THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT GE CAFE MATTE WHITE APPLIANCES…
While white appliances aren’t as popular as stainless steel, they’ve come a long way from the white units from the 1990s, especially GE’s Cafe collection. The matte white Cafe line from GE has customizable features and a more modern approach to the everyday function of kitchen appliances.
But guess what, buttercup?
GE Cafe white isn’t white.
That’s right; Cafe white isn’t white – in fact, it’s reasonably far from it, not just in depth, but in undertones.
To prove my point, I went to my local Home Depot – trusty fan decks and a flask of coffee & Bailey’s in hand. Online sources say that Sherwin Williams Rock Candy is the closest match to GE Cafe white, and in Sherwin Williams paint, that’s true. However, Benjamin Moore has a GREAT match with Genesis White. However, either are good representations…
The real difference between Genesis White and Rock Candy is that Genesis White is a bit cleaner looking (fractionally brighter and bluer).
So, in learning about Genesis White and Rock Candy, and using them as our color guides, we learn about GE Cafe white and which colors will go best with it.
Genesis White 2134-70 is a GRAY paint color – not white. We know this because of its LRV of 76.6. This means it isn’t even a super LIGHT off-white – it’s smack dab in the middle of the OFF-WHITE range. As for undertones, Genesis White has gray and blue (blue-violet).
Rock Candy has an LRV of 75, so it’s also an off-white paint color with a similar gray-blue undertone. As mentioned earlier, it’s just a little less clean/blue than Genesis White.
Now that we know these colors are off-white grays with blue-violet undertones, we know that GE Cafe white has the same undertones and a pretty darn similar depth (there wasn’t a noticeable difference in person).
This means that GE CAFE matte white is not white, it’s GRAY.
In the white world, there are five types – warm, cold, soft, bright, and true. GE Cafe white is more closely related to soft, cool whites. The challenge is that the most POPULAR shades of white for cabinets, walls, and trims, include Pure White, Alabaster, White Dove, and Simply White, ALL of which are significantly warmer than GE Cafe white.
Why are the above whites the most popular?
Because they suit a wide range of quartz, granite, and laminate countertops. Or, if we flip this around, why aren’t the cool, soft whites popular? Because they don’t suit as many quartz, granite, and laminate countertops.
When warm whites (the most common cabinet colors) and colors like GE Cafe white collide, they bounce off each other. This means that compared to your GE Cafe appliances, the previously mentioned whites will look more creamy (and, in some cases, more YELLOW) than your appliances.
As for your cool gray-blue appliances, compared to your white cabinets, they will look a bit colder – you could even end up with ‘yellow cabinets and blue-violet appliances.’
As you can see, the cabinets look warmer/creamier, and the range looks cool, and even a touch violet. Seriously, look at the bottom oven drawer with the cabinet directly to its right – THE RANGE LOOKS PURPLE! Some people are okay with this partnership – you do you, boo. Personally, it makes me a bit twitchy as neither really enhances or blends with the other – they kind of fight.
GE CAFE WHITE & COUNTERTOPS & BACKSPLASHES
Two things (aside from clashing undertones) that are often ignored when coordinating cabinets with GE Cafe White appliances are the COUNTERTOP AND BACKSPLASH. These two surfaces are the first place to look when looking for your best cabinet color – especially the backsplash. If you only focus on coordinating your appliances and cabinet colors, you might go the wrong way for your countertop and backsplash. Don’t let your want of GE Cafe appliances distract you from whether your kitchen and its existing or newly purchased finishes actually suit these appliances.
I’ll be writing a blog post on GE Cafe white and its best countertops and backsplashes in the near future.
This isn’t to say GE Cafe appliances aren’t gorgeous – THEY ARE; you just need to coordinate carefully with them.
I had this come up recently with a client. She has Cloud White cabinets and desperately wants Cafe white.
Hard no. Or, I guess if she wants her cabinets to look cream/yellow, she can fill her lil’ white boots. However, in a well-coordinated kitchen, EVERYTHING aligns, and Cloud White and Cafe white do not.
