Beige is Back! (You Heard it Here First) Trends from HPMKT for 2019

My Accent Touch

So Tricia (my Senior Colour Designer) and I just had a super fun weekend at High Point Market checking out all the new and hot decor trends for 2019.

I’ve always been fascinated by the trend cycle, and I look forward to market every year so I can bring the latest news to you in my annual trend report. And there is SO much to report this year!

I started specifying colour in the early 2000’s when we were still in the pink beige/sage green/ginger maple, trend.

After that, the Tuscan Brown trend started in 2002  in the West Coast, with lots more beige, UNTIL the grey trend arrived, around 2009.

I’ll always remember arriving in a clients home (around 2002) who still had existing, untouched, decor from the 80s.

Her living room was decorated in emerald tones, fuchsia, forest greens, and teals (ALL of which we saw a lot of at market by the way). During the consultation, I had my large paint samples, and I held up beige after beige and they all died when paired with her strong colours. Grey was of course, the same. Very bad.

In the end, it was specifically a yellow beige on the green side that looked the best because it read as a colour, a muted yellow green.

The take away story this year is that the trendy neutral of the last almost ten years, GREY, has hit full saturation point. Many of the showrooms had attractive, colourful storefront rooms, but when you walked though, you would inevitably find yourself surrounded by grey-on-grey vignettes this Spring at High Point Market.

More. than. ever. before.

Which tells me that the all-grey-look is overexposed and poised to look generic and even tacky. As a result, beige is feeling new, warm and sophisticated again.

A pretty, small scale Pink Beige print at CR Laine

If fact most showrooms also had some beige rooms, and the high end showrooms had A LOT of serene cream and pale beige.

When I say beige is back, this is not to be confused with brown is back. Yes, we saw browns at Market as well, but no one is running out to buy a brown living room set anytime soon.

Brown will take a back seat now in interior design, just as grey will shortly as well.

Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with brown, or grey or black. It’s the OVERUSE of these neutrals that screams “I decorated in the brown or grey trend”.

And the beige we saw in showrooms at high point was mostly pale beige, so it was fresh. There was lots of pink beige of course, but it was also interesting to see some yellow beige and orange beige which we have not seen in quite some time.

A combination of yellow beige and green grey at Bernhardt

There was very little black (even though black is the new grey and there was lots of black at Maison et Objet in Paris two years ago).

But aside from lots of gray, there was a whole lot of gorgeous bright colour too. The Thibaut showroom is always a delight and reliable for bold colour and pattern mixing (below).

Thibaut Fabrics and Wallcoverings

And I was happy to see so much fresh, kelly green. This shade of green has been on the fringe of trends for years, hopefully there will be many more products available in this happy green!

Kelly Green and Green Beige at CR Laine

Kelly Green and Cream by Mark D. Sikes for Henredon

Yellow was also here and introduced in smaller accents, often as a counterpoint to gray and deep dramatic colours. (After all this is how gold, basically rich yellow, is used.)

Hickory White

There was a new shade of plum/eggplant which we saw repeated in a few showrooms. In general there were lots of dramatic deep toned walls from saturated blues and forest greens to almost black.

Plum and Pink Beige at Alden Parkes


Violet Gray and near Black Walls at Bernhardt

Red is back but it’s a clean and fresh red, very far from the muted, burgundy red of the 80s and 90s. It was paired with lots of white and fresh blues.

CR Laine

There were lots of luxurious details like decorative boxes, mirrors, coffee tables, you name it, wrapped in textured materials like embossed leather or grass cloth.

Suzanne Kasler Chagrin Decorative Box

This style of chair entirely wrapped in fabric was also everywhere. I remember a decorator friend had two of these in her living room 20 years ago.

Highland House

Pink was still a big story at High Point this year. Most memorably in the most breathtaking collection of new furniture, Suzanne Kasler’s Paris Apartment collection for Hickory Chair (below).

I love the white pendants in this library vignette also by Suzanne Kasler below.

Hickory Chair

Gallery white walls were very well represented at the market this year, but they were paired with endless amounts of white upholstery which is really the only way to make them work.

Related post: 5 Reasons You Cannot Paint your House Art Gallery White

I was really excited to meet my favourite decorator of all time, Jeffrey Bilhuber. He is even more lovely and charming than you might expect. I have written posts or mentioned him, many times over the years, here, here and here. I have all his books and use them as a styling resource anytime I’m styling a room.

Whenever I’m specifying swing arm lamps behind a sofa, I show one of his interiors to my clients.

Related post: 10 Styling Lessons from Jeffrey Bilhuber

Whimsical reproduction Staffordshire dogs were the primary motif this market! Actually, fanciful beasts were everywhere. Parrots, monkeys and tigers were all over fabrics and wall coverings.

Love this clever freestanding sconce on a weighted concrete base to tuck into a a bookshelf from the same vignette at C.R. Laine.

Loved these daisy inspired lights! from Hudson Valley Lighting

My friend Denise McGaha has an amazing collection of classic and timeless stone mantels with Materials Marketing, you can view and buy them here.


