By Eleanor Büsing
Beige gets a bad rap. Too often the innocent color
becomes synonymous with other words in our minds: bland, boring, dated, '80s... I could go on. But beige has a lot going for it: it's
timeless, calming, is far less trendy than gray and less sterile than white,
and it serves as a great backdrop for more exciting things. Read on for several
ways to rock beige without falling asleep in the process.
Choose Your "Beige" Carefully
True beige, if we're going to get technical with our
color wheel, is any shade of light brown: a mix of two complementary colors in
some proportion, plus white. Beige can therefore run the gamut from more gold
and orange tones, to yellow, pink or greenish shades.
while there are certain versions (I'm looking at you, ubiquitous '80s
pinky-beige) that I'm hoping we don't see again for a long time, those that
lean toward taupe or greige can be really lovely. And if mixed with crisp
whites (such as the soothing bedroom above from Lonny), the neutral hue can look quite
Mix Your Monochrome
Which is not to say that a beautiful, neutral room
should only be based on one shade. The living room above, a show property from
the NYC building the Marquand,
contains yellow and green-based beiges, and some gray too for good measure.
Neutrals can play well together, so don't be afraid to mix it up.
Use Beige as the Pop
You might think of beige as being a background for
more exciting shades. But the shade actually looks great as a pop of colur in
an even lighter (read: white)
space. In the kitchen above, the wood table and chairs and the linen curtains
are the "colorful" accents. I recommend checking out the full tour of
this home from Elle Decoration
Sweden: beautiful beige abounds!
Pair it with Blue
If you do have a beige-based room and are looking for
a great accent color (that isn't just white), here's one quick and practical
tip: beige nearly always looks great with blue. Because blue is
a complement to beige's warmer, browny tones, it's the perfect pop color with
which to set it off, as showcased in the bedroom/office above from Design Tricks.
Always Try for Texture
As in any monochrome space, the key to rocking beige
is to keep things interesting with texture. In this bedroom of a Moscow project
by Russian architect Alexandra
Federova, the color scheme is as neutral at they come: varying shades of brown,
beige and white. But with one leather-paneled wall, one 3D-tiled one, and one
fabric-draped window, the room feels dynamic, rather than flat, overall. Same
goes for the previous office from Taylor
Sterling on Instagram; the plush rugs, sheepskin throws, rattan magazine holder
and even the woven wall hanging are layers that bring the beige to life.
Have a Focal Point
If it's not going to be your color scheme, your room's
focus should be the architecture, view, a piece of art, accent wall, or a great
lighting fixture. Here in Aerin Lauder's Aspen home via Vogue, it's most of the above—but
especially that black chimney breast and the beautiful wood ceiling (this home tour is another one to study for a masterclass in
Bring in Color with Accessories
The floor, rug, furniture and walls in the space above
(the London flat of Alex Eagle, via Domino)
are as neutral as they come. But thanks to the mismatched cushions, the stacks
of coffee table books, and the large green plants, the space feels dynamic and
surprisingly colorful. If Alex chose to do away with that and bring in some
minimal black-and-gold accessories, for instance? The entire room would have a
different vibe. Therein lies the beauty (and versatility) of beige.
How do you feel about beige, or neutral rooms in
general? Boring or beautiful?