Expanding your Color Vocabulary - BEIGE

Home Stager with FEATURE THIS... Real Estate Staging & Interior Decor

Describing color is such a integral part of any designer's job. As a color consultant, I learned that some color names can be a turnoff, and so I found ways around them to get my clientele to accept what was the right color that they needed, but perhaps has a less-than impressive general description of the color name.



Beige is a color family that can be easiest described as a very light brown. Some tired  standbys that have been used when referring to beige include:

  • Beige
  • Neutral
  • Oatmeal
  • Khaki
  • Tan

Some More Descriptive words with a fresher connotation that describe this type of shade include:

  • Almondine
  • Buff
  • Biscuit
  • Café Au Lait
  • Chamois
  • Desert Sand
  • Dune
  • Fawn
  • Ginger
  • Irish Cream
  • Macadamia
  • Mushroom
  • Beach Sand
  • Sepia

When advising on paint color, suggesting a "lovely wall color reminiscent of Irish Cream," the color sounds so much more delicious and exciting than suggesting a "neutral beige paint".

Consider your audience also when choosing color descriptions. Use the right word that, based on the client's personality, age, decor style, and location.

Use food type descriptives when speaking with people with gourmet-style kitchens or a wine cellar.

Use animal- or environmental- type descriptives when speaking to folks who reside in a wildlife area or who exhibit a "green" lifestyle.

Customizing your color approach wiith better descriptions can lead to better rapport and acceptance of your advice.

Some of our most suggested colors in this family include:


Even the names of colors themselves as assigned by the manufacturer can be a turn-off, so we show our clients color chips with the names cut off. For example, Deer Path 1047 is a Benjamin Moore shade that is the identical color and formula as Benjamin Moore's  Decatur Buff HC-38. I found in my area that Decatur didn't mean much (we are pretty far from both Decatur Illinois and Decatur, Georgia). But as Louisiana is literally known as "Sportsman's Paradise," Deer Path 1047 was much preferred, even when clients were shown the identical paint chips (again, the colors are not just close, but exactly the same, they just has two different names).This was a big clue to me that what the color was called was a big influence regarding choice.

Another great color, but one that has a negative connotation for some people, is Wilmington Tan HC-36. While I am sure Wilminton, Delaware, and Wilmington, North Carolina are lovely places, I can assure everyone that Wilmington, California is one of the most dangerous and uncomfortable areas in the Los Angeles basin. It's not a big seller, but it is a very flexible, warm, rich shade, verging on a creamy caramel.

So, prescribe your colors with aplomb, know them well, and describe them with words that are carefully chosen to persuade today's sellers.





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Certified Staging Professional, Feature This... Real Estate Staging,www.FeatureThisDotDotDot.com

SAR Staging Instructor, Staging and Redesign, www.StagingAndRedesign.com

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Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Love this post and so totally agree that what the paint is called is often more important the even the color itself.. "Doo Doo Brown" is not something I want on my walls but "Cafe Mocha" is! Great post Michelle!

Feb 15, 2011 11:56 PM #2
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Awesome post, Michelle. The name really shouldn't matter but... to Karen's point, Doo Doo Brown is not all that appealing (smile).


Feb 15, 2011 11:59 PM #3
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Michelle - This is great advice.  We sound far more professional and knowledgeable when using the names of paint colours, rather than just saying "beige".  Honestly, some of these paint colour names make me want to lick the walls!  Macadamia?  Irish Cream?  Biscuit?  Oh please, stop!

Feb 16, 2011 03:50 AM #4
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

I guess it's all in how the color is sold? Back to basic beige is not really a bad thing.

Feb 16, 2011 08:29 AM #5
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Michelle--love the post and the concept.  I think that I choose the color over the name, but it just occured to me that when I pick up a tube of lipstick or select nail polish at the salon, sometimes the name makes me put it back.  Never thought about this in terms of clients, so thanks. 

Feb 16, 2011 11:24 AM #6
Debra Brodhecker
House Dressing - Branchville, NJ
House Dressing, New Jersey

I read somewhere that high end clients are more drawn to two word color names--so the million dollar home would be painted fresh scone and the $150,000 home would be painted biscuit.  Color is so much fun!

Feb 16, 2011 10:46 PM #7
Cynthia Bartch
Granville, OH

Michelle, love your writing style and your description of 'Irish Cream'  w/ some Almondine Biscuits has tempted my taste buds this morning. It's how you sell it!

Feb 17, 2011 01:49 AM #8
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

GREAT post and it does make it sound soooo much more chic and interesting when you discuss color with a name vs "beige"....or as some call it "realtor beige".  Just colors up the conversation....:)!!!

Feb 17, 2011 03:38 AM #9
Charlene Storozuk
Dezigner Digz - Burlington, ON
Home Stager - Burlington Ontario

"Consider your audience also when choosing color descriptions. Use the right word that, based on the client's personality, age, decor style, and location." - this is brilliant Michelle! 

Feb 17, 2011 04:46 AM #10
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Michelle,

Excellent understanding and explanation of merchandising techniques. I often use themes of descriptive names for paint and fabric to convey the "mood" of a space. This helps the client understand the reasoning for the choices and develop a narrative that can be repeated by broker, seller, and potential buyer. By creating a story, if you will, you are connecting the various design elements in a cohesive marketable way, that places the potential buyer in the center of the story. You are a true merchandiser.

Feb 17, 2011 07:18 AM #11
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Very thoughtful post Michelle.  I must say that when I saw my name in the list I was surprised as, in my experience, most people think of Ginger as a red.  Some even have said that I should be a redhead. 

I've often wondered who and how the paint companies select their color names.  Some are just strange! 

Feb 17, 2011 10:11 AM #12
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

Your explanation is exceptional! But then, so are you!

Feb 19, 2011 02:40 AM #13
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Michelle ~ Love your post.  I'll take "Irish Cream" any day, especially when it's prefaced by the word "Baileys"  :-)

Feb 19, 2011 01:40 PM #14
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

I am horrible with words so this is great for me. Love the ideas!

Feb 19, 2011 03:34 PM #15
Tara Boettger
HOMEGIRL Home Staging - Poughkeepsie, NY

Great post! I love that you have been teaching me all these new fun staging words!

Feb 19, 2011 04:23 PM #16
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

What a wonderful, thought-provoking post!  I do know that most men hate the word "taupe", so I always work around that with coffee references.  Thanks, Starbucks!  Julie

Feb 20, 2011 03:48 AM #17
Liz Gallagher
LG Home Harmony - Home Stagers & Organizers - Montreal, QC
Montreal Quebec RESA member

LOVE the post. I am liking " Irish Creme" ... I'm getting a clear visual and it just sounds Yummy !

Mar 08, 2011 12:00 PM #18
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

I can't say I ever thought of changing the presentation based on the paint color names.  Hmmm, more to learn!!

Mar 26, 2011 10:38 AM #19
Ana Hitzel
AccentPositives Home Staging - Corona, CA
Professional Home Stager Inland Empire

Wow, a great post.  Never really looked at color consultation on those terms.  Makes perfect sense.

Apr 05, 2011 07:18 AM #20
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