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Vancouver Colour Consultant: Beige is Only ‘Blah’ When it’s Wrong

By 10/25/2011January 28th, 201730 Comments

In a consultation recently for a church in Virginia, I was on the phone with two women who were on the decorating committee. They said, “the committee does not want a ‘blah’ beige.” And my response to that was that beige is considered a “colour” when it’s the right beige and totally blah when it’s wrong. And it was that conversation that inspired this post.


As you know, there are a lot of WRONG beige tones out there. Does this mean I advocate painting all walls beige over a colour? No. However, here is when a neutral is almost always required:

1. The main wall colour in many homes is usually a neutral whether it’s considered beige or gray. In other words, most people don’t choose a red, or orange for a large entry and hallways, living rooms, etc. I think it would be fabulous if you did!

2. If you have bathroom tile or countertop that has more than two shades of beige or gray, that already dictates that the wall colour pick up on one of the neutrals already in the tile.

Image via Dailydivadish

3. If you have multi-coloured tiled flooring or granite in your kitchen.

I am always a little surprised when  a client shows me a piece of granite with five colours in it and then a paint chip with a colour that in no way relates to the granite. My advice in this case is, “Let’s choose a colour that relates to the granite because I assume you like it which is why you are/have installed it.”

Love the light fixture in this kitchen! Houzz

I think we’ve all had a “blah” beige in our house at one time or another. I currently have one in my entry because it has not been painted yet. I’m resisting painting every square inch of this rental but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Which room is “blah” for you at your house?

If you would like to make sure the beige in your house doesn’t turn out ‘blah’ get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to choose the right beige for your clients become a True Colour Expert.

Download my eBook, It’s All in the Undertones. If you have a computer, you can download my book!

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

Does your Colour Consultant understand Beige?

Do you Understand Neutrals? Take the Bathroom Test

How to Choose Colour for a Stone Fireplace

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  • Angela N says:

    So true!!! When we moved into our house it had a blah beige on the walls. I repainted over it all with, yes, another beige, but one that related to our furniture and granite. (Thanks for that btw. Such great advice!) It looks a million times better!

  • niki fulton says:

    I totally agree, and your points are great. Nice images to demonstrate too. Thanks for that.

  • Heather says:

    Love this–so true. Beige got a bad rap somewhere along the line! I LOVE color, but my current house, which is modern and open, has taught me to appreciate grey and beige as a peaceful background to the color and pattern I love.


  • Ellen Rhett says:

    Maria, this is a great post. I think my second favorite post ever, right up there with “Trim Color, not Cloud White” post. I have never seen (heard) anyone explain beiges better than you do!

  • Deana says:

    I’d like more info on that last kitchen. The link says Houzz but actually goes to the same place as the first picture (of the hallway). Thanks.

    • Lauchlan Nelson says:

      Did you ever get anymore info on that kictchen. Do you know the wall color and cabinet color they used?
      I like this kitchen too!

      • Maria Killam says:

        It looks glazed. No I just found this from the web so I don’t have any info sorry. Maria

      • Gina Sumera says:

        I believe the color is shaker beige. I googled images for rooms painted this color and this pic comes up.

  • Well said, Maria! Really nice post 🙂


  • I’m getting my house ready to sell when the market improves. I’m lightening up and chose a pale, yet warm, creamy caramel (which is technically a yellow beige) for my bedroom. Everyone who knows me was shocked, but I’m finding that I like it! It’s a small room, and I painted the walls, trim and ceiling the same color. I love that approach, and love the subtle warmth. It’s a calm background, and the color focus is on the fabrics. I got new carpet that is a bit darker than the walls, and the color envelope seems to be continuous, not boring at all.

  • Rory Vanlandingham says:

    Well, Maria, I did decide on Powell Buff, and you are right, it is more yellow on the walls in this north facing room, but it goes perfectly and I LOVE it! Now I need some new artwork on the walls with some pop of color on that neutral beige.

  • pve says:

    I think most people go bold or go beige!
    I think beige can be a welcome calm to a chaotic life.
    Love it with white!

  • Anon says:

    Love the photos & love the stone walls & floor.

    Any ideas on how to transition from beige to white?

