Say Goodbye to Beige and Hello to Gray!
Is your beige feeling a lil’ blah? Are your bored with the warm Tuscan glory of your earth-toned inspired home? Join the club.
And while it’s not a club I have jumped into wholeheartedly myself, it’s one that HUNDREDS of my clients have joined, with the hopes of creating a more fresh, vibrant, modern home.
Beige-inspired homes are often chock-full of beige walls, beige carpet and maybe even beige furniture. You may look around your room and think to yourself ‘I’m really drawn to gray, but how in the HECK do I change from beige to gray when my WHOLE FREAKIN’ HOME is beige?’
You keep reading…
Remember, beige is a neutral and neutrals are about as flexible as a 10-year-old gymnast. So, while you may feel limited, you actually have a WORLD of colours available to you-you just need to know which direction to go in and pay CLOSE attention to your undertones.
Gray & Greige Paint Colours that Can Update Beige Carpets or Tiles
If you subscribe to my free blog updates (drink the Kool-Aid – it’s gooood), you probably know that grays have undertones – I refer to them ALL the time (along with red wine, dogs and mildly inappropriate topics). Undertones are those sneaky ‘colours’ that can rise up once you’ve painted a wall with two coats and step back in all of your sweaty, exhausted glory to realize that your gray walls actually look blue or your beige walls really look pink.
The key to choosing the best gray is to figure out which undertones you are dealing with and which ones best suit your particular beige surface (carpet/tile/countertop/furniture).
REMEMBER, depending on the TYPE of beige you have and HOW MUCH OF IT you have in your home, you might not be able to head in the gray/greige colour direction you were hoping for. In this case, you might end up with a warm paint colour on your walls and gray/greige in your furniture and accent pieces.
Cool Gray Paint Colours with Beige Carpet, Tile or Furniture
Cool grays have blue, purple or green undertones (blue and purple being the most common) and these undertones aren’t always so happy to be partnered with beige, especially if you have a beige with stronger undertones (yellow/green/pink/orange).
The warm undertones found in beige (yellow/orange/red/green) can be ENHANCED when you paint the walls a cool paint colour. Opposites attract, so your warm beige carpet may look more pink, orange or yellow if you paint the walls a cool gray, especially one with stronger undertones. The warmth of your carpet will ALSO enhance the cool tones in your paint colour. If this is okay with you, then that’s a good start, but you’ll also want to pay attention to the DEPTH of your paint colour, which we’ll get into shortly.
In this next photo, the carpet had SUPER subtle undertones and the space had enough natural light to handle a gray paint colour (Benjamin Moore Gray Owl)…
- There are more beige tiles that will handle a gray with a warm purple undertone than a blue or green undertone
- Beige carpets tend to have more flexibility and you will find some that can humour a gray or greige with blue, green or purple undertones, but you still have to be careful as NOT ALL carpets can do this!
Read more: Colour Review – All About SW Big Chill
Warm Gray Paint Colours with Beige Carpet, Tile or Furniture
Warm gray paint colours have a weee willy wink of brown in them and can often come across slightly purple or green (and usually only blue when the exposure encourages it).
Warm grays (especially ones with a soft purple undertone) have a better chance of looking good with beige, simply because they BOTH have brown in them. The more brown you add to gray, the closer you get to greige, which is also a fab choice when updating a beige home.
HOWEVER, if you have beige products with a pink or orange-pink undertone, you risk ENHANCING those undertones if you pick a warm gray with a green undertone. The undertones in your beige products have to be VERY PASSIVE in order to handle a warm gray or they need to have the type of gray you want to use IN them.
Greige Paint Colours with Beige Carpet, Tile or Furniture
Greige paint colours are grays that are mixed with a good dose of beige and tend to have less undertone compared to warm grays and cool grays.
Greige is a great colour to transition from gray to greige as it has both gray and beige in it – in decent doses. Is it as cool/gray as you were maybe hoping for? Probably not, but it can be a great ‘happy medium’ between where your HOME is and where YOU want to be (other than on a hot tropical island with Ryan Reynolds in a speedo).
But remember, sometimes what YOU want for your home and what your HOME needs are two different things. As shown in this next photo, a warm, soft tan was the BEST choice for this room with the sofa, area rug, decor and fireplace surround. A gray of any sort or even greige wouldn’t have done it any justice.
Again, in this next photo, there IS NO GRAY OR GREIGE that would look as good as or BETTER than this soft, flexible neutral…
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…
- Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
- At $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needing for traditional paint sampling
- If you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE
The Best Paint Colour Depths to Update Beige
I’ve found that homes with beige in them often don’t suit the off-white range of the above colours. It’s like everything gets a bit too washed-out and non-committal. And while there is the odd exception, it seems that most rooms with beige in them best suit paint colours in the light to light-medium (or darker) range when it comes to transitioning from beige to gray or greige.
And as soon as we add some SERIOUS depth, I’m a bit more inclined to add more colour/undertone too if the beige can handle it…
When choosing a colour, you can get some good insights into how it may look via its LRV. If you don’t what LRV is, it’s Light Reflectance Value and to keep things simple, it basically tells you how light or dark a colour will look once it’s up on the wall. (Read ALL about it here – The Ultimate Guide to LRV).
In my Online Colour Consulting, I usually refer to colours that have an LRV of approx 65 or lower when I’m coordinating with beige. Once I get into the higher LRV’s (approx. 65+), things don’t seem to connect quite as well.
Now, I KNOW you are just begging me to mention some actual paint colours, but here’s the deal Ally McBeal. I created my blog posts to give you free access to information that is helpful and will get you off on the right foot. If you need help from there, I’m MORE than happy to give you suggestions via my Online Color Consulting which is affordable AND fun AND personalized to the specific needs of your home and your tastes. So, while I’d love to throw a riot of colours at you, a gal needs to bring home some BACON ya know?!
What to Avoid When Updating Beige…
As I said, beige is pretty damn flexible, however with the goal of getting grayer (short of watching 50 Shades of it), here are some things to consider…
- The more colour or undertone (blue/green/purple) your gray or greige paint colour has in it the more chance you have of ENHANCING the warm beige tones in your room. Get things as neutral as possible
- Grayish off-whites and cool whites rarely work, they just looks gross…says me – that is my super educated opinion
- Off-white cool grays or greiges RARELY work with beige. If you prefer cool grays, consider those with LRV’s of 65 and lower
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Kylie M Interiors Interior Decorating and Design Blog E-Design, Virtual Consulting and Online Colour Consulting Services Based in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island and serving the whole darned world!