Tricia Firmaniuk and Maria Killam

And here we are zipping around the showrooms at cocktail hour (it’s hard work haha). Visual Comfort was adorning everyone with these Mardi Gras like gold beads. And oh my, they were showing off some gorgeous lighting.

Tricia is an artist, so when SHE actually liked a piece of art, I would sit up and pay attention! Like this simple line drawing by Picasso.


So there you have it! Although all the retailers will certainly have lots of gray upholstery available for you this year, it’s at the END of the trend cycle, and NOT the time to buy it. Let’s focus on their fresher offerings full of colour!

What is your favourite trend or colour palette?

Related posts:

What Everyone Should Know About Beige

Maria Killam’s Trend Forecast for 2018; the Colour is Yellow

Ask Maria: What is the Most Timeless Colour



leave aREPLY

  1. This post adds weight that the best, most timeless color choice for a sofa or other major upholstery is a color you love.

    The husband and I are about to redo our living room including all new upholstery, rugs, and everything. The one color we can always agree on is blue so now it’s abundantly clear blue will be the color of our new sofa.

    Blue goes with yellow beige, pink beige, grey, white, black, forest green, and brown. That ought to cover the major neutrals for the last 20 years and the next 10 ?

  2. Never beige-Never the cooler grays but was and still am quite pleased with greige. Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, White Dove and Sea Salt. On trend or not they make me happy on walls and cabinets. Usually when you post pics there are rooms I adore. Sadly none of these. Love your glasses and have to say you are one of the few people I have ever seen who looks so fabulous in yellow.

  3. When I walked through Pottery Barn recently I noticed that I didn’t see much gray at all–Pottery Barn is not as “high end” as “High Point”, of course, but still probably a good barometer of the way the design wind is blowing for many of us, LOL. Besides lots of blue with white, I did notice another trend there toward more of an earthier, simple “natural” look and feel to things–like cream and beiges, and muted greens, so your proclamation about beige being “back” doesn’t surprise me at all!

    Speaking of colors being “back”, Maria, a month ago I got an email advertisement from Birch Lane ( Wayfair’s sister site that caters to the crowd with “Pottery Barn taste”, I think) back in March declaring “Color Crush: Sage This nature- inspired neutral is the new “it” hue. Go with this subtle green.” They had some photos of gorgeous rooms using that hue–though they didn’t resemble the sage green rooms of the 90’s at all. I was going to send you a copy and ask your opinion of that, Maria. Maybe I will be able to start finding accessories to go with my old sage green sectional after all! Maybe I will try forwarding that email to you so you can see–in case you might want to do a post about that–is sage green coming back, or is it just hype??

  4. For all of you who are stressed about your upcoming choices. . . As long as you are not making every choice ‘grey’ or ‘beige’ your house will be great! Trends should be kept on a shelf and used with caution.
    Thanks for your comments! Maria

  5. Hi Maria,
    Apologies if you’ve answered this before, but I’m unclear. Can any of the beige undertones be used together?

  6. Here in So Cal beige never left!! For a certain segment of the population some kind of beige is the only scheme they would consider. Art and accessories might be refreshed, lamps updated, and window treatments restyled, but the overall scheme is still going to be beige.

  7. IMHO, I feel beige for the novice decorator will be much easier to work with however I do love gray as consider it a classic and is perhaps the reason why as a neutral, I prefer ‘greige’ over either. To conclude; thank you Maria for the High Point Market tours as totally appreciate them but am wondering, did you ever reveal what room had recently been renovated at the Breakers Hotel (W. Palm Beach) or did I miss it? Wishing you a beautiful day! -Brenda-

  8. I never was a fan of all the gray woods especially. Why ruin gorgeous wood with gray? But I’m still not sure what wall color you’d use for a modern house with clean, bright colored art and furniture, if not white/off white.

  9. Wow! All these years of slamming pinky beige, and today it is declared as coming back! I’m tired of “what’s new.” I’m in my early 50’s, and maybe that’s why I’m losing interest in these forecasts. I think that if you choose the colours that you love, and they work with the architecture of your home, you can’t go wrong. I know that not everyone has the gift of seeing what colours work together, and I think that those who don’t would benefit from a colour consult from a professional like Maria. I’m one of her happy customers. If you can’t afford it, Maria’s products or just following her blog can help guide you. In the end, what a person chooses to put in their home, including colour, expresses the beauty of their personality and individuality. It makes them happy in their own home and invites their guests to get to know them better. If you don’t get hung up on trends, you can replace things as needed or when you’re in the mood for something fresh!

    • Haha, there’s nothing wrong with pink beige if it is chosen correctly. What I try to teach on this blog is how to do that and to choose it with caution.

      And yes it’s not my favourite beige because it’s used incorrectly more than correctly since the novice chooses it over all other beige’s thinking it’s ‘SAFE’

      Thanks for your comment!

  10. Speaking of beige, why do people still install beige tile floors? My teeth hurt from grinding them looking at beige tile, lol!

  11. I just read this one again. Maybe I will stop looking for a cream or off-white to paint over my Standish White, which looks good with everything in my house (green, turquoise, brown wood, cloud-white.)