Beige is a best selling color, and to stretch its reach even farther you can include off white as a pale version of beige. Not only is it a best seller in interior colors but also in exterior colors. Its scope extends from the rich tones of tan to the grayed nuances of taupe. Beige is not a color family, only a tone in the family of Orange. Its big brother Brown is the darkest value of that tone and it is also a winner in the marketplace, enjoying a revival as of late. So what is the mysterious allure of beige? Why does it play such a key role in decorating today?
There are a number of reasons why we are inundated with beige. First of all it is a neutral, a color that plays well with others and is a great companion. In the scheme of things it is in the correct hemisphere, the warm side of the color world. Warm colors outsell cool colors by quite a large margin. They are comforting and offer refuge from an over colorful world. Color love comes from a memory of things that are pleasant, familiar and predictable. Our minds make connections with colors we see around us every day, such as our natural surroundings and objects we love and cherish. We see these warm tone colors in the trees around us, the earth beneath our feet and in the wildlife we cherish. So as humans we have a strong connection to this color family and it translates into big sales in a broad range of products from carpet to siding and from low end to high end. It looks good on flat surfaces such as walls and on textured surfaces like carpet. It is rich as a best selling metallic or pearl of automobile finishes and even on plastic wastebaskets. How can they possibly make it look fashionable and new?
Tone on tone neutrals can suggest a rich, luxurious look. High end fabrics made of silk, wool and cashmere can add ambiance to a humble color like beige. Pair that with our memories of the familiar and it doubles its power. In today’s economy beige is a proven winner as it can live a long time in a home environment. It is easy to punch it up with a broad range of accents, both warm and cool, giving it an even longer life.
I used to call beige a chicken color, not the color of a chicken but a color for people who were too chicken to pick a more colorful hue. I take my words back, easy or not, beige is where its at!
Our thanks to Pat Verlodt, CMG, Color Guild spokesperson, and author of this post.
Used with permission of The Color Guild.