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‘Sad Beige Mom’ goes viral for giving children’s sandbox a makeover

“Please let your kids have colors.”
Beige Mom
Adrianna Santiago says she was well aware she'd get 'sad beige mom' comments when she posted her sandbox makeover.@adriannaasantiago via TikTok
/ Source: TODAY

It’s Sad Beige Mom season and the latest victim is a sandbox.

“POV: You are a mom and got this for free from your local ‘Buy Nothing’ Facebook group,” Adrianna Santiago, a mom in Philadelphia, captioned a viral video posted to TikTok and Instagram with approximately 28 million views altogether.

In Santiago’s video, she drags a bright green turtle-shaped sandbox into her backyard and spray pants the shell a tan color, then covers the legs in a chocolate brown, filling it with sand and toys.

"Some will call me a sad beige mom," she wrote in the caption, and, sure enough, they did.

Beige Mom
@adriannaasantiago via TikTok

“Oh my god, the sad beige moms strike again,” read a TikTok comment followed by thousands more. A sampling:

  • “Turtles are supposed to be green.”
  • “Sucked the soul out of it.”
  • “Should spray the toys too. Wouldn’t want them to clash with the aesthetic.”
  • “I swear these moms are afraid of bright colors.”
  • “Sea turtles are green. This is a tortoise so brown makes sense.”
  • “I’m currently studying child development ... please, please let your kids have colors.”
  • “I’m surprised you didn’t paint the sand too.”
  • “The most absolute unnecessary makeover.”

“I don’t consider myself a Sad Beige Mom,” Santiago, whose daughters are 4 and 2, tells in an interview. “I have an aesthetic.”

Beige Mom
@adriannaasantiago via TikTok

“Sad Beige Mom” is a style trend that favors achromatic colors with names like “wheat germ,” “salt” and “bone.”

Last year, a Florida mom gave her daughter’s plastic Christmas tree (and its ornaments) a “total makeover” to complement her living room furniture. TikTokers said her daughter was “Sad Beige Baby” and called the tree “cold and lifeless.”

According to Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, a professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware, the trend is impractical but harmless.

“If kids are playing with beige toys, can they engage in art projects?” she previously told “If they live in an all-beige house, is a parent going to be comfortable letting them use paints?”

Beige Mom
@adriannaasantiago via TikTok

After Santiago purchased the secondhand sandbox, she noticed its wear and tear.

“Me and my 4-year-old scrubbed it down,” she tells, adding that she wanted to make the sandbox look new — not match any outdoor furniture, like her bright yellow trampoline and green-and-blue water table.

Santiago says she doesn't force her aesthetic on her kids. The bedroom of her eldest daughter — who is “all glitz and glam” — is a pink explosion, she says.

“I don’t force my kids to have aesthetically-pleasing toys — absolutely not,” she says.

Beige Mom
@adriannaasantiago via TikTok

Santiago’s videos played off the “Sad Beige Mom” trend. She knew what kinds of comments to expect.

“If I were the type of mom who didn’t allow color in my home, I might have a guilty conscience,” says Santiago. “I think it’s comical.”