Today we are talking about one of the hottest trends in design today: beige. *cue vintage horror movie scream* I know, I know, for a long time “beige” was synonymous with “vanilla” or “boring” but recently it is being reimagined! This trend has me strangely introspective because it wasn’t that long ago that I ridiculed all beige as bland (at best) and utterly repulsive (at worst). This trend has me confronting my own changeability and the dreaded “trend-follower” tendency. I am currently trying to either own it, or rationalize it away. I’ll keep you updated.
To be fair, (here comes the rationalizing) the way beige is being incorporated into design today is different from how it used to be. It has come into its “modern iteration”. With every recurring design trend there is always something just slightly tweaked about the way it’s being used or treated that makes it modern.
In this new version, beige can be on anything! Walls, upholstery, art, furniture, accessories, textiles, cabinets (yes, cabinets), and clothing! Not only can it go on anything, but it can go on multiple things in a room and it doesn’t even have to match! Beige has so many undertones in it that perfectly matching it to any other beige is nearly impossible. The result is a motley combo of different shades and undertones that can be really pleasing when done intentionally.
But here is the tweak: there are restrictions on how to use the new beige without it leaning too “doctor’s office” and the first of these has to do with those blasted undertones. In general, it goes like this: the good undertones are pink, brown, gray, and purple; the bad undertones fall mostly in the yellow and green camps. We want to live in a modern french chateau, not teacher’s khaki pants.
The second rule for modern beige is not about the colors in it, but the colors it is being paired with. Firstly, it should always be paired with a true white, which helps highlight all the different yummy shades of beige. Any other tones in the room should be very warm, earthy, and not too loud. Keep it to browns, amber, wood tones, and the occasional pop of black or very dark green.
A minimalist modern vibe is also important to note. Beige is being heavily used in Scandinavian design which boasts simple, utilitarian shapes that allow the elegance of beige to shine. I think this is why the multiple shades thing works – the simplicity of the surroundings don’t overwhelm the eye and allow you to notice the intentionality of all the different shades.
In fashion beige is being used in quality, simple pieces that follow the same rules as interiors. Pair with a true white and earthy colors, low pattern, simple shapes, with pink, brown, gray, and purple undertones. Casual and comfortable, soft and elegant.
So! To sum up: Beige is back, but the shade has changed, the colors it is paired with have changed, and the style it is primarily used in has changed. Here are some absolutely stunning design-forward products in beige: