Top 10 Shades of Off-White by Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams
I get asked about off-whites ALL the time, the most common question being, ‘I was thinking of using this off-white paint colour. Are there any sneaky undertones I should know about?’ You bet your booty there is!
Splashes of blue, touches of purple, hints of green, or even PINK – off-whites are DARN hard to choose. And whatever happened to the ease of builder beige anyway? I’m just joking; NOBODY wants builder beige to come back.
Before we get into the guts n’ the glory, let’s talk about off-whites and why they are such a bugger to choose. And if this is your first time to my blog – the Ginger likes to hear herself talk (or type). Consider yourself warned.
OFF-WHITE PAINT COLORS
Regarding LRV, it can be tricky to know where the cut-off is between white, off-white, and light. Are you not familiar with LRV? You should read this blog post; it will become your best friend (or I will, one or the other).
And while 60-70 is the magic LRV range for almost any room, when it comes to off-white, its LRV range sits between 73-82 (approx). In this range, you’ll find off-whites that are light and bright but will still show some contrast with standard white trim.
Off-white colour = higher LRV = more light reflection. This means that if the light that’s shining on your wall happens to have a ‘colour’ to it, your walls can pick up on that. For example…
- if you have a TON of green outside your window (grass/trees), your off-white walls might pick up a hint of green
- if your porch floor is painted red, your off-white walls might look a tad pink as the red is reflected on your walls AND the high LRV of your walls reflects it back
And then there’s exposure (north/south/east/west facing), which ALL have their own colour quirks. Add all these things together, along with the needs of your furnishings and your personal tastes – let’s just say that off-whites are tricky.
See ALL of this beautiful bathroom here
And THAT’S why we’re having our lil chat today, as I’ve pulled together some of my fave off-whites and some comments on a few more of today’s most POPULAR off-whites. These colors are relatively neutral, but that doesn’t mean they’re fool-proof (as there are no fool-proof neutrals). It all depends on your home, exposure, furnishings, interior finishings, and, of COURSE, personal tastes, but they’ll at least get you started!
1. BENJAMIN MOORE CLASSIC GRAY OC-23
Classic Gray is a warm gray in the off-white range. It’s on the edge of the off-white range, winking at the light depths. This means you’ll see a good degree of contrast if you choose a reasonably white color for your trim.
Any gray (even warm ones) will have blue, purple, green, or a mix of those undertones, and Classic Gray is no exception (read more about that here). Classic Gray favors a very (very) mild purple undertone. This undertone doesn’t always show up to the party, but it’s quite passive when it does. It can also flash slightly warm violet (violet-pink) vs. cool violet (violet-blue), but I’ve never seen it lean totally pink (whereas the comparable Pale Oak can); it’s just a slightly warmer violet.
And, as usual, I’m being anal. You might look at this colour and think, ‘Good Lord, what IS she talking about – this color is NEUTRAL?’ – it’s that subtle. I just don’t want you to be surprised once it’s on your walls!
WHY IS CLASSIC GRAY SUCH A POPULAR WARM GRAY PAINT COLOUR?
- Classic Gray has an LRV of almost 75, so it’s in the off-white range, but really has a bit more body than most
- in some lights, Classic Gray can look quite taupe and can easily be considered one (taupe being warmer than gray)
- while Classic Gray FAVORS gray, it never looks icy cold like traditional gray paint colors
- with its subtle warmth, Classic Gray is MORE likely to last longer than some of the other gray paint colors
Sherwin Williams Pure White cabinets, Classic Gray walls
WHAT PAINT COLOURS ARE SIMILAR TO CLASSIC GRAY?
If Classic Gray doesn’t hit the spot, check out Benjamin Moore Gray Mist. It’s an off-white (heavy off-white) that’s a greige, so rather than having the subtle purple of Classic Gray, it has a wink more warmth with a touch of green, cream/yellow.
You might also like Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist’s approach, which is similar to Classic Gray but has a bit more depth and body.
2. SHERWIN WILLIAMS WHITE DUCK SW 7010
I LOVE White Duck, as it’s the perfect blend of cream with a tan/gray base to calm it down. If you like cream walls but don’t like yellow, White Duck could be the hybrid you’re looking for.
Having used this colour in my brother’s house (not shown above, pictures are coming soon), I’ve seen firsthand how it shifts from a beige-greige blend (but never definitively gray or beige) into a subdued, neutralized cream—mad love. I’ve also seen firsthand how lucky he is to have me in his life. True story.
WHY IS WHITE DUCK SUCH A POPULAR OFF-WHITE PAINT COLOUR?
- White Duck has an LRV of 74, so it really is on the border of off-white and light, offering CONTRAST with trim without visual WEIGHT
- it’s great if you’re looking for a warm but not OBVIOUSLY beige, gray, or creamy neutral
- like Aesthetic White (coming shortly), it’s one of the few options with no obvious undertone to wrestle with
- in the above photo, White Duck is shown with Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray cabinets – a super wicked combo
- it’s a great choice for a north, east, west or south-facing room
A FEW MORE NOTES ON BALLET WHITE
- If you want to compare shades, check out Sherwin Williams Shoji White, which has just a BIT less undertone, as well as the ever-gorgeous Benjamin Moore Ballet White.
- If your home suits a bit more beige vs. cream (yellow) check out Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White.
- Ballet White looks best with a soft, warm white trim or cabinet color like Benjamin Moore White Dove.
Often, these subtle shifts make one color perfect over another.
3. BENJAMIN MOORE SILVER SATIN OC-26
Silver Satin is the grayest of the bunch, a soft, slightly warm gray. And while it’s not my PERSONAL fave, due to its non-committal warmth, it has a decent following. HOWEVER, it also has a sneaky undertone to consider…
Remember, every gray will have an undertone, and Silver Satin favors a very slight purple hue. If you like the general look of Silver Satin but want your walls LIGHTER, Benjamin Moore Calm has a similar approach (and I get nervous about it for the same reason – not warm enough and a bit…too…purple.)
SILVER SATIN’S LRV & A LITTLE MORE
- Silver Satin has an LRV of 76, so it’s sitting pretty in the off-white range
- because it’s a warm gray, Silver Satin will come up a bit warmer in a south-facing room but gray out more in northern light
- Silver Satin looks pretty with Sherwin Williams Pure White or Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace on trim work
Dunn Edward’s Faded Gray is very similar to Silver Satin
If you want to sample and compare (the BEST way to find your perfect paint color), check out Sherwin Williams Toque White, which is just a touch warmer. Also explore Eider White, which you’ll learn about shortly. However, I prefer the subtle approach of Silver Satin to BOTH of those paint colors.
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4. SHERWIN WILLIAMS CREAMY SW 7012
Creamy is definitely one of my favorite warm off-white paint colors that’s NOT beige or gray! However, if you’re looking for a legit shade of cream, it’s not that either!
Creamy tucks itself tightly between the off-white and creamy white worlds. It really comes down to your perspective. I don’t treat Creamy as white because of its slightly lower LRV of 81 (which is low compared to traditional white paint colors). This, combined with its subtle creamy warmth, leaves it a bit too dark and heavy to act like white and isn’t nearly as flexible.
Regarding the cream world, I’ve had many clients say they love cream but don’t love yellow. This is where Creamy comes in REALLY handy! Remember, cream IS yellow (you can’t make a cream paint color without it). It comes down to how MUCH yellow you like to see in your crema. If you choose Creamy, its neutral base calms it down, leaving you with a more passive, muted warmth on your walls.
WHY IS CREAMY ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR CREAM/OFF-WHITE PAINT COLOURS?
- Creamy has an LRV Of 81, which is an UBER fab off-white depth, on the lighter side of it, creating a lower contrast look with white trim
- it looks good with Sherwin Williams Pure White or Benjamin Moore Cloud White trim (more whites HERE)
- Creamy has enough warmth to be OBVIOUS without being obnoxiously yellow, especially compared to more standard cream paint colors
- it’s beautiful on walls, but don’t be tempted to put it on trim or cabinets unless your kitchen really calls for it!
If you’d like something with a wee wink more colour, check out Benjamin Moore Linen White and Timid White, which are beautiful shades of cream with a more noticeable warmth (while still being soft and subtle). If you want a lighter shade, more in the WHITE range, check out Sherwin Williams Alabaster or Dover White.
5. SHERWIN WILLIAMS EIDER WHITE
I didn’t pick this one – you guys did. That’s right; I have a secret master list that I refer to that shows me which colors are being purchased the MOST between Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Farrow & Ball. And while Eider White isn’t a fave of mine, y’all seem to like it, so let’s check it out!
Eider White looks surprisingly warm on these cabinets and less violet than usual
Eider White is an off-white paint color that’s a warm gray with a violet undertone. The same violet undertone can be found in a few other colors on this page, but in Eider White, it shows up WARMER and with tassels on. Eider White could be awesome if you love purple and are excited to see it pop up. However, if you’re a bit sensitive to the P word, better options exist.
Which is why it makes me nervous. I would NEVER put it on cabinets and trims and only suggest it for walls when it’s the only color that makes sense for the surrounding finishes/homeowners’ tastes.
- Eider White looks best with a simple white trim like Sherwin Williams High Reflective White or Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. Alternatively, you can paint your walls and trim the same color, which can make the violet undertone seem a bit more subtle.
