One of the BEST Cream Paint Colors – Gentle Cream (also known as Barely Beige)
I’ve been having a love affair with Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream for a long time. He was my faithful partner in our last two homes (one was a fixer-upper and we had no money and the other one had better bones, but I still changed everything anyway.
This means that I’m WELL-versed on everything Gentle Cream, as I’ve had first-hand experience with it in many different rooms with MANY different exposures!
And if you’ve been looking at Gentle Cream and Barely Beige and wondering why they looked so darned similar, it’s because they’re the same color. I have nooooo idea why they have the same color with two different names #thanksforconfusingeveryone.
In a world where gray and greige call the shots, I’m always pleased when one of my E-Design client’s request ‘cream’. Cream is classic. And while it may ebb and flow in popularity, it never seems to completely go out of style (and warm colors are coming back!).
Kylie M Interiors E-Design
Now, I DO find it funny when my clients request ‘cream’, but specifically say they ‘don’t like yellow or yellow undertones’. (Insert awkward silence here…) Cream IS yellow – yellow with a neutral added to calm it down. You can’t MAKE cream without yellow, they are as intrinsically tied together as myself and wine – you can’t find one without the other (and yes, that was a big word for me and I had to spell check it).
However, I’ve found that the key to getting the right cream lies in HOW MUCH YELLOW you can actually see – which is why Gentle Cream is SUCH a fabulous choice. In the words of the late GREAT Goldilocks – it’s juuuust right.
What type of paint color is Gentle Cream (Barely Beige)?
Gentle Cream is what I call a ‘heavy cream’. It’s not soft, light and fresh like many of the popular cream paint colors – it has a bit more meat on its bones.
BTW, from now on I’m just calling it Gentle Cream so we can BOTH keep our sanity.
What’s the LRV of Gentle Cream?
Gentle Cream has an LRV of 71. And while 71 is relatively light, it’s one of the reasons why I call Gentle Cream a heavy cream. Not sure what LRV is? I highly recommend you read THIS, it might just save your paint pickin’ life.
A lot of cream paint colors sit in the off-white range, with LRV’s up in the ’80s. Gentle Cream is the kind of cream you put in your coffee when you’re on your period, bloated and needing something rich and yummy. It’s not a wimpy cream, nor a fresh cream. It’s a cream that warms and softens a room at the same time. A cream that calls you in for a visit and maybe even a good time.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to LRV and Paint Color
When a paint color has an LRV similar to Gentle Cream (71), you can expect it to wash-out when hit with a lot of natural light. However, its natural tendency is to settle down as it does on the hallway (on the left side of the above photo).
If you like ‘light and fresh’ creams, Gentle Cream might not be the color for you
Gentle Cream is a dense, heavy cream – whereas typical cream paint colors are often considerably lighter and fresher looking.
Click HERE or on the above image to see available color consulting packages
What are the undertones of Gentle Cream?
This is where we separate the cream lovers from the yellow haters. If you absolutely positively hate yellow, then you just might find Gentle Cream too yellow for you. Not by much, but by a little bit. You might prefer a color like Benjamin Moore Ballet White, which is considerably more muted.
Read more: Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore Ballet White
In order for a color to be warm (like cream is) it needs to have yellow, orange or red in it. Gentle Cream has a nice mix of yellow and orange undertones (leaning more yellow than orange) with an earthy-beige base, which is what stops it from being an intense, bright color. I find the orange/beige is what stops this color from being obnoxiously yellow, balancing it a bit.
Kylie M Interiors E-design
The above two photos show how Gentle Cream has a neutral, calming base that cuts back on the warm undertones. If Gentle Cream were any darker, it would be bordering on a more golden beige.
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…
- Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
- At $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needing for traditional paint sampling
- If you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE
In north and south-facing rooms
South-facing light is a warm, yellow light which can enhance warm colors – EXCEPT at the height of the day, where the sun can actually wash things out. Generally though, south-facing light will enhance the warmth of Gentle Cream, but nothing over-the-top, as long as you’re COOL with a warm color! This warm light is similar to west-facing afternoon light.
The photo above shows a south-facing room with Gentle Cream. Notice how the yellow rises up but isn’t day-glo.
See how pretty Gentle Cream can be with cooler gray tones and natural woods? An awesome balance.
North-facing light is a cool, slightly gray-blue light which can help to tone down Gentle Cream slightly, while still leaving some of the original warmth. North-facing light is similar to east-facing afternoon light.
See how Gentle Cream just looks a bit more soft and subtle in a north-facing light? It’s pretty cool (or infuriating, depending on who you ask) how colors can change on a wall-to-wall basis!
