The Easy Way to Decorate Around a Tan (Pink Beige) Sofa

tan

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know there’s nothing neutral about a pink beige sofa.

Or pink beige broadloom.

Or pink beige tile.

Recently, I had a client ask me drop by and choose a new carpet colour for her upstairs bedrooms. She had picked up four huge boards full of small swatches of carpet samples.

Besides the white and cream and a few darker colours, ALL the colours were varying shades of PINK BEIGE and brown???!!!

There was no green beige, green grey, or even a light yellow beige. Most of the samples were PINK BEIGE.

I told her which colour to look for, and she went back to the store to find the right colour.

So, if you’ve ended up with pink beige anything, it’s probably not your fault. There’s just too much of it out there.

Another example: I arrived at my sister Anita’s house for a visit. After she sat on my outdoor sectional last year, she knew she wanted one for her own yard. As soon as the season arrived this year, she came home with a wonderful curvy sectional from a big box store. What was the standard colour of the seat cushions?

Pink beige. Naturally.

My other sister, Elizabeth, and her husband bought an outdoor gazebo for their backyard, and what were all or most of the choices?

Pink beige.

UNCLE.

So I thought I’d help you all out and give you some tips on how to decorate with this most limiting undertone on the planet.

Blue is the colour that looks best with this shade of beige. Lucky thing, too, since blue is most people’s favourite colour.

Since your living room is the room you suffer over the most, and since this is the room we all want to look nice for guests and family, here’s where you should start.

A lot of people buy a pink beige sofa and treat it like it’s so neutral, the colour doesn’t need to be repeated in the room ever again. But that would be like buying a white sofa and nothing else white.

In this room, the colour has been repeated in the striped throw pillows and the wall treatment:

pinkbeigesofaBHG

Here (below), the pink beige has been repeated in the area rug and the pillow:

combination1Colour Scheme #1 – Area rug (Pottery Barn)

There’s only one way to choose an area rug without repeating the pink beige, and that is if your rug is one colour + white. Or a solid colour.

Here (below), the only place we’ve repeated the pink beige is in the pillow:

combination4Colour Scheme #2 – Sofa (DWR) Rug (Pottery Barn)

If you choose an area rug with more than one colour (plus the white), and one of those colours is a different beige or grey like the one below, it will look like you’re completely ignoring your pink beige sofa. What do you think of this combo, below?

combination5Colour Scheme #3 – Chair (Horchow) Rug (Pottery Barn)

Below is another combination without any additional pink beige. You can make it work, especially because we are still decorating with blues, which work with pink beige, AND because there are no other neutral undertones we’re dealing with. But the question is, which of these two looks better?

Scroll back up to the Colour Scheme #1 (above) and look again.

Tell me if you agree with me but this colour scheme repeats the sofa colour and therefore looks the most intentional.

combination8Colour Scheme # 4 – White chair (Horchow) Area rug (Pottery Barn)

After you’ve picked out a rug (preferably a patterned one that picks up another colour), you can choose the chair to coordinate with your sofa:

combination2Colour Scheme # 5 – Chair (Horchow)

combination7Colour Scheme #6 – Chair (Horchow)

Here (below), the pink beige sofa has been repeated in the area rug and cushions. Lovely:

navyandpinkbeige

{via Pinterest}

Here (Below), the only place the sofa colour has been repeated is in the sheers. Visually, the gold accents in the room relate to the sofa. This is a pretty room; however, the sofa looks slightly dirty with all the white:

betterhomes{via BHG}

Below, pink beige can be found in the carpet and the drapes. The brown and white wing chair also repeats the colour visually, even though it’s not pink beige:

tan-sofa-5BHG

As most people don’t have solid cream carpet (below), choose a blue area rug to go with this colour scheme, and add some pattern.

bluetan

{Tobi Fairley}

Do NOT try and duplicate this kind of dark colour scheme (below) UNLESS you too have French doors that look like this. In other words, you have beautiful architectural detail.

If you have a pink beige sofa in a living room thats basically shaped like a box, DO NOT buy a charcoal rug and pillows to go with your pink beige sofa.

Don’t get mislead by monochromatic rooms that will not give you the look and feel you want without a lot of other expensive details.

dramatic{via Pinterest}

So stay on the plan, choose a colourful area rug and some coordinating throw pillows. and bring your living room to life!

Related posts:

Why Pink Beige Should be Banished Forever

In Praise of (Latte) Pink Beige

How to Choose the Right Beige

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.

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  1. Maria, you’re reading my mind. Trying to figure out how to wrangle a pink beige chair into a room where they want a majority of grey. Finding a rug has by far been the trickiest part. Thanks for this article! Great timing!

