A Detailed Tan Vs. Beige Comparison 

A Detailed Tan Vs. Beige Comparison 

Tan and beige are two different colors. With so many variations and tones, it’s not surprising to know that most people often mistake the two or even use them interchangeably. While this can be confusing, you can point out the differences if you compare them. 

In this post, we will go through the differences between both colors for proper understanding. Read on!

What are the differences between beige and tan?

The primary difference between beige and tan is the undertone. When the color brown has an orange undertone, it becomes a beige color. However, when the same brown color has a yellow undertone, it becomes a tan. 

The other difference lies in the shade. Beige is lighter, like in light brown, whereas tan is darker or more commonly referred to as pale brown.  

Continue reading to know more about tan and beige.

Understanding The Color Beige

Beige is variously described as light brown, greyish-tan, greyish yellowish brown. It is similar to ivory, and this explains why most people use the words interchangeably. 

Generally speaking, beige is a more neutral color palette and tends to go with many things. It is very versatile, and you could combine it with several colors. 

It comes in handy when you want to achieve a professional and classic design or outfit. Beige has no color that complements it. However, you would need to look at the undertone of the beige color and match it accordingly. 

Beige is a neutral color that you can use both for the interior and the exterior. Some would say that beige is halfway between white and crème. It is why people refer to it as greyish-yellow, light grey, etc. 

Understanding The Color Tan

Tan is pale brown. It is a darker shade of beige. It is the color the skin gets when slightly burnt by the sun. 

Tan is derived from the Greek word ‘Tannum.’ When translated to English, it gives you the term ‘tanning,’ which refers to changing an animal hide to leather. In some spaces, tan refers to the darkening caused by the sun. 

You could also describe tan as an earthy color. It is the color of sophistication and confidence. If you want to achieve a sophisticated appearance, go for tan color. It is also appropriate for interiors because of its calming effects. 

What Are The Similarities Between Beige And Tan? 

The significant similarity between tan and beige is that they both have a common color – brown. While both colors have different undertones, one unifying factor is the presence of brown, as it is the predominant color. 

Again, both tan and beige are neutral colors, although beige is the more neutral one. You could pair both colors with a variety of colors. They are also both described as earthy colors. 

When included in a color chat, both tan and beige may contain a hint of red in varying degrees. 

Is Beige A Warm Or Cold Color? 

Beige is mostly a warm color. Its major undertones are orange and red, which are bright and fiery colors. As a warm color, beige gives a warm, cozy, and energetic feeling when used in decoration. 

When paired with cool colors, such as blue or green, beige becomes a cool color—however, beige pairs mostly with warm colors, which gives the feeling of liveliness and warmth. 

Is Tan A Warm or Cold Color? 

Tan is a combination of warm brown tones and cool white tones. So, we can say it is either a warm or cool color. The effect of tan depends on the variation of color tones used in its combination. 

When paired with neutral colors like white, black, or grey, it gives a cool and sophisticated feeling. Tan as a cool color gives a calming, soothing effect. It is usually the preferred choice for decorating personal spaces like bedrooms or relaxation rooms. 

You can pair tan with warm colors such as red or orange to give the feeling of warmth. However, people prefer cool tans to warm tans. 

Colors That Combine With Beige 

Beige is somewhere between white and crème and called pale grey. Therefore, you can combine beige with its original colors: white, grey, or cream. Alternatively, you could combine it with yellow and pink. Other colors you can pair with beige are red, orange, and black. 

Colors That Combine With Tan 

Tan is a cool color and can go with warm and bright colors. Colors like coral, orange; gold are perfect matches for tan. However, it is best to consider the shade of the tan (whether light or dark) when pairing. 

Tan can also combine with other cool or neutral colors. Examples are white, black, or blue. Different colors you can pair with tan include red, purple, green, and pink. Tan is so versatile; it can go with many colors.

Can Tan And Beige Go Together? 

It is possible to pair the colors. You can pair tan and beige the same way you can pair other neutral colors, for instance, black and white, black and grey, or grey and white. 

The secret to getting a perfect match lies in the shades. A warm dark shade of beige will match with a light cool tan or vice versa. Getting the right shade of the two colors will give an elegant, comfortable, and cool feel. 

Mixing Colors To Get Beige 

Beige is a light brown color. If you are mixing white with brown, you will get beige. However, you need to add the brown to the white and not the other way round. 

It is essential to gradually pour the brown in small quantities until you achieve the desired tone of beige. Beige can also be a combination of yellow, white, and grey. It would be best if you mixed them continuously until you get beige. Some artists confessed to mixing light shades of blue or red to make beige, but not both.  

Mixing Colors To Get Tan 

You get tan by mixing yellow and brown. In this case, you add yellow to brown in tiny doses until you achieve the desired shade. 

Most often, you can add white to a mixture of brown and yellow to get the desired shade of tan. In some other cases, you may use red instead of white. The effect is usually darker in this instance. 

The Meaning And Significance Of The Beige Color 

The first usage of the word ‘beige’ was in France, somewhere in the middle of the 19th century. It was the name given to the color of wool, which naturally has a cream-like color. 

As artists continued to mix to get different shades, beige became popular, and people used it primarily to design homes. It is popular because the color has a soothing and neutral effect in the house. 

People now associate beige with simplicity, warmth, comfort, strength, and energy. It brings vitality to a place when used in any design. Like tan, beige also symbolizes dependability because it adds warmth to a house. 

In Eastern and Asian cultures, beige symbolizes mourning or sorrow. It is because of the similarity to grey; a color people wear while mourning in the culture. On the other hand, Chinese culture attributes the earth to beige. 

In modern times, beige represents the working class and conservatism. It is because most office computers are beige. Some tech giants like IBM use color in branding, and most workers opt for the color shade while choosing work outfits. 

The Meaning And Significance Of The Tan Color 

Like everything that has earthy undertones, tan symbolizes stability and security. It embodies the attributes of dependability, reliability, trustworthiness, and solitude.

In Western culture, people perceive those who wear the tan color as reserved in nature. It also depicts character traits such as humility and calmness. Fashionably, tan is a symbol of elegance, sophistication, and simplicity. 

Why Do People Hate Beige? 

Not everyone will like the same thing. Some say beige is a boring and dull color. It explains why most people will frown at it as the choice of color for an outfit. 

Also, beige gets a bad rap for being drab and overused. There are also claims that the color dampens your mood. Another reason is that it symbolizes mourning in different cultures. 

However, some people still love it for different reasons. Not everyone hates beige. 

Do People Hate Tan? 

Considering the number of people who struggle to get their skin tanned regularly, it is safe to say that not many people hate tans. 

While the consensus is that tan is a cool color, others think the color is also dull and conservative. Like many things in the world, some people hate tan, while others love it. 


Identifying colors can be confusing, if not difficult, especially when the colors have similar shades or undertones. Some people will argue that tan and beige are different shades of brown, but it is more than that. 

It is advisable to use a color palette when distinguishing the two. Recognizing the right undertones and shades will help you choose the right color combinations for whatever purpose you desire. 

Also, the ability to combine these colors effectively will give you the desired look and effect in your outfit, home decoration, and other purposes.

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