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BeigeColour ConsultationUnderstanding Undertones

Consultation from Pink Beige to Green Beige

By 02/24/2012January 28th, 201715 Comments

This couple called me because they had already unhappily been living with pink beige walls (BM Bar Harbour Beige) for the past 7 years in their living and hallways. Then when they renovated the kitchen and installed new tile in the hallways, the tile that she was clear had zero pink in it before it was installed, suddenly went pink.

Unfortunately the photos of the hallway did not turn out so I can’t post them. However, here is the living room with the new colour we chose (BM HC-81 Manchester Tan). With my large sample, it’s very easy to see that the actual undertone of the sofa is green in addition to the toss pillow sitting on it.

The kitchen was adjoining the living room and the only wall that was showing was this small one (above) and this corner (below). You can see that Shaker Beige tones in better with the quartz countertop but we went with Manchester Tan because my clients wanted the same colour on the two little walls that were left to paint. Also the hallway tile looked the best with AF-65 Fossil in the end so that was already 2 different colours.

You can see the green undertone very clearly here with my large sample right beside the existing clashing pink beige walls with the gold coloured countertop.

As an aside, see the slanted molding at the top and how it appears to be a different colour? Well my clients were convinced that it was painted a different white, so I got up on the countertop with a colour chip of the white of the cabinets and assured them that it was indeed the same colour. The slat was just enough to have it read a little different.

This week I was in a clients master bathroom with pink tile and it was only when I pulled out 5 big samples in the tones my client was looking for that she felt comfortable choosing between one of them. Undertones in bathrooms especially are so subtle that one shade in the wrong direction can easily give you a colour that makes you cranky every time you look at it.

Do you have your large samples yet?

It’s All in the Undertones, download my eBook here. (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:

What Everyone Should know About Beige

Is Travertine Pink or Yellow?

How to Know if the Tile you have Selected has the Right Undertones


  • Claudia says:

    After living with beige for 7 years, you have to wonder why they felt they had to continue on with beige, albeit a better beige. It’s too bad they didn’t want to choose a fresh, new color altogether.

    As usual, great post, Maria.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Claudia,
    Their furniture was absolutely neutral enough to choose a colour for the walls but that would require a re-vamp of new pillows, drapery and probably carpet to pull it off and that’s not what I was there to do. I was hired simply to correct the paint colour and make sure their new renovations worked with the colours.
    Thanks for your comment,

  • Hi Maria. What a great post. I just did pink undertones in a family room and kitchen of a client because the bones dictated it. Plus, she loves them. While not my personal favorite, they can be beautiful when done right. These homeowners must be thrilled with your change, especially with the kitchen countertop so gold. Always love your blog!!

  • Hi Maria, I am laughing at loud because there aren’t too many people who would go the extra mile and climb up on someone else’s kitchen counter in order to check a paint color! A day in the life!

  • Cindy says:

    Hi Maria,

    I am a new follower to your blog and would love to know if you have ever done an article (or if you would do one in the future) on a classic color palette for a home, if there is such a thing! For those of us who prefer to get the most life out of our decor palette. Thanks and have a wonderful day.

  • Joy says:

    Hi Maria,
    I’m curious, did they repaint the strip above the cabinets since it looked different from the cabinets in the lighting. I heard you paint it same color as cabinets to make cabinets look taller but since the color reflected differently at that spot, did they paint it Manchester tan or leave it the white. That color change would bug me but having a small strip of tan next to white cupboard and ceiling color-not sure if that would be a good thing. If you could comment.
    Great post.

  • Joy says:

    Hi Maria,
    Also wondering, what was their floor in the kitchen? If you could do a post on how to match kitchen floors when the adjoining room are older wood floors. So putting a new wood floor in kitchen would never match the old wood floors. So I’m looking at tile to go probably with white cabinets and undecided about counter tops. How do you pick a floor that’s not bossy for years to come. Is there a certain undertone that I should lean towards that is neutral enough? I already ruled out cork flooring and looked into it as an option but decided it was not practical for us. I love all your posts- they have been extremely helpful with our new (older) home.

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Joy,
    No we did not re-paint it. Painting it Manchester Tan would only have worked if the ceiling was maybe that colour too. Something like that is easier to ignore when you know it actually is the same colour and not a mistake although a lighter white would obviously have taken care of it should we want to go that far.

    The floor in the kitchen was a porcelain travertine. I think tile in general is extremely bossy so I would choose one that goes with the main undertone of your house, so if that’s green beige or yellow beige start there. I would try my hardest to match the wood floors though, people do it all the time. I would rather have an obvious transition from new to old floors as long as they match in general than go to tile floors personally. If you do go with a tile your countertop should relate to it. Just plunk them down one by one until you find the one that looks good. Maria

  • ellen Rush says:

    Hi Maria, in your last picture that shows the cabinets you mention ‘slated moulding’ above the cabinet doors – how does this differ from crown moulding? Is it just less detailed? it is hard to tell from the picture just how much detail there is, thanks Maria, great post on real life color problem and correction!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Ellen,
    Oops thanks for point that out I meant to say slanted! Not a technical term at all! Maria

  • Brenda Thomson says:

    I have that cranky feeling every time I walk into my brand new bedroom because the grey in my appolsered head board doesn’t match the undertones in the grey on my feature wall. I have tried two Greys already and I am thinking that I don’t want a feature wall anymore. I am just going to paint it the same colour as the rest of the walls.

  • Karan Anton says:

    The house that my husband and I owned before we built a new one was painted with a white that had very pink undertones. I complained out it for a long time but and no one believed me. Finally I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore and painted it. To my satisfaction and validation, everyone noticed! It was a very difficult paint job because of the architecture of the house and we couldn’t afford to hire a painter.
    I also had a problem with a client not believing that the paint in one area was the same as another wall. The lighting was just vastly different. I too had to take a paint chip and prove to him that everything was painted the same color. It was a nightmare commercial job.

  • Wendy says:

    Good post, proving your point once again that a designer CANNOT just spew out a color and expect it to work. A site visit, comparing paints to to what is permanently installed, is the ONLY way. Nice going, Maria.

  • Joy says:

    Hi Maria,
    Thanks for your reply on flooring. Our dining room is wood and we are planning on removing a wall to open kitchen into DR. LR is wood. We would have to either sand all floor or make the kitchen wood floor stain to the color of the DR floor which is natural oak but with age added in. Other option is to rip out DR floor (leave LR wood) and put in something completely different. What do you think of the black and white checker tile. White would go with cabinets and black would be completely neutral.
    I think if we open it up, that both DR and Kitchen should be same flooring. Do you agree? We will also be putting in tile in foyer. Its a split level and the foyer is lower level (along with powder rm and laundry) that leads into family rm (new oak floor.) LR, stairway, and foyer is Edgecomb gray, and lower Family room is Pashmina. I think these are green grays. Would you agree with me on those undertones? If you could comment, if not-I understand. I look forward to reading all your post that come conveniently to my email.

  • Sounds like Joy needs to hire you to help her Maria!

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