Colour is something we constantly see around us - with different shades coming and going together with trends. In the world of interiors, colour can be a bit of a minefield and there are so many versions and tones to choose from! One shade that has been around since the early 19th century is the colour taupe – however, often people are unsure of how to bring this shade into their interior. With this in mind, we’re here to give you our take on using the taupe colour in your house and home.
What is ‘taupe’ colour?
Taupe is described as a dark, grey-brown colour. The word derives from the French noun taupe meaning “mole”. Beginning in the 1940s, its usage expanded to encompass a wider range of shades. Now, it can range anywhere from light greyish-browns, sandy medium hues to deep mauve - offering endless options and suiting an array of interior spaces in the house.
How to use it in your house…
Flooring: The Traditional Look
We wanted to begin with what we know best - as experts in stone flooring for over 26 years, we have a magnificent selection of taupe-based tiles, perfect for kitchens.
Opting for the traditional look, this premium French limestone ‘Bordeaux Aged Chateau’ offers warm mushroom tones and rich variation with detailed natural markings. The Aged Chateau finish makes this natural stone the most luxurious option for rustic French flooring, with the aged appearance of hundreds of years.
Continuing the theme of French limestone flooring, the ‘Loire Rustique’ offers a lighter, honey-based tile - suiting heritage and classic interior properties.
Flooring: The Modern-country Look
If you’re wanting a more modern country house and interior, there are many stone effect tiles out there in the taupe colour way. Bellemont Beige porcelain is a unique porcelain that blends both a rustic and industrial feel in a soft neutral with beige to grey tones.
The Dorchester Aged Grey stone effect porcelain offers a wonderful greyish taupe tile with realistic detailing and a tumbled effect edge, giving a slight rustic country feel.
Units and Cabinetry
Not only is flooring a great opportunity to bring taupe into the kitchen, but there are also a whole host of shades to choose from for kitchen islands and units. We often advise opting for paler shades of this colour for cabinets - to keep a light and airy feel. The below kitchens with Clermont Gris aged-tumbled limestone, Silver Cloud limestone and Abbey sandstone floor tiles show the effortless beauty of soft light brown cabinets.
Flooring: Wood Effect Tiles
Wood look porcelain flooring naturally offers a selection of taupe shades that will work beautifully in most interior spaces and is a popular option for living rooms, adding warmth. Below the Henbury Antique Oak porcelain has a warm wash tone and realistic texture, making a practical alternative to real wood but still mimicking the natural effect.
Choosing flooring is a big decision and many people may want the option of incorporating the colour taupe in a less permanent way - this is where soft furnishing play a great role in adding and incorporating beige and browns into a living room and house. Pieces such as rugs, curtains, throws and cushions are great at softening an interior and can be easily changed and swapped, they also make the living room an inviting and comfortable place to relax and be at home. Below are a few of our favourite picks:
The interior store, OKA, have a gorgeous selection of soft furnishings that will enhance any living room space - we love their ‘Cria’ throw in the colour ‘natural’.
Crafted from 100% baby alpaca wool, this throw is perfect for draping over a sofa for cosy Winter evenings.
One sure way to finish a living room is by choosing a rug that will sit beautifully on any hard wood or stone flooring. Crucial Trading offer a luxurious selection of fabrics for floor coverings, with an option to ‘build a rug’.
The Sisal Oriental collection in the shade ‘Aluminium’ (photographed) is a classic, timeless beige adding warmth and charm. The Sisal Oriental design also offers many other blends within the taupe colourway.
Andrew Martin’s cushions designed in collaboration with Sophie Paterson are available in an array of warm shades and prints, with our best-loved ones below. These pieces bring subtle texture and comfort into your interiors and are perfect for layering with smart prints and colours across the whole collection.
Alongside soft furnishings, hard furnishings are an essential element to your house and living room. They offer practicality in storage and surface space but are also an opportunity to bring in the warmth and timeless feel of oak in all its pure shades. Again, we have sourced three best-loved picks below that will work with their different uses in a living room interior.
This console table is described by CharlesTed as “perfect for setting off a hallway or living room. Style with fabulous lamps and a large vase of flowers or a huge hurricane lamp!
Made with reclaimed natural Pine wood, knots, marks and discolouring is embraced as part of the character.”
