Some may say ugh! Beige is so boring to decorate with. But before you turn your head away consider the new updated earthy way that beige is now being used. Understanding what beige really is in the color world, and how this trend can be incorporated with the cool grays we have become accustomed to these past 10 years is important. Beige has a cozier, and ‘easygoing’ feel to it. Not to mention it will be around for a while.
Beige is not tan, and tan is not beige
Yes, there really is a difference in these two colors, and it comes down to the undertone. Undertone is the color that distinguishes one color from another. Understanding the undertone of a color can be rather complex, and to make this beige trend work well in a room it is important to understand which undertones are which. Choosing the right beige with its undertone is important so that the color will work well with the other fixed elements in your room, or it will not.
Beige has orange or pink, tan has a yellow undertone to it. For example, if you have a ‘beige’ tile that has an orange or pink undertone pay attention to that undertone. If you pair it with a yellow-tan color, with an orange/pink beige it will always look dirty.
Undertones of beige and tan
The thing to understand is that color is complex. In order to get colors in your home to complement the other finishes, it is important to understand the basics.
Beige undertones can be orange-yellow, orange-pink, and pink-orange. Usually, the first undertone is the one that stands out and the second color takes a little step back.
Tan undertones can be yellow-green, and yellow-orange (the other way around it is beige). Again the same applies, the first undertone is the more dominant and the second color takes a step back. Understanding the undertones is the first step to getting colors correct in any good design.
Why is this important?
If you have a countertop, carpeting, tiled wall, tiled floor, or painted cabinets all these finishes have an undertone. To move from the gray trend into the beige trend you need to understand what you are working with. Most likely if you decorated, or moved into a place that was done in gray tones, these colors are on the cooler side of the color spectrum. If you want to move toward the warmer beige side with existing finishes as mentioned above you will most like need to tend toward a more green tan that is known as greige. If you are not ready to repaint every room I have some other suggestions for you further on.
How can you pick the right color?
First never go by the name of any color. For example Pure White is not pure white, Bennington Gray is not gray, and Natural Cream is not cream. Sometimes the names are close, but you need to look at the color for the color, not for its name.
How do you choose the right color? First, you need to determine the undertone of the color that you are matching. That always is a fixed element that you will not be changing in the room. Then the next step is to compare the colors together to see the subtle difference and how they complement what you are comparing against. Pink Beige (Benjamin Moore’s Muslin), tends to be a warmer beige undertone, then the yellow tans, (Benjamin Moore’s Wheat Sheaf) are mid-range undertone, while greige (Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Gray) tend to be cooler.
Why this all matters
Beige is coming back in a big way. What that means to you is that you will see it in all the home finishes that are available, as well as home furnishings. So while you may still love gray, understand how to work with it while this new trend will continue to move forward for the next decade. Yes color tends to hang around for about 10 years, and then wait… it will sift all over again!
How do you incorporate the warmer earth tones that beige provides without painting every room to complement your current décor? Consider incorporating whites and creams in your rooms along with green. Consider accessories with natural elements and texture such as wood, wicker, canning on furniture, brass, art that has a nature-inspired theme, and possibly a natural fiber rug. All of these items along with art and plants will allow you to update your rooms, whether you are going to paint them in a beige hue or not. The important thing when decorating is to do what you love and incorporate every year something that is trending, this way your style never becomes stale.
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