WHICH PAINT COLOURS GO WITH CREAM (off-white) CABINETS & TRIM?
Are you FRUSTRATED with your cream cabinets or OVERLY warm white trim? Can’t seem to find a modern paint colour that looks good with them? You aren’t the only one. In fact, this is a topic I deal with DAILY in my Online Paint Colour Consulting and it’s ALWAYS the same story – cream cabinets, beige walls and a deep desire for something FRESHER.
However, as the Rolling Stones always say, ‘you can’t always get what you waaaaant, especially if you have off-white or cream cabinets and trim’ (I might’ve added that last part). This is just ONE reason why I don’t recommend that ANYONE hop on the current trend of painting their cabinets some form of light greige, beige or cream as I guarantee that in ten years, you’ll wish you’d chosen white (and will be whispering sweet nothings in my ear).
Sherwin Williams Dover White with glaze (which lowers the LRV)
But, before we get into the best paint colours for your walls, let’s have a little chat…actually, let’s make it a big one.
Why do we need to TALK before we get into the good stuff? Does all of this seem like an awful LOT for one darn paint colour?
I’m going to ask you a question…how has your search gone so far? Chances are you’ve been TRYING colours and they aren’t working. This blog post is telling you WHY and teaching you HOW, so you can move forward with CONFIDENCE and stop struggling to find a colour that doesn’t exist.
And if all else fails, there’s wine.
THE REASON WHY CREAM CABINETS ARE AWESOME
THEY WORK WITH EXISTING FINISHES
Based on existing finishes, especially in homes from the early 2000s, some kitchens don’t suit white cabinets and better suit a wood stain or a non-white paint colour. In these situations, a warm off-white or cream can come in darn handy, often saving the DAY. I’ve fallen in love with MANY cream kitchens when they’re done well.
And that’s it. Seriously, I would love to give you more reasons why cream cabinets are awesome, but for the majority of people, cream cabinets are a HUGE PITA (I’ll let you figure that one out).
Sherwin Williams Antique White with glaze
When updating the paint colour on the WALLS in a home with cream cabinets or trim without updating anything else, it’s easy to forget that the surrounding surfaces are often coordinated to the cream cabinets.
This is an important detail because it’s not just your CREAM CABINETS OR TRIMS that will be fussy about their wall colour partners, it’s their COORDINATED surrounding finishes as well. Some finishes aren’t so easy to transition into a more modern, more updated look, meaning your cabinets might be the LEAST of your concerns.
Sometimes there isn’t ONE MAGICAL paint colour that makes your cabinets, finishes and YOU 100% happy, in which case a ‘happy medium’ often comes in handy.
Let’s get this party started by getting a few questions over with as I KNOW they’re on the tip of your tongue!
CAN I PAINT MY WALLS WHITE OR OFF-WHITE IF I HAVE CREAM CABINETS OR TRIM?
Hard no. You can stop looking, you can stop agonizing – that magical colour doesn’t exist (insert wine here). It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at a warm white or a true white, there’s NO white that will work, no exceptions (sorry).
- If you partner your cream cabinets (or trim) with a white your cabinets will look MORE YELLOW in comparison. If this is okay with you, fill yer boots, but this look isn’t usually what my clients are going for.
- If you partner your cream cabinets with an off-white paint colour that isn’t actually THE SAME PAINT COLOUR as your cabinets, you risk some seriously clashing undertones – the two colours will be fighting for the same slot.
Take a look at this next photo. You’ll see a range of warm off-white neutrals partnered with very creamy cabinets. Notice how much richer and more yellow the cabinets look in comparison to these warm off-whites…
Don’t worry, the above samples weren’t intended to be ‘coordinating wall colours’ – they were for a different project, I’m grateful as they came in handy for this blog post as a great example of what DOESN’T work!
Now let’s try to partner cream cabinets with a warm white or two…
While it never hurts to TRY, notice how much more yellow the cabinets look IN COMPARISON to a warm white – examples like these are important to see! It’s one thing to have cream walls and white trim, it’s a WHOLE ‘nother thing to turn that around. With this client, we were TRYING to humour a warm white, but it was a hard no.