So, what ARE the best paint colors for your GE Cafe white appliances?
Let’s check some out. Remember, this isn’t just about making your appliances happy; consider your backsplash, countertop, and tile floor, too!
PAINT COLORS THAT ARE A CLOSE MATCH TO GE CAFE WHITE
If you love a white-on-white kitchen and want your GE Cafe appliances to match your cabinets as closely as possible, I’ve got a few shades for you to explore. It’s hard to get a perfect match, as you’ll be dealing in different sheens (the appliances are matte, and cabinets are most often satin finish).
SHERWIN WILLIAMS ROCK CANDY
As discussed earlier, according to the color experts at Sherwin Williams, Rock Candy is a pretty solid match for GE Cafe white.
Another challenge with these colors is that it won’t be easy to transition out of this palette in the future – you’re stuck with it. If you love it – COOL BEANS; however, I believe it’s too much of a commitment to a super limiting color range.
If you’re a diehard cold-color fan and none of this sways you, another option is to have the paint store lighten it Rock Candy or Genesis White 25% and 50% – see how these look with your appliances. Just make sure they mix a proper quart (not a sample pot).
How a color looks can change between the different types of paint. If you make this adjustment in a sample pot, it might not look how it would in the actual paint you use on your cabinets.
BENJAMIN MOORE GENESIS WHITE
For a color that’s almost a dead-on match to GE Cafe white, it’s hard to beat Genesis White…and for the reasons listed above, I wouldn’t do it, but it ain’t my home – I’m just here to educate you!
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF GENESIS WHITE
ONE BONUS TO LEARNING ABOUT THE ABOVE TWO COLORS
While you might not paint your cabinets or walls Genesis White or Rock Candy, having these color samples on hand when you’re coordinating your kitchen palette is a great way to see how things jibe. So, when you’re checking out countertops, backsplashes, and countertops, rather than having to go to the appliance store or rely on memory, whip out your Samplize samples and see how things sit (don’t rely on small chips; you need to see the bigger picture).
In fact, I have Samplize orders in for these two shades, and next time I go to Home Depot, I’ll get more large-scale photos for you.
PAINT COLORS THAT GO WITH GE CAFE WHITE, BUT DON’T MATCH IT
If you like a white kitchen, but don’t want your cabinets to be such a cool shade of white (matching GE Cafe), I’ve got some great options for you. Just remember, your cabinets WILL make your appliances look a bit colder in comparison (nature of the beast). In return, the cool white of your appliances will make your cabinets look that bit WARMER in comparison – sample carefully!
BENJAMIN MOORE DECORATOR’S WHITE
If you’re looking for a white that’s CLOSE to GE Cafe White, but not as dark/off-white as Rock Candy, Decorator’s White is an interesting choice.
Decorator’s White is a soft white with an LRV of almost 83. It has a touch of gray and violet in it, making it a possible partner to Cafe white.
Would I do Decorator’s White on my cabinets? No.
So why mention it if I wouldn’t do it myself?
Because you gotta do you, boo. I’m just giving you the info you need to make YOUR best choice. If you like the idea of a cool-toned kitchen that works directly with GE Cafe white – this will do the trick. Personally, it’s too cool-toned and WAY too limiting of a palette for the long term (as I like to change things up).
This kitchen gives a similar look to all of the colors on the previous strip
Decorator’s White suits FEW countertops and backsplashes and even fewer wall colors. This doesn’t mean your room can’t handle it, but you’ll want to veer on the cool and violet side of things with your colors and undertones.
As for the best hardware/metal finish with the above whites, I lean into brushed stainless over brushed bronze. I don’t think the above bronze hardware looks bad, I just prefer the more neutral/slightly cool look of brushed stainless with these cooler whites and appliances.
BENJAMIN MOORE CHANTILLY LACE
Chantilly Lace is one of the best white paint cabinet colors for flexibility, not only with GE Cafe white appliances, but also with various countertops, and backsplashes.
As you can see in the above photo, compared to Chantilly Lace, GE Cafe white looks more grayish and violet, tones you might humor when choosing your countertop and backsplash.
