The Notorious B-E-I-G-E: Experts Talk One of the Safest, Yet Most Controversial Colors

January 9, 2019
Dessert on a plate
Photo: Unsplash/Jordane Mathieu

Beige is considered by some to be a boring color for bland homes, yet there's more complexity and allure to this hue than meets the eye. 

The complexity of beige mostly lies in its undertones: warm, cool, gray, yellow, brown, sandy, coffee, khaki, oatmeal, ecru, etc. Rather than blah, beige is versatile in that the right tone can go with any home accents or décor. Interior designer Brian Dittmar tells Curbed, “I'm loving any shade that has a pink tone (or undertone) to it, maybe that's the antidote to the last few years of gray this and gray that which we've been seeing.” Frosted Toffee by Benjamin Moore offers the perks of being neutral and soothing with pinky pop, says Dittmar, “It's not quite beige and it's not quite gray, and it's not really taupe either. But it is a warm neutral and has a rosy glow at night,” adding, “colors that you can't quite define are great options that don't box you into a certain color scheme.”

“Beige is a beautiful French word meaning the color of undyed wool,” says interior designer Sarah Reid of Small Victories Design. “Sadly, the worst of American design tendencies got its grips on the word and now it means bland, bland, bland. It's like ordering the chicken on a menu: very safe.”

In order to get her clients to consider the hue, Reid uses almost any other moniker. “I use the words biscuit, camel, or taupe mostly. If I suggest we use beige to a client they look at me like ‘why did I hire you?’ so I have to use synonyms and a lot of adjectives to get people to be open to it.”

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