  • Bebe says:

    I’m in a beige dilemma. We just installed black granite counte tops with beige travertine backsplash, so from your post, I guess beige is the only option? We have oak flooring and cabinets that have yellowed with age that I would like to tone down…what do you suggest??

  • Shell says:

    Interesting topic. I have to admit I do call beige “blaige” LOL.

    The issue for me is that too many people I know run to the ‘safety’ of beige rather than actually using it to decorate.

    Living in Vancouver, with our often rainy darker climate, I have found beige very depressing, so I do choose to use more vibrant colors to liven up my space.

    However, I get your point, and it’s a good one and bears repeating to those who use beige because it feels safe and they don’t know what other colors to choose.

    Love your posts Maria!!

  • Beautiful beige rooms! There is nothing wrong with beige and it is the main Earth element color in Feng Shui. Beige activates earth energy which stimulates romantic happiness and learning. As you have shown in the images above, beige can be gorgeous when used correctly. Love it!

  • charlotte ivancic says:

    Hi Maria,

    Love your photos! I have a question concerning ceilings. We are renovating our home which was built in the 1960’s. Currently we have pop corn ceilings, and am wondering whether we should go with knockdown or flat ceilings? Most of the old ceilings have been ripped our to do our venting and electrical. I am going for a contemporary look with some dark oak antique pieces. Any thoughts on ceilings?!



  • Debbie Bruna says:


    I wish I had known you were coming to Virginia, I live in Northern Virginia, near DC and would loved to have had a color consult with you. Maybe you could publish a schedule on your site and when you come to the states, locals in those towns might have some additional work for you. 🙂

  • Excellent explanation Maria. Thank you!

  • Barbara says:

    Well said, there are lots of beautiful, calming beiges in the world, that allow me to enjoy all the goodies placed in the room. The paint isn’t competing with the room’s contents. Yes, I know it can work with color-color’s but a much more skilled “eye” is needed, to find success. We’ve all seen the results when that was missing…gasp!

  • Ellen Rush says:

    Beautiful photos Maria! I remember when you recommended we paint our open living dining kitchen all shaker beige! It worked with all the elements, pinky white entry tile, dark granite counters (none of it chosen by us), wood floors and dark brown leather furniture (ok, that was chosen by us). The paint make everything look so pulled together and elegant – it helped going shopping with you for all the extra peices as well like the beautiful blue, green and beige striped wool rug for the living room. Because of that experience I have a soft spot for shaker beige!

  • Ellen says:

    To Debbie Bruna: Maria does telephone consults all over the U.S and Canada. You should email her about it, she can do wonders over the phone with an email photograph!

  • A-L says:

    You’re right that the wrong beige is the problem. When I moved into my house I thought it was a neutral enough color (probably #1035, Everlasting). I wasn’t over the moon about it, but it went okay with my furniture. Well, I’ve recently added a couple of occasional chairs (more of a yellow base) and now the pinky beige walls really irritate me. I definitely want to change the wall color to something with more yellow or gold (Golden Straw 2152-50, Goldtone OC-112, or Cornsilk 198).

    Even though you’ve shown some lovely shots of homes with beige, it still doesn’t call my name. I prefer more of a “color” because they seem happier to me, rather than depressed.

  • @Debsmind says:

    Wow that room with the beams is amazing. It is exactly what I am going for in my living room. I would so appreciate you taking a quick look at it and tell me is you think painting those beams a warm nutty color would work. I always find your post so timely and helpful. I sometime feel like you are reading my mind. hahaha. Thanks Maria!!!

  • Maria, this is really interesting to read about. Beiges seem safer to me because we haven’t used much color yet.

    The photos you show certainly didn’t look blah to me…classy, stylish, serene, clean are the words that come to mind..but not blah.

    However, I’m an ‘autumn’ color kind of person so these colors appealed to me.


  • Eliesa says:

    Maria – you are totally correct! The wrong beige can look depressing and dirty, as we learned in our current house. The right beige can be stunning! Love the entry way and kitchen you posted – it looks clean and bright and warm. I can’t wait to have our color consult with you – my bedroom really needs some help!!

  • Yvonne Tillock says:

    This shade of beige works well and not the shade that appears dirty…the grey tone does it…..have to try it in my entry way.

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