the funky side of beige

Pronunciation: 'bAzh Function: noun Etymology: French
1 : cloth made of natural undyed wool
2 a : a variable color averaging light grayish-yellowish brown b : a pale to grayish yellow

Beige and ecru use to be synonymous with each other, until the 1930's when ecru became darker. On the colour wheel, both beige and ecru are in the yellow family. This is where the tricky part comes in. Why is it that beige is such a highly preferred colour choice by clients? Beige can be many things such as natural, or earthy; but it's biggest claim to fame is that it is a safe colour. The colour of non-commitment, if you will. So why choose beige?

I recently entered a home with the crispest gallery white walls and I fell in love with the white. Although the accent colours were red and black, the downside is that I perceived the space as heartless, unforgiving, and cold (ouch!). The white became a colour and it clashed with the slate floor, rosewood cabinetry, and I was confused. They needed beige, and FAST! The warmth of a beige would have off-set the cold feeling that I had.


Beige doesn't have to be a safe colour, and it doesn't have to turn you off, or give that icky yellowy off-colour. When I think of beige, I am reminded of sandy beaches, a latté, sandstone, paper bags, clay...
The ideal complement to beige is a mint green, or a light blue-green. Because it's such a strong yellow colour, it needs the complement to pull it together. Perhaps this is why beige is such a strong coastal colour, with the aqua oceans and blue sky's. But don't forget, beige needs a grounding of black. Always.