These Paint Colors Will Help You Achieve the Desert Sunset Aesthetic That Is So Popular Right Now

Bring the outdoors in with serene shades like terra-cotta, taupe, and clay.

Rich jewel tones, pale coastal shades, and vibrant reds all have their place in home décor, but a soothing, desert sunset-inspired aesthetic helps make your home more sanctuary than showplace. "Many of us associate nature with the opportunity to relax and be present in the moment, so as people seek to create more tranquil spaces at home, we've seen a sharp increase in the use of saturated earth tones that play well into the 'desert sunset' look," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "Reminiscent of what was happening in the 1970s, these nostalgic hues are rustic, elemental, and sumptuous and embrace the colors in nature's diverse palette." Ahead, how to integrate this palette into your home home through paint.

Identify the best desert-inspired shades.

Wadden describes the overall color scheme as "bold and earthy:" think "sun-washed terra cotta and clays, rich caramels and browns, creamy whites, grounded blues, warmer grays, and airy sages." Says Wadden, "This palette is so versatile and pairs well with multiple interior styles like mid-century modern and industrial, making it a perfect choice for those who want to incorporate bold tones in a unique way." Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore color expert, recommends choosing "overall dusty tones: Gray greens like dried herbs morph into sand tones that range from golden to rich clay," she says. "Rather than a blue sky, for the desert we tend to envision the hazy purple tones at dusk."

Curate your palette.

Each expert recommended a cohesive selection of shades that coordinate to create a nature-inspired aesthetic in your home—either all within the same space, or in adjoining rooms and hallways. "Several different colors can be used in the same room; the key is to stick with a palette of similarly toned colors, meaning colors that have a similar amount of gray in their formula," says Grech. She chose Benjamin Moore's "earthy sand tones" Natural Linen and Venetian Portico; Gray Mirage, "a soft gray with a green undertone;" Dune White; and Mexican Tile and Mauve Desert as bolder accents. "All these colors work well on walls, ceilings, and furniture—as well as textiles," she says.

Wadden's go-to Sherwin-Williams shades for a desert-inspired atmosphere include Cavern Clay, "a warm terra-cotta hue that makes any living space feel cozy;" Likeable Sand and Origami White; Moth Wing, "a warm, grayish taupe;" Distance, "a dreamy denim blue that creates a sense of wanderlust and escape;" Dry Dock, a warm taupe; Dark Clove, a deep brown; and Caramelized, which "feels familiar and welcoming and pairs nicely with a variety of warm neutrals."

houston dining room with wicker chairs and peach walls
Molly Winters Culver

Decide where to implement your color scheme.

Choosing where and how to incorporate different shades into your space changes the feeling of your entire room, so it's important to think about the end result you want. "Lighter walls in hues like Mortar will create the airy sense of visual spaciousness, while dark, rich colors like El Caramelo inspire a dramatic style and a feeling of coziness," says Wadden. "When mixed with creamy whites or warm neutrals, a dusty blue like Inky Blue can go just about anywhere in the home. I have seen terra-cotta shades used on ceilings to create an instantly opulent look, while hues like Vintage Gold can create an interesting focal point when applied to kitchen cabinets or an island."

Grech suggests using the palette as "a jumping off point" for a large-scale mural, and then using neutral tones on the other walls. "The wall generally takes up the most visual space in a room, so it will dictate the overall pale or rich feel," she says. "Even in a calm, neutral environment, a pop of color on the ceiling is a nice way to make a stronger color statement without taking over."

Reinforce the look with décor.

Then, incorporate patterns and textures in similar shades into the fabrics, accents, and décor in your space. "Natural materials such as pale wood, soft wicker baskets, linen, stone, and handmade pottery add to the aesthetic, as do succulents and plants," Grech. "We are looking to surround ourselves with comforting colors that speak to us emotionally right now. There is something about sunrises and sunsets that just feels so inspiring and peaceful and the colors of the desert sunset have a particular magical quality, appealing to our need for both escape and nurturing."

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