Beige is a dusty and rather forlorn colour. It is, however, the perfect shade for home interiors. Anyone who has painted in the last five years will be familiar with "quarter tea" and may even have gone all out and painted the trim "half tea".

Beige walls are the perfect backdrop to show off the things in your home that have colour, personality and style.

Given the obvious nature of beige as a quietly spoken canvas, why do we so often allow it to coat all aspects of our lives in a suffocating layer?

A relationship or career does not deliver in quite the same way that your living room walls do when slathered in beige. But we all choose it to some extent.

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Why? Beige is safe, and it is as comfortable as it is thoroughly unremarkable. Choosing beige is choosing middle of the road. It's all sensible shoes and brown cardies.

A modicum of beige is not a bad thing. There is a reason we don't paint our walls shocking pink. However, being aware of when you might be settling for second best or when change is overdue is a very good thing indeed. Beige is sneaky and persistent. It will quietly take a seat in your life and once it gets its legs under the table it will need to be shoehorned out.

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Dare to take the beige challenge. If you can relate to any of the following scenarios it might be time to shake things up a little.

Relationship

A beige relationship lacks love, passion and a deep connection. It holds onto you with the promise of companionship and security and the assurance of not having to face life's challenges - be they anything from mortgages through to awkward social occasions - on your own.

Attraction is what gets us all together in the first place and although some aspects fade over time, would you really want to be in a relationship without it, regardless of how "suitable" a potential partner might be? Attraction is not just on a physical level, it's about how you perceive and appreciate another person, from their core values through to all the appealing quirks.

Sex

Are you guilty of putting no real effort in to your sex life, or are you the "go for gold" variety that thinks foreplay means taking your pants off? If so, then you are a beige lover.

The best way to break free of this curse is to focus on your partner, not yourself.

Career

If the highlight of your work day is lunch or quitting time you could be in a beige job - or perhaps you have a beige attitude towards it. Before looking for more excitement elsewhere, look to yourself first. Try giving 100 per cent to your current position and do so with enthusiasm before declaring it to be boring.

Your time

Time is the one thing that is distributed fairly and without privilege. We all get the same amount of hours in the day and how we use them is our responsibility. Choosing to spend this precious resource on mindless pursuits guarantees a life of middling mediocrity.

Positivity and gratitude

The opposite of this is resentment and negativity - which is a recipe for beige. Be grateful for the people and things that come into your life, even when they go out of it.

Yourself

Without valuing yourself you risk being swept away in a sea of ordinary. A good sense of self-worth puts you directly in the path of extraordinary things, from work opportunities to the people you spend time with.

Friends

I've taken to telling my friends I love them. After they check I don't have a terminal illness they soak it up and smile and we all have a lovely moment. Friends should never be beige.

If they are, get new ones.

Contribution

The only thing beige about helping others is not to do so. From organising a fundraising event through to having a cup of tea with a lonely neighbour, there is much to be gained from adding value to others. If all your goals are about you, you may be missing out on some of best bits life has to offer.

The problem with being mired in beige is that it's hard to give up what is comfortable, safe and predictable on a gamble that you'll find something more exciting.

You don't necessarily have to leave your job, friends or partner to break free of beige.

Some things you can change within yourself once you realise it was you that brought it along. Other areas of your life may need some considered reflection to see if you are happy for shades of beige to dirty up the years ahead. The choice is yours. You can do and change anything.

A bit of beige is okay. It could potentially be exhausting living in technicolour 24/7. Too much however, will silently and inoffensively water down your existence. Use beige for your walls, not your life.

- nzherald.co.nz