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Is beige replacing grey as the new neutral?


There’s little doubt that grey has had a stronghold as the neutral of choice for the last decade.

Cool and fresh, it felt like we’d been lifted out of the ‘builder basic’ looks of the 1990s and early 2000’s and into a Scandinavian dream. Now, beige is set for a comeback with warm earthy neutrals as its accent.

Fear not, those of you who may be cringing at this news. This is beige reborn. Call it taupe or sand or fawn if you must but this time around, it feels softer and easier to live with than ever before.

Why is beige making a comeback?

Admittedly, while there is certainly nothing wrong with grey, as it’s the default choice for most homes now, it no longer feels fresh and different. With our ubiquitous grey skies, casting a bluish light over everything, the cool steely tones of grey can, at times, feel downright depressing.

We’re also seeing a strong influence of the 1970s in our decorating choices with bohemian looks and retro-style glamour making waves in design. The 70s colour palette of ochre yellow, avocado green and rich rust colours were all the rage then and we’re seeing a return to this palette today.

Now, you can rest assured that the avocado suite you ripped out last decade is unlikely to be making a comeback any time soon but combined with the warmer earthy colours we’re seeing today, beige is the perfect choice as a neutral backdrop.

How to use beige in your home

Resist the urge to introduce dark brown leather furniture into your home interior, as this may be too much of a contrast compared to the rest of your décor. Instead, opt for rich tactile fabrics like velvet or corduroy and combine with deep warm shades of rust, mustard or crimson red. Embrace the glint of brass or gold in your lighting or hardware for just a touch of glamour.

For something softer, look out for analogous tones in warmer shades like soft blush pink combined with sandy tones and accent these with terracotta pieces or rich burgundy.

If you prefer a more neutral palette, consider a warmer white (not magnolia which runs too yellow) as a soft neutral backdrop. Farrow & Ball’s Schoolhouse White is a great way to transition a room to warmer tones or if you prefer something a little stronger, Earthborn Paint’s Donkey Ride which creates a complex but easy-to-live with neutral.

Layer ivory, ecru, taupe and other soft natural colours in your furniture and textiles – think linens or easy-going undyed cotton alongside camel-toned leather, natural wood and handmade pottery. Bring in plenty of plant life for colour and bring the outside in.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that if you are currently rocking grey in your home, redecoration is the only answer. You can combine taupes and warm nude colours with warmer shades of grey to balance out the cooler tones. Greys in mushroom tones – those with a hint of red in them – are still very much in vogue and provide the perfect transition between beige and grey.


Image sources: deVOL / Shekabba

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