And here’s Sherwin Williams Creamy, a warm off-white on Antique White again…
LOOK AT HOW GOLDEN YELLOW THOSE CABINETS LOOK IN COMPARISON! I mean, sometimes you just don’t know until you TRY, but once you’ve tried and it doesn’t work, it’s time to move on (I tell this to Tim every Friday night).
Remember, just because you don’t want to hear it, doesn’t mean it’s not true (said with love, wink wink).
1. If you’re among the lucky few who have cream cabinets that are on the HIGH of the off-white range (ie. LRV of 80/81) you’ll have more room to move AS LONG as your cream doesn’t have a dominant yellow hue (ie. Sherwin Williams Creamy is good). By the time cream gets this light, it’s slightly more likely to act like a soft warm white than an off-white.
2. If you have cream cabinets or trim and are dead-set on having off-white walls…
I suggest painting your walls and cabinets the same colour, there simply isn’t another choice in the off-white range.
That’s right, keep things simple and seamless; let the shift in sheens do the work for you. If there were a BETTER CHOICE – I’d tell you, I promise.
HOW DO I MAKE MY CREAM CABINETS OR TRIM LOOK LESS YELLOW?
When it comes to cream cabinets, it’s not about making them look less yellow – they ARE a yellow hue paint colour. And if this is your concern, it’s more about not making them look MORE yellow.
It’s hard to turn cream into something it’s not – and it’s not white. Of course, you have a WAY better chance of a muted look if your cream colour has a high LRV (which we’ll learn about shortly). However, short of that, you HAVE cream-yellow trim.
1. DON’T USE AN OFF-WHITE
An off-white or light depth paint colour that’s the same depth or lighter than your cream cabinets will make your cabinets or trim LOOK MORE YELLOW…
2. AVOID COOL COLOURS
Walls painted in a cool paint colour (ie. gray or blue-green) will make your cream cabinets or trim LOOK MORE YELLOW in comparison…
Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray – BEAUTIFUL combo, but that yellow sure lights up!
3. PAINT YOUR WALLS THE SAME CREAM COLOUR AS YOUR CABINETS OR TRIM
This is a tricky one, as the flow to adjoining rooms with WHITE trim can be tricky, but sometimes you can’t hit EVERY need with one colour. When it comes to paint colours and design in general, you have to do what suits the room itself first, and then work out from there.
Sometimes soft and simple is best – Benjamin Moore Navajo White
In this next example, my clients have Sherwin Williams Antique White cabinets…with a glaze on them. The glaze makes it SUPER TRICKY to work with as it tweaks the original colour and its intensity.
Their original goal was to find a warm white, but it just wasn’t going to work with these cabinets. Through the process of eliminating other potential options (ie. beige), we landed on Antique White 25% lighter which is as CLOSE to white as we’ll get! Even though the match isn’t 100% and varies from one side of the wall to the other, they got the brighter look they were going for!
Sometimes when the ideal world doesn’t exist (the ‘ideal world’ in the above kitchen being white cabinets), it’s about finding the NEXT best thing.
4. STICK WITH WARM MUTED NEUTRALS
Neutrals in a light-medium to medium depth are your BEST shot at reducing the look of your cream cabinets. But remember, cream cabinets ARE cream cabinets and short of painting them a more flexible white, they are what they are!
This last point isn’t one my E-Design clients usually want to hear, but it works.
CAN I PAINT MY WALLS GRAY OR GREIGE IF I HAVE CREAM CABINETS OR TRIM?
YES! But let’s be honest, it’s never that straightforward…
Warm colours don’t love being partnered with colours that are COOLER and the SAME DEPTH OR LIGHTER than them.
I want you to inscribe that on the annals of your soul (I’ve been made aware there are two ‘n’s in annal, duly noted). And while things change as warm colours get DARKER, if you’re anywhere in the white to medium range, tread carefully.
