Sherwin-Williams Realist Beige is one of the most versatile paints – experts weigh in on this 'uncomplicated' neutral

Designers love this beige paint for its light and airy look

beige paint used in various interior schemes
(Image credit: Kevin Scott, Sherwin-Williams, Sutter Interiors)

One of the most prominent interior design trends for 2024 is the return to warm neutrals, replacing previously popular cool tones such as gray. Warm neutrals add subtle warmth to any interior scheme while maintaining a pared-back look, and beige is one of the most classic colors among them.

Beige tones are seeing plenty of use from interior designers and homeowners right now, and one specific beige paint that's cropping up is one of Sherwin-Williams' best sellers Realist Beige. 

Here, we're taking a closer look at this neutral paint idea, exploring ways to use this versatile hue. If you're looking for a classic beige paint to provide an unfussy backdrop in your home, Realist Beige should be on your radar. 

What color is Realist Beige?

side table with artwork and beige wall

(Image credit: Sherwin-Williams)

Sherwin-Williams' Realist Beige, pictured above, is a light shade of beige that's balanced with a hint of coolness, giving it a light and airy feel.

'When you are on the hunt for a beige that isn’t boring, Realist Beige is that beige,' explains interior designer Nadia Watts. 'With a hint of pink and orange and cool brown undertones, this beige feels light and airy.'

Nadia adds that it's the type of paint that works well as a backdrop when decorating with neutrals, pairing well with many interior design styles and other colors: 'This color is great for wide open spaces, tall ceilings, and open-concept spaces. It’s a nice neutral for when you have a large area to paint and need a color that will work with a wide range of colors, lighting ideas, and decor styles.' 

Interior designer Kathy Kuo adds that Realist Beige makes a particularly fitting color choice for coastal decor ideas and rustic decor, thanks to its earthy tones. She explains that the orange undertones 'make a great fit for coastal beach and rustic aesthetics since those styles pull from the beauty of earth tones.'

How do experts recommend using Realist Beige?

Realist Beige is an incredibly versatile paint color and can be used in most rooms throughout the home. But if you're looking for some more specific expert-approved ways to incorporate this gentle neutral paint, we spoke to design experts to round up their favorite ideas. 

Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing at Sherwin-Williams explains that Realist Beige works especially well in small room ideas to help provide brightness.

'This light, uncomplicated beige gives any surface an instant refresh,' says Sue. 'Its cool brown undertone keeps things airy and open, so I highly recommend this shade for smaller rooms with not much natural light.'

Neutral bedroom with rattan headboard and sea anemone style side table in Miami beachside apartment

(Image credit: Kevin Scott)

Additionally, Realist Beige makes an effective bedroom color choice. Its subtle tones aid in creating a relaxing scheme, which can be further enhanced by incorporating white as an accent color

'I love using this shade in bedrooms, due to its soothing and inviting feel,' says Sue. 'To take the relaxing vibe even further, pair it with warm white paint as an accent color, such as Sherwin-Williams' Alabaster along with natural woods, cozy throws and pillows, and other nature-inspired elements.'

Another room that lends itself to the use of Realist Beige is the kitchen. For a kitchen color scheme that is both understated and inviting, neutral kitchen ideas will always be a timeless choice. 

'This color is perfect for kitchen cabinets,' advises interior designer Luis Carmona, founder of VERDE Interior Design. 'If used in a kitchen across cabinets, opt for brass or bronze hardware and fixtures to play to the warmer tone of the paint color.'

Small kitchen with neutral cabinets for a timeless feel

(Image credit: Sutter Interiors)

In any room, incorporating contrasting colors and textures alongside Realist Beige will provide balance to ensure this pared-back hue doesn't lack interest. Luis explains that 'adding some color and texture in the space will help break up the mask of brown that Realist Beige can give off if overused.'

But what colors pair best with this gentle neutral? Thanks to the paint's subtle tones which are neither too warm nor cool, you can pair Realist Beige with most color families. For a statement look, Luis recommends pairing this beige paint with 'complementary colors like blues and greens.'

Interior designer Melanie Coddington, founder of San Francisco-based Coddington Design adds that pairing Realist Beige with 'accent colors like navy blue' will create a 'timeless and serene look.'

Alternatively, lean into a fully neutral look and incorporate other beige and brown tones for a more understated look that still provides a level of contrast. One way to do so is through 'natural materials and metallic accents' according to Melanie. 

Consider your room's light fixtures when decorating with Realist Beige, too. To best complement this beige paint, choose light fixtures with bronze tones for a warm neutral scheme, as Luis recommends: 'Add light fixtures with some brass, copper, or bronze finishes to play to the brown hues in Realist Beige.'

If you're looking for a versatile neutral paint for your home decor ideas, Sherwin-Williams' Realist Beige is a failsafe choice. Balancing warm and cool tones, it is easy to style throughout the home and pairs well with most decor styles.

If you do settle on this popular neutral paint, make sure to provide some element of contrast, either with white or darker accents for an elevated look. 

Emily Moorman
News Writer

Emily Moorman is a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, working across a range of topics spanning interiors, celebrity and emerging trends. With a background in the fashion industry, Emily is well-versed in the world of design and trend cycles. Her undergraduate degree was in Fashion Communication and Promotion which she studied at Norwich University of The Arts, specialising in writing and digital communications.