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Photography by Scott Amundson

If you think the earthy look is too basic, too beige or too boring, think again. Rather, this design trend is all about bringing the outdoors in. “It’s bringing natural elements into a space,” explains Kristen McCormick, owner and designer at Studio M Interiors. “When we can bring in nature with colors and materials, it’s peaceful, serene and calming. We need that right now.” The firm’s designers draw on organic materials, natural finishes, and shades of greens, neutrals and wood tones to create the earthy look.

The Five Elements of Nature


In our frenzied, tech-heavy world, the connection to nature both soothes and refreshes. Popular wall covering motifs embody the look with bold tropical patterns (think saturated banana leaves), delicate chinoiserie-like cherry blossoms, gracefully swimming fish and even hair-on-hide treatments. All echo the organic theme.


Earthy elements are endlessly versatile. Reclaimed wood, botanical prints and mixed metals work well with many styles, says McCormick. Reclaimed ceiling beams, for example, are equally at home in a rustic room as in an eclectic contemporary space. Wall coverings in lush tropical patterns create a bohemian vibe, while quieter organic motifs and simple furnishings impart an almost Asian quality.


Earthy colors include neutrals, wood tones and shades of green ranging from lime to olive to deep forest. “If you want to add a pop of color, greens bring nature inside,” McCormick notes. Bright green combines with white for a fun, fresh palette, while olive green offers a softer contrast.


Think leather sofas, stone countertops, lighting with metal or wood elements, and walls or ceiling details in rustic wood. Finishes can be copper, stainless, blackened metal or a combination of metals. Complementary accessories include organic 3D wall decor and pillows with neutral yet bold patterns. Wood walls, ceilings and beams as well as a chunky wood coffee table all add character.


Linen, leather, mohair, velvet and chunky weaves in subtle tones give a room interest. “Textures make a space cohesive, pulling it all together,” McCormick explains. Adding to that texture are complementary window treatments such as woven shades and drapery panels in neutrals or natural prints. 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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