I have spent a lifetime with earth tones, in other words, the color of dirt.

Neutral colors are appealing to the vast majority of potential buyers, or so we have been advised for decades by folks in real estate.

Over and over again.

By definition:

“Earth tone is a color scheme that draws from a color palette of browns, tans, warm grays, and greens. The colors in an earth tone scheme are muted and flat in an emulation of the natural colors found in dirt, moss, trees and rocks.”

Tans, taupe, browns, beige, white have dominated in floors, walls, furniture, carpet, etc. I could dress it up with varying colors of pillows, throws, afghans, accent rugs, wall decor.

But when you strip it all down, it is still the color of soil.

It has always worked well for the husband, who is a basic brown, hardwood and leather kind of guy.

It was hard for my daughter, who has always been an artist, and wanted more color. When she moved into her first home, she went with teal, yellows, blue, grey, gold, etc.

It is glorious, I am so impressed. And she finally has her color palette.


Too much ?

In the past decade, I am drawn to red. Especially in the kitchen and family room.

It might be connected to change of life issues, or maybe I’ve just stopped caring about potential buyers.

One thing they say about white/neutral tones is that it takes longer to tire of them.

Not sure that is true for me.

If I’m gone for a few days this week, it might be that I’m painting our bedroom.

Maybe purple, yellow, or blue ? Anything but white.

***** Post inspired by Erika’s new blog look, which features a neutral background, and is so easy on the eyes.

All New!!!





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63 Responses to Earthtones

  1. colinandray says:

    A bedroom might workout better if you used a relaxing color so yellow would be out, and purple? Well perhaps move closer to the mauve range. Blue? Hmmmm…. again depends on the mix. Perhaps going towards a green mix……… sea blue or similar. Bland and earth tones are, quite understandably, Real Estate preferences because they are unlikely to visually “offend”, and the new home owners are probably going to paint anyway!!!

  2. We are browns, beiges and creams people, though I did have a pink lounge in our first house as we were sick of grey (not our choice)!
    The fabric in the boat is blue with beech wood panelled walls, but we have brown curtains (converted towels lined with a white sheet!) and brown carpet. My bedspread is multi coloured being crocheted squares, so it’s the first thing you see as you come aboard.
    I love the decor in your pictures.
    Suggestion for your bedroom……… ‘buttermilk’ which is a soft creamy yellow, though it may not actually be called that anymore. Good luck!.

  3. Haha, I’m a neutral mostly. But I decided to work in my favorite beach colors so lots of accents in teal, turquoise, green and some coral. But the big things are neutral cause it’s just too pricey to change…

  4. Nurse Kelly says:

    Same here, Van. Most of my house is in earth tones! And so funny, because the same is true for my daughter as is true for yours – her room is teal with all the colors! She is the artist in the family! She even has more prints and colors in her wardrobe than I do.
    I think where you live has something to do with it as well, which is really interesting if you think about it… why do Floridians get the pretty pastels and sunset colors?! Hope you’re having a good day! xo

    • That teal…my daughter used it in her kitchen, with white trim, it’s beautiful. I’d never have imagined that. And what is that about Florida ? Not fair ! Going well today, hubby’s birthday. ā˜ŗ Thanks, Kelly

      • Nurse Kelly says:

        Aww – that’s nice! Tell him I said Happy Birthday! You must celebrate every single year of life, in my opinion, because what is the alternative? And every day there is someone in the world who would give anything for just one more day. I know you see it that way too, my friend. šŸ™‚

      • ā˜ŗā˜ŗā˜ŗ

  5. TanGental says:

    go for it; we have a room we nicknamed the Taj Mahal because of the colours of an Indian spice market my daughter chose. Works fine with sunnies on…

  6. My husband loves earth tones!!! I got bored with them years ago. Your daughter’s place looks so friesh and inviting. I love the colors šŸ™‚

  7. Erika Kind says:

    Ha, you are awesome, Van! While reading your post I thought: How funny that you were just talking about earth tones regarding my new blog theme…and then I see the last sentence! I love earth tones too and like to wear them or to surround me with them as you do with your room decoration. They are grounding and calming. Yay for earth tones! šŸ˜ƒ

  8. I love both rooms Van.

    My dream kitchen has always been black and white, you know white cupboards with black doors or black molding and black countertops and a black and white checkered floor and (drum roll please) red appliances (toaster, blender, kettle; and a vintage chrome table and chairs with red seat covers, black and white pictures with one item red like a rose or a balloon in each photo. šŸ™‚ ā¤
    Diana xo