A focal point to any sitting room, this coffee table by OKA is wonderfully crafted. The Flavian coffee table “is named for a Roman dynasty due to its classical silhouette (and the materials used to create that). Specifically, the coffee table features a helix-shaped strut and striking column detailing, crafted from warm oak and cool stone – a regal duo, if ever we saw one.”
The perfect size for a reading nook or tucked next to an armchair, Neptune Homes ‘Henley’ small side table is a delightful piece of furniture.
The Henley collection is a “style that celebrates the refined qualities of oak. It’s classic and quite traditional, and a welcome foil to more contemporary settings too.”
Bathroom Tile Options
As tile flooring specialists, we have a range of porcelain and natural stone, suitable for en suites and bathrooms. Taupe is appropriately described as a natural and earthy colour which will add a sense of calm and tranquillity to your bathroom interior and house.
Primrose ‘Pebble’ metro tiles are beautifully glazed, high quality Italian porcelain in a 75mm x 300mm format, ideal as wall tiles whether it be for a walk-in shower or surrounding a vanity unit. These metro tiles offer the classic brick format seen across different styles, but in a unique shade.
Those wishing to emulate a traditional country look will love the Hambleton Taupe stone effect porcelain flooring - offering a charming realistic print in soft taupe tones and a tumbled effect edge. This tile can go on the wall and floor, acting as a complementing tile or as matching flooring and walls.
A big trend currently for bathrooms has to be terrazzo effect tiles - and Milazzo Mista stone effect porcelain ticks the box! This true-taupe hue features lovely, flecked patterning in a 600mm x 600mm tile size. Popularly used as a bathroom wall tile for a contemporary statement, terrazzo tiles can also be used as flooring or choose something simpler to accompany.
Wall Paint Colours
Our final section on using the colour taupe in your house and home is choosing wall paint colours. When it comes to interior paint colours there is an endless supply of shades available which can often be quite daunting! Even within the colour there are many variations – this does offer a wide range of options, depending on if you are after a pale neutral or a darker-toned shade. Little Greene paint have a colour suitability named as ‘True Taupe’ which is a true light brown shade described as “a mid-strength heritage paint colour used in English houses for centuries”.
For other alternatives, we recommend Farrow & Ball and their collection of shades on offer. ‘Joa’s White’ is described as “light and contemporary” – a beautiful pale hue for those wishing to create a light and airy feel. ‘Oxford Stone’ is a “paired back taupe, inspired by the cottages found in the pretty Cotswold villages of Oxfordshire” – our choice if you’re wanting to create a lived-in traditional country feel.
Taupe can also be observed in pink-based hues and Farrow & Balls ‘Smoked Trout’ is the ultimate choice for a moody and decadent colour. Words by F&B describe this perfectly… “The name of this Farrow & Ball classic needs no explanation! Brimming with rich pigments, Smoked Trout is a dark mushroom tone that can read as anything from a deep taupe to a dustier red depending on the light. With a magical depth and almost three-dimensional quality, it has a romantic feel wherever it’s used.”
We hope this detailed guide on the colour taupe and its use in the house and home has offered a little bit of insight and inspiration in your renovation and projects! View our full range of taupe-based porcelain stone look tiles here and natural stone here.
FAQs About The Colour Taupe
1. What is ‘taupe’ colour?
The colour is described as a dark, grey-brown. The word derives from the French noun taupe meaning “mole”. Beginning in the 1940s, its usage expanded to encompass a wider range of shades. Now, it can range anywhere from light greyish-browns, sandy medium hues to deep mauve - offering endless options and suiting an array of interior and house styles.
2. How much taupe is too much?
Ultimately, an interior can be subjective to the personal style of the owner and every person will have their own take. Our general advice would be depending on the design of a house, choose it either as an accent colour or as the main colour with other accents incorporated – don’t do both!
3. What complements the colour taupe?
Depending on the approach and feel you want to create, there are a number of shades that complement this shade. If you’re wanting to play it safe, sticking with neutral whites are your best option. For those seeking contrast whilst still remaining classic and timeless, navy blue works beautifully with the earthy tones of taupe. Finally, for individuals with a love for colour, dusty pinks add an eclectic English country house charm when combined with interior prints and patterns.