Read more: North, East, South, West – Which Paint Color is the Best?
In a dark room or at night
You know, Gentle Cream does alright in a dark room. While it naturally deepens, it reacts really well to interior lighting (because if you have a dark room, you probably have more lights on). Just remember, the warm undertones will come out more – not less. If you have a particularly dark room, you may want to read this.
A few more things about Gentle Cream
- In the evening, like most colors, you will notice the warmth come UP in Gentle Cream. This is because most interior bulbs are slightly warmer (unless you have cold bulbs – which are sad and sterile-looking – just sayin’)
- Gentle Cream loves wood tones such as oak and maple!
Not sure if Gentle Cream is right for you? Want more color, more neutral? I’ve got more of it all!
BENJAMIN MOORE LINEN WHITE
Read more: Quick Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore Linen White
SHERWIN WILLIAMS CREAMY
Read more: Paint Color Review of Sherwin Williams Creamy
THE BEST CREAM PAINT COLORS
Read more: The 5 Best Cream Paint Colors from Benjamin Moore
Check out my Online Color Consulting
The Best WHOLE HOME Warm Neutral Paint Colors
Paint Color Review: Sherwin Williams Creamy
Originally written in 2017, awesomely updated in 2019
First, I want to thank you Kylie for the work you do and this blog! It is interesting AND informative. Many other color blogs I’ve looked at seem to just comment with pictures or tell you what can go wrong in an attempt to scare you into buying their services. I’ve actually learned from following your blog, and hope to hire you for a project someday!
I’m glad to see this updated post about Gentle Cream – it is one of the main colors in my home and I like it. I know grey floors and walls are so popular right now, and I admire them in other people’s home, but they’re not for me. Living in the Pacific NW with so many days with grey skies – I don’t want to look at grey on the walls as well. So it’s nice to see attention given on your blog to warm colors, which I love. In my home, certain rooms and times of day bring out that slight yellow undertone in Gentle Cream that you mentioned, and it is a color that makes me feel happy and calm. In north-facing rooms it looks a bit peach to me, which I’m not fond of, but overall it is a good color for me.
BTW, 4 of the 6 paint colors in my home I think I’ve seen on your site, and they are all winners! Thanks again.
Hi Kylie! I don’t know how I missed this post when it originally came out. I love all your in-depth analysis of various paint colors. I LOVE the last photo—the gentle cream sets off the wood tones so beautifully!!! May I ask what shade of white is the paint color is on the trim? —it looks so soft, yet crisp and contrasting, with it.
I just realized that my maple kitchen cabinets are about the color of those doors (maple!) Maybe I should consider painting the walls gentle cream. We are going to be selling our home; do you think this is a good staging color, or is it too warm for mass appeal to the younger (than me anyway, ha, ha!) buyers (your generation!) these days? Thanks.
I enjoy your information..I have been using your advice on paint colors (I only use BEN Moore)..we lost our home in the Houston Harvey flood and have been living in a hotel while a mid-rise condo we bought is being TOTALLY renovated…they just put the cabinets in after 5mos of waiting…I am the ONE doing the design and I am NOT a designer…the hardest part has been picking a paint color for living/dining /kitchen area which is altogether and will be the same color as well as the entryway and my husband’s office ..all the same color…so after buying about $250 worth of paint samples…I think I am going with GENTLE CREAM…..my style is French Country ..my couch is off white.one chair is blue (chair we saved from flood)..one chair is being re-covered in a print that has the blue/red/green/yellow ..ETHAN ALLEN peacock print.. (also, red dining chairs saved in flood)….the print pulls the perfect blue/red from the couple of items we carried upstairs (right before water came in)..and one chair is soft creamy yellow..ALSO, Mary, at Ethan allen chose a print (cream/red) for our dining drapes (10ft ceilings)….ALSO…this whole area is a SOUTH facing (one big) room…so because you said GENTLE CREAM is good for south facing…and I do want a WHISPER of yellow …and you said gentle cream does what you tell it to do..that’s why I was thinking of GENTLE CREAM…we have bought primer and put on wall under the sample of gentle cream to see a truer version of how it will look and we put some in each room…my question is…Will the gentle cream look more khaki or will it have the whisper of yellow I want for the French country look? We have a contractor (long time friend of husband’s) he normally only does million dollar homes but is doing ours because of our situation…however, with the paint job alone running $11,000 I want to make darn sure I choose the RIGHT color …as Should I do eggshell or flat? We have NO children and NO pets and I AM clean freak..we went thru 3 contractors that ripped us off…so whatever he charges AT LEAST HE IS GETTING THE JOB DONE CORRECTLY! I appreciate your time Kylie! I am hoping Gentle Cream will work ..I am using White Dove throughout because you also said “it does what you want”…I am truly going on your advice..????..