  2. I like #4 because it makes the sofa look less pinky and more neutral. The dark blue rug with the white in it works because of the white chair. The fringe on the rug actually looks a bit pinky to me (could be my monitor), which goes with the sofa. I also like #4 because the rug is a deeper blue and large, but not over whelming, pattern. #1’s rug is too washed out for me.

  3. I feel like this post was written just for me! I’ve been living with a pink beige sectional for years and just in the last couple of years (thanks to your blog) starting using navy and white with it. I painted my walls SW Rainwashed. I currently have a braided jute rug w it and can’t wait to get rid of the rug. My only issue is I probably am not repeating the sofa color in the space as much as I should. Looks like I will be soon though. Thanks Maria!

  4. “Don’t get mislead by monochromatic rooms that will not give you the look and feel you want without a lot of other expensive details.”-Thank you. I really like the clarity of your writing. I’d probably drag the same thought for a page, and with less success.

  5. You are so right about there being a lot of pinky beige everywhere. I’m finding that to be true as I’m working on re-doing my bedroom.
    I have a yellow chair in my room that seems to fight any pillow fabrics I try that have a pinky beige background. Am I wrong? I don’t think yellow & pinky beige work.

  6. Loved this post! Pink beige is my least favorite and right after reading this I tuned in to HGTV and watched 2 episodes of Love it or list it, and both redesigned homes were done in pink beige…pink beige reminds me of the 90’s which never seems to be a era that anyone wants to replicate 🙂

    • That’s a good question that I should have answered in this post. If you want to introduce FRESH and get away from earthy colours, blue is the best colour. Fresh green can still look dirty with pink beige and no one wants sage green these days even though it would work too. For wall colour, a green beige or green grey will definitely work with pink beige. Maria

  7. Second that Maria seems like the tile stores are full of it too! Many people seem to gravitate to etheir comfort zone which actually means what they are accustomed to. Have ever you noticed
    that?
    This was a great post to show clients thanks!

  8. Maria, Great review of pink + blue. I go on pintrest just like you do and have seen some horrible combinations with “pinky” beige. The #1 photo looks put together on purpose because they used the pb on the walls. I agree that the pink needs to be repeated somewhere either in accessories, curtains or rugs in small amounts.

    Glad you are having a good summer!

  9. Ha, pinky beige oh the horrors of it as its everywhere. That said, last year my husband picked up an expensive tarp for our BBQ in a tan colour and low and behold by the end of the summer due to sun fade and the elements, guess what colour it turned to? Yep …. you guessed it was pink and he was shocked yet I wasn’t because Maria is an excellent teacher. ☺ Thank you for another informative lesson. -Brenda-

  10. What do you do if you don’t like blue? Unfortunately I learned too late about undertones and purchased a very expensive pinky beige sofa. I also purchased lots of reddish orange accents in an open concept house (recent move) I need to replace the ugly brown and green shag carpet and buy another chair or two.
    Sabina

    • Not dumb at all! If you have my How to Choose Paint Colours; It’s all in the Undertones, eBook, you can lay all the colour chips in my system on your sofa and that’s how you know. Or sometimes it helps to ask “Is it yellow?” no. “Is it green”? No. Then it’s pink. Maria

  11. I can really testify to how hard it is to find a beige carpet that is NOT pinky beige! I am surprised thought that it is still the case these days. I would have thought that the carpet industry would have caught on by now! About 10 years ago I had to search EVERYWHERE to find a yellow-beige carpet that went with the Navaho White (Behr–very strong yellow undertones) that we had just painted our newly finished basement. My husband couldn’t understand what was so hard about picking out beige carpeting! I wish I had had the advantage of your book and blog to be able to put it into words back then. But thank you for “vindicating” me for taking so long to find the right carpet!
    As always, thanks for a very helpful article. The carpeting on our second floor is the original builder pinky beige, so some of this information will help me there!

    • I might also add that I wish I had known then that you should always pick the paint color LAST. As you say, it would have been much easier to find a paint color to go with the carpeting than the other way around!

  12. I checked out the wall colour that’s on your Pinterest photo (the one with the ceiling fan) and found that it was one of Tobi Fairley’s on Houzz. She indicates that the wall colour is (Sherwin W) Wool Skein. I’ve used that paint colour before with clientsd and it has a green undertone – I’ve had a really really hard time finding furnishings with a green undertone. As with all the flooring, the vast majority have pink undertones.

  13. The pink beige that drives me insane is the brick and trim that builders are STILL using! There is a new neighborhood close to my home – the houses are going for over $500,000. Pink beige brick and brownish tan trim. Why? I just don’t understand!

