By Vinita Baravkar
Whether you’re looking to buy some new bath towels or invest in some quality bed linen, choosing the right colour for an object in your home is never an easy task.
After all, colours can have effects that extend beyond the aesthetic. Some colours can bring us more joy, whilst others can overstimulate us or even lower our moods. And after a long and busy day the last thing you want to come back to is a home that doesn’t promote your happiness and well-being.
Enter earth colours.
Tones that are inspired from elements of the natural world, colours of the earth can have profoundly calming effects on our psyches. According to Design Psychologist at Essence of Home, Kylie Sandland, “studies show that when we draw nature into our home through colour, textures and materials, we can create spaces that support our wellbeing.”
Since home is a sanctuary, we want to choose colours fit to create a space that welcomes and nourishes your soul, no matter how you may be feeling in the moment.
We know that being in nature can have a positive impact on our well-being and state of mind. So why wait to go into the natural world, when we have the capacity to bring a bit of nature to us?
By the end of reading this article, you’ll have your hands on 10 earth-inspired colours and their properties to help bring more nature and healing into your home.
Invite peace and tranquility to your sanctuary with the freshness of White.
An inherently positive colour, white is the ultimate reflection of purity and perfection. Found in fresh white snow, white clouds and sea shells, white is a colour representing space and freshness, as well as renewal.
White as a pigment has a long standing history and has been used extensively through time. Ancient civilisations would use white chalk in prehistoric art, whilst white paint was generated from toxic substances such as lead.
Believe it or not lead white was also used in paintings and cosmetics up until the 20th century when it was finally restricted.
In nature, we find white in abundance in flowers, not to mention in the succulent coconut fruit and refreshing feeling of sea foam on our feet.
Psychologically, white has been ranked number one for evoking feelings of focus and quietness. One 2020 study even found that people associated white with feelings of relief.
Aesthetically, White goes well with wood and glass, as well as a bit of black for balance.
Kylie highlights that they can also help create a sense of space. “Brighter colours, such as white, reflect light and make a room feel more expansive so this works well in smaller, darker spaces”, she says.
Often used as a soft neutral colour to help other hues and objects take the spotlight, it’s especially popular in minimalistic designs.
Natural is similar to White in its neutralness making it an inherently calming colour, whilst offering soft brown undertones that convey a sense of warmth to its surroundings.
Some might notice that Natural is similar to beige, a colour first described and used in the 19th century.
When it comes to the natural world, most associate it with images of light wood and fine sand.
Used widely in interior design for its ability to promote peace, relaxation and cosiness, Natural symbolises reliability and creates a timeless look that remains always in fashion.
You can introduce Natural tones into your home through using it as a neutral base for your walls. Not only does this generate a warm feel to the space, but also provides a great foundation for bolder accent colours to shine through.
Natural also makes a perfect colour for bed linen, especially if you like to decorate the bed with bright cushions and throws.
However you decide to use Natural, it’s important to generate a variety of textures to keep the space dynamic. This can be done through mixing finishes or simply playing around with different patterns.
An intermediate between white and black, grey is the perfect neutral. The grace of Storm Grey emits a soft energy that transports us to beautiful images like the distant moon, landscapes of snow, or stormy clouds gathering on a cool day.
When in nature, we find pockets of Storm Grey in still elements like pebbles, as well as in many animals, including regal creatures like the elephant and rhinoceros.
Historically, grey was the colour of undyed wool and so was worn in abundance. It wasn’t until the 18th century that grey became a highly fashionable colour. Grey has also been extensively used in art, especially in oil paintings, through a technique known as grisaille.
Though some may consider Storm Grey to be dull, its neutrality lends it to being a strong and steady tone that can help balance a space. Surrounding yourself with grey can help cocoon you from the outside world, however it’s important to make sure you include supporting colours to contrast and lift. Storm Grey pairs beautifully with Charcoal or Blue Sapphire to intensify the mood.