While it won’t suit ALL interior finishes, Chantilly Lace will give you a bit more room to move compared to Rock Candy, Genesis White, or cool shades of white.
Chantilly Lace is a bright white. While it has a wink of warmth in it and WILL look warmer than your appliances, it’s not so yellow that it looks creamy or dingy.
In this next photo, while the appliances are stainless steel, not white, the cool tones of the marble backsplash show how pretty Chantilly Lace can look…
I haven’t had many clients choose GE Cafe white, so don’t have the exact examples I need!
As mentioned above, Chantilly Lace WILL look warmer than GE Cafe white appliances. However, compared to softer, warmer whites like Alabaster, White Dove, Swiss Coffee, and Cloud White, Chantilly Lace offers a slightly cleaner, simpler contrast.
Let me choose your paint colors FOR YOU with my ONLINE COLOR CONSULTING!
BY THE WAY
Think about this for a second…if Rock Candy is a limiting color and Decorator’s White is a limiting color, but they both coordinate with GE Cafe white – what do you think this says about GE Cafe white?
It’s a limiting color as it relates to popular appliance finishes.
If the above paint colors have difficulty looking good with the most popular countertop and backsplash finishes, the same goes for GE Cafe white. And this isn’t me telling you not to love or buy them – they’re friggin’ GORGEOUS. This is me educating you so that your kitchen is as beautiful as you dream it to be!
SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE
Pure White can be a great happy medium between the cold and warm white worlds. Don’t get me wrong, Pure White is a WARM WHITE, but as far as the warm white world goes, it’s as muted as they come.
A photo of Pure White and GE Cafe white is coming – I forgot to take it when I was at the store (three slaps with a wet noodle).
Again, not GE Cafe, but a great shot of Sherwin Williams Pure White
Pure White will look warmer and a bit creamier than your GE Cafe white, but it offers more FLEXIBILITY than the cooler shades of white with less yellow-cream than the warmer white paint colors.
Not only that, but Pure White’s passive warmth and moderate depth (LRV) make it a popular partner to many of today’s countertops and backsplashes.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE
If white cabinets or walls are your dream, High Reflective White is a good shade with GE Cafe. This is because High Reflective White is DARN WHITE – not warm, not cold. The crazy thing is, compared to HOW FRIGGIN’ COLD GE Cafe white is, High Reflective White looks warmer!
High Reflective White has an LRV of 93, which is higher than any of Benjamin Moore’s white paint colors. If you’re reading this and thinking this could be YOUR SHADE OF WHITE, you might want to read this as there are a few more similar shades worth exploring.
BUT KEEP READING THIS BLOG POST; I’ve got more to say!
IF I HAD GE CAFE WHITE APPLIANCES, WOULD I PAINT MY CABINETS WHITE?
That’s an easy one – no.
I’m not a big fan of mixing and matching whites, as one’s undertones can expose the others. And more to the point, GE Cafe white isn’t white – it’s a COLD, icy shade of gray that’s not normally partnered with warm whites.
People choose white cabinets because they believe GE Cafe white is white…when it’s not.
So why did I list the above whites as options?
Because it’s not all about me (not always, anyway). As you see on Pinterest, MANY people love mixing a cold gray like GE Cafe white with warm whites. DECORATIVELY it makes me twitch. PERSONALLY, I would never. However, if you love the look, THAT’S what matters, and I’m just here to guide you to the best choices possible, given GE Cafe white’s actual color.
If I had GE Cafe white appliances…
a) I would love them SO HARD and would probably choose the bronze hardware.
b) I would partner them with a NON-white paint color, likely a cool shade.
c) If I HAD to do white cabinets (or, when I’m considering my best TRIM color with GE Cafe white), I would settle on High Reflective White or Chantilly Lace.
As for the non-whites, let’s see what I’ve got up my colorful little sleeve…
WHAT NON-WHITE CABINET COLORS SUIT GE CAFE WHITE?