6. SHERWIN WILLIAMS DRIFT OF MIST
Drift of Mist is starting to get a bit of a reputation as a ‘go-to’ shade of off-white. But just because your neighbor loves it doesn’t mean it’s the best color for you and your home.
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Drift of Mist is an off-white paint color with a gentle, warm foundation. While this base is in the yellow family, don’t expect to see any cream in this bad boy, as it’s incredibly toned-down, to the point where it looks more like a warm gray than anything.
As for undertones, Drift of Mist is somewhat noncommittal, which means I don’t entirely trust it. Like Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, this flexible neutral is somewhat of a shape-shifter and can pick up green or even slightly taupe cues from its environment. This can be tough if you have a surface that NEEDS a touch of green or violet. Because it doesn’t commit, it can disconnect from surfaces like these.
- Drift of Mist looks beautiful with Sherwin Williams Pure White trim or cabinets
7. SHERWIN WILLIAMS AESTHETIC WHITE 7035
Aesthetic White is a soft, light beige in the off-white range, but it’s not just any old beige…
Many popular beige paint colors have a slightly golden, yellow-orange undertone. Aesthetic White DOES have some warmth, but it’s nicely subdued by a wink o’ gray.
The above photo shows the Aesthetic at its warmest. The photo below shows it at its greatest…
WHY IS AESTHETIC WHITE A POPULAR BEIGE PAINT COLOUR?
- Aesthetic White has an LRV of 73, so it’s another on-the-border colour, but I still find that it gives a fab off-white look with no obvious green/purple/blue/colour in it
- it looks beautiful with Sherwin Williams Pure White on trim work
- It’s nice for a north-facing room for a neutral but not particularly warm NOR cold look
- with the way trends are leaning, Aesthetic White is set to be a VERY popular paint colour
Here’s a good shot showing Aesthetic White with a few other off-whites (and Sherwin Williams Pure White)…
8. SHERWIN WILLIAMS MODERATE WHITE 6140
With trends leaning warmer, expect more of this beautiful beige coming your way! Moderate White is an off-white beige with a gentle orange undertone, popular in homes with abundant beige finishes, including carpet, tiles, and countertops.
WHY WILL MODERATE WHITE BE POPULAR IN THE COMING DAYS?
- Trends are leaning warmer, away from gray, and closer to the beige end.
- Moderate White has muted undertones that suit a WIDE range of interior finishes.
- It’s a MODERN take on the heavy rich beiges from the early 2000s.
- Another beauty is Benjamin Moore Maritime White, found HERE.
- The BEST trim color for Moderate White is a lighter version of itself. Ask your paint store to make sample pots 50% and 75% lighter – see which contrast you like best.
9. SHERWIN WILLIAMS WHITE HERON
White Heron is an off-white that’s a real color ninja, flexing its way into a wide variety of homes. This is because White Heron isn’t super committed to a particular neutral and can pick up a slight taupe look and even lean into cream without looking YELLOW like traditional cream paint colors do.
This next image (mid-project) shows the crazy flexibility of White Heron, as well as its slightly higher LRV of 76…
WILL WHITE HERON BE A POPULAR COLOR?
While White Heron has the potential to be a top shade, its subtle pink-taupe undertone will likely hold it back. This isn’t to say it won’t be perfect for YOUR home, but when my Online Paint Color Consulting clients ask for flexible, warm neutrals, they often try to avoid pink.
Just keep in mind…
- White Heron is bright enough to be used in a dark hallway or room
- With its unique blend of undertones, White Heron is SUPER versatile and can suit some trickier surfaces – GIVE IT A TRY!
- White Heron looks beautiful with a more simple approach to white trim or cabinets, something like Sherwin Williams Pure White or Extra White
10. BENJAMIN MOORE CHINA WHITE (SEA PEARL)
China White, also known as Sea Pearl, is a color I’m just starting to spend more time with.
With trends leaning warmer by the day, I need more colors in my toolbelt, and China White is quite handy!
I LOVE its passive, non-committal warmth!
China White (Sea Pearl) is an off-white kind of creamy-tan/beige with THE most muted undertones. This could be a great color for you if you’re not a fan of overt yellow, orange, green, or pink hues. Just remember that the less a color commits to an undertone, the more likely it is to pick up OTHERS via its environment, your light bulbs, or the room’s exposure. This gorgeous off-white has an LRV of 76.43, so it’s a touch lighter than some on this page but still well within the off-white range (NOWHERE near ‘white.’)
If you want a nice white trim color for China White/Sea Pearl, check out Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.
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First published in 2019, awesomely updated in 2023