Remember, the above samples weren’t INTENDED to be coordinating wall colours, they were for a different project. However, seeing these colours in this light ON the cabinets helps us see how they just don’t work. This is one reason why I like to keep the sample photos that come in as they often come in handy for OTHER reasons! But regardless, whether your cabinets are this warm or not, gray, greige, taupe or beige paint colours in the LIGHT end of things can be a big stretch. This is one reason why it’s SO DARN HARD to partner with today’s popular gray and greige paint colours with cream cabinets.
Warm colours will only tolerate colours that are COOLER than them if they’re DARKER than them.
And I’m talking like a good 20+ LRV points or more (it can vary depending on HOW YELLOW your cream is). By the way, I don’t mean just COOL colours, I’m talking about colours that are simply ‘not as warm as‘ the colour they’re being partnered with. If you’re looking at WARMER options for your walls, you can sometimes bump up to 15 LRV points difference.
Once you memorize that magical tip, your paint pickin’ life will be SO…MUCH…EASIER.
Let’s take a look at cream cabinets (similar to Sherwin Williams Antique White) with Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray and Popular Gray. These two colours are 15 and 11 LRV points (respectively) lower than Antique White.
These weren’t options I loved, but my client wanted to try them and sometimes you just don’t know until you try!
Notice how Worldly Gray (left) sits a BIT better than Popular Gray (right), HOWEVER, neither are any screamin’ glory. While Worldly Gray is ‘better’, it’s still very questionable and makes the cabinets look darn warm in comparison. I’m always happy to humour clients when they want to TRY something like this, as sometimes they need to see for themselves why it doesn’t work.
In this next photo, my client had cream trim (colour unknown). LUCKILY, it wasn’t a super dark OR super yellow cream, meaning we had a bit more flexibility. Even then, we had to darken Edgecomb Gray by 25% just to increase the LRV between the two colours and get some kind of play between them…
What’s LRV & why do I need it?
If you’ve been drinkin’ my wine-spiked Koolaid for a while, you’ll know how IMPORTANT LRV is in the paint picking process. Here’s the gist…
Every paint colour has an LRV number on a scale from 0-100.
0 is pure black and 100 is pure white.
The closer a paint colour’s LRV is to 0, the closer to black it is.
The closer a paint colour’s LRV is to 100, the closer to white it is.
As it relates to the different depths, here are the approx. ranges for our purposes here today…
- WHITE PAINT COLOURS: 82 – 94
- OFF-WHITE PAINT COLOUR: 74 – 81 (average cream cabinet depth is 72-78 LRV)
- LIGHT DEPTH PAINT COLOURS: 55 – 73
- LIGHT-MEDIUM DEPTH PAINT COLOUR: 40-54
If you’re not familiar with LRV, PLEASE take a few minutes to check out this article, it will be SO worth it and will show you WHERE TO FIND the LRV of paint colours as well.
In this next kitchen, in between the cream/yellow hues of the cabinets, pink undertone in the countertop and white window trim, it’s a TRICKY one. However, it has some beautiful bones!
HOW DOES KNOWING MY PAINT COLOUR’S LRV HELP ME CHOOSE?
To find paint colours that look good with your cream cabinets or trim, you’ll want to start with colours that are approximately 20 LRV points LOWER than your cream colour (I said 15 earlier, but that’s a stretch). This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to nail down which cream you’re dealing with (or as close as possible).
The closer two paint colours are in depth, the more they’ll compete with each other. You need APPROX. 20+ LRV points between your cream cabinets/trim and your wall colour.
This brings us to…
STEP 1 – YOUR COLOUR & ITS LRV
The most common cream paint colours used for cabinets and trim are as follows:
BTW, to get the best colour match, I recommend getting LARGE samples as small ones aren’t big enough to get a good read on for this type of thing.