Hi Trish, good for you for taking charge of things and doing some research! Now without seeing photos, I’m going to say that Gentle Cream should be less khaki, more French Country. Benjamin Moore Navajo White is a nice one too, a touch fresher. As for finish, I lean more toward eggshell if you’re super clean freak as it just is more washable/wipeable. There are some higher-end matte finishes that can be ‘okay’, but I dn’t know, I trust eggshell. I know BM has a new one that is supposed to be PRACTICALLY bullet-proof – and washable…I just can’t remember the name off the top of my head…
Kylie, you rock. I’ve been following you for the past 4 years. Unfortunately, after thousands of dollars spent i am actually paying attention. In our northwest facing kitchen we are finally going to go with gentle cream. We live in a southcoast/cape town in Massachusetts. We love the ocean and the country. We still like the relaxed vibe of boho. It is hard to settle when you are eclectic. We will keep our setting plaster accent wall in the Kichen. What color tri m goes with gentle Cream? Would you paint knotty pine bead board? (Bottom 4 Feet Of walls) I know so many are doing it. Nervous about the Swinging Back. is Is Expensive.
Correction real bead board is pricey, which we have. My inlaws don’t think it would be wise to paint them.
Hi Shirley! So knotty pine beadboard isn’t so expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s LOVELY, but it’s definitely one of the more affordable wood options – I wouldn’t be adverse to painting it at all! I do find that my clients who are 60+ are often a bit more adverse to painting wood as ‘it’s wood’, but I always go back to my favourite saying ‘just because it’s wood, doesn’t mean it’s good!’. And yours MIGHT be good, but if you want a change, I say do it! Generally speaking with walls like that, most people go to a white/off-white, with the thought that it would tie into trimwork that is painted a white/off-white. I think Gentle Cream would be too heavy looking. The key with knotty pine is that you have to seal those knots with a shellac/finish that is designed for knots, otherwise they WILL bleed through the paint, even if you just use regular primer! I believe Zinsser (H.Depot) has a great product.
So long story short, painting it will freshen it up and it will still look fab. Will it ever be able to go back to knotty pine? NO, not without a lot of work (so never), but that wouldn’t sway me as generally, I think knotty pine looks better painted 🙂
I hope that helps!
Hey again Shirley! Check out BM Cloud White, that would be a warm, but not ‘stark’ white look 🙂 Check out your other comment that I replied to as well…
Hi Kylie! Trish here (in Houston) I was so excited when I got home today and saw your response…my husband had spent all day putting primer on the walls trying more colors…so when I began reading your “gentle cream” site to him and saw you responded..YEAH????..thank you…this room is not only “south” but it is the “south” facing type (you specified on another one of your sites) that is EXTREMELY hot in Houston weather….so, not being able to use a gray (to cool it down) AND wanting the French country look…Gentle Cream we are hoping will balance and calm the room…do you think Gentle Cream can calm and balance the heat? Also, my husband said he would go buy Navajo White tomorrow but we are hoping it won’t be too yellow….plus, we like depth of color on the wall to make crown molding pop.. I want a whisper of yellow (yellow has never been my favorite color but it has the French country look unlike gray does)…also, gray owl is our choice for our two bathrooms…but they are dark (no windows) but we love that color..,..thank you Kylie you have no idea what a BIG help you are…and we are RELYING on it as to NOT make a mistake..I would rather be safe with Gentle Cream than sorry with some wrong color we picked with too much yellow…thank you SOOO MUCH!!
Hello Kylie…..it’s me again, Trish..we are trying more BM colors today…the Gentle Cream is coming off perfect on one wall but Khaki on the largest wall and I don’t want khaki so we are back to drawing board…I really want CREAM without screaming yellow because area I am covering is SO large I am REALLY having a difficult time finding a cream with depth so I am changing gears towards a SOFT CREAM (no tans or grays) so today (after us researching net till 1am) Jim is going to get BM FEATHERBED AND MAYONNAISE…he and I are both so stressed about this color…can you think of a BM color that is great for HOT south facing large room that says “French country” with cream (I like cream for my backdrop) …it can be soft but pronounced to show off crown molding…ANY IDEAS ON ANOTHER COLOR..also, I will be keeping black out curtains closed during daytime in Houston heat..(10 ft ceilings)….again..colors in furniture are cream couch..blue wingback chair…peacock material (blue, red, yellow, green) and dining drapes are autumn red and cream French print…I am using a blue/gray backsplash in kitchen next to drapes…thank you Kylie…you are my ONLY go to…and I trust your opinion after reading all your sites many times..????????
