Sherwin Williams Antique White: a pretty darn popular cream paint color
When it comes to cream paint colors, there are few as troublesome as Sherwin Williams Antique White. The thing is, as a wall COLOR, it’s beautiful, but too often it’s used on kitchen cabinets or trim work and THAT’S where the trouble begins.
This is why today, we’re taking a close look at Antique White, focusing on two scenarios…
- You want it on your walls – COOL BEANS! It’s a beautiful option
- You have it on your trim and cabinets and can’t figure out which paint colors will go with it – oooooh, we’re going to have a good chat today
BTW, most of my color reviews are NOT this intensive, but Antique White is a tricky lil’ bugger.
In order to show you RELATEABLE & REAL homes, I ONLY use photos from my Online Color Consulting clients. This means I don’t always have the quality or RANGE of pics I need, but DEFINITELY have some SUPER helpful info to help you on your way!
IS ANTIQUE WHITE A WARM WHITE PAINT COLOR?
No, Antique White isn’t a white paint color, it’s a CREAM paint color. However, cream is never just cream, it’s actually a shade of YELLOW with a neutral base added to calm it down. Along with this neutral base, it can pick up undertones of orange, red (pink), or even a wink of green – we’ll see which ones Antique White has shortly.
If you have a north-facing room, Antique White could be an awesome way to balance some of that cool natural light (works well for east-facing rooms as well). If your room is south-facing or has afternoon western sunshine, Antique White will lean even more into its warmth, without looking overly day-glo.
WHAT’S ANTIQUE WHITE’S LRV?
Antique Cream has an LRV of 72, which can be a GORGEOUS depth for your walls if you’re wanting a cream with a bit more body compared to some of the other popular cream paint colors. However, it’s not so deep that it’ll look heavy or dated.
ANTIQUE WHITE ON CABINETS & TRIM VS LRV
On the other hand, Antique White’s LRV is ONE of the reasons why it isn’t an IDEAL trim or cabinet color. The ‘average’ LRV for trim and cabinet paint is 82-94. With an LRV of 72, you’re looking at a color that’s far away from white and teeters on the ‘light’ range. Antique White definitely has a bit more meat on its bones compared to more traditional white or off-white paint colors, and its ‘lower than usual’ LRV is tricky for a few reasons…
1. As a cabinet or trim color, it prefers colors that are at least one to two tones darker than it, which is often darker than people want to go when they’re painting more than one room or wanting to update their cream cabinets or trim with a more modern wall color.
Antique White cabinets (or trim) don’t want to be partnered with colors that are the same depth or lighter than it.
2. Antique White’s depth makes it look richer and warmer than the usual trim/cabinet colors, making it more LIMITED for the type of paint colors it wants right beside it (especially as it relates to colors that are cooler than it), which we’ll get into shortly.
This next photo shows Antique White on the kitchen island as well as the trim work. While it connects reasonably well with the stone fireplace, it’s creamier in comparison to the undertones in the travertine tile floor (travertine generally has orange-pink undertones). I mean, the combo is DOABLE, but it’s a bit strong.
In the above example, my E-Design client was actually looking for a new WALL color and didn’t want to change the trim (which makes sense when it runs through an entire home). I gave her some new wall color options as well as some suggestions for JUST the kitchen island, to at least cut back the AMOUNT of Antique White in this space.
Not sure what LRV is? It could save your paint-lovin’ life – read all about it HERE.
WHAT ARE ANTIQUE WHITE’S UNDERTONES?
Antique White is a cream paint color that centers on a yellow undertone/base color. Some creams can tip slightly yellow-orange or yellow-green. Antique White is just SLIGHTLY inclined towards orange-yellow, but not by much.
In this next photo, you can see the strength of Antique White on these painted cabinets. My clients hired me to find a new cabinet color as the Antique White cabinets were clashing with the undertones in their travertine tile backsplash (again, travertine caters to orange-pink, not yellow).
WILL ANTIQUE WHITE LOOK YELLOW OR CREAM?
It depends on your perception. Antique White will definitely look yellow-ISH, but whether you personally find it too strong or not, is up to you. As an Online Color Consultant, the increased yellow in Antique White makes it challenging as a trim or cabinet color.
Some cream paint colors have a stronger neutral base. The more neutral a color is, the more flexible it’s going to be, and Antique White has a wink more color than I’d like.
Here’s another beautiful kitchen with cabinets painted Antique White. Overall, they read as cream, but there are those who will see that flash of yellow, especially if you compare the cabinets to the travertine tile backsplash…
HOW DO YOU TONE DOWN THE YELLOW OF ANTIQUE WHITE/CREAM CABINETS?
If you want to tone down the yellow of your Antique White trim or cabinets, you can apply a darker muted brown or gray glaze, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have a ton more flexibility. The glazed look is also very 2000s. If you LOVE the look and don’t plan on selling, I say GIVE ‘ER! However, if resale is a consideration, I would reconsider glaze.
