White Snow, White Sand, Cotton, Cold Foam & more…
Sherwin Williams has some of the most popular white paint colors already, and their new Emerald Designer Edition definitely takes it up a notch.
Today, we’re taking a look at these new colors, focusing on those that could work well for your trim and cabinets, as well as those that might be better for ‘other purposes’.
All of that being said, these new whites come at a price (which we’ll get into below). And the price might be the ONLY THING holding these colors back from being the TOP white paint colors on the market because otherwise, they’re pretty friggin’ awesome.
When trying to find the best white paint color for your project, there are a few things you must do BEFORE you start slappin’ paint on the walls…
1. FIND THE WHITEST WHITE IN THAT BRAND
This is the white you’ll compare EVERY OTHER WHITE to. Here’s a list of each brand’s WHITEST whites.
2. GRAB A FEW COMPARABLE WHITES
Find whites that are similar to the one you’re looking at. Four comparable whites are ideal.
Because the BEST way to pick a white paint color is via comparison! Don’t read the label, or compare it to white paper or your pasty white legs (or is it just me that has these?). Instead, do the above and make your white paint pickin’ life a heck of a lot easier.
I also have OODLES of articles on how to pick the best white paint color and I’ll link to them throughout. I’ll also include a full list at the end of this blog post, just because I love you.
TWO IMPORTANT THINGS before we get started…
1. THESE WHITES ARE ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE EMERALD DESIGNER LINE
The fact that you can ONLY get these whites in the Emerald line is one of the things that sets them apart from the other whites. HOWEVER, this isn’t bad, and I’ll tell you why.
Sherwin Williams new Emerald line is HIGH-QUALITY paint. And while the price reflects that; high-quality paint usually = high-end results*, high-quality paint often GOES further (as much as 50+ sq ft more coverage), and HIDES better (covers your old color). This could save you from needing 2-3 additional coats or EVEN having to buy an extra gallon of paint. Keep this in mind if you feel a little sticker shock. I understand that if you’re doing a large project or are on a budget, the price could be a turn-off, and I think it’s the ONE thing that will stop these colors from being the head honchos of the white world – these whites aren’t accessible to everyone wanting to paint.
But why do these new whites go further and cover better?
GOOD QUESTION! Every paint color starts with a base, which is what’s in the can when you first take it off the shelf. The BASE of these new whites is whiter and purer. So, whereas you get blue with Extra White and not enough hide with the EVER contentious High Reflective White, these whites have it goin’ on from the get-go.
*I haven’t tried this paint yet. I don’t get paid for any of the paint color reviews on my site – no financial contribution, free product samples, or even a virtual high-five or complimentary case of wine. Therefore, what I offer is my honesty, knowledge of colors, hands-on experience and research.
2. PHOTOS…or lack thereof
Because these are NEW colors and my E-Design clients haven’t had a chance to use them/send ‘after’ photos, I don’t have images. However, I do have the information and insights you’ve been LOOKING for. I’ll also refer to other popular Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore white paint colors to give you some great points of reference.
Sherwin Williams Alabaster
BTW, I’m putting these whites in order of flexibility and my level of excitement at their arrival on the paint scene!
1. Review of Sherwin Williams White Snow SW 9541
LRV: White Snow has an LRV of 90. Not a true white, but definitely getting up there.
TYPE OF WHITE: White Snow isn’t obviously warm or cold, and in the words of the Late Great Goldilocks, it’s juuuuust right. Okay, so maybe it caters to a very minor warmth, but it’s negligible – and that’s an overstatement.
UNDERTONES: N/A. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any, it means they’re so subtly warm that the specifics aren’t worth paying attention to.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH WHITE SNOW?
I believe the question should be ‘what paint colors WON’T look good with White Snow!’ With no allegiance to being warm or cool, White Snow is super flexible and can accommodate warm or cool paint colors and MAYBE even some other whites.
The only areas I wouldn’t naturally gravitate towards White Snow are the following:
- Warm neutrals. Warm neutrals such as beige, tan and cream, won’t look bad with White Snow – not at all! However, soft, warm whites will create a softer, more organic connection.
- Warm earth-tones. Again, warm earth tones won’t look bad AT ALL with White Snow. However, with earth tones being ‘dirty’ colors, I’m more likely to choose soft whites when working with them.
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO WHITE SNOW?
Again, comparison is key, especially if you’re new to paint colors!
