Taupe — A New Neutral and Tricky Wall Color

Page through home catalogs and you see taupe. Check out the latest fashions and you see taupe. Cruise new neighborhoods and you see taupe. This brownish-gray color is the darling of the home and fashion industries. The popularity of the color is surging because there are so many shades of taupe. Do-it-yourselfers have picked up on the trend.

In response to customer demands, many paint companies have come up with shades of taupe. Behr paint, for example, has its White and Light Collection. This collection includes shades of taupe that go from Parisian Taupe, to Indulgent Mocha, to Pale Bamboo. Some shades have more brown in them, while others have more pink.

Glidden also produces various taupe colors and, like all paint companies, the colors have fantastic names like Meditative Moment and Bistro Beige. As descriptive as the names are, they may not help with your color choice. How can you find a shade that works for you?

Find the brightest spot in the store and look at a color swatch. Flourescent lighting changes colors, so take the chip outside and look at the color again. Bringing fabric and carpet swatches will also help you find the right shade. Buy a small can of paint and try it on a small section of wall. Since changing light changes the color, look at your sample paint job during the day, at dusk, and at night.

Your painit homework may not keep you from disappointment. The Home and Garden TV Web site has a message board and one home owner pleaded for help. He painted the walls of his renovated bathroom taupe and was dismayed with the result. “Every color I put up against the walls makes taupe come across as slightly mauve,” he wrote. The home owner repainted the walls.

The Garden and Hearth Web site discusses taupe in an article titled, “Interior Design Colors: Taupe,” by Sarah Van Arsdale. She describes taupe as a neutral color and a good choice for walls, but you have to choose the right taupe. “Be careful not to make a room too dark, ” warns Van Arsdale.

A dark shade of taupe will make a small room appear smaller. Taupe also darken angular spaces. While taupe can be the basis of a neutral decorating scheme, Van Arsdale says you don’t want your scheme to be bland. Adding textue with pillows and upholstery, plus colorful accessories, will keep this from happening.

Taupe is really a family of colors — beautiful, rich, adaptive colors that go with all design styles. It’s a great color choice if you’re planning to move and a great color choice if you’re planning to stay. With a little detective work you’ll find the right taupe for you.

Copyright 2008 by Harriet Hodgson

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