- Sherwin Williams Antique White LRV 72 (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Navajo White LRV 72 (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Creamy LRV 81, mild undertones and darn close to being a soft white (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Casa Blanca LRV 76 (SAMPLE HERE)
- Benjamin Moore Navajo White LRV 78 (SAMPLE HERE)
- Benjamin Moore Linen White LRV 81, close to being a soft white but with a reasonably strong yellow hue (SAMPLE HERE)
- Benjamin Moore White Down LRV 77 (SAMPLE HERE)
- Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream LRV 72 (SAMPLE HERE)
If you don’t know the name of the paint colour on your cabinets or trim, go to the paint store, bring home the above samples, and find the closest match. Once you’ve done that, find its LRV.
If these aren’t close, go back and get more – get as close as you can as this colour will be your guide as you need its LRV.
When starting your colour search, look for paint colours that have an LRV of 55 or lower.
Of course, this can vary depending on how light or dark your particular shade of cream is
- if your cream paint colour is LIGHTER (approx 78), you might look at paint colours with an LRV of 58 LRV or lower as this would put approximately 20 LRV points between the two colours
- if your cream paint colour is DARKER (approx 72), you might look at paint colours with an LRV of 52 or lower, again, putting somewhere around 20+ LRV points between the two colours
In this next kitchen, my Online Colour Consulting client wanted to step AWAY from the warm hues with something in the warm gray, greige or taupe range…
However, the current colour was working REALLY WELL with the existing finishes (although I’d love to see the island in BLACK). In fact, the backsplash, countertop AND cabinets weren’t so inclined towards a lighter warm gray, greige or taupe paint colour at all.
Remember, just because you want a certain paint colour, doesn’t mean your home agrees with you!
WHAT IF YOUR CREAM CABINETS HAVE A GLAZE ON THEM?
This is always a tough one, and at some point, you can only get so close to finding your exact colour match when cabinets have a glaze on them. Do your best to figure out what the ORIGINAL colour might’ve been and add a few LRV points for the extra depth added by the glaze. This is an important step as this number will help guide you towards a STARTING point when looking for compatible paint colours. Yes, glazed cream cabinets or trim add another layer to the beast.
STEP 2 – KNOW YOUR COLOUR
Once you know the cream you’re dealing with, it’s important to acknowledge how strong it is. The more YELLOW it is (cream is a yellow hue colour), the more YELLOW it will look when partnered with colours that are cooler than it.
- The more MUTED your cream is, the more flexible it will be towards other colours as the YELLOW won’t be as bossy.
- The COOLER the colour is that you try to partner with your cream cabinets or trim, the MORE YELLOW you risk them looking (opposites attract and make each other stronger).
- MOST of the cream colours on the previous list have reasonably strong undertones except for Sherwin Williams Creamy and Benjamin Moore White Down, which are more muted.
- Cream cabinets with glaze on them will be LESS FRIENDLY towards colours that are cooler than them and will need colours that are that wee bit darker.
Are you ready, Betty? Do you want to see the BEST PAINT COLOURS for your cream cabinets and trim? To do this effectively and to apply to as MANY people as possible, I’m basing these options on the most COMMON and the HARDEST cream cabinet colour to accommodate…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS ANTIQUE WHITE
This way, your job won’t get any HARDER. And in fact, if your cream is lighter, you might have a bit more flexibility!
Remember, I can only kill SO many birds with one stone – I’M JUST…ONE…WOMAN!
TWO THINGS THESE COLOURS WON’T DO FOR YOU
1. They won’t make your cabinets or trim look anything OTHER than cream/yellow. They are a yellow hue paint colour and short of painting them, they ARE what they are.
2. Lightening and brightening is often the goal in rooms with cream cabinets, HOWEVER, these options won’t make your room look light and bright compared to traditional off-white and light paint colours. But it’s not these paint colour options that are stopping you, it’s your cream cabinets and trim, they have limitations (and don’t kill the wee Ginger messenger!). Your room might look brighter than it USED to if it happened to be painted a darker colour, but that’s as far as you’ll get short of painting your walls the same colour as your cabinets or painting your trim/cabinets white.
OH MY GOD, DOES SHE EVER STOP TALKING? No, no I don’t…
THE BEST GRAY, GREIGE & BEIGE PAINT COLOURS TO GO WITH CREAM CABINETS & TRIM
Remember, the yellow hue of your cabinets/trim may hold you back from your wildest colours dreams (full of paint samples, Ryan Reynolds, wine and Doritos). BUT, this doesn’t mean you can’t find a good happy medium.
