Beige aesthetic filters rainbow of perspectives

There’s been a rather off putting design trend in the past few years, mostly driven by parents of young children, to make everything neutral. This includes paint, furniture, clothing and even toys. This rising trend has been satisfying parents’ need for calmer environments, and “Instagram worthy” beautiful perfect homes. The design idea is known as “natural aesthetic,” and it has been popularized on social media. 

Recently as the “Today Show”, explored the idea of the beige aesthetic, it was noted that the muted palette is hot now: “Beige moms” seem to be taking over the internet, and influencers’ Instagram grids are full of photos of children wearing shades ranging from ivory to tan. A popular Instagram site run by Los Angeles mom Molly Madfis says, “I realized that I’m happier around neutral colors,” adding that when she’s happier and calmer she is better equipped to parent. “I have been doing this for a long time.” 

To see her idea of a good family home environment click on this link,  There is no doubt that the look is calming and beautiful, though not everyone agrees with the “perfect-ness” of the natural aesthetic that the idea of a neutral environment has gone too far. 

One concern is how this aesthetic is being aimed toward young children, and the parents that are buying beige toys and creating neutral worlds for their kids. The reason that it’s bad for children is not just because it’s not appealing to a child but can be intellectually unstimulating. infants need exposure to different colors as it’s important to their development. 

Writer and librarian Hayley DeRoche, who has two children and is also an avid user of social media, created a viral video that referred to natural aesthetics as “Sad Beige.” DeRoche recently told, a online lifestyle page, that all these neutrals were depressing for kids. In a set of videos, she mocked various clothing companies that push the natural aesthetic onto parents to dress their children in sad colors that basically go against every usual color preferences of children. DeRoche said, “Sad beige is when your aesthetic is marketed in such a way that it views childhood as a somber experience and that dressing your children this way or creating this environment will create a calm environment full of little scholars who want nothing more than to just, like, listen to Mozart quietly in their beige room and play quietly with their one wooden toy.”

Does creating a neutral collared environment affect children? At Iowa State University, a popular Interior Design program teaches classes not only about the trends of today and tomorrow, but the social and mental effect that design has on the people living within an aesthetic. Dr. Julie Irish, an associate professor in the Interior Design program, teaches about color design and children. Dr.Irish responded to this question about the idea of color aesthetic rules.

What are there pros and cons of creating a complete aesthetic rule of design in a home with children?

“In general, studies have found that the color red and yellow are more arousing and having a color contrast is more stimulating than one monochromatic color. Bright colors give a baby’s eyes something to focus on. Young children also frequently prefer bright colors. Think of colorful toys or brightly colored candy to attract children. So, if a scheme is all neutral, there may not be anything for a child to focus on or add interest. On the positive, it may be very calming for a child, particularly if they are over excited. A space that is overwhelming in color, such as too much red, may be over-stimulating and hard to relax in. Into this you also have personal preferences, someone who enjoys neutral tones or someone who enjoys bright colors. There are also cultural differences in our perceptions of color. For example, in the Western culture red is a symbol of danger or love. In many Eastern cultures, red is a symbol of luck and good fortune, hence bridal dresses are often red.“

Color means different things to different people. The question of color aesthetics in homes is complex for certain. Though it seems like an Instagram beautiful idea of a family home, color can give you a template for how to create a beautiful home for your family. That doesn’t seem to be how real homes are created outside of Instagram and Tik ToK.  One color rule seems too strict. A family may have one child that enjoys calm rooms more than one who likes vivid exciting colors. A happy family home should have something for everyone.

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