It’s All About the Undertones

Have you ever noticed your “neutral” beige wall, carpet, or couch change color depending on other colors next to it? I seriously had never given this any thought until we moved into our condo (our last house). The carpet color seemed like all the other beige carpet I had dealt with over the years in the white walled apartments I rented. It wasn’t until I decided to paint the room green that our previously “neutral” carpet turned pink. How did that happen? Below is an example from Houzz.


It’s all about the undertones. Around the same time my carpet was magically changing colors, I started following a blogger and color expert Maria Killam. She teaches that we (the consumer) make assumptions that by using beige in our home we will have no problem matching other colors or other beiges to it. This is what I thought. Little did I know that my seemingly neutral carpet was pinky-beige. So…once I introduced green to the walls, the red/pink undertone in our carpet was more pronounced. This was not the look I wanted. NOTE: Maria says that pink-beige carpet is the most commonly used, but is the most limiting undertone because it doesn’t work well with other beiges or other colors. She calls it “bossy”.

Lesson Learned: Fast forward 5 years. We bought our house before it was built so we were able to choose the fixed elements (tile, carpet, flooring, etc.). This was an exciting/stressful task, but I was able to use what I had learned about undertones to make thoughtful, cohesive choices. This included the carpet upstairs which is a yellow-beige. It works with our wall color which has a yellow undertone. No more pink-beige for me. EVER!!!


If you’re like I was and have never noticed the undertones in beige, look around your house and see what you have. You may see gold-beige, green-beige, pink-beige, yellow-beige or grey-beige (taupe). Is the color next to or on it bringing out the undertone in an unexpected way? If so, it may be time to make an adjustment. Let me know what you find out in the comments below.

Take care,


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