Hi Trish! Have you looked at BM Navajo White or Mannequin Cream? Really, I’m totally just guessing for your room in particular, as ideally I’d see photos of your home to see the light coming in, furnishings, etc… if those don’t work, maybe it’s time for my E-design? I do try to give as much complimentary info on my blog posts, but if that doesn’t work – you might need me to take a closer look and then you can stop pulling your hair out! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/online-decorating-design-services/
Thank you Kylie…It is Trish…I don’t have pics of furniture they are being upholstered at the moment and the place is still totally gutted..yes, we tried manniquin cream (too yellow) however, good news, we found our color! We are going with BM Linen White …not the depth I originally had in mind, but just the whisper of yellow I wanted…it looks more creamy than yellow…..now to find the white trim…I think either BM white cloud…or BM cotton balls though cotton balls might have too much yellow..thank you Kylie for your kind responses….we NEVER wanted to move from our beautiful townhouse in the wooded area of Houston..but hurricane Harvey made us…take care.
Well we decided to use Gentle cream as our main “throughout the house color” . Thank you for this post. We are in a home that was painted all ONE COLOR..WALLS AND CEILINGS ..lol. Do you have any recommendations on a white ceiling and trim paint that would pair well with this???
Finding your website was a blessing!! THank you sooo much.
I commented on your post about Cyberspace for my son’s room a few days ago. He really wants black, so I’m going with an accent wall. I’m pretty sure Gentle Cream will be the main color—he wants white, but I just don’t like white walls—especially in a kids room. What is the black in the next to last photo? That looks like it would be perfect, and I love the way it looks in that photo!
I’ve been reading your posts for the last 6 months as if I’m studying for the bar. You have given me so much insight, direction, and confirmation of some paint choices I had picked out. GENTLE CREAM! We just painted our 80s brown orange tv room to this color and it is fabulous! Our Georgian home doesn’t get much direct light, and I was,working with south west light and rich honey oak trim and doors. It has a clean yet warm feel, brings out positive tones in the wood and is the hands,down perfect cream I was in search for, a refreshing break from grays and grieves. LOVE it!????
Oh Emily, I’ve just been sitting down for HOURS replying to comments (questions really) and what a JOY to see your email with such positive feedback – THANK YOU! And you know, I would LOOOOVE to see photos (if you’re so inclined). If not, it’s all good 🙂 [email protected]
Thank you for making my night!
I love the gentle cream colored nursery!!! Absolutely beautiful, very peaceful looking. I LOVE the gold dots too – can you tell me where did you get them, or where can I buy them? Thank you!!!
I am wondering why you switched to Sherwin Williams Creamy and still have BM Gentle Cream as one of the best? Why did you transition your home and docyiu have a review or recommendation for Creamy??? Thanks! Victoria
Hi Victoria, I DO love my Gentle Cream, it has its place in many homes! I switched to Creamy as I wanted to keep the soft warmth, but get a bit more of a fresh feeling out of it! And yes, I do have a review for Creamy – here you go! https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/colour-review-sherwin-williams-creamy-sw-7012/
What gray paint color do you think goes best with Gentle Cream?
Hi Carmen, I’ve always loved Revere Pewter with Gentle Cream 🙂
We chose BM Gentle Cream as the “all over” color for our home. BM Chantilly Lace was suggested for our trim color. We are remodeling our kitchen and looking at white cabinets. Can you speak into the trim color and possibly recommend counter top colors that would work for us? Our floors are Pergo Haley Oak (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pergo-XP-Haley-Oak-8-mm-T-x-7-48-in-W-x-47-24-in-L-Laminate-Flooring-19-63-sq-ft-case-LF000772/205661732).
Thank you so much!
Hi Sarah! Chantilly Lace is okay, but I just might do a warmer colour instead, along the lines of BM Cloud White or White Dove as Gentle Cream IS so warm and pretty, whereas Chantilly comes up more clean and crisp looking. As for countertops, I try to stick with paint colours, to keep my sanity when it comes to questions 😉
Hi Kylie. Have you ever tried to lighten Gentle Cream by 25%? If so, how did it look? Thanks!
Hi Jessica, I haven’t, but the idea of it makes me happy!
After a long search for a creamy neutral for my north facing LR and hallway you’ve help me decide to go with BM gentle cream. It’s really going to transform the current dungeon I have now. I’m wondering if you think BM Powell Buff would look good with the Gentle Cream for the entry way and stairwell area next to the LR and on the North side also? Or would BM Desert Tan look okay with the Gentle Cream? I’ve been looking at that one too walk into something a bit brighter.
Thank you so much for your help.