Sherwin Williams High Reflective White is along similar lines and comes across WHITER looking when compared to White Snow. It also helps show off the VERY slight warmth in White Snow…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE
SUMMARY OF SHERWIN WILLIAMS WHITE SNOW
I’m in love with this color, and if it weren’t for the price, I’d be doing it in our upcoming lake build. I DO think it’s going to be a popular choice for trims, cabinets, walls and exteriors, maybe even taking over from Sherwin Williams High Reflective White (which has SW employees worldwide cheering for joy…long story).
In fact, if we can all swallow the price tag, I think White Snow could be the next big white.
2. Review of Sherwin Williams Cold Foam SW 9504
I haven’t been this excited about white since I popped open my last bottle of Riesling (which means I was excited
this morning last night).
LRV: Cold Foam has an LRV of 84, making it a soft white – not true or bright.
TYPE OF WHITE: Cold Foam is a warm white, but it’s a PASSIVE warmth.
UNDERTONES: Here’s the reason I love Cold Foam so much – it has no noticeable undertone, while still having a subtle warmth. This means it isn’t committing to an undertone, which is GREAT. This reduced commitment means it’s going to be more flexible than a white with say, committed yellow undertones, which could be more reactive with some colors.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH COLD FOAM?
I don’t see red flags with ANY colors, other than those with higher chromas (intensities), meaning they’re more colorful than the earth-toned family. Other than that, fill yer boots!
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO COLD FOAM?
Cold Foam is like an improved Greek Villa. If you love Greek Villa I’m not trying to cause a throw-down, I’m just saying it’s EVEN NICER than it. It has more warmth than Sherwin Williams Pure White and is VERY COMPARABLE to Sherwin Williams Alabaster.
In the above photo, you’re looking at Sherwin Williams Alabaster. Cold Foam is certainly along similar lines.
SUMMARY OF COLD FOAM
Cold Foam has some GREAT things going for it, in particular, its MUTED warmth. I think that if its LRV were approx. three points higher, it would be PERFECT and would take over from Sherwin Williams Pure White as my GO-TO white paint color.
3. Review of Sherwin Williams Cheviot SW 9503
I’m DAMN excited about Cheviot. Cheviot is Sherwin Williams newest warm white paint color and I can’t WAIT until one of my Online Paint Color Consulting clients tries it out!
LRV: With an LRV of 89, Cheviot fills a gap in Sherwin William’s white paint color family, which was lacking a good white with this LRV (the next best ones are 86 and 93). This higher LRV puts Cheviot CLOSER to the bright end of things, but not quite at the ‘true white’ range.
TYPE OF WHITE: Cheviot is a WARM white. Whereas Sherwin Williams Alabaster is a popular SOFT warm white, Cheviot has a HIGHER LRV, giving us a whiter look without losing the warmth some homes need.
Read more: The FIVE Types of White Paint Colors
UNDERTONES: Being a warm white, it needs either yellow, orange or red undertones. Cheviot has a yellow undertone with a gorgeous bit of neutral to calm it down, making it look deliciously subtle and creamy. While its yellow/cream undertone is a bit more obvious than the previous two colors, it’s still quite soft.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH CHEVIOT?
Cheviot is VERY flexible while being slightly partial to warm colors. Cheviot also works with cool colors, with the understanding that the warm undertone of Cheviot will interact with cool colors and they’ll bounce off each other a bit. This can be a very pretty combo, making Cheviot look that WINK more yellow and the cool color that bit stronger in comparison.
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO CHEVIOT?
Interestingly enough, there isn’t another Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore white that’s really even CLOSE. Cheviot is WHITER and WARMER than Pure White (shown below), and considerably softer/less true than High Reflective White. Again, it picks up a bit of what Alabaster throws down, but lighter and a touch cleaner.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE
SUMMARY OF SHERWIN WILLIAMS CHEVIOT
With its brighter warmth, I think Cheviot will have reasonable popularity whether you’re using warm or cool paint colors. This high LRV really sets it apart from the more muted warmth of Sherwin Williams Alabaster and Benjamin Moore Cloud White.
4. Review of Sherwin Williams Cotton SW 9581
Cotton’s like the love-child between Sherwin Williams Pure White (which is my all-time fave white) and Sherwin Williams Alabaster. Not too warm, definitely not cold, and a GREAT LRV for a home that can’t pull off a true or bright white. Let’s check it out!
