Decorating with beige – 10 ways to embrace this warm neutral shade
Be inspired to create beautiful neutral schemes with these techniques for decorating with beige
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Decorating with beige has suffered a reputation for being drab and boring in the past, but now it's having a resurgence as people are re-discovering the power of this earthy neutral to create light, tranquil and nurturing interiors.
A warmer alternative to the ever-popular grey, beige is easy to live with and can make a beautiful foundation for contemporary and traditional schemes. Beige also pairs wonderfully with a wide array of accent colors and offers scope to create all sorts of looks from chic and sophisticated to cool country.
If you're thinking of decorating with beige then you're in the right place as we've rounded up a host of beautiful beige room ideas to get you inspired from beige living room ideas to restful beige bedroom ideas, alongside lots of handy expert advice.
Decorating with beige
Wondering what color is replacing gray? Decorating with beige is becoming an increasingly popular room color idea as people are trading in cool greys for warmer neutrals say design experts.
'More than ever, we’ve seen that there is a greater need to surround ourselves with comforting, soothing colors that are not only easy to live with but provide warmth and serenity within our homes. This has been reflected in the increasing popularity of warmer neutrals, in a clear shift away from the cooler, blue-toned greys. Instead, consumers have been opting for earthier tones that have an inherent warmth,' explains Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene (opens in new tab).
While they may seem like a safe choice, decorating with neutrals can be tricky to get right, but with some interior design know how neutral shades can be used to create beautiful schemes for any room. As an earthy pigment, beige is brilliant for bringing the nurturing qualities of nature into the home for a soothing scheme.
'Beige and brown both work well in shared areas such as the living room and the dining room, they are inviting colors that remind us of the outdoors and nature and so encourage us to relax,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown (opens in new tab).
Alternatively, beige or the beige-grey color trend can provide a perfect quiet backdrop for decorating with statement furniture, colorful artwork and cherished possessions.
1. Introduce plenty of texture
Decorating with beige is perfect for creating a calm, tranquil living space, and, used in the right way, it can be extremely contemporary as this scheme proves. If you're thinking about an all-beige living room then the key is to factor in plenty of texture.
'A neutral scheme can still be inspiring and have depth. It’s important to consider texture, whether it’s a pattern, such as a jacquard fabric, or through mixing finishes, like a matte wall with gloss paint on the ceiling. These elements create interest that will make the monochromatic neutral room sing,' says interior designer Kelly Wearstler (opens in new tab).
In this neutral living room, the light, exposed plaster walls create a pared-back yet textural foundation while sculptural furniture with sinuous shapes take center stage including a curvaceous living room sofa from Ligne Roset (opens in new tab) which is upholstered in a soft, tactile fabric to bring an element of coziness.
2. Use beige for a timeless kitchen
A kitchen is a big investment, so it's important that the design you go for has longevity. Opting for a bespoke, handcrafted wooden kitchen with a classic Shaker style door in a warm neutral paint finish is guaranteed to stand the test of time both in terms of function and style.
Painted in 'Mushroom', a lovely beige-grey, this neutral kitchen idea from deVOL (opens in new tab) keeps the space feeling light and bright, while the warmth in the paint creates helps create an inviting and welcoming feel.
3. Team beige with off-white to create a fresh, layered look
When decorating with neutrals such as beige, layering different tones is just as important as layering textures.
Combining a selection of subtly different warm neutral shades will help create a harmonious look with depth and interest, while adding in elements of warm-toned off white will highlight the space and keep the look feeling bright and fresh.
'Consider pairing the rich ‘Travertine’ on walls with the lighter ‘Stock’ on ceilings, or three quarters of the way up the wall to give the illusion of height,' says Ruth Mottershead of this living room paint idea. 'The warmth of ‘Travertine’ balanced with the fresh, yet warm ‘Stock’ feels incredibly soothing and works wonderfully with the addition of bare wood finishes and unglazed ceramics.'
4. Create a chic look with beige and black
Beige if often associated with country decorating ideas, but when paired with streamlined black furniture it can look chic and contemporary.