Awarded 2022’s colour of the year, sage is a popular green hue that resembles the colour of sage leaves.
Despite its popularity today, green hues haven’t always been easy to produce, with green pigments considered some of the most toxic in art history. So much so that some have speculated whether Napolean Bonaparte’s death was caused by his room having been dyed with it.
Like all green pigments, the colour sage brings a sensation of calmness and relaxation. “Green, in particular, is a soothing colour possibly due to its association with nature”, says Kylie, helping evoke a sense of being outside, at one with the natural world.
Since spiritually a sage is considered somebody who’s admired for having a lot of knowledge, this colour is also a hue of wisdom. It can also be used to help increase the space of the room, making it a great choice for homes of any size.
You can incorporate Sage into the home by using it as an accent colour in a room with a neutral base. This might mean adding Sage pillows, bedding or throws in an already-neutral room to cultivate a sense of tranquility and ease.
The colour name ‘Saffron’ has a long history, with records dating its first use to the 14th century. Similar in hue to ochre, it was used in pre-historic art, and has been discovered in cave paintings around the world.
Considered a sacred colour in Hinduism, Saffron evokes moving images of natural events such as sunset and fire, making it a colour that demands your attention through the strength of its warmth and beauty.
In nature, Saffron can also be seen in the saffron spice, birds like the saffron finch, falling autumn leaves, and even some species of fungi.
As a result of its rich history, the use of Saffron as a colour can be optimised depending on the intention for a specific room. A symbol of the most luxurious fragrant spice, Saffron is a special hue that invites a sense of beginning and transformation.
A bold accent colour, Saffron is best brought into the home through saffron cushions, throws or rugs. “Warmer colours like Saffron are great for making a space feel cosy but can also feel energising, so I’d recommend pops rather than walls of warm colour if you’re wanting to create a restful bedroom”, shares Kylie.
An example of bringing this pop of colour to your room is through some Saffron bed linen, which makes a wonderful addition, especially when paired with neutral tones.
Sapphire Blue is a unique colour that represents both the sea and the sky. An elegant and wise blue shade, in nature we can find Sapphire Blue on land in the body of majestic birds like the peacock. It’s associated with qualities such as freedom, imagination, and intuition, helping to bring rest and relaxation into your home.
Blue tones have a rich history. For example, teal, a colour favoured for its blend of blue and green tones is an important colour in many cultures such as Tibet and Egypt.
Invoke rest and relaxation into your space with the rich energy of Sapphire Blue. An energetic shade, it pairs well with softer shades like Sage Green and Natural.
Create a regal look in your bedroom with the shimmer of Peacock Green. Similar to teal, its deep green colour with blue undertones give it the unique properties of reducing stress, whilst breathing energy into a space and making it feel alive.
In nature, Peacock Green can be found anywhere from the ocean to tropical rainforests or jungles.
When brought into an indoor space, Peacock Green brings renewal, confidence and uniqueness into your home, paving the way for individuality and self expression in any room. Since green is a colour closely tied to Earth, this shade pairs well with other stand-out colours like Saffron and Charcoal.
First recorded as a colour in 1810, Forest Green helps transport us into the place it’s named after: the forest.
Evoking the plants you might encounter while walking in the woods or jungle, Forest Green is considered a great colour to include if you’re wanting to bring more of the outdoors into your home.
Its close tie to the natural environment also means that it can have a positive psychological effect on a space, with Forest Green seen to symbolise elements such as harmony, freshness, and growth.
When used in a design context, Forest Green pairs beautifully with neutral colours (ie. natural, brown, black, grey, white), and can be used as an accent colour for everyday items like towels and bed linen, to help brighten up the room.
You can also bring the power of colours to the home through what you wear. Brands like Bhumi provide access to bathrobes and sleepwear in this colour, allowing you to carry the energy of Forest Green no matter which room of the house you may be in.
A medium between brown and grey, Taupe is a colour less easily defined.
