Terracotta kitchen ideas: from burnt orange hues to warm pastels

Terracotta is such a rich colour – it reminds me of classic Mediterranean-style kitchens. I always imagine a stern yet loving Italian granny cooking pasta in this type of kitchen or is that just me?

Terracotta is derived from the Italian words terra, meaning earth, and cotta, which means cooked. It makes perfect sense as terracotta pots and traditional tiles are made from clay (earth) and then kiln-fired (cooked). 

When it comes to terracotta kitchens, you can add this colour to your design in several ways – be it through tiles, paint, or cabinetry. These warm, earthy tones can be included in many kitchen styles and complemented with other striking hues. “Terracotta can bring some texture and colour to a kitchen and can be used in a few different ways,” says Alex Main, director at The Main Company.

“If you’d like to make a statement, choose terracotta for your cabinetry – this works especially well in smaller kitchens as otherwise it can be overpowering. Alternatively, introduce terracotta via your choice of splashback tiles which look especially striking in country kitchens. Otherwise, add subtle hints of the colour through your accessories such as artisanal décor displayed on open shelving,” explains Alex.

Terracotta kitchen with rustic elements.
Kitchen design by The Main Company. Photography: Chris Snook for Wild Escapes.

What colours go with terracotta kitchens?

Terracotta can be a slightly overpowering colour. And, it can be a bit too much when it is highly saturated. But, without a doubt, it can bring warmth to a room. Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys, says that this shade can help you embrace the feel of the desert in your home.

“This colour reflects natural light to illuminate your space with a golden glow, perfect to use in south-facing kitchens to retain the warmth,” she advises. “Terracotta falls between the primary colours red and yellow, providing the perfect balance between red as a stimulant and yellow as a mood booster, prompting feelings of innovation, warmth and happiness.”

Terracotta has multiple tones – it’s not just one shade. Picture anything from light salmon right to the deepest reddish browns.

When choosing complementing colours for your terracotta kitchen, a simple way is to keep to neutral shades. Autumnal shades such as ochre, burnt sienna, light brown, and beige work well. Try lighter hues – think soft pastels – to balance the rich terracotta colour. Be mindful of undertones and look at true-to-life shades to make these complementary colours work together.

Other nature-inspired colours, such as green, are good options. You can also add pops of dark blues and greys. Leaning even more into the natural aesthetic, opt for wood – especially with deep tones and grain.

Orange and blue modern kitchen.
Modern Middleton kitchen in orange, starting from £30,000, Middleton Bespoke.
Reddish brown kitchen with open shelving.
Kitchen design by Plain English, from £35,000.
Terracotta kitchen with gold and marble elements.
Kitchen design with door shutters from Hillarys, prices on application.
Terracotta kitchen cabinets.
Loving Orange and Serene Peach, from £21 for 1 litre of paint each, Yescolours.

Light terracotta kitchen ideas

Terracotta walls with light orange kitchen.
Walls in The Long Room 457, architects’ matt paint, £59.50 for 2.5 litres. Top tiles in The Long Room 457, lower tiles and kitchen units in Roben’s Honour 344, and glazing in New Black 126, all in architects’ eggshell paint, £75 for 2.5 litres, Paint & Paper Library.
Brick flooring in utility room.
Marlborough Terracotta brick tiles, £78 per sq m, Artisans of Devizes.

Kitchen walls, floors, and splashbacks

Blue kitchen with brick floors
Marlborough terracotta parquet tiles, £78 per sq m, Ca’ Pietra.
Terracotta walls near cream kitchen islands
Ocean Gyant warm natural laminate, from £22.99 per sq m, BerryAlloc.
Orange backsplash near butler's sink.
Autumn leaves splashback, price on application, Alusplash.

Looking for more colour inspiration? We have plenty of ideas for green, pink, and blue kitchens

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