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What color goes with earth tones?

What color goes with earth tones?

Earth tones are natural, neutral colors that come from the earth and ground us in their stable, soothing energy. They include warm browns, taupes, tans, greys, light blues, sage greens, and cream colors that evoke nature. When decorating with earth tones, it’s important to understand what colors complement them best to create a cohesive, peaceful look.

Warm neutral colors

Warm earth tones like tans, browns, and terra cottas pair beautifully with other warm neutrals. Colors like peach, coral, burnt orange, brick red, and mustard yellow have a similar underlying warmth that allows them to blend seamlessly.

For example, a mocha brown sofa looks cozy and inviting against walls in a peach or terracotta hue. Rich brick red throw pillows and blankets give a pop of color while staying perfectly at home in an earth toned space.

Cool neutral colors

On the cooler side of the spectrum, earth tones also go well with other quiet, subtle neutrals like sage green, slate blue, mushroom gray and pale aqua. These cool tones have the same sense of calm as earth tones, while providing enough contrast between them to keep the space visually interesting.

Consider an earthy palette of cream, olive and soft gray for a bedroom, with touches of powder blue in the bedding and throw pillows. The blue adds a restful accent while maintaining the overall natural, grounded feel.

Vibrant accent colors

Although earth tones are muted by nature, don’t be afraid to pair them with bold, vivid hues as accent colors. Pops of intense color enliven and energize an earth toned space.

Deep magenta, emerald green, cobalt blue and sunshine yellow all make eye-catching additions. Just use them sparingly in small decor items, artwork or floral arrangements. Too much will overwhelm the earthy base palette.

Metallic sheens

Metallic finishes like copper, bronze, pewter and brushed nickel add subtle shine and dimension to earthy palettes. Metallics recall minerals, metals and other materials straight from the earth itself.

Warm copper looks gorgeous paired with umber and ochre earth tones. Cool pewter and silver complement granite, slate and mushroom gray shades. Use metallics in lighting fixtures, hardware, decor accents and textiles.

Natural materials

When decorating with earth tones, choose natural materials like wood, rattan, leather, cotton, wool and linen to enhance the organic feel. Avoid slick synthetics that might disrupt the earthy vibe.

Unfinished wood furniture has beautiful raw texture that pairs perfectly with earth toned spaces. Leather and wool upholstery in rich browns and tans feels cozy and timeless. Use cotton and linen for drapes and slipcovers to soften sharp lines.

Tips for combining colors with earth tones

Here are some helpful tips for selecting and combining colors with earth tones:

  • Stick with a maximum of 3-5 colors in an earth toned palette for visual harmony.
  • Layer shades of the same hue (e.g. light tan, medium tan, dark tan) for a monochromatic look.
  • Add pops of brighter accent colors no more than 15-20% of the space.
  • Repeat colors throughout the space for flow.
  • Ground brighter colors with plenty of neutral earth tones.
  • Use an accent color to tie together both warm and cool earth tones.
  • Add metallics and natural materials for depth and texture.
  • Select colors with similar undertones and levels of saturation.

Earth tone color combinations

Here are some soothing, balanced earth tone color schemes to inspire you:

Color Scheme Color Combination
Warm neutrals Cream, tan, light mocha brown, peach
Cool neutrals Mushroom, dove gray, sage green, sky blue
Warm accent Khaki, terracotta, dark red, burnt orange
Cool accent Oatmeal, charcoal, lavender, seafoam
Vibrant pop Taupe, sepia, emerald, yellow
Natural metals Beige, umber, bronze, copper
Monochrome Light brown, medium brown, dark brown


Earth tones provide a grounded, neutral foundation for interior color schemes. Whether you prefer a soothing monochrome look or richly layered palette, earth tones perform best when combined with colors that share their muted, natural essence. Accent hues and metallic finishes give a pop of contrast while remaining harmonious. Use these earth tone color pairing tips to create a welcoming, tranquil environment.