Here the panelling is painted in Crown's, Crown Entice Metallic emulsion, a neutral shade with a metallic paint finish, which brings a luxurious feel and helps reflect light back into the room.
5. Use beige as a backdrop for art and color
Decorating with beige is a brilliant dining room paint idea as it will bring a warm inviting feel but also creates a versatile base for introducing bolder accent colors and wall decor.
Here walls in Pale Gold by Crown make a lovely base for a colorful gallery wall and while the shade's yellow undertones bring a happy feel. The striking ceiling idea is a great way to liven up a beige scheme and brings a playful color pop to the space.
6. Pair beige with warm colors
As a neutral shade, finding accent colors for beige is easy as there are plenty to choose from. Being a warm color, beige naturally pairs well with warmer shades on the color wheel.
'As with any neutral or white, whether it is a warm or cool colour depends on whether it has underlying hints of the warmth of something like pink or the coolness of a blue. So if you are using a deep red you can complement it with a warm grey/beige, conversely you can mix a colder grey with cooler blues, deep greys and greens,' explains Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown (opens in new tab).
Introducing elements of mustard, saffron, ochre, orange and rich terracotta through fabrics and accessories is a great way to bring depth as demonstrated in this scheme with its beige couch living room idea and array of colorful cushions.
7. Create a tranquil bedroom with beige
Light and bright, but with more warmth than white, beige is perfect for spaces where we want to relax and recuperate.
'The yellow notes, while never too harsh or twee, can create a soft palette and suit nearly any room in the home, especially in a bedroom. It will deliver a little softness and is easy to layer with charming floral prints,' says Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab) Brand Ambassador.
Designed by Salvesen Graham (opens in new tab), this beige bedroom features fabric-clad walls in Roussillon, Oyster by Guy Goodfellow (opens in new tab) which brings essential warmth and texture to the neutral scheme.
8. Bring delicate pattern with a beige wallpaper
Opting for an ornate wallpaper in a delicate, warm neutral shade is a lovely way to bring gentle pattern without overpowering a scheme – this can be an important consideration when decorating bedrooms as busy and bold patterns may distract.
This beautiful bedroom wallpaper idea by Arte (opens in new tab) brings visual interest to this space while keeping it feeling light and uplifting.
9. Warm up beige with metallics
Introducing hints of brass or gold is an easy way to bring life and warmth to a beige scheme.
In this bathroom design by Salvesen Graham the pared back bathroom color idea allows the beautiful bathroom panelling to take centre stage while the polished brass towel rail and vanity unit bring a feeling of sophistication and luxury to the neutral space.
10. Use beige as a base for bold artwork
If you love decorating with art then opting for quiet shades of beige and greige are perfect for showcasing striking pieces.
In this space designed by Salvesen Graham, the fluted paneling painted in Edward Bulmer (opens in new tab)'s Whiting shade is a perfect neutral base for a vibrant abstract artwork and statement hallway mirrors.
A perfect color choice for narrow hallways, a beige backdrop will help work with the mirrors to maximise the feeling of space.
What colors go with beige?
There are many colors that go with beige as it is a easy, neutral shade.
'Warm neutrals are colors that envelope and comfort look at their best within a palette of natural tones like other earthy shades and soft grey greens,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown.
'Blue-toned greys such as Soft Steel or Pure Minerals by Crown work well when combined with beiges, as opposed to pure brilliant white, whose contrast may look too stark,' she adds.
'As it’s a color inspired by a heritage palette, bluey grey and beige looks really elegant and sophisticated paired with wooden furniture – mid-tone wood would be preferable but dark shades can also enhance its moody look.'
How do you make a beige room interesting?
There are many ways to make a beige room look interesting, from introducing bold accent colors, to creating a gallery wall. The beauty of beige is that it is a quiet, warm neutral making it a perfect base fo layering statement furniture, colorful artwork and beautiful collectibles.
'Beige and Saddle Stitch pair beautifully with all natural materials like wood, stone, clay and natural fabrics like linen or jute. They work best with soft warm lighting and is perfect for creating a relaxing ambient atmosphere in your home,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown.
Pippa is Content Editor on Homes & Gardens online contributing to Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors print issues. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.
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