When I first moved to California - many years ago - I worked for the beige lady.

Benjamin Moore GRANT BEIGE
She had beige blond hair, beige tanned skin, beige shoes, beige handbag, she wore her favorite beige always, she even drove a beige car.  She was very wealthy.  She was very elegant.  Her only accessory was jewelry - gold - lots of it.  Life for her was pretty simple.  She knew what she loved.  She loved beige.  She surrounded herself with it.  It was her signature.
First lady Nancy Reagan's love of red became a signature for her.  For nearly a decade that particular shade was referred to as 'Reagan Red'.

Do you know what your signature color is?

I'm catching up on questions from readers.  Nina has one about choosing the color beige. 
I need to choose a paint color for my entry, living room and dining room. It is currently painted BM Muslin with white trim and I have been happy with the color but need an update. I want a neutral beige with gray, not too brown or green, not too dark and definitely no pink or flesh tone.

The Feathered Nest
I am focusing on BM Manchester Tan or Clay Beige but I have trouble understanding the undertones. The living room faces north but gets lots of natural light. 
Benjamin Moore CLAY BEIGE
Can you explain the difference between these two? I have really enjoyed reading your blog and appreciate any advice. Nina.

Ah yes, those pesky undertones.   Especially pesky in beige tones - the wrong undertone and you have fleshy, pinky, or greeny beige when the sun goes down...  You can usually see the undertone by following the paint strip to a darker color and viewing the strip before and the strip after the one you are looking at.  You should see a purple, blue, green or red tone - unless it is right in the middle and perfectly balanced.

I originally wrote that Clay beige had a Lavender or Mauve undertone.  I wasn't looking at the Benjamin Moore Clay Beige - I hate it when paint companies use the same names.....  The Benjamin Moore Clay Beige is considered a white/or off white.  It is a pale neutral with green and red undertones. Undertones are not always visible until the light changes in your room - from natural light to incandescent, or from bright natural light to afternoon glow.

Benjamin Moore CLAY BEIGE

But what undertones really mean is a moot point.  Until you actually put a sample on the wall and see it in different light, you won't know what YOUR light in YOUR home will do to that particular color.

Manchester Tan is more of a gray beige.

I have heard from some that it has a cool green undertone, but I don't see it.   This is one of Benjamin Moore's Historical Colors, also considered a white or off white, a pale neutral.  You can't see a darker or lighter version as in other paint strips.

It is very pale and creamy.
It goes a little 'cool' in some light.

So those are the differences.  The best way to see if a color works in your home is the try it in your home.  Everyone has different sized rooms, ceiling heights, and difference in how light works in their homes.  My advice is to paint two coats of your sample color onto poster or foam core board, with a good 2" margin of white around the edges, and tack them up on the wall in the room you are looking to change.   See if it enhances the furniture that will be in that room.  View it on different walls, and at different times of day.  If it turns ugly, look for another color.   In case those two colors are not making your heart go pitter pat, here are a few other tried and true beige tones.

Benjamin Moore PAPAYA

Benjamin Moore MUSLIN

Benjamin Moore CRISP KHAKI

Benjamin Moore GRANT BEIGE
Good luck!


Joyce said...

I have sand dollar on my walls not and would like to change to a beige with gold undertones. What would be a good color.Living room dining room, really tall ceilings. Thank you

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iresonate said...

Hi everyone,

I wonder if anyone can give me some advice about painting my basement family room. Features that have to stay are a white ceiling and cherry floors. I have a rug with chocolate, toast, beige, grass green and blue/green in it. I just painted a sample of the clay beige which looks great with the rug and isn't too dark for the room. I was thinking of using the chocolate brown in furniture and the grass green for curtains, candles, pillows, etc. I am stumped on what white to paint the woodwork, considering BM decorator white. My basement family room is on the first floor of a three floor townhouse and doesn't have to flow to the other rooms (staircase with door separates it from the rest of the house). Thank you for your help!

bright and beautiful said...

very helpful post - thank you!


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