LRV: Cotton has an LRV of 83, making it a lovely soft white.
TYPE OF WHITE: Cotton is a WARM white.
UNDERTONES: Cotton has a very muted cream undertone (toned-down yellow).
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH COTTON?
When it comes to Cotton, while it has some color preferences and can shrink in the wash, it’s MORE about its flexibility with PRODUCTS. Many homes (kitchens in particular) can’t handle true or bright whites due to their existing finishes. Cotton is a color that can bridge the gap between rooms that can’t handle a TRUE white, and homeowners who don’t want a white that’s too creamy/yellow.
As for color preferences in particular…
- Cotton loves warm colors that are muted and toned-down, nothing too rich, saturated or with a pink hue.
- Cotton loves MANY earth-tones, as long as they aren’t too cool or too colorful.
- Cotton even does okay with some of the stormier, muted grays, such as Sherwin Williams Silverplate and Tinsmith.
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO COTTON?
When you compare whites, it’s easier to see the shift between temperatures, undertones and depths. This is why you should take a peek at Sherwin Williams Alabaster to see how it compares to Cotton. I’d also hit up Sherwin Williams Cold Foam and Greek Villa.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS ALABASTER
My client’s waiting room
SUMMARY OF SHERWIN WILLIAMS COTTON
Cotton should be reasonably popular, up there with Sherwin Williams Greek Villa and Alabaster. Comparing the three (and they are sooooo similar) Cotton comes across just a TOUCH more grounded, which suits me as it relates to Greek Villa, as its undertones always make me nervous.
5. Review of Sherwin Williams White Sand and Natural White (SW 9582 & SW 9542)
White Sand and Natural White are intriguing and QUITE similar to each other, so it’s a two-for-one this time!
LRV: The LRV of White Sand is 84. The LRV of Natural White is 83. This makes them both SOFT whites, not bright or true whites.
UNDERTONES: Both Natural White and White Sand have AMAZING gray undertones which have been desperately needed in the soft white world.
Natural White is like a slightly less blue, more gray-violet tweak of Extra White. White Sand, on the other hand, is more muted, less cool with no COMMITTED cool undertone. In fact, it might seem just slightly warm in comparison. Lack of committed undertone can be a good thing, but remember, having such HIGH LRV’s, white paint colors are the most reflective and will pick up colors from their environment.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH WHITE SAND & NATURAL WHITE?
White Sand and Natural White will be much fussier than the previous whites…
- White Sand doesn’t love fresh cool colors, as they’re too clean for its more muted approach. At most, it likes an earth-toned blue or violet and preferably no green.
- White Sand’s favorite color partners are cool grays, the stormier the better!
- I can’t find a single warm color that White Sand loves.
- Natural White is friendlier with super cool colors, more so than White Sand. That’s because Natural White is a bit cleaner than White Sand.
- Natural white prefers non-greens and caters more to cool colors with blue-violet in them.
- Natural does NOT love warm colors…at all.
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WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO WHITE SAND & NATURAL WHITE?
COMPARE COMPARE COMPARE! Even if you bounce between brands, comparison is the BEST way to see what’s going on in the color you’re looking at. You’ll DEFINITELY want to compare White Sand and Natural White to each other and also check out Sherwin Williams Pure White…
SUMMARY OF SHERWIN WILLIAMS WHITE SAND AND NATURAL WHITE
While these two whites have reasonably high LRV’s, because of their undertones and limitations in color partners, I think they’re best used for:
- wall and trim applications, meaning the wall and trim are painted the same color as each other
- walls, when partnered with a true white trim color
- when trying to find a white that will work with a variety of wall colors (warm-cool) throughout your home, I would NOT choose either of these whites
The other OTHER whites
Sherwin Williams Emerald Designer Edition does have a few more whites. HOWEVER, if you’re painting trims and cabinets, these whites will be limiting. Why?
Well, when it comes to trim and cabinet colors, you need flexibility. You need whites that can humor a variety of finishes and paint colors and these whites don’t have much flexibility.
However, as it relates to WALL COLORS, you can relax. Wall colors are often used on a room-by-room basis, which means you don’t always need as much flexibility compared to a color that needs to humor a variety of rooms/paint colors/finishes (as is the case with trim colors and some cabinet colors).
