Beige is one of those colours that gets a bad press, with it often being labelled as ‘too safe’ or ‘bland’. But listen to the colour experts or have a quick scroll through the latest interiors on Instagram and it’s clear that beige is as popular as ever and looking anything but boring.
With a wider array of tones than before, from classic beige or warm camel, to pale fawn and neutral sandstone, beige living room ideas present the perfect opportunity to use this classy shade. Cool, calm and collected, beige is a lovely neutral living room idea that sets a tranquil mood and soothing vibe and is perfect for spaces where you want to relax, kick back and unwind.
Beige living room ideas
‘Beige is perfect to be used on its own throughout a living room creating a cosy cocooning space,’ says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown (opens in new tab). ‘Or when used with warm off-whites and gentle light neutrals it can become a real statement shade and bring warmth to the room.’
‘Beige can also perform very well in darker spaces where it looks best paired with even deeper, darker shades from a neutral colour family,’ adds Justyna. ‘It also pairs beautifully with all natural materials like wood, stone, clay and natural fabrics like linen or jute.’
1. Wrap the room in colour
Use a warm beige for your wall colour to create a grounding backdrop for a cosy living room colour scheme. Painting the lower section of walls a darker shade of beige has the effect of wrapping the room in colour and creating a cocooning layer around sofas and seating areas. Painting the top section of wall a paler shade to match ceilings will add height and prevent the room feeling cramped or overcrowded.
‘Neutral rooms need lots of texture to avoid looking bland, so add tufted rugs, knitted throws, embellished cushions and plenty of basketware,’ says Nicky Phillips, Ideal Home’s Decorating Editor.
2. Try a toned-down pattern
An all-beige living room is likely to feel bland if there’s no pattern or texture to add contrast and visual interest. While furniture and soft furnishings are an obvious and easy way of bringing in a hit of pattern, look to patterned living room flooring ideas if you’re after a more impactful effect.
Avoid bold patterns and overly-bright colours which will look brash and overpowering large-scale in a living room. Instead, keep to patterned carpets and rugs in soft, neutral tones, which will add an instant visual hit but look far more chic and understated.
‘Flooring holds the look of the room together so start by considering which type you prefer,’ says Punam Chada, carpet buyer at Carpetright (opens in new tab). ‘Choosing a textured carpet in a neutral tone will create a welcoming look that is timelessly stylish or opt for a boldly-patterned carpet in a calming neutral that won’t overpower the room.’
3. Bring in tactile textures
Wall-to-wall beige can feel quite flat and bland used over a large area, so it’s important to layer the colour and work in plenty of texture and contrast finishes to give a living room scheme a more nuanced feel.
Panelling painted in a soft, silky shade of beige will give plain walls an extra visual dimension as well as feeling warm and tactile to the touch. Contrast painted woodwork by bringing in woody tones on furniture and accessories, as well as natural stone, woven basketware and textured soft furnishings.
‘When selecting colours for your living space, think about how you would like the space to feel,’ says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene (opens in new tab). ‘Consider soothing tranquil tones or more natural neutrals to bring warmth and harmony to the room.’
4. Use beige as a backdrop
While beige has star qualities that make it a great lead colour for a living room, it also works well quietly as a background colour, allowing bolder furniture, soft furnishings and artwork to shine brighter.
Use classic beige walls as the backdrop for living room picture wall ideas. Choose images that are similar in style, colour and composition and display in matching frames and picture mounts to create a co-ordinated effect that looks super-classy as the focal point of the room.
Line frames up vertically and horizontally for a smart, formal look or go off-grid and arrange randomly for a more eclectic effect.
5. Work in darker details
Using darker tones of beige as an accent colour is a great way of adding impact to a neutral or all-white living room. Try painting living room alcoves in a dark shade of beige, warm taupe or soft mushroom, painting walls, shelves and woodwork the same shade throughout. Using a darker background colour creates a more dramatic backdrop for display pieces and will make artwork and decorative items stand out in contrast.
