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"What makes a man turn neutral?" - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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"What makes a man turn neutral?" [May. 11th, 2010|04:18 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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Tomorrow we will strike a major blow in the war against beige. And by "we," I mean Mom and Grandma, since I am even more wobbly than usual and not to be trusted with paint. Still: down with beige!

I'm not sure why the previous owners were so fond of beige and pale yellow. Not my favorite colors anyway, and together...not so charming together, is what. We have completely obliterated the pale yellow (except where we put it in the master bath where it was not before, but we had to do something with the fixtures we had). The master bedroom is currently beige, and so are the upstairs hall, the main floor hall, and the stairs in between them. And the back hall is beige-and-white pillow-ticking-style wallpaper. If there is anything less us than beige, it's beige-and-white pillow-ticking-style wallpaper. Uff da. The living room is also beige and will remain that way until we can agree on a color for it. (I didn't mean that to sound like a threat. On the other hand, I don't entirely mind if it does.)

I strongly suspect that the previous owners chose beige because they felt it was neutral. "It goes with anything." Bah. It goes with very little. If you hand me a specific beige and a rack of paint colors, I can find you three things it looks horrible with in less than twenty seconds. I am not at all convinced on the subject of neutrals. I think very few things are truly neutral, and in any case neutrality is not a very high aim if actual liking is available. If you like beige, go on ahead and like beige, but don't fall into beige because it feels uncontroversial. "Uncontroversial" is a terrible word for a room.

Don't get me wrong: we plunked our bedroom furniture down in this beige room nearly seven years ago and are only now getting around to changing it. I understand how this is not everybody's top priority, nor should it be. But I think that if we can get to something we will actively like and not just tolerate, it's worth some level of effort to get there.

Of course, in this case it's worth some level of my mom's effort. And I do appreciate that.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: rmnilsson
2010-05-11 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yay for color!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-11 10:22 pm (UTC)
To me, khaki long walls and red short walls looks deliberate. It looks like you chose that room rather than just shrugging and going with whatever. The color in markgritter's and my bedroom is very nearly white, but it's a very specific nearly-white chosen to pop with the bedspread.
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[User Picture]From: rmnilsson
2010-05-12 03:40 pm (UTC)
We have cream-colored walls in our living/dining room. I found that when I added colorful furniture, artwork, and a bright red rug, the room felt colorful despite the pale walls. I may yet add window treatments.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-05-11 10:20 pm (UTC)
We're killing off the used-to-be-a-rental off-white slowly too. Well, faster than you are because our house is probably 1/3 the size of yours from the sound of it. Kitchen: bright sunny yellow. Living room: olive green. JD's office: tan. Bedroom: blue. Those are done. Next up is guest room: probably bright yellow again since we have the paint left; and hallway: rust orange. That's all of it.

Go mom and grandma! Oh, also if you wind up with a puppy with a painted tail tip, take a picture. ;)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-11 10:23 pm (UTC)
Silly Charleymom! Ista is a Very Experienced Painter. Also poodles' tails don't really tip that way.
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[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2010-05-11 10:31 pm (UTC)
My mom just left after doing a few hours worth of things that were worth her effort. :) I'm right with you. My house is now prepared for a very small person to be brought into it.
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[User Picture]From: auriaephiala
2010-05-11 10:32 pm (UTC)
I *hate* beige. It's such a loathsome, soul-sucking colour. I cannot imagine why anyone likes it.

It also comes in so many shades (pink, yellow, puke) that it's actually difficult to match.

I do, in fact, like a light, sunshiny yellow where it fits a room. It often goes well with lots of light oak wood.

Yeah for colour!
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From: orbitalmechanic
2010-05-11 11:07 pm (UTC)
Yellow is a color! (Beige is a color too, of course, just a bad one.)
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From: stillsostrange
2010-05-11 10:34 pm (UTC)
My master bedroom is also beige, but I think the previous painters weren't going for "neutral" so much as "weirdly southwestern" since the living room walls are an odd putty color, the upstairs bathroom was eye-searing peach, the carpet was green, the kitchen is still pale green, and the downstairs bathroom is green, putty, and purple stripes. Vertical stripes, of course, to be slimming.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-12 01:29 am (UTC)
Because what everybody wants in a bathroom is slimness, naturally!

Also, they apparently said to themselves, "Just green and purple would make it look like the Joker decorated this bathroom, which for some reason is not what we want. What can make it look less like that? I know! Putty!" Oh, monkeys.
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From: swan_tower
2010-05-11 10:46 pm (UTC)
If you (hypothetical "you," not Mris "you") have to be neutral, I say go for off-white rather than full-on beige, because then it's all the plainness of white without the stark glare, and none of the color-matching issues of beige. And it makes the room light, which my sun-loving self appreciates. But I remember being very happy as a kid when we painted my room a very, very pale blue, because the color made me so much happier.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-05-12 06:38 am (UTC)
When I was 14 or so we painted my room off-white with dusty blue wodwork, and it was gorgeous. Or would have been, if I hadn't been stuck with the magenta shag carpet they put in when I was 3. I was 3 in 1970. When I first moved into the room, they decorated it with aforesaid carpet; off-white paneling on one long wall; 'stripes' of small flowers climbing up vines, in alternating stripes of pink and pale orange on the other long wall; a pattern of scattered large (like, 8") flowers in varying shades of pinks and orange on the two short walls.

There is definitely such a thing as too *much* color on the walls. It's left me as a decided fan of paint rather than wallpaper.
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From: swan_tower
2010-05-12 06:13 pm (UTC)
When I was 14 or so we painted my room off-white with dusty blue wodwork, and it was gorgeous.