Great question! Given the undertones of Cafe white, you’d think it would cater to grays with violet-blue undertones…and it does. However, thanks to its hardware finishes, these appliances also suit a few other colors, including…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS AGREEABLE GRAY
Agreeable Gray is one of my fave choices for painted cabinets – and not just with white appliances. Agreeable Gray is in between greige and taupe with MINIMAL commitment to undertones, making it a slightly lower contrast, but still interesting partner to GE Cafe white.
Here are Agreeable Gray painted kitchen cabinets with panel-ready appliances…
With a color like Agreeable Gray, I would lean into the brushed bronze hardware…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS BALANCED BEIGE
Balanced Beige is gaining popularity in the painted cabinet world and is right on trend. Normally, it would be a hard no, as Balanced Beige DOES NOT GO WITH Genesis White or Rock Candy – it’s a hot mess. The ONLY saving grace is the brushed bronze hardware, which gives colors like Balanced Beige, Shittake, and Loggia something warm to grab onto (for dear life).
SHERWIN WILLIAMS EVERGREEN FOG
Evergreen Fog is one of my fave green-grays. With a modest, purposeful approach to green, Evergreen Fog contrasts with white appliances without the visual weight of a darker shade of green (which can also be pretty in the right environment).
Again, I only use photos from my Online Paint Color Consulting clients, of which few have chosen GE Cafe white. I don’t have a photo to show you of Evergreen Fog with these appliances, but I can still show you how beautiful this color is with gorgeous gold-bronze metal finishes…
Get your PEEL & STICK SAMPLE OF EVERGREEN FOG
A FEW MORE GREEN CABINET COLORS TO EXPLORE
It’s funny, as you’d think that GE Cafe white would only suit grays with a blue-violet undertone. And while I PREFER this combo, you can also squeeze in some pretty shades of green, so long as they’re slightly cooler or at least not OVERLY warm.
With most greens, I still lean into the bronze finish. Why? It has a slightly more organic/less modern look to it, which can be said of the average painted green cabinet.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS GIBRALTAR & MORNING FOG
Really, any color on PG 234 of the Sherwin Williams fan deck could be pretty, but I especially love Gibraltar, Morning Fog, and Serious Gray. These are grays with blue undertones – blue-VIOLET ones. These undertones tap into the roots of GE Cafe white/Benjamin Moore Genesis White and create a palette that really flows.
With these types of colors, I wouldn’t do any of the warm hardware finishes and would lean into the brushed stainless choice.
A FEW MORE GRAY CABINET COLORS TO EXPLORE
Unlike the white world, which is slim-pickings, there’s a WORLD of gray to explore with GE Cafe white – colors that connect with and enhance its natural color and undertones. To keep thing simple, I’m focusing on the 2124 color strip in the Benjamin MOore Color Preview fan deck…
BENJAMIN MOORE THUNDERCLOUD GRAY & TROUT GRAY
Thundercloud Gray is lighter than Morning Fog and is a beautiful partner to GE white. And while I’m not as much of a fan of Deep Silver (third from the bottom in the image below), as it can be a bit too violet, Benjamin Moore Trout Gray is wicked pretty. It’s the second from the bottom in the image below, but doesn’t look as dark in real-life…
As for the best hardware finish for GE Cafe with the above colors – DEFINITELY brushed stainless.
WHERE TO SEE GE CAFE WHITE WITH DIFFERENT CABINET COLORS
There are many kitchens where GE Cafe white appliances aren’t in their glory, due to a mismatch with cabinets. I don’t scoop others’ photos and put them on my site – I want to share the love and you get you checking THEIR blogs out too (which is why I only use my own client’s photos)!
Here’s a short list of the BEST cabinet colors with Cafe white…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE: GE CAFE WHITE with Sherwin Williams Pure White and Hoang-Kim @ Color & Chic
SHERWIN WILLIAMS AGREEABLE GRAY: GE CAFE with Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray and Jen Naye Herrmann
SIMILAR TO SHERWIN WILLIAMS SHITTAKE: GE CAFE white with Sherwin Williams Shittake and Chelsey Freng
FARROW & BALL CLUNCH: GE CAFE white with Farrow & Ball Clunch by The White Farmhouse Blog
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