and family-friendly living solutions? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!