      • Pink beige is technically light brown and I think when someone who doesn’t know much about colour wants to choose a colour they think is the MOST NEUTRAL, they go with pink beige, not realizing it’s the least neutral colour there is.

  14. Maria,
    What is the undertone of undyed linen? Some of them look pink to me and others don’t. I’m afraid that by choosing natural linen slips with ivory cording, I unintentionally introduced pink beige into my living room. The area rug is a 100 year old oriental with a bunch of colors in it, including various tans and beiges, so that works, and my other main color is blue, and I have ivory touches instead of white, so it all looks lovely and I’m not complaining. But what a rookie mistake for someone who had been reading your blog and first book!

    • Yes basic undyed linen does have a slight pink undertone, Restoration Hardware’s basic linen is this shade. Maria

    • Yes did the same thing Kay. Have been reading Maria’s blog for ages and last year ordered (under pressure from dear H. and salesperson to make up my mind) fabric for a new sofa. Swatch looked yellow beige in the store, but new sofa in the room is – you guessed it – pinky beige, uuuggghhh.

  15. I FINALLY got rid of my pink beige sofa after 11 years!!!!! I hated it from the day it came in the house. The way that I tried to tone it down was to use a dark rug with a rusty coloured background, dark blue and light blue through it . By adding some throw pillows with the same rust and some blue, it wasn’t awful. But I’m so much happier with my cream coloured linen sofa.

  16. Great post as always Maria

    I’ve balanced the way you’ve outlined it in
    your post when I was doing myself.

    Its a great reminder and reference point.

    Thanks again Maria.

  17. Hi Maria,

    Thank you, thank you!! I’m a loyal reader on a tight budget. (We’re are a young family running a small business.) Lo and behold, this is my exact problem I cannot seem to work around: the pink beige couch. (We don’t call it “sofa” around here.)

    So we have blue-green carpet wall to wall. I want the hard wood floors but that’s not happening soon.

    My main question is: okay, you’ve got the pink-beige sofa and the blue rug…now what? What about the walls?

    I don’t think I can paint the walls blue or green because the room would become too blue or green with the wall to wall carpet.

    So what’s a good “neutral” wall color to off set the pink beige and blue?

    Thanks so much!
    From Minnesota,
    Johanna

    • Great question, I would suggest a grey with a blue undertone to relate to the blue in the room. Like SW Rhinestone. Maria

      • Oh thank you!!! You are a lifesaver. I have been pondering this problem for months. And YES I do have your book on undertones…and I have been using it!

  18. Hi Maria,
    Right on the money and a beautiful post! Back in the early 90’s, I had a neighbor who had just carpeted her stairs. She looked at me sheepishly because the carpet was… well… yeah… PINK. She said that it didn’t LOOK pink in the store. Right. Fluorescent yuck blue green lights “removed” the pink.

    We all know the lesson here.

  19. Great post.
    Even though everything relates very nicely in #1, it makes the whole thing look too pink for my taste. The pinky beige sofa doesn’t look out of place for me in #4 (in fact I feel it looks more neutral here) and I feel things still relate in a nice way. Definitely #4. 🙂

  20. I have a pink beige sofa, but it is a medium tone, not light like the sofas in your color schemes above. The rest of the home is lots of wood (windows, doors, floors). In selecting carpet, cream seems too light for the room and olive green seems too dark. How much contrast should the sofa and carpet have to each other? Can I put an area rug over wall to wall? Thanks for your help!

  21. I have a pink beige carpet in bonus room, hallway, bedrooms and up the stairs. Its 13 years old and have not liked it since I seen pink in it. BUT I do have turquoise accessories that I like. Yes there is to much pink beige on the market and I did not know about undertones 13 years ago. Hardwood would be nice but I don’t want it on the stairs for safety. Does anyone have suggestions on floor covering? We come upstairs to the bonus room then 2 steps up to shirt hallway and bedrooms. I think we would leave carpet in bedroom as I am ok with it there. Thanking you in advance for your help.

  22. I remember several years ago when I stumbled onto your site. I knew I would be a steadfast disciple the first time I read your rants (oops, comments) on pinky-beige undertones. I hate pinky beige tile or carpeting, especially when paired with an off-white with a yellow undertone. Everything looks dirty to me. True pink – whole different story. A fun color to use, but not pinky beige. This post addresses a sofa – which, in the scheme of things isn’t nearly as bad as tile or carpeting.

    Fortunately, I never fell into THAT trap, although I was guilty of buying a white sofa with blue undertones and placing it against an off white wall that was creamier – so still off in my eyes!

    Defining the problem and providing a solution (via your color boards) has been a huge help and money saver.