Derived from “taupe”, the french word for mole, it is popularly used in homes for its ability to create a safe and soothing environment through its soft brown undertones invoking images of wood, earth, and soil.
Though it has been around for hundreds of years, the popularity of Taupe has increased in recent years no doubt due to its versatility.
When paired with other hues, Taupe is generally considered to work best with warmer tones, however can be modified to work with cooler shades too.
An example of incorporating Taupe into your home is through the use of Taupe bed sheets or bathroom towels. The grounding brown undertones help to maintain a sense of airiness and space without creating a dulling effect.
If you’re someone who already owns a lot of neutral-coloured furniture, adding Taupe can be the thing that restores balance to your space. The versatility of the tone also means you can include it as the base colour for cabinets in spaces like the kitchen or bathroom, cultivating calm whilst maintaining sophistication and style.
Bold and beautiful, Charcoal is a colour historically associated with burned wood. Though it was traditionally used as a fuel source, Charcoal also has a long-standing history in the arts as a medium for drawing.
As a darker tone, the colour Charcoal is associated with creating a sense of formality and elegance. In contrast to white, “darker colours, such as charcoal, absorb light and can make a space feel more intimate”, Kylie explains.
That being said, similar to taupe, Charcoal is a versatile colour, and its effects differ depending on what it’s paired with.
For example, invoking the image of volcanic sand and shale cliffs, Charcoal can bring a sense of stability and balance to a room with brighter colours. For glamour, it can be paired with other bold colours like Peacock Green, or with a White or Storm Grey for a modern minimalist style.
As two rich colours, the combination of Charcoal and Saffron can provide an elegant and sophisticated touch to a room.
Though Charcoal is part of a much darker palette, pairing it with a warm tone like Saffron increases its approachability and tones down its initially intimidating feel.
The combination of White, and Charcoal provides a classic and timeless look you can’t really go wrong with.
White provides a neutral foundation, while the Charcoal creates a sense of depth and richness that’s enhanced by incorporating this hue into the two colour plays.
The combination of these two colours can at first seem a little bold.
But given the right ratio, this combination can create a unique atmosphere that harnesses both the energy and ease of Sapphire Blue and the rejuvenating, lively feel of Peacock Green.
Combining them provides an element of balance and sophistication to make the space feel less overwhelming and ideal for evoking a sense of a tropical paradise or jungle escape.
Perfectly reminiscent of sand and trees, this combination is ideal for creating a harmonious and healing haven in the home.
The neutralness of the Natural colour provides a sense of space and effortless relaxation, whilst the Sage evokes feelings of gentle freshness given its soft hue with green undertones.
It can be a lot to choose the right colours for a room, and lose sight of what you want by getting swept up in the most recent trends. The bottom line, Kylie says, is there are no hard and fast rules.
What constitutes an earthy colour will depend on the context in which its being referred to. From a more technical perspective, earth colours can be defined by their inclusion of all three primary colours (blue, yellow, and red).
More generally however, earth colours can be defined simply the fact that they evoke feelings of the outdoors and can be seen abundantly in nature.
When you’re buying earth coloured clothes, it’s important to ensure your clothes are not harming the planet these colours come from.
At brands like Bhumi you can get good quality, organic bedding, throws, blankets, and sleepwear in all of the colours mentioned above. Towels and robes are available in White, Sage Green, Peacock Green and Charcoal.
If you’re looking for something a bit cosier, Bhumi also provides knitwear in a variety of earth colours which will be made available in June. All of Bhumi’s basic items will be arriving later in the year in Charcoal and Peacock Green.
Absolutely. The beauty of earth colours is that there is an abundance of them, which means you can mix and match combinations to create different atmospheres depending on the home decor you’re after.
Also, many earth tones are popular colours that we consistently see featured in fashionable interior design magazines. Some neutral earth colours like Natural, beige, and White for example, never fail to go out of style, making them invaluable when creating a classic home style.