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Sad-beige parenting: Aesthetic minimalism for babies

By Tammy Newman Apr. 5, 2023

While color choice can often go unnoticed, color is actually more significant than one might think. Over the past few months, a new minimalistic color has dominated baby showers and nursery rooms: beige. Wooden toys and neutral colors have taken hold of children’s fashion and design, coined by Hayley DeRoche—a mother on TikTok—known as sad beige parenting. The trend refers to the parenting practice of creating neutral colored environments in place of having a bright and colorful home.

Dana Lim Art

According to student news site The Casa Revista, this trend surfaced near the end of 2022 and has followed suit into the new year. The Guardian reports that the beige aesthetic spawned as a marketing trend, both on DeRoche’s sad beige TikTok account and the e-commerce platform Etsy. The company advertised achromatic items, targeting parents who actively follow trends and are willing to change housing styles accordingly. The Guardian’s research found that internet searches for beige children's clothing jumped 67% in 2022 alone.

One of the biggest reasons behind the expansion of the sad beige movement is because many parents do not want their children to subconsciously grow up surrounded by gender stereotypes. For example, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Women’s Center explains how assigning colors to gender in babies, such as the stereotypical pink for girls and blue for boys, indicates to them that there is a specific role they should grow and fit into. This issue leads to parents preferring a beige color, giving them greater control to reduce gender stereotypes.

However, putting a child in a setting with little to no color can limit and discourage brain development and creativity. Science Daily reports that high contrast toys that have specific colors such as blue and red can spur lateral thinking and enhance attention to detail—two important cognitive skills for children to hone.

“If my parents did not provide me with a colorful childhood like they did, I would most definitely not be as creative as I am today. I believe the bright pink walls of my childhood room are what prompted me to develop an interest in making art, which is something I still love doing,” Senior Corinne Thelen said.

Aside from the psychological effects of the color beige, The Guardian states that neutral colored clothing is quite expensive because of its rising popularity, with a simple top costing $45 and a plain smock costing $138. Hence, wealthier families dominate the trend. While some parents are passionate about nurturing their kids in a gender neutral home, others are beginning to fight against the trend, claiming it is wasting money and intrinsically harming children. Krista Boehem, a mother who runs an online baby and kids’ clothing boutique, states that children should be able to express themselves through vibrant colors.

“Kids should be able to be kids, and one thing all children love is loads of colors. Depriving kids of bright, fun colors will only make them unhappy, especially if the only color they see in the house is a shade of brown,” Junior Yunnah Moon said.

The brewing controversy of sad beige parenting is still debated today, but many parents are trying to move against it in hopes of exposing children to brighter and more engaging colors. It is uncertain if sad beige parenting will stick around, but many families are advocating against it, demonstrating the trend that parents are beginning to be more influenced by social media.


About the Contributors

Tammy Newman

staff writer

Tammy Newman is a senior at Leland who writes for the school newspaper. During her free time, she loves spending time with her friends and sleeping.

Dana Lim


Dana Lim is a sopohmore at Leland High School and an artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she likes to binge watch tv shows or take naps.

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