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.
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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.
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!
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
SHERWIN WILLIAMS CREAMY
THE BEST CREAM PAINT COLORS
Check out my Online Color Consulting
Originally written in 2017, awesomely updated in 2019