How to Update a Room With Beige Tiles or Carpet (often Tuscan-style)
If there’s one colour from the late ’90s and early 2000s that haunts MANY dreams, it has to be beige. Many are trying to step OUT of the warm, Tuscan-inspired vibe and into something a bit more updated, but those darn beige tiles and carpets put a hard stop to that every time! Personally, I love beige, but just like with my inappropriate humour, it’s all about ‘right place, right time’, a concept that both beige and I struggle with.
Say hi to Doug the Doodle (RIP Henry Bacon)
The thing is, you have to listen to your home and its particular needs, even if those needs go against what you REALLY want to do. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a happy medium, and I’m here to help you find it.
To figure out what your home’s needs are, you need to figure out what you’ve GOT first. Beige, whether it’s tile, paint colour, furniture or carpet will have SOME combination of orange, pink or yellow undertones (green sneaks in once in a while too). And while the scales can tip towards one undertone or another, THE MOST COMMON undertone combination found in beige is orange-pink. Once you figure out the particular blend of YOUR beige, it’s much easier to move forward with confidence.
If you want to learn a bit more of the nitty-gritty, I have a blog post coming out ASAP!
Beige Tiles or Carpet with Orange or Pink Undertones
While you might not be happy to hear it, there’s a REALLY GOOD CHANCE your beige tile or carpet has an orange-pink or committed pink undertone. And you might be worried, thinking you’ll need pink walls to make things work, but don’t you worry your pretty lil face off – I’ve got your back.
PRODUCTS FROM THE ’90S AND 2000s THAT ARE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE PINK OR ORANGE-PINK UNDERTONES
- TILE – specifically travertine tile which can nod HARD towards Tuscan style
- CARPET – 1990s in particular (as well as mid-2015s funny enough #notfunny)
- FURNITURE – micro-fibre ‘tan’ coloured sofas are the most common culprit
- GRANITE COUNTERTOPS – 1990s in particular. In the early 2000s, we started seeing a bit more of a nod towards gold (orange-yellow)
As it relates to pink undertones specifically, the key to working WITH them is to stop FIGHTING them. When you fight a colour or try to avoid it (ie. painting your walls a colour with blue or green undertones), you can actually make things worse if you’re hoping to downplay the pink undertones, of which you’ll find two types…
- PINK-ORANGE. A subtle pink undertone tucked discretely into the main orange undertone (otherwise known as beige with an orange-pink undertone.
- ORANGE-PINK. Beige with a PINK-orange undertone, meaning the pink is stronger than the orange.
Photo by JR Photography (I can’t find his website to link it though…)
As for orange undertones, you’ll find two blends…
- ORANGE-YELLOW. Overall, this can be a slightly more ‘golden’ look but is definitely NOT as common. And because I like to hit MASS APPEAL as much as possible, it’s not the focus of this blog post.
- ORANGE-PINK. DEFINITELY the most undertone, particularly in tiles from the ’90s and 2000s. You’ll find this particular undertone in many of the tiles from the Tuscan trend of the early 2000s (ie. travertine tile, which I actually DO have mad love for, along with Ryan Reynolds, both of which I’d love to roll all over).
A FEW NON-BEIGE PAINT COLOUR IDEAS TO UPDATE BEIGE CARPET OR TILE
If your tile or carpet has a committed pink undertone and you DON’T want BEIGE walls, look for warm neutral paint colours that have a tiny bit of pink in them (common in taupe). This doesn’t mean you’ll have pink WALLS, but you’ll have pink-friendly walls.
BENJAMIN MOORE PALE OAK OC-20
Pale Oak is a super popular taupe as it relates to coordinating with beige surfaces. This isn’t to say it ALWAYS works, but it’s a great place to start.
There are some carpets and tiles that have a pink or orange-pink undertone, but ALSO have a warm violet-pink (taupe) in them, making them a bit more flexible towards taupe paint colours. Taupe paint colours are warmer than gray but NOT as warm as beige.
In this next photo, we’re dealing with a tile that has orange-pink in it, as well as a beautiful taupe…
In a situation like this, where your surface has a mix of colours, it’s MUCH easier to stretch outside of the beige box. Of the three colours in the above photo (main wall colour and two samples) which one do YOU think works the best?
If you guessed the right side, you’d be correct! Benjamin Moore Pale Oak is a soft warm gray-taupe with passive purple-pink undertones that are hitting a real happy place with the tile.
In this next example, the brick fireplace, carpet and walls all have pink undertones, which means they’re well-coordinated. My client also chose furniture in a warm gray with a violet undertone, which sits MUCH better than a gray with a green undertone would.
The awesome thing about a room like this is that the brick offers flexibility towards the beige end of things OR the warm gray/taupe range!
We’ll be touching on more ‘multi-hued’ surfaces shortly, but first, paint colours. I would love to show you a wide range of photos of beige rooms with NON-BEIGE walls, but because I only use photos from my E-design clients, I don’t always have EXACTLY what I need. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have a few more GREAT COLOURS for you to try…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS POPULAR GRAY 6071
With its LRV of 61, Popular Gray has more depth than Pale Oak and a more obvious undertone (violet-pink) to it.
BENJAMIN MOORE CEDAR KEY OC-16
I’m sneaking Cedar Key in here as it can be such a GREAT moderator between beige and taupe. Why? Because it really is a blend of both, making it a great option to modernize many beige surfaces! Want a bit more depth? Check out Smokey Taupe – MAD love.
Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Cedar Key – COMING SOON!
SHERWIN WILLIAMS VERSATILE GRAY 6072
Versatile Gray is a stunning, light-medium depth taupe with an LRV of 48, which means it has a bit more meat on its bones and that GLORIOUS taupe vibe we’re looking for.
The tile in the above photo is like a hybrid of beige with a pink-orange undertone and taupe, making Versatile Gray a very interesting and flexible choice!
SHERWIN WILLIAMS EGRET WHITE 7570
Egret White is a gentle subtle taupe with an LRV of 70, putting it on the HIGH end of the light range. While it’s similar in depth to Pale Oak, it’s a bit grayer, so make sure your beige tile can SUPPORT this added dose of gray!
Remember, you MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO fully update the look of your beige tile (based on what your original paint colour hopes were). And while you can likely get OUT of the more rich golden colours that were commonly used 20 years ago, you might still need to paint your walls a warm paint colour for things to flow – you’ll just be looking at more MODERN warm paint colours.
In this next example, look at the progression from warm beige (left) to a more muted beige (center) to a warm gray (right). The COOLER we go, the more it clashes with the bones of the tile, with the sample on the right just not connecting at all. And while the tile HUMOURS the center colour, the left sample is really the best choice.
- Beige tiles often handle a warm violet undertone better than a blue or green undertone as it relates to CONTRASTING with the beige.
- Carpet tends to have more flexibility as it’s more often a solid colour. This means you WILL find some beige carpets that can humour a gray or greige with blue, green or violet undertone, but you still have to be careful as NOT ALL carpets can do this!
PAINT COLOURS TO AVOID IF YOU HAVE PINK OR ORANGE-PINK TONED TILE OR CARPET
If you don’t like your beige surface and don’t want to ACCENT it, generally speaking, you should avoid green or blue paint colours (or gray or greige with those undertones). Of course, there are ALWAYS exceptions, especially when the undertones in a carpet are super subtle, but be careful, as a cool paint colour might just ENHANCE your warm-toned products, which doesn’t always create an ‘updated look’.
Not every beige tile or carpet can visually support cool neutral paint colours, so sample carefully and listen to your home.
This next photo is a GREAT example of how some paint colours can really date products with pink undertones (this was one of our homes when we first moved in – woof. Thank God Tim and my Dad flooded the house and we got new flooring).
In this next example, both the flooring products and the table have a pink undertone. However, in this case, a very mild, earthy green undertone was a BEAUTIFUL complement to almost ALL of the hard surfaces in this room, including the dark wood trim – it helps when you have a cute lil Ginger tucked in your back pocket (I will pinch upon request).
You should also avoid cream paint colours and beige or tan paint colours with a yellow undertone. Yellow and pink don’t have much love for each other and you could have a HOT mess of undertones on your hands. In this next photo, my client doesn’t love the home she bought with its Sherwin Williams Antique White island and Macadamia walls.
The Antique White island is just a bit too creamy-yellow for the more committed orange undertone (orange-pink) of the travertine tile on the floor, and just BARELY made the cut with the stone fireplace. Macadamia (walls) has a wink o’ green undertone tucked in it, which is sitting off with the floor and the fireplace as well – everything was CLOSE, but no cigar!
Again, in this next photo, the previous owner used Antique White on the cabinets which is just TOO yellow for most beige tiles (and is ALSO why it’s one of the whites I would never paint my cabinets or trim).
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
- they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed 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
Beige Tiles, Carpet or Rooms with Mixed Undertones & Colours
When photos of tiles or countertops with mixed hues come to my inbox, I GIGGLE with glee, as I can’t WAIT to show the owners what their paint options are – the effect is ALWAYS game-changing.
As mentioned earlier, a bit of variation in your beige surface could give you WAY more colour flexibility. In the above tiles, you’ll see a lot of beige (mostly pink or orange-pink), but you’ll also see some green, violet and pink/taupe undertones that really open up the colour options!
In this next photo, the tile and countertop have a wink of green which we gladly grabbed onto, meaning we could use the GLORIOUS Benjamin Moore Arctic Shadows on the walls…
Photos via Tim Hanson Productions
YESSS, I love this next tile. While it has a beige base, just LOOK at the flexibility its other colours gave us, giving room for the warm greige approach of Benjamin Moore London Fog on the walls…
And lastly, I want to tell you how to pick the RIGHT COUNTERTOP to update your beige tile.
I’ve found that a lot of my clients with beige tiles want marble countertops. No can do, Sue. The key is to PICK UP what your tile flooring is throwing down, like this here…
See how the beige of the tile is picked up on the countertop? I was SO happy to see this combo as the floor and the countertop are working as a palette, with the countertop UPDATING the look of the floor, whereas a marble countertop would’ve made the floor look older.
There are also the ODD white quartz countertops that can flex towards beige tile floors. What ARE these magical countertops you might ask? While this could be a blog post unto itself, look for white quartz countertops with WARM gray veining with a VIOLET or violet-pink undertone. Just as paint colours with these undertones can work with beige tile, this undertone in veining can help tie these two surfaces together. You can also look for a quartz countertop that actually HAS a bit of beige in it!
So there you have it. I hope these ideas and inspirations get you started on updating your beige home. If not, I’ve got 300+ other articles for you to check out, just type a keyword into my SEARCH area on the right side of my home page for some more blog posts!
Not sure how to update your beige or Tuscan-inspired room?
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting, I’d love to help!