Tuscan red-tiled roofs, like these in Lucca, are emblematic of the style named for this region.

Tuscan-Inspired Colors

by Anya Deason

Whether you're decorating a rustic kitchen or a formal entry, a palette that is warm and inviting defines Tuscan style. Like the tones of Italian villages, which feature red-tiled roofs and clay-colored exteriors, Tuscan interiors display a range of natural, neutral earthen hues. Walls often have a textured, rustic look that corresponds with dark ceiling beams and warm-toned, distressed furniture in chunky Tuscan styles. Cooler tones are used sparingly in Tuscan style, but bright blues and cool greens make appearances within the warm expanses.

Terra Cotta

Terra cotta provides a way to establish contrast while staying within the earth tone range of the Tuscan palette. A fiery orange red, terra cotta is a near complement or color wheel opposite of cool gray-green. Paint a kitchen island terra cotta and cap it with a cool gray-green granite top. Copper-bottom pans on an overhanging wrought-iron display rack relate to the kitchen island base and terra cotta tile.

Burnt Umber

Burnt umber, a dark orange-brown hue, reverberates throughout a Tuscan home in wood-beamed ceilings, dark furniture, wood flooring and dark bronze accents, which abound in Tuscan decor. In a foyer, consider a chunky, burnt umber console with aged bronze hardware. A dark bronze mirror, flanked by scrolled wrought-iron candleholders, completes the look.

Tuscan Reds

Several adobe-like shades with pinkish undertones fall into this hue category. They are lighter red-browns that are perfect for creating aged, textured faux finished walls. A den with tinted plaster walls in light Tuscan red provides the perfect backdrop a for a distressed coffee table and heavy, ornate occasional chairs with stretcher bar bases. A patterned rug with dark gray-green and red accents uses this accent color to great effect.

Golden and Mustard Yellows

A range of golden and mustard yellow tones frequently appears in Tuscan decor. A dining room with mustard yellow tinted plaster walls contrasts with a dark, distressed, curving country sideboard. An oil painting featuring a dark barn and a yellow field of flowers relates to the walls, while a dark bronze frame connects to dark furniture and a wrought-iron chandelier.

Warm Gray and Gray-Green

Warm gray, one of the staple Tuscan grays, provides a foyer with a soft, creamy backdrop for a chunky pedestal table in a light-toned wood. Against the warm gray wall, a tapestry with a range of soft, warm grays and orange-red accents completes the look. Cool gray-green is a good choice as a soft complementary color for a bedspread in a bedroom with textured Tuscan red walls. An ornate, antique-black mirror and dark ceiling beams provide tonal contrast.

Tomato Red, Bright Olive and Tuscan Blue

Tomato red supplies bright accent color in Tuscan rooms. The addition of tomato red pillows intensifies a leather sofa in burnt umber. Another lively accent color is Tuscan blue, a bright green-blue frequently seen on exterior shutters in the Tuscan countryside. A painted Tuscan blue accent chair provides unexpected contrast and complements terra cotta kitchen tile. An occasional olive green accent item brightens and adds depth to the otherwise neutral Tuscan palette.

About the Author

Based in Franklin, Tenn., Anya Deason has more than 15 years of decor-related experience, assisting leading interior designers and owning a custom frame shop. While working at Lyzon Gallery in 1999, she wrote descriptions of artwork for Sotheby's online auctions. Deason holds a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee Technological University.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images