  9. Val Boyko says:

    Earth tones are very calming and grounding. You can always add a vibrant rust, green and yellow ochre pillow after all!
    I’m not sure I agree with the latest decorator fad with grey, whites and yellows. Its bright and stimulating. You have bold curves and interest…. Its cool and stark.
    I actually did this with our spare bedroom and everyone raves about how stylish it is.
    But it looks so decorated and pre-packaged.
    It isn’t me.
    I now know I don’t need to follow trends after all! … Unless there’s a huge discount to encourage me out of my homey zone šŸ’›

  10. George says:

    Lol…go for it!!

  11. Sometimes when a home has too many earth tones I feel like it is trying to bury me… šŸ˜‰

  12. amommasview says:

    I love earth tones and red! And yes, the white and all the gentle earth tones do actually work better with buyers because colors are something really personal and if a room is painted in a color you don’t like you can usually not get rid of the feeling that the room is yuck (although it might be a fantastic room). Anyway, sometimes it’s good if you just change the colors if you feel like it. That is of course if you’re not living and renting in Australia…

  13. lbeth1950 says:

    I painted my baby’s room in stripes, yellow, blue, and green. You like bed that room.

  14. lbeth1950 says:

    I loved that room.

  15. I love cheerful colours like your daughter, my husband love’s the earth and brown tones, so I’ve learnt to sneak in pastel throw pillows, colourful rugs, crockery and all that to balance the equation šŸ˜‰

  16. Interesting, I am drawn to earth tones and RED. But I love the color palettes put together by others. They intrigue me!

  17. Look forward to pic of color you choose!

  18. Annika Perry says:

    When we moved into our house the previous owners must have had a job lot of purple paint and brown carpet – two weeks of painting and new carpets the place was happily unrecognisable. I do like some colour in some rooms though, my son’s two shades of blue.

    • The daughter who wanted to paint her room understood a bit more when she moved to different apartments in NYC. Always white walls with hardwood floors. She came to appreciate it. šŸ’› šŸ’™ šŸ’œ

  19. We were earth tone people until I turned 50. I decided that it was time for a change. Didn’t make a drastic change, but I added a lot more color – black, red, orange, purple, green… In our last two houses, our powder room has been purple and our master bath green, and extra bathrooms yellow! One bedroom is a light lavender and another is powder blue. AGMA gone crazy!! šŸ™‚

  20. joey says:

    I looooove neutrals, love them! Mostly for carpet, cabinets, curtains — and I go wood whenever I can.
    I’ve been on both sides, because I grew up in white and brown. I mean, I’m sure it was called ecru and beige and feather and taupe, but it was always white and brown with glass and brass. My divorced parents did not divorce over color schemes and decorating style, that’s fer damn sure.
    I had that in Georgia, because base housing was all white and white and more white. Initially, I was relieved at not painting, etc.
    But I can’t live without color.
    I live in the blues. The watery, aqua blues mostly. This is accented with pale greens and gray, trimmed in cream, and then you know, there are those pops of color — bit of red in the kitchen, bit of lavender in the bath, bit of coral in the public spaces. This has been my choice in palette since I was 12 or 13, I do like my pastels. I’m a spring, you know, šŸ˜‰ haha!

    I am sick to death of everything being and looking and feeling staged. Sick sick sick!
    I get really excited when I go to homes that reflect actual taste and choice of the owners. I appreciate homes that reflect the people inside them, be they white or drenched in color. šŸ™‚

    • I was told I’m a Winter…never much for pastels. But I agree on the beauty of individual flare in one’s home. I guess it was natural for us to be in basic brown, white, etc. Lots of wood…early on I used to complain we looked like a “man cave”, but I came to love it. Thanks, Joey. ā¤ļø

  21. Jeff insisted on a white walled lounge – I insisted on a cream sofa – we have 4 kids, a dog and a cat – and, obviously, not a brain cell between us šŸ˜„šŸ˜„

  22. I am all for pastel shades and tones.. When we moved into our present home in the 80’s we had a room that they had painted deep purple that took some covering!!! when we decorated and a hall and stairs in a dark Bamboo.. Yuk… thankfully I saw beyond their colour scheme.. .. šŸ™‚ xxx

  23. Jo Smith says:

    I wanted to change my room’s colors to green, white, and blue, for a more calming feel. But I love your daughter’s room though!

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