Un-beige My World

by Erika Woelfel

We hear this comment frequently: “I have too much beige in my home. My couch, carpet, walls, counter tops, dishes and pillows … are all beige. I want to start using color, but have lived with beige for so long I don’t know how to change it!”

Interior design can be intimidating. Many feel comfortable erring on the side of caution and selecting beige for everything. Almost before they know it, they become beige hoarders (also applicable: white, taupe and gray hoarders). Beige can also be a lifestyle choice: there are some who really prefer an achromatic setting and that’s that.

I first want to say, there is nothing wrong with beige (or any of the afore mentioned neutrals!) as a stand-alone color. It is a classic that will never go out of style. Beige works for just about any decorating situation whether your home is sleek and modern, or casually elegant. It fits in an apartment, your first house, or the dream home you will retire in. It is a building block to create endless color schemes when you’re in the mood to try something new. The best news of all: Beige will never make you look bad. No matter what color you add to your room, beige will work well with it. Think of beige as a hostess at a dinner party: she mingles with guests, makes introductions, starts conversations and helps people feel at ease.

Beige hoarders who find themselves in this position think: “I never wanted to be a beige hoarder; I’m just a little scared to use color.” There isn’t any need to fear an introduction of color into your home.  Below are three easy steps to ban the beige and introduce vibrant color safely and securely.

Step 1: Do not buy any more beige/white/gray.

Your inner voice is saying, “That beige looks cool and will match my other beige stuff.” This is the voice of reason, not design.  Reason will keep you in the beige; design will take you into color. Remember that color is rarely considered offensive- -it is viewed as more of a personal reflection. Those red throw pillows on the sofa aren’t going to scare your friends away; they may simply regard you as having a fondness for red and a flair for using color.

Step 2: Start with a BEHR® Paint color you like from the color tier outlined in green.

Go to the paint department at your local The Home Depot®. Stand in front of the BEHR® Paint color display.

You might ask: “Which paint color will coordinate with my beige carpet or sofa?” The truth is, almost all of them will. Beige is that flexible! Pick the color you like best.

Because this is a starter step you’ll want to stick with colors that are soft and subtle. The color area highlighted in green on the above chart gives the most options. Select options in the top tier on the color chart when you feel more comfortable using strong or bold hues. If you feel the urge to pick another beige, please see step 1.

Step 3: Use your new color for walls, fabric and decor.

Paint one wall for starters… an accent wall is an easy step into the world of color.  Match your new color in fabrics for pillows or seat covers and décor items such as artwork, vases and rugs. Carry a sample chip of your color with you when you are out shopping to make sure things match.  Take your time finding the right items that will make you happy and match your décor style.   Soon enough you will discover it is indeed possible to have your beige and eat it too!

Colorfully yours,


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