Eugene Fedorenko is Writing, Reading, and Traveling

How beige took over American homes

On a housing bubble in the early 2000s:

A combination of deregulatory economics, a heavily commercialized and materialistic culture, and the public thirst for excess post-‘70s energy crisis made the ‘80s a perfect time for conspicuous consumption. During this decade, a heavy emphasis was placed on luxury and the display of personal wealth, which, of course, was reflected in our houses. Mixing this shiny new materialistic culture with the economic reforms of the 1990s created a perfect storm for a housing bubble to form in the early 2000s.

On a total "beigeification":

Beigeification was part of a larger shift that happened during the early 2000s. After centuries of the home being primarily a place or a space, during the 2000s it was seen as primarily an object or, more specifically, an asset. At a time where mortgage speculation made our houses disposable and impermanent, beige slipped happily onto the walls of millions of Americans, who wanted easy ways to make their house “worth more” at the behest of HGTV and other media, who treated the home as a thing to be changed, or disposed of on a whim. Beige was not a harbinger of the clinical, minimal design that is so popular now; it was the harbinger of a bubble. When houses stopped selling, our design aesthetics immediately changed, streamlined by a tight wallet.