Remember, your cabinets HAVE a yellow undertone – you can’t make them something they’re not, it’s just a matter of not enhancing them to look even MORE yellow.
Things are even trickier when you have cream cabinets with white trim!
SHOULD I SAMPLE ANTIQUE WHITE WITH PEEL AND STICK?
I highly recommend using SAMPLIZE. Samplize is a peel & stick paint sample that you can easily move around your room for over HALF THE COST of traditional sample pots – and they deliver right to your front door!
Learn all about Samplize HERE
WHAT’S THE BEST WHITE TRIM COLOR WITH ANTIQUE WHITE?
With the degree of warmth in Antique White, it’s best to partner it with a white with a decent amount of warmth, rather than a clean or cold white paint color.
BTW, Alabaster is a more versatile white should you want to change your wall colors in the future – Dover White is more limiting.
IS ANTIQUE WHITE A GOOD EXTERIOR PAINT COLOR?
If you’re looking for a cream paint color for your exterior that has a REASONABLE amount of yellow in it, while still being ‘neutral-ish’, Antique White could be a GORGEOUS choice.
WHAT PAINT COLORS ARE SIMILAR TO ANTIQUE WHITE?
GOOD QUESTION! While every paint color will have its own LRV and undertones, here are some colors to sample alongside Antique White…
- Benjamin Moore Navajo White is similar but softer
- Benjamin Moore Indian White is a bit cleaner/more orange undertone
- Sherwin Williams Muslin (a bit less orange)
Benjamin Moore Navajo White
WHAT PAINT COLORS GO WITH ANTIQUE WHITE OR CREAM CABINETS?
Before deciding what color you want on your walls, you need to decide what LOOK you’re going for. Because as discussed earlier, Antique White is a picky lil fella…
Warm paint colors will help to soften the approach of Antique White as they will blend a bit more. Warm colors include cream, beige and brown.
Antique White on the left
Cool paint colors will ‘accent’ Antique White and can enhance the warmth/yellow of it, making it appear a bit stronger. Cool colors include gray (with any of its undertones), blue, green, and purple. This also includes greige, although it’s considered a warm paint color.
Another helpful bit of advice is to look for colors with an LRV of approximately 50 or LOWER. There are very few lighter colors that will work (other than a beige/cream with the same undertones as Antique White).
Need to brush up on LRV? Read THIS
So, with this info tucked in your back pocket, check out some of the color ranges below, understanding that not EVERY color in these families will work, it’s just a place to start!
- Beige paint colors that are approx. ONE+ tones darker than Antique White with similar undertones, you can also add a touch of green in there with some of the darker beiges
- Warm green paint colors that are approx. ONE+ tones darker than Antique White (with a neutral base to calm the green down)
- Blue-green blends
- Grays with blue-green undertones that are approx ONE+ tones darker than Antique White
PERSONALLY, I would ONLY consider the beige range as cooler tones react too much with Antique White, making it TOO strong – but it’s not all about me (not ALL the time anyway…)
WHAT COLORS LOOK GOOD OR GO WITH ANTIQUE WHITE (in general)?
With the more GOLDEN approach of Antique White and its lower-than-average LRV (as it relates to trim/cabinets), Antique White is a BIT finicky with its color partners.
- warm grays with a green undertone that darker than Antique White
- greiges with noticeable green undertones that are DARKER than Antique White
- some stormy blue-green-gray blends that are DARKER than Antique White
- warm whites with yellow undertones
- darker shades of blue and green
WHAT PAINT COLORS GO WITH ANTIQUE WHITE (for adjoining rooms)?
While Antique White might be limiting as a cabinet or trim color, it’s a FABULOUS partner to many colors if you’re creating a palette for your home…
Blobs are ONLY approximating the color families suggested below
Notice it’s the DEPTH of these colors that make them work better with Antique White.
- Earth-toned blue-green or green-gray-greige blends (a color with a neutral base added to calm it down) with an LRV of approx. 55 or lower
- Cream paint colors that are lighter than Antique White but have similar undertones
- Gray paint colors with any of the three undertones with LRVs approx. 55 or lower
- Beige paint colors that are approx. TWO+ tones darker with a similar undertone profile
COLORS TO AVOID WITH ANTIQUE WHITE TRIM OR CABINETS
Blobs are ONLY approximating the color families suggested below
Notice how the above colors either look DINGY with Antique White or make Antique White look even MORE YELLOW in comparison. In fact, many are just lighter versions of the previous colors.
Some of the colors I would avoid are…
- any color that is lighter, the same depth, or even one tone darker than Antique White – you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything 60+ LRV that works unless it’s a beige-cream
- cool blue colors with minimal to no green or gray in thempPurple-inspired paint colors
- beige paint colors that have a taupe backdrop (pink or grayish cast)
- ANYTHING white
Not sure if Antique White is what you’re looking for? I’ve got more!
Not sure what to do?
Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting – I’d love to help!
WRITTEN IN 2020 – UPDATED IN 2022