The perfect warm neutral does exist—and it’s not boring at all.

Let’s be honest, beige has gotten a bad rap. Its reputation as boring, flat, and unattractive isn’t totally unfounded—afterall, builders and developers have relied on some of the worst shades of beige when picking a color to paint an entire house—but beige doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, we think beige is an incredibly versatile neutral and one that will stand the test of time when folks tire of their bright-white walls.

The key to making beige walls look glam and not glum is using a shade that has the right undertones—something that isn’t necessarily easy to discern when looking at a paint chip in the store or worse, online. The beige that has tainted our opinion of the color as a whole, like that on the walls below, has a strong yellow or orange undertone.

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What was meant to be a neutral ends up fairly strong and overbearing and difficult to decorate with. So, what’s the key to a good beige? For us, it’s one that does its job as a true neutral, serving as a beautiful backdrop for your furniture and artwork while also having the ability to fade away and not even be noticeable.

Our pick for the all-around best beige? Benjamin Moore’s Hush. It’s a soft beige that reads really neutral, without skewing too brown or too gray. It does have slight yellow undertones, but they’re pared down considerably compared to the sandy tans of the early 2000s. That said, Hush does best in a space with lots of natural light.

A good gauge for picking a beige that’s firmly neutral is how it appears next to white and off-white as well as more orange and red-hued browns. While cream color paint can be beautiful and cozy, it isn’t the easiest color to pair with white trim if there isn’t enough contrast between the two shades. With a little more saturation, beige pops against white trim, but with Hush, there’s also a distinct contrast between the wall color and the color of bamboo shades or wicker baskets.

With a light reflectance value of 57, Hush is not a particularly light color—it just happens to be a muted hue that isn’t at all dark. In a darker room, Hush won’t necessarily help brighten the space and relying on incandescent light will likely bring out some of the more warm yellow undertones. But even so, Hush remains a beautiful backdrop for living spaces and bedrooms. So if you’re looking for an easy-to-work-with neutral, try picking up a sample of Hush and let the paint do the talking.

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