If you CAN’T or WON’T paint your cabinets and trim, sometimes a happy medium is as good as it gets #truthbomb.
Some of the upcoming colours make me a BIT twitchy with some cream paint colours but settle okay with others. HOWEVER, they might just give you the flexibility to accommodate NOT JUST YOUR CABINETS, but your other finishes as well, to create a palette that looks purposeful and coordinated.
1. SHERWIN WILLIAMS AMAZING GRAY 7044
Amazing Gray is AWESOME and I love it with the majority of cream cabinets. A lot of people start with Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray, looking for a light shade of greige, but with its LRV of 57, combined with its subtle undertone, it’s just too soft for most cream cabinets and trims.
Amazing Gray has an LRV of 47 and its slightly noticeable green undertone goes with a relatively wide variety of cream cabinets and trim. This LRV puts Amazing Gray more than 20 points lower than the average cream paint colour – AMAZING!
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO AMAZING GRAY
- Sherwin Williams Jogging Path (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Analytical Gray (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray (SAMPLE HERE)
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS (in case you’re tempted)
2. SHERWIN WILLIAMS STONE LION 7507
Stone Lion is a light-medium depth beige paint colour with MUTED undertones. It sits reasonably well with most cream paint colours because it doesn’t have the same level of TAUPE found in Sherwin Williams Balanced Beige, which is most people’s first choice in this range (and is coming up shortly).
Stone Lion has an LRV of 38, making it a medium depth warm neutral that’s WELL below the boundaries of cream. You could also explore the lighter look of Sherwin Williams Loggia with its LRV of 48, however, the lighter-again Shittake is too flat looking (not warm enough at this depth) for most cream paint colours.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO STONE LION
3. SHERWIN WILLIAMS ALOOF GRAY 6197
Aloof Gray is a gorgeous gray-green that sits on the LOWER end of the light range and is hands-down, one of the best LIGHTER options for your walls. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a big consideration…
Aloof Gray has an LRV of 58, putting it in the DARKER end of the light range and questionable with some of the darker cream paint colours out there. For this reason, Aloof Gray is often better suited to lighter muted cream paint colours.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO ALOOF GRAY
- Sherwin Williams Conservative Gray (could be a bit more reactive and will be better with lighter creams – SAMPLE HERE)
Remember, sometimes the colour YOU’RE wanting doesn’t suit your home. In this case, it’s about opening up your range a bit and finding the ‘next best option’, even if it’s not what you had in mind.
4. SHERWIN WILLIAMS MACADAMIA 6142
While Macadamia is AWESOME with cream cabinets, particularly Antique White, it also happens to be the type of colour many of my Online Colour Consulting clients are trying to get away from! But this doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. The thing is, cream cabinets and trim (Antique White in particular) can be pretty fussy as it relates to the wall colours they’re partnered with – you won’t have many GREAT options, but this is one of them.
Macadamia is a light-medium depth beige with an LRV of 49 as well as reasonably strong undertones. If you see how Macadamia WORKS, but just can’t bring yourself to paint your walls a beige THIS DARK, take a look at the lighter version, Softer Tan. It can be a bit fussy with overly yellow and/or darker creams, but it might fit the bill a bit better for YOUR particular cream colour.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO MACADAMIA
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS
- Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige
- Sherwin Williams Malabar can be a hot mess UNLESS your cream has quite a bit of ORANGE in it
5. BENJAMIN MOORE BENNINGTON GRAY HC-82
You might be excited at the word ‘gray’, but don’t be fooled – this is just another colour named by someone who was CLEARLY in the cups (which I definitely am after writing this epically long blog post). While Bennington Gray is certainly not as warm as Macadamia, it sure as heck ain’t gray.