Oooooh!

Or would have been, if I hadn't been stuck with the magenta shag carpet they put in when I was 3.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!

<bleeds from the retinas>
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From: zeborahnz
2010-05-11 10:58 pm (UTC)
I don't have any beige rooms, fortunately. I do have a room where the previous owners started stripping the paint and then got bored. (It's low down on my priority list of things to fix.) I also have a room where three walls are pale lavender and the fourth is a dark wine red. I... I think even beige might be preferable to that.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-12 01:32 am (UTC)
See, in my family "pale lavender and dark wine red" would probably translate into "let's paint this before moving any furniture, books, etc. in." By which, of course, I mean "let's get Mom to paint this." Because my mom is a painting demon. She is just that speedy. The room that is now my office was an eye-shattering apple green when we moved in, but we were motivated to paint it right away. Whereas beige sort of mooches around not being an immediate affront, until you can bear it no more.
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[User Picture]From: intrepida
2010-05-12 01:08 am (UTC)
There is a time and a place for beige. I (deliberately!) painted the bedroom of my last apartment beige, as I was looking for something more restful than white that would be easy to paint over, and would work with the dark purple I painted all my bookcases and the maroon and gold sari I was using as a bed canopy.
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[User Picture]From: swords_and_pens
2010-05-12 04:36 am (UTC)
Most of our first floor was beige when we moved in: beige carpet, beige walls, even beige drapes! And these were the "color" choices of the people who had been living here. Ugh.

We fixed that right fast, let me tell you. Now it's been a decade and we need to re-paint again. And it's still not going to be beige.

Yay color! Death to Beige!
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From: thoughtdancer
2010-05-12 10:46 am (UTC)
I'm so glad that the new apartment is off-white (very close to true white). The old apartment had "texturing" that made the beige walls look like ... well, leftovers from the night before that exited the wrong way. And the carpeting there was dark beige which also reminded me of another sort of gastrointestinal problem.

The new apartment's beige carpeting (hate beige, hate wall-to-wall carpeting) is lighter colored, which helps a tiny bit.

Hate beige.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-12 09:11 pm (UTC)
I was thinking that we might not replace the wall-to-wall carpeting with more wall-to-wall carpeting when it wants replacing. But having done the wood floors in the basement ourselves, I think we're now thinking that if we do anything else in the upstairs, we will be paying to have it done.
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From: thoughtdancer
2010-05-12 09:31 pm (UTC)
I have other reasons for hating wall-to-wall carpeting, other than the cat hair+human hair=dead vacuums expense.

Both my husband and I have allergies (including to the cats), and carpeting is impossible to truly clean. Tile, wood, linoleum, anything that can be swept/mopped/scrubbed. Breathing is a good thing, and I look forward to a home that will let us do that easily.

(I have two cats. He has allergies to them. He married me anyway. I'm still stunned. ;-) )
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[User Picture]From: mightyjesse
2010-05-12 01:52 pm (UTC)
I want to paint my bathroom a color that possibly *could* be considered beige-ish, but this color has purpose! It goes with my gun-metal blue towels... This color is called "toast" and I like it. It does look like toast, sort of more warm than a traditional beige...
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-12 09:11 pm (UTC)
Toast and gun-metal blue is purposeful indeed!
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-05-12 03:41 pm (UTC)
I am reminded of when I unintentionally insulted you because our mental dictionaries did not have the same connotations/definition of "neutral" (in the D&D alignment sense, this time). I can't shake the feeling that this is sort of the same line of thought in disguise.

I think I see walls as a sort of negative space - they're functionally invisible to me. You put things on them, perhaps, and those things are visible, but the walls don't exist. Therefore, to my mind, if I lived in a house entirely with white walls, I could be perfectly happy with that.

I do agree that beiges and tans are far less attractive and less useful than many people and home decorators seem to believe.

I don't mind a certain amount of hue in a basically pale wall. If you want your walls a very light green or blue or yellow or even red (which means they'll be pink), I can live with that. But to me the key is LIGHT. I am distrustful of dark walls; to me they read that you want to make the room look smaller/darker, and I'm not sure why someone would ever want to do that unless they're about to go on a career as a serial killer or an angst-rocker.

(No, no, don't get your back up, folks, I'm only half serious. Paint your own walls any color you damn well please. Just saying why *I*'d never do it.)

All that said, my wife insisted on painting our living room an exceedingly, aggressively lemon yellow, and I must admit it looks surprisingly good. Which is why I am deliberately not in charge of wall colors around here, and let her do whatever she wants.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-12 09:14 pm (UTC)
See, whereas I have to work to see walls as negative space. I have noticed this as the number of rooms in which I've had to do so has gotten smaller and smaller. If they're a color I like, I don't have to expend any mental energy to put them out of my mind. If they're not a color I actively like, I do have to expend that energy.

My dorm was painted in industrial-strength pastels. I loved my dorm, but not so much the walls. Uff da.

Also, smaller/darker can also map to cozier, depending.
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From: lynnal
2010-05-12 05:44 pm (UTC)
The place we are renting has beige walls and warm beige carpet. Not what I would choose, but I have found one good feature about the carpet. We have two cats, one elderly and one with long fur. This means frequent cat hork on the carpet. With this carpet, the stains do not show. Of course, "my carpet does not show cat hork" is not necessarily a strong advertizing point.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-12 09:14 pm (UTC)
Not, at least, for people who don't have cats. For those who do, well, one can see the benefits.
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