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 is 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.
Grays and Greiges that Work With Beige
If you subscribe to my free blog updates (drink the Kool-Aid – it’s gooood), you are probably aware of the fact 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 2 coats and step back in your all of your sweaty, exhausted glory to realize that your gray walls actually look blue or your beige walls really look pink.
So, the key to choosing the best gray is to figure out which undertones you are dealing with and which ones best suit your home, furnishings and personal tastes.
These grays have blue, purple or green undertones (blue and purple being the most common).
Cool grays can look really good with beige, however I’ve found that the warm undertones that are often found in beige (yellow/orange/red) can be ENHANCED when you paint the walls a cool colour. Opposites attract, so your warm beige carpet may look more pink or yellow if you paint the walls a cool, blue base gray. Your carpet will ALSO enhance the cool tones in your paint colour.
Now this isn’t a BAD thing, it can look SUPER sharp, but I’ve found that most of my clients and readers are looking for a more subtle, modern, less colourful approach, which leads us to warm grays.
These have a weee willy wink of brown in them and can often come across slightly purple, taupe or green.
Warm grays tend to look good with beige, simply because they BOTH have brown in them. Beige is basically a light brown and warm grays have a touch of brown in them. The more brown you add, the closer you get to greige, which is also a fab choice when updating a beige home.
These 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 often be a great ‘happy medium’ between where you ARE and where you want to BE (other than on a hot tropical island with Ryan Reynolds in a speedo).
The Best Paint Colour Depths to Update Beige
I’ve found that homes with beige in them often don’t suit the off-white/light 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/medium to dark range when it comes to transition time.
When choosing a colour, you can get some good insights into how it may look via it’s 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 60 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…
Like I said, beige is pretty damn flexible, however with the goal of getting more gray (short of watching 50 Shades of it), here are some things to consider…
- The more colour your gray or greige paint colour has in it (or undertone) the farther away you will be from ‘gray’ as your warm beige may ENHANCE the colour in your paint. Get things as neutral as possible
- Grayish off-whites and cool whites. They just looks gross…says me – that is my super educated opinion
- Pink. ANYTHING with a pink undertone will look terribly fugly with beige. Beige often has a yellow or orange undertone and those colours like pink about as much as I like an empty wine bottle
- Light cool grays don’t look QUITE as nice with beige. If you prefer cool grays, consider those with LRV’s of 60 and lower
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