Design’s New Flame: The Warm Neutrals

Posted On October 29, 2019

The design world is due for something happy, earthbound,  familiar and welcoming. Enter the warm neutrals.

Baba Chic Anoushka Honed Limestone and Terra Cotta Mosaic
As comforting as the fragrance of freshly baked bread: Baba Chic Anoushka Honed Limestone and Terra Cotta Mosaic


A welcoming warmth is spreading over the design world, and it can’t get here soon enough! We’re excited to welcome the entire family of warm neutrals and highlight the refreshing ways in which they’re being used. And we’re not alone. All but banished until recently, they are the new darlings of design.

For more than a decade, cool grey interiors served as the de facto definition of residential sophistication. Meanwhile, over on instagram, the memes du jour were white, overexposed room images (both in lighting and in repetition). These spare, white envelopes held sparse white furniture and usually culminated in enormous, blindingly blown out windows or open doors. Perhaps because we needed to escape? Well, here’s where we’re going:

Urban Layer Octave Porcelain and Limestone Tile

Light wood and linen tones:

Colors in the “greige” family are borrowed from pale linen and wood.  Says ELLE Decor, “Light, wood-inspired shades are a great alternative to traditional beiges or tans. Neutrals that take on ash, maple, or pine tones are perfect for the minimalists and color-phobics alike.” While not as overtly toasty as the others, this is still a move away from a strictly cool grey look. For example, our Moresque ceramic and Urban Layer Porcelain and Limestone tiles, pictured here.

Moresque Flora Mosaic by Country Floors
Moresque Flora Mosaic by Country Floors in a linen-like tone.


Temple Brick ceramic tile in Creme Brule.

Honeyed creams:

The new creams are moving into more honey or maple-infused warmth, and away from the decidedly chillier off-whites of recent years. Our popular Temple Brick is glazed in the aptly named Creme Brule. It’s probably no coincidence that the names of these hues are all on sweet side. These are the tastiest creams we’ve seen in some time.


Baba Chic Maha Limestone and Terra Cotta mosaic.

Clay, bronze and classic terra cotta colors:

Austin is in style, and so are desert hues. Sherwin Williams’ 2019 Color of the Year is Cavern Clay, a southwest-inspired soft terra cotta. ELLE Decor declares these colors, “elemental, nature-inspired” and yet “contemporary.”  At Country Floors, we’ve never strayed from the always-welcoming look of terra cotta. Says interior designer Michael Tavano, “If you’ve invested in a cool, grey interior a touch of these coppery and terra cotta tones are just the thing to warm it up. From a sofa throw to a floor-to-ceiling tiled entry hall , these tones marry beautifully with cool greys and white.”


Temple Brick ceramic tile in Pico Gold.

Sunflower, dijon and turmeric:

The human eye sees yellows first. That’s why school buses and caution signs are yellow. Besides being first to the party, Tavano says, “They’re the color of happiness, of optimism. You look at them and see spice and heat. Yellow is associated with the very source of light itself, our sun. It’s one of my favorites right now,” says the designer, “and used properly its relevance will last forever.” The relevant yellows of which Tavano speaks are neither buttery nor bright, but rather the slightly murky-in-a-good-way, spice-market tones. Their understated vibrance makes them timeless and they mix beautifully with warm or cool colors. We feature them in ceramics and terra cottas.


Zellige Ceramic Mosaic in a glossy, warm berry red called Driss.

Saturated, radiant berry hues:

The last color you might expect to to be featured in a story featuring ceramic tile is red. All glaze is actually glass and red glass is notoriously difficult to achieve. As a result, bold, saturated reds are a rare achievement. But that’s never stopped us. Vibrant, super saturated reds are here to stay, and they have a sophisticated classicism that feels poignant, moody, perhaps even sultry. This is also a tone that will elegantly update a formerly grey or white (or grey and white) interior.


Zellige Ceramic mosaic collection, the Ahmed pattern in deep red with black and white.
Zellige Ceramic mosaic collection, the Ahmed pattern in deep red with black and cream.


Country Floors and Marble Systems showrooms, and select luxury tile and stone showrooms nationwide offer the ceramic tile, stone and mosaics pictured in this article. You are our inspiration and our guide. If you’ve recently completed an installation of Country Floors tile, please let us know by tagging @country_floors on Instagram. We might feature you in an upcoming designer interview.

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