Bennington Gray has an LRV of 47 – BOOM, mad love. It’s also a great happy medium if your home NEEDS warmth, but you don’t love the more traditional Tuscan approach of Macadamia.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO BENNINGTON GRAY
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS
- Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan
6. BENJAMIN MOORE HORIZON GRAY 2141-50
I LOVE Horizon Gray. Not only does it have a beautiful green hue to it, but it also humours a reasonable range of cream paint colours. Just remember, the green undertone in Horizon Gray CAN make your cream cabinets or trim look that bit more yellow in comparison.
Horizon Gray often works better than Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray simply because its LRV is lower, coming in at 51 to Aloof Gray’s 58.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO HORIZON GRAY
Remember, this process isn’t just about your cream cabinets, make sure the paint colours you’re exploring make sense with your surrounding finishes such as countertops, backsplash and flooring as well!
CHECK OUT AVAILABLE PACKAGES HERE!
7. BENJAMIN MOORE GRANT BEIGE HC-83
If the above beige and tan paint colours are just too strong, but you see how a warm shade MIGHT be your home’s best colour, you could check out Grant Beige. Grant Beige is a tan paint colour that has a bit less undertone than many of the popular beige and tan paint colours without falling into the greige range.
Grant Beige has an LRV of 56, so it’s on the edge of the light and light-medium range, making it a great option, especially for some of the mid to light cream colours.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO GRANT BEIGE
Sandbar (left), Clay Beige 25% darker (right)
When looking for the best paint colours for cream cabinets and trim, the above colours are USUALLY where I start. But again, A LOT can change depending on the surrounding finishes, including the backsplash, countertop and flooring.
These upcoming colours are going to be BETTER with lighter and muted creams vs dark and rich ones, but depending on your surrounding finishes, you just never know what will fall into place!
8. BENJAMIN MOORE REVERE PEWTER HC-172
While I get AWFULLY nervous about Revere Pewter with the darker cream paint colours, it’s often a nice partner to lighter, more muted cream paint colours. It will still make the cream look more yellow ‘in comparison’, but that happens so easily when you partner a warm colour with a cooler colour.
In this next photo, there are a few things at play…
1. The trim is WHITER than the cabinets, making the cabinets look more yellow in comparison. Overall, the trim looks to be a considerably BRIGHT warm colour with a reasonable yellow in it.
2. This is a LOW-LIGHT area and has Revere Pewter looking MUCH muddier than usual.
Revere Pewter has an LRV of 55, making it a HEAVY light depth warm gray with a slightly earthy green undertone that doesn’t ALWAYS show up to the party. As it relates to coordinating with cream paint colours, it’s best if it DOES!
But once again, in this next photo, Revere Pewter looks WAY warmer and muddier than usual…
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO REVERE PEWTER
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS
9. SHERWIN WILLIAMS COLONNADE GRAY 7641
Just like Revere Pewter, Colonnade Gray is TOUCHY with cream paint colours that either have more yellow in them OR more depth to them. But, it can be an interesting partner to creams that are lighter and muted.
This next example shows Colonnade Gray with cream trim in a bedroom. Notice how the cream DOESN’T ACT LIKE WHITE, but that’s because it’s not white, but at least it’s partnered with a modern paint colour!
The thing that makes Colonnade Gray a slightly better option to Revere Pewter is that it has a lower LRV, coming in at 53 to Revere Pewter’s 55.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO COLONNADE GRAY
Remember, the COOLER a paint colour is or the more COLOUR it has (violet, blue or green), the more it will CONTRAST with the yellow in your cabinets – nature of the beast, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t pretty combinations if you’re so inclined.
10. SHERWIN WILLIAMS VERSATILE GRAY 6072
Versatile Gray is a light-medium depth taupe paint colour that can sit QUITE pretty with many cream cabinets. Why? Well, when surrounded by the right countertops/tiles or carpet, the taupe (violet, slightly violet-pink) undertone of it can be a pretty accent – AS LONG AS YOUR CREAM DOESN’T HAVE ANY GREEN IN IT.
In this next photo, notice how Versatile sits with the cream cabinets (similar to Antique White) while tapping into the needs of the countertop. Would I NORMALLY put Versatile Gray with cream cabinets? Nope, but again, when you’re looking for a happy medium sometimes you have to think outside of the colour box!
