Forget Millennial Pink: When It Comes to Wall Paint, “Boring” Beige is Back

published Dec 16, 2019
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Beige walls aren’t just a relic of the early 2000s. In fact, you can expect to see the once-dated neutral color everywhere again. “Beige is definitely having a moment, and I’m personally delighted that it’s back,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “It really took a nosedive in popularity over the last decade when gray and white emerged as the go-to neutrals. But now, homeowners are craving warmth.” This means the ubiquitous stark whites and cool slate colors that have been trending in the interiors world for so long will be making room for velvety tans, camels, and latte shades.

“We’re looking for [colors] that feel cozy and welcoming and a little more inviting,” says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr. Beige, according to Woelfel, is part of a bigger movement of browns and earth tones that are filling this need. “It’s a warmer shift of the whole neutral color family,” she explains. “And that happens when there’s a huge macro trend like gray paint that lasts for 10 years. People do get tired of it and are looking for something new.”

To give classic beige a fresh feel, Woelfel suggests pairing it with other popular choices such as olive or forest green, bringing in playful yellow accents. Or go the more sophisticated route and layer in vibrant rust colors, reminiscent of October leaves. The color easily mingles with other timeless hues such as black for a more modern look, or ambers and golds for a more polished and feminine aesthetic.

Not convinced? We know, we know. Beige has a reputation as square, safe, and well, blah, and we’d like to clear this misconception up once and for all. “Beige is anything but boring—it is the epitome of chic,” insists Patrick O’Donnell, brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball. And while O’Donnell thinks beige works in any space within a home, he especially recommends using the color in living rooms and bedrooms because of the sense of calm and tranquility it provides. Ready to give beige a try in your space? Take inspiration from these eight gorgeous beige rooms ahead.

Focus on a Feature Wall

Who says beige can’t be hip? In this Scandinavian living room, a classic red brick wall, painted in Benjamin Moore’s sophisticated Clay Beige (OC-11), creates a soothing backdrop for playful and cozy accents. Throw in mid-century décor and snuggly knit pillows for the perfect hygge hangout.

Use Chocolatey Beige for a Cozy Touch

Bring on the drama with Benjamin Moore’s deeper neutral, Weimaraner (AF-155). The browner beige adds instant sophistication in this foyer and is perfect for a dim space, where it creates a cozy, cocoon-like effect. The moody backdrop really allows the jade vase and natural textures of the branches to pop. 

Credit: Behr

Try Beige on Beige

Layer on the neutrals. Behr’s Natural Almond (PPU4-12) and Aged Beige (PPU7-09) complement each other perfectly in this airy, modern living room, says Erika Woelfel. But the warm color palette doesn’t stop on the walls. A variety of brown shades and textures, from wood and wicker pendants to plush pillows in mocha, make for a cohesive room that’s perfect for lounging and entertaining.

Let Beige Play Off Light Trim

Behr’s Creamy Mushroom (PPU5-13) on the walls, paired with brown and bronze furniture pieces and decor, creates a chic, monochromatic palette. For a similar vibe in your home, layer tan, camel, butterscotch, and amber golds. Beige is a great choice for a wall color when you have lighter wainscoting, too, as it creates just enough of a contrast to really make trim pop.

Use Beige as a Contrast to Cabinetry and Built-Ins

You don’t have to stick to neutral palettes when using beige. In this kitchen, red, a warm bold color, is paired with cool beige to create balance. “Accessible Beige (SW 7036) is one of my favorite neutrals all-around,” says Sue Wadden. “It has a beautiful gray undertone that works well with a variety of wood tones and really opens up a space.” And since Accessible Beige is a soft, light color, the red cabinets and island can really be the star of the show.

Set a Serene Scene With Beige

In this airy dining room, Sherwin-Williams Shiitake (SW 9173) is anything but blah. Clean lines and trendy gold and black accents give the room a sleek, modern feel, while sprinkles of blue and ornamental grass add a calming coastal vibe that’s meditative and relaxing. 

Put a Traditional Twist on a Farmhouse Kitchen

We don’t care what anyone says—team farmhouse kitchens forever! If you’re going for a country chic look, try a mid-tone neutral like Farrow & Ball’s yellow-based Savage Ground (No. 213) for your cabinetry. It provides the perfect soothing backdrop to live out your “Fixer Upper” fantasies. It’s also great for spaces wanting a slightly more traditional feel and a little less predictable than white at this point.

Let Art and Objects Shine Against a Beige Backdrop

One of Farrow & Ball’s newest neutrals, Skimmed Milk White, is the perfect option for a contemporary space with bold details. In this vignette, the soft off-white color backdrop really allows the fun, sculptural chair and abstract painting to pop. And of course, because this color is part of Farrow & Ball’s Colour by Nature palette, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, a plant looks at home and stunning against its hue.