6. Review of Sherwin Williams White Sail SW 9622
If you ask me, White Sail is Sherwin Williams answer to a NON-frigid icy blue-white. While White Sail is cool, it doesn’t have the crisp sharp edge that Extra White has. It’s also CLEANER AND COOLER than White Sand, with a bit more gray than Natural White.
LRV: White Sail has an LRV of 83. This makes it a VERY SOFT white, not quite an off-white, but nowhere near the bright or true range. However, cool whites like this can often LOOK a bit brighter, as their cold undertones come across cleaner in many lights, especially if you use certain light bulbs.
TYPE OF WHITE: White Sail is a cool white.
UNDERTONES: White Sail has a blue-violet undertone that’s very…very passive.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH WHITE SAIL?
If you’re considering White Sail, you’ll DEFINITELY want to be in the cool end of things – NO warm colors. As for cool colors, you should lean to the slightly cleaner, intense end of things vs. cool colors that are overly earth-toned.
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO WHITE SAIL?
Comparison is key! Grab paint chips of each of these whites if you want to see where White Sail sits in comparison and notice any change in undertones.
These three whites have similar LRV’s and intentions to White Sail, making them great options/comparisons if you’re considering White Sail.
BENJAMIN MOORE DECORATORS WHITE (walls)
7. Review of Sherwin Williams Frost Bite SW 9505
I see a LOT of potential in Frost Bite…but I also see a lot of undertones that will need to be accommodated.
LRV: Frost Bite has an LRV of 88, putting it closer to being a BRIGHT white than a soft one.
TYPE OF WHITE: There’s NO foolin’ around with this one – this is a WARM WHITE!
UNDERTONES: Frost Bite is anything but frostbitten with its yellow undertone.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH FROST BITE?
With having a higher LRV, Frost Bite will be more flexible than it would’ve been with a lower LRV. However, with its strong undertone, Frost Bite caters HARD to reasonably saturated warm paint colors. It actually reminds me a lot of the limitations associated with Sherwin Williams Dover White and the lighter Whitetail. That’s not to say Frost Bite won’t WORK with cool colors, however, you can expect the warmth of it to be ENHANCED by cool colors, and in turn, its warmth will enhance any cool color or undertone.
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO FROST BITE?
Comparison is the key to success when picking white paint colors, so take some time to check out Benjamin Moore Simply White, as shown on the trim, door and ceiling below…
SUMMARY OF FROST BITE
My worry is that while Frost Bite will definitely have its place and is a stinkin’ gorgeous color, it could be the ‘Dover White’ of the early 2020s. In other words, a color that’s hard to work with when you want to make changes to your home in the future, as its undertones will be limiting.
8. Review of Sherwin Williams Snowbelt SW 9623
Snowbelt’s undertone is considerably stronger than that of Extra White and White Sail…combined. It is one COOOOL cucumber.
LRV: Snowbelt has an LRV of 87. While I appreciate this slightly higher LRV, its cool undertone is a force to be reckoned with!
TYPE OF WHITE: Snowbelt is definitely cool and crisp.
UNDERTONES: With its noticeable blue undertone, Snowbelt is not for the faint of heart and for THIS reason, I would never choose it as a whole home trim/cabinet/ceiling/door application.
WHAT PAINT COLORS WILL LOOK GOOD WITH SNOWBELT?
With its strong undertone, Snowbelt will best suit cool colors that are no more than MODERATELY toned-down. For example, Sherwin Williams Tinsmith loves a cool white, but it’s too gray/muted for the clean look of Snowbelt. Sherwin Williams Tradewind, with its increased chroma, is more what Snowbelt is looking for in a partner.
Snowbelt also wants a committed blue undertone – no violet and only a SMIDGE of green can be mixed in.
WHAT BENJAMIN MOORE OR SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLOR IS SIMILAR TO SNOWBELT?
Sherwin Williams Extra White is a great comparable for Snowbelt.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS EXTRA WHITE (trim)
SUMMARY OF SNOWBELT
With the slightly higher chroma (color) of Snowbelt, I think it will be limited as to its use and I don’t see it being a huge hit. With the amount of undertone I see, Snowbelt might be more popular for:
- walls and trims when you want them to be the same color (even then, watch out for that blue!)
- walls with a true white trim
Looking for the best gray to partner with one of the above whites? I’ve also done reviews on some of Sherwin William’s NEWEST gray paint colors from the Designer Edition line of paints, including…
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