Versatile Gray has an LRV of 48, making it a great contender for a variety of creams.
However, a lot of homeowners are wanting a LIGHTER warm gray, greige or taupe with their cream cabinets. Let’s take a look at the LIGHTER version, Popular Gray…
Do you see how the cream-yellow of the cabinets FIGHT with Popular Gray (right)? And while Worldly Gray (left) is no screamin’ glory either, its slightly lower LRV makes it a BIT better (I still wouldn’t do it).
Because there isn’t enough LRV or difference in DEPTH between the cabinet colour and these samples. So, even though my client might’ve WANTED a lighter warm gray or greige/taupe paint colour, it’s easy to see how a light-medium version like Versatile Gray (or Amazing Gray, which is the light-medium version of Worldly Gray) makes a better connection – HOORAY FOR HAPPY MEDIUMS!
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO VERSATILE GRAY
- Sherwin Williams Requisite Gray, although it’s OFTEN a touch too cool/violet (SAMPLE HERE)
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS
11. SHERWIN WILLIAMS BALANCED BEIGE 7037
Balanced Beige is definitely touch-and-go and HIGHLY dependent on your cabinets, the amount of YELLOW they have in them, as well as the GLAZE they have on them.
In this next kitchen, look at how flat and taupe Accessible Beige (left) looks in comparison to the glazed cream cabinets. And while Balanced Beige (right) is BETTER, it’s still too toned-down for the degree of warmth in the glaze – close, but no cigar!
In this next kitchen, notice how the glaze on the cabinets isn’t as WARM as the previous version. Because the glaze is more toned-down and the backsplash is agreeable, Balanced Beige is a MUCH better fit…
Balanced Beige has an LRV of 46 which is definitely in its favour.
And while it’s okay with some of the MORE MUTED and lighter cream paint colours, it’s too taupe for others. The reason it’s in this section is that sometimes it’s just that happy medium between cream cabinets/trim and surrounding finishes. My BEST advice is to try it 25% darker as you’ll have a better shot by lowering its LRV. Or even better, check out the darker version, Tony Taupe.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO BALANCED BEIGE
- Sherwin Williams Loggia (SAMPLE HERE)
Oooo, I have a GREAT example of Accessible Beige with cream cabinets to show you, just to hammer down how it’s NOT a great option…
My E-Design client hired me to fix her kitchen, but it wasn’t as easy as changing the paint colour. Sure, the backsplash and paint colour were well-coordinated, but the granite and cream cabinets were doing their own thing and didn’t suit EITHER of the other surfaces. Accessible Beige (and the backsplash) look too taupe/flat compared to the yellow/cream of the cabinets. – it’s a bad combination that just makes the cabinets look more yellow and dated.
The above is a great example of a kitchen that has beautiful finishes that aren’t well-coordinated with each other. And paint can’t fix everything when a good foundation isn’t in place.
Just because YOU want a certain paint colour, doesn’t mean your home agrees with you!
12. BENJAMIN MOORE STONINGTON GRAY HC-170
Stonington Gray is a HEAVY, light depth stormy gray paint colour with a passive blue (often blue-green) undertone. Because Stonington Gray leans that bit cooler, it can be more reactive with the yellow in cream cabinets or trim. The more MUTED your cream is, the better chance you have of this combo looking great as Stonington Gray NATURALLY prefers white paint colours.
Stonington Gray has an LRV of 59 which means you’ll have a better shot at it if you darken it by 25%. Adding this bit of extra depth puts it closer to 55 and will give you a bit more flexibility.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO STONINGTON GRAY
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS
Remember, this process isn’t just about your cream cabinets, make sure the paint colours you’re exploring make sense with your surrounding finishes such as countertops, backsplash and flooring as well – this can be TOUGHER to do with cool colours.
13. SHERWIN WILLIAMS ANEW GRAY 7030
Anew Gray is a POPULAR light-medium depth greige/taupe paint colour, however, it has less undertone than some of the previously mentioned colours. This means it can look a bit washy and non-committal compared to a cream paint colour – sample carefully!
