The Builder’s Beige Blues and what to do about it

What is Builder’s Beige?

Builder’s Beige is the generic colour that most new homes come with. It usually is the colour that a builder uses for an entire subdivision of homes. These colours may actually have sophisticated sounding names but they are just different shades of builder’s beige. The size of the home or the size of the subdivision doesn’t make a difference – if it’s new it’s going to be beige. During the last few residential painting projects we were as guilty as anyone applying beige to walls. Painters working in residential subdivisions develop a familiarity with using these specified colours. The job becomes easier in a competitive marketplace. Home after home, the same colour is being used, often in the same flat paint. This kind of repetition makes for increased efficiency and a quick turnover. Despite any claim otherwise, the reasons a builder uses these beige colours are almost always financial.

Builder’s paint is flat, porous and chalky

After moving in, most homeowners realize that the colour is not the only thing wrong with the paint. Simply touching the paint will leave a mark that is impossible to clean. If the mark in a corner or a wall in a room that is rarely used, maybe they can live with it. Unfortunately most people, kids especially spend most of their time in the main rooms of the house. After a while there are enough unsightly stains on the walls that need to be taken care of. After getting in touch with the builder, there may be some touch-up paint to use over these spots. Unfortunately this type of paint is not good quality and touch ups are very visible. Now the spotty looking walls become a bigger problem than the problem they were supposed to fix.

OMG all this beige

Should I repaint my whole house?

The biggest upgrade a new homeowner can invest in is painting. Considering the benefits of a well painted home, the cost should not be a big concern. Despite that, we are painters and it’s understandable if our opinions seem biased. True, the entire home does not have to be painted. In fact if there are budgetary concerns, painting less of the home is a better idea than painting the entire home cheaply. The home already has cheap builder’s beige in it and painting it the same would not be an upgrade.

Is it cheaper to paint my home with a similar beige but use better paint?

Use beige only if you like the colour. Discussing this with many homeowners in Toronto over the years, builder’s beige is either a compromise or just plain ugly. Some people think that one coat of paint would be sufficient and cheaper over the builder’s “primer” type of paint. Unfortunately, the majority of paint jobs need two coats of paint. Hiding the previous colour is not the only characteristic of a good paint. It needs to be washable, look good. and touch up well in the future. The existing builder’s paint is very porous and it will absorb the good paint fast and unevenly. Painters always recommend two coats and sometimes a primer that seals surfaces well is a good idea. If two coats will be used, why not take the opportunity, dive right in and explore the possibilities that colour brings to your home and family.
This newly painted home in Guildwood is an example of what a big difference good quality paints make.

Time to get some real colour

Rescuing your walls with real colour

When undertaking a new home paint project some people feel that any major changes to their colour scheme will be too bold a choice. As such, they stick to relatively tame palettes that are very similar to the original builder colours or to hues that mimic those they have chosen in the past. With a little imagination and some careful planning however, homeowners can select an entirely new colour scheme to update their homes in style.

Use a piece of fabric or two

One of the best ways to choose striking paint colours that will continue to resonate positively with homeowners and their guests is to first identify a unifying element such as a fabric. This not only allows for setting the tone for a single room, but a variety of similarly hued fabrics can bring together a number of rooms in a house. This works particularly well for open floor plans in which rooms flow together without distinct entryways and doors. Pulling a colour from the fabric to be used in your room brings together all the elements in a manner that is both pleasing to the eye and harmonious. After selecting a favourite colour have your paint contractor or paint store match that hue by using computer matching software created for this purpose. The colour does not have to be exact. All paint stores offer paint chips displaying their range of colours; in many cases, they offer strips with samples in a variety of similar tones.

Trying new colours not named beige

Paint colour samples on your walls

No matter how you choose to select your colour, it makes sense to try it on a wall in the room to be painted before you commit to it. This simple step also gives you the opportunity to see how a colour will look when painted over existing paint if you do not plan to prime your walls. Most paint stores offer sample pots of paint for a relatively small amount of money. Paint a small square, maybe eight to 12 inches, on the wall that gets the most attention in your room. This might be the wall that you see when you walk into the room or the room that people face from the main seating area of the room. Live with the colour for a few days so you can see what it looks like in various types of light.

That beautiful gray, for instance, might look stunning in bright sun but seem a little drab or even depressing on a rainy day. Some people paint several colours on the wall to choose between several options, but colour novices should make sure that the squares are far enough away from each other that their eyes are not tricked into disliking a colour simply because it clashes with the one next to it.
An experienced painting contractor can help you choose a colour that you will love for years to come. He or she can recommend not only the depth of colour that will deliver the results you want, but also the proper colours for trim and ceiling. A professional paint job is also essential. There is no point in choosing great colours if they are not painted properly. In addition, the contractor likely has examples of previous work to help you with. Making choices about such features as wainscoting and crown moulding etc. within a home can be difficult.

Fighting the builder’s beige blues is not only possible but essential. Call Ecopainting at 416 733-7767 and request a consultation. We have transformed and rescued many homes in the Toronto area by using colour and applying it professionally.

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