SOURCE: Plan-Home (Accessible Beige Sherwin Williams)
As we welcome in a brand new year we’re also welcoming a new player into the world of interior design. If you haven’t heard already, beige, sand and cream are the new kids on the block once again. Say goodbye to all the shades of gray we’ve been using for the last decade and get ready to warm up your space with this softer and more approachable neutral. If you’re ready to embrace this trend then you’ll need to understand the nuance of this colour. I’m going to show you how to pick the perfect beige paint for your room including deciphering the undertones.
It’s All About the Undertones
SOURCE: KL Interiors (Manchester Tan)
A lot of us decide to paint with neutrals like gray or beige because it seems safe. Truthfully, nothing could be further from the truth. The reason that picking a neutral paint colour can be so challenging all boils down to undertones.
Let me start by explaining what an undertone is – it’s a colour hidden within another colour. There are undertones in every fixed element of your home, from tiles to flooring to countertops. When the undertones work well in their environment all you see is beige and the undertones remain relatively hidden. Knowing that all beige will contain undertones is the first step to avoiding mistakes.
If you have made the decision to switch up your paint colours and go for beige you may think you’ll stroll into the paint store, peruse a few options and be out of the paint store in under 30 minutes. That could be true but the issues only arises when you get home and discover that your lovely beige looks too pink or too orange. The culprit of course is undertones.
What Undertones are Present in Beige Paint?
There are 5 possible undertones to look out for in beige paint – pink, green, yellow, gold and orange. If you have ever walked into a space and felt something was off but couldn’t quite put a finger on it, it’s likely that the undertones weren’t working together.
Undertones in paint are not problematic in isolation. The problems arise when we add these undertones to our environment. Do the undertones complement each other or are they clashing and causing a disturbance in your space?
These Benjamin Moore colours will help you to see the difference between the undertones of beige paint:
Pink Beige – Muslin CC-110
Green Beige – Grant Beige HC-83
Yellow Beige – Standish White HC-32
Gold Beige – Shelburne Buff HC-28
Orange Beige – Ladyfinger 1045
How to Find a Paint Colour’s Undertones
SOURCE: Innovatus Design (Natural Linen Sherwin Williams)
The best way to understand undertones is to compare beige paint side-by-side. Collect beige paint chips from your local paint store, lay them out together and immediately you’ll notice the undertones start to appear. If you are able to use a white backdrop that will help make it more apparent.
If you bring enough samples home you’ll immediately be able to identify the undertones and soon you’ll be able to categorize them by undertone. You’ll also start to notice which ones you’re drawn to however, don’t let your personal preference interfere with your decision. It’s not a matter of preference.
The colour and the undertones need to work with the other materials in your space in order to get the most polished looking space. It’s possible that you could look at a gold beige and think you really dislike the colour but it might just be the best undertone in your space.
Picking the Right Beige Paint for your Home
SOURCE: Floors of Stone
Now that you know how to detect the undertone in your beige paint options it’s time to find the one that works in your own space. Find the largest element in your room. In a living area it could be the drapery, the flooring or the sofa. In the kitchen it could be the cabinetry or the countertops. Any material or furniture item that isn’t going to be replaced soon will need to be considered.
Try to identify the undertones of that primary material and then you’ll have a jumping off point for finding the right beige. Really what you’re trying to do is find a similar undertone to those that already exist. That makes for the most harmonious match.
Compare the samples and you’ll start to see that when you hold the various beige samples beside your sandy or creamy countertop you’ll see which ones work and which don’t. Some of the colours may feel “too orange” or “too green” because the undertone is being pulled out in contrast to the countertop or backsplash tile. If your countertop has a pink undertone you’ll immediately see how Benjamin Moore’s Muslin shines next to it.
Do All Undertones Work Together?
Ideally we want to match our large fixed elements with the same undertone in our beige paint but it’s not always possible. Sometimes we are living with choices we made in the past and we actually have more than one undertone present.
In that case pick one that works best with the various undertones. For instance, maybe in the past (before you knew better) you installed a green beige floor tile with gold beige wooden cabinetry. No, it’s not ideal but sometimes we have to make it work. Focus on the beige paint chips that have either green or gold undertones and go for the one that feels better. It’s likely that either undertone will work so let your gut guide you to make the final decision.
Pink beige is definitely the trickiest undertone to match to another. If you have beige backsplash or floor tiles that have a pink undertone you should stick with a pink beige paint. The other colours have a tendency to make this pink beige look dirty and dated. We definitely aren’t going for either of those when we’re updating our space.
I hope this lesson helps you to feel more confident going out and picking your own beige paint. If you feel less than confident, my Paint Consultation is for you. I can help you find the best colour every single time!
If you need help designing your home or your away-from-home-home, contact me to discuss how I can help.
If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.