What Colors Work With Modern Terracotta Tiles - Stone Tile Depot

What Colors Work With Modern Terracotta Tiles

Terracotta is widely considered to be a neutral design element. What do we mean by that?  Terracotta displays a wide range of color visuals. Mexico produces tiles that wander from soft blonde to hearty brownish-red. Tuscany offers deeper earthy reds. Spain and Portugal also contribute their own unique interpretations. All of these approaches to the production of modern terracotta tiles create the opportunity to pair a terracotta floor with a wide variety of design styles and color values. Let’s take a deeper look and learn more.

What are modern terracotta tiles?

To get a baseline of knowledge on modern terracotta tiles, let’s first understand what is meant  by “terracotta.”  A literal translation is “baked earth.” That certainly sounds simple. But there are variations on how it is “baked”, and what exactly is the “earth” part of the process.  In Saltillo, Mexico, indigenous clay is selected, mixed with water, shaped, and set out in the sun to bake and harden. This has traditionally resulted in tiles in a medium to light color. A different approach is taken in the area around Florence, Italy. There the process involves a denser clay that is first machine-pressed into the desired shape. These tiles are then kiln-fired at relatively high temperatures. In this case, a harder, deeper red is the result.

The history of terracotta

The simplicity of terracotta has made it a staple of architecture, design, sculpture, and art for thousands of years. It has performed particularly well in architecture and design. Examples of successful exterior paving, exterior cladding, interior flooring, and interior wall covering dot the maps of history. Sculptures and potters have worked it into cups, vases, urns, pots, and figurines, such as the incredible Chinese Terracotta Army, shown below. All of these elements are cousins to modern terracotta tiles.
Chinese Terracotta Army
Chinese Terracotta Army

Terracotta and color

The Pandemic reinforced the importance of homes and their design in American life. Interior designer Timothy Corrigan told Vogue Magazine, “There is more and more research that shows the direct influence that our homes have, not only on our moods but our overall health and well-being.” Today, social media platforms expose a homeowner to as many design ideas as they care to consume. Cottagecore, Modern Farmhouse, Minimalist, Rustic Vogue, Biophilic, and many others will fill up their inboxes and search results. Each of these styles features certain signature color schemes that set the tone and mood.

Modern terracotta tiles will add a bit of earthy gravitas to the neutral color palettes that are typical of Cottagecore and Modern Farmhouse. Terracotta is a perfect alternative when a wood floor tile just doesn’t quite seem right.  Both Minimalist and Rustic Vogue plans can leverage the natural, unassuming, vibe of deep terracotta colorways. If a room or home is hoping to achieve the human-centered ethos of Biophilic Design, nothing can say “natural environment” better than modern terracotta tiles. Also, you can keep the modern look in your home with beige travertine tile or white travertine tile. Don’t forget the harmony between these two!

Modern terracotta tiles
Elongated terracotta rectangles

In conclusion – modern terracotta tiles

Terracotta is born of the earth, water, air, and fire. Clay from the earth is mixed with water and baked in a fire that is powered by oxygen from the air. That brings us to our final thoughts on colors that will work with terracotta. Classic earthy browns, tans, and beiges are easy pairings. Likewise, fiery reds, oranges, and burnt yellows will work seamlessly on the terracotta canvas. But please don’t rule out the sky and watercolors. You might be surprised at the design reach of modern terracotta tiles. In addition to terracotta, Stone Tile Depot offers a wide selection of other tile and stone products that can be seen in our Inspiration Gallery. Thanks for reading!