‘A feature wall can be a focal point or add a striking contrast to other colours,’ say the paint experts at Dulux (opens in new tab), ‘but a feature wall can also work just as well in neutral colours to create a calming and warming space. Neutral colours can add a real sense of depth and texture to a room and will complement a range of accessories and furnishings from woods, suedes and furs to chrome and glass to complete your look.’
6. Add a sassy stripe
Perk up a plain white living room with this smart paint idea by painting a band of colour to run around the room. Choose a warm shade of beige for a chic look, choosing a tone that complements or contrasts with upholstery, flooring and curtains.
Position your stripe roughly at mid-level around the room. Line it up with any permanent room fixtures, such as doors or fire surrounds, or alternatively use a large item of furniture, such as a sideboard or bookcase as your starting point. Grab a pencil and tape measure to mark the line’s position all around the room and then use decorator’s tape to give you a neat edge when painting.
7. Create a playful vibe with sunny brights
While shades of beige, sand and stone can feel relaxed and soothing when teamed with other neutrals, they can also work as a foil for brighter colours, taking a backseat and allowing bolder brights to steal the limelight.
Use smart navy and cheery yellow to cut through a calm neutral living room and add a layer of sunny warmth. Just a few touches of brighter colour here and there are all that’s needed to lift a plain scheme. Try a line-up of colourful sofa cushions, a bright coastal-inspired print on the wall and a few mini posies of yellow florals decorating tables and surfaces.
8. Add extra warmth and sparkle with accessories
Prefer a living room scheme with a little more glitz? Blush pink makes the perfect partner for classic beige and is a great way of warming up a neutral living room that’s a little on the chilly side. Opt for a statement piece as your starting point, such as a sofa or armchair with soft pink upholstery and cushions in complementary tones.
Introduce metallics into the mix too for a little extra sparkle. Accessories in copper, rose gold and mother of pearl will add a luxe look and glamorous finish, with beige-painted walls as a chic backdrop colour for sparkly display pieces.
9. Go for chic curves in neutral tones
Give a neutral living room extra wow by cladding walls with on-trend curvy wall panelling. Perfect for a feature wall or inside a living room alcove, the effect is easy to create using lengths of plastic guttering. Once painted a calm shade of beige, it’ll be hard to tell what your panelling started out as.
‘Using neutral tones in your home is the best way to create a timeless backdrop, allowing you to interchange contrasting furniture and accessories,’ says Rob Abrahams, co-founder of COAT (opens in new tab) paints. ‘They can shine in their own right to create calming spaces, or provide the perfect backdrop for other elements of the room to shine, like furniture or artwork.’
10. Opt for a two-tone effect
Add interest to a living room snug or around the entire width of the living room by painting walls in a half-and-half treatment. If existing walls are painted a pale beige tone, simply use a paint chart to select a shade that’s a few tones darker and then use this to paint a band around the lower portion of walls.
Opting for a darker neutral on the lower section of walls creates a warm and cosy backdrop for a mini seating area without reducing the light and airy feel of the living room. Add shelves to hold favourite books and make the space snug with a few tactile cushions, throws and floor rug.
Is beige a good colour for the living room?
Calm, soothing and easy-on-the-eye, neutrals work just about anywhere so are the perfect go-to colour when it comes to living rooms. An easy way of making neutrals work in a living room is starting with a calm, quiet background colour and then building up your scheme from there.
While a safe option, neutrals can merge into one and look flat if there’s not enough contrast, so remedy this by layering in lots of different textures and natural finishes. Tone-on-tone patterns are another easy way of working more visual interest into a neutral living room, creating a livelier effect without overpowering the room with bold colour.
What colours go with beige in a living room?
Beige falls into the neutrals category, so pretty much any colour can be partnered with it. Keeping to accent colours on the warmer side of the spectrum is a good idea in a living room if you want the mood to feel cosy, warm and relaxing.
Add heat by opting for spicier colours, such as warm oranges, terracotta and brick, or for more subtle warmth, try working in blush pink, nude or soft coral shades. Black is a bolder choice for an accent colour, but it works beautifully teamed with beige and will add a smart edge and timeless look to a living room scheme. Calming greens will also work well with beige and other neutral shades. Pretty much any colours that are found together in nature, will sit well together inside too.