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO ANEW GRAY
- Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray (SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Mega Greige (SAMPLE HERE)
SIMILAR COLOURS TO AVOID WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS
- Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray the lighter version)
BTW, if you’re getting paint samples, you should 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
- they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed 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
14. BENJAMIN MOORE PASHMINA AF-100
While Pashmina isn’t always friendly towards some of the darker or more intense cream paint colours (ones with more yellow in them), it can be a pretty compliment to a muted cream or off-white.
This next photo is a great example of Pashmina with a cream bed frame. While Pashmina has the potential to look MUCH grayer than this, it can also swing pretty darn warm depending on its surroundings and exposure!
Pashmina has an LRV of 44, making it a great depth for a variety of cream shades. As for its COLOUR, Pashmina is a greige paint colour with a very slight nod towards green.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO PASHMINA
15. SHERWIN WILLIAMS COMFORT GRAY 6205
Comfort Gray is one of the most POPULAR green-blue-gray blend paint colours because while it certainly has COLOUR to it, its gray base calms it right down for a more muted approach.
This next photo is such a WICKED example of a cool paint colour in action with cream cabinets…
Comfort Gray has an LRV of 54, making it a bit touchy with some of the darker cream paint colours but an interesting option for slightly lighter, more muted shades of cream.
IN GENERAL, Comfort Gray with these cream cabinets is a beautiful COMBINATION. Would I like them in rooms that are next to each other? Sure. Do I want them right up against each other? It’s not that it’s not pretty, but the cool hue of Comfort Gray is making the cabinets and trim look MUCH MORE YELLOW in comparison, a look that not EVERYONE is going for…but maybe YOU ARE!
As an example of the type of cool colour that straight-up WON’T work with cream cabinets, take a look at Sweet Bluette. Sometimes my clients need to SEE something to understand why it doesn’t work, and I’d say this gave a pretty clear eyeball on things…
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO COMFORT GRAY
- Sherwin Williams Argos (below, much grayer – SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Sensible Hue (grayer – MAD LOVE – SAMPLE HERE)
16. SHERWIN WILLIAMS ARGOS 7065
Argos is a WICKED pretty light-medium gray paint colour with a green-blue undertone. HOWEVER, being a cool paint colour, it WILL make your cream cabinets or trim look that much warmer in comparison. This is a pretty combo but needs to be the look you’re going for.
PAINT COLOURS TO TRY THAT ARE SIMILAR TO ARGOS
- Sherwin Williams Tinsmith (it’s lighter, so be careful – SAMPLE HERE)
- Sherwin Williams Silverplate (again, lighter – SAMPLE HERE)
PHEW, we did it! Hopefully, you found the BEST paint colour for you and your cream-inspired home. If not, you know who to call (or email, I never answer my phone…)
And in case you’re wondering about some colours that I DIDN’T mention, there might be a GOOD REASON why I didn’t mention them…
POPULAR COLOURS THAT DON’T LOOK GOOD WITH MOST CREAM CABINETS (SO YOU CAN STOP WONDERING)
And while I could go into all of the reasons WHY, by reading the above information, you’ll understand. These are colours that come up ALL THE TIME, with my E-design clients hoping to use them with their cream cabinets or trim.
OF COURSE, if your cream is on the LIGHTER side and has MUTED undertones (ie. Sherwin Williams Creamy), you have a much better chance.
- Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige
- Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray
- Sherwin Williams White Duck
- Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray
- Sherwin Williams Popular Gray
- Sherwin Williams Alpaca
- Benjamin Moore Big Chill
- Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray
- Benjamin Moore Ballet White
- Benjamin Moore Cedar Key
- Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist
- Benjamin Moore Collingwood
I could go on, but those are the usual offenders. If you have VERY light cream trim or cabinets could they work? Maybe…if they do, send photos, but most of the time they’re just TOO light or have the wrong undertones.
CHECK OUT MY ONLINE PAINT COLOUR CONSULTING!