Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams: Best Off-Whites
I get asked about off-whites ALL the time, the most common question being, ‘I was thinking of using ‘this’ colour, are there any sneaky undertones I should know about?’ Well, let me tell you, there are almost ALWAYS sneaky undertones you should know about.
Splashes of blue, touches of purple, hints of green – off-whites are DAMN hard to choose. And whatever happened to the ease of builder beige anyways? Just joking, NOBODY wants builder beige to come back.
Now, 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.
All About: Off-White Paint Colours
When it comes to LRV, it can be tricky to know just where the cut off is between white, off-white and light. 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 62 is the magic LRV 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 they will still show some contrast with a standard white trim. Once the LRV goes higher than 82-ish, you’re in the white range. If the LRV goes lower than 73-ish, you’re in the ‘light’ range, which is slightly darker than the off-white range. Again, if you want more info, read all about it here.
So, light colour = higher LRV = more light reflection. This means that if the light it is given 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, your off-white walls might pick up a hint of green. If your close neighbour’s home is painted red, your off-white walls might look a tad pink as that red is reflected on to your walls AND the LRV of your walls reflect it back. And then there’s exposure (north/south/east/west facing) which ALL all have their own colour quirks. Add all of those 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 is why we’re having our lil’ chat today, as I’ve pulled together some of my fave off-whites, as well as some comments on some of today’s most POPULAR off-whites. These are colours that are relatively neutral, but that doesn’t mean they are 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 will at least get you started!
Benjamin Moore Classic Gray – OC 23
Classic Gray is a warm gray in the off-white range.
Now any gray (even warm ones) will have blue, purple, green, or a mix of those undertones and this is no exception! It favours a very (very) mild purple undertone, that doesn’t always show up to the party. When it does, it’s UBER passive. Now it can flash slightly warm purple (pink) vs cool (purple), but I’ve never seen it do that to the point where it looks pink, it’s just a slightly warmer purple. And as usual, I’m being anal. You might look at this colour and think, ‘good Lord, what IS she talking about?’ – it’s that subtle. I just don’t want you to have any surprises once it’s up on your walls!
See the DRASTIC before and after’s here
A bit more about Classic Gray
- It 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 SLIGHTLY beige or greige, but really, it’s a warm gray
Similar to Classic Gray
If Classic Gray doesn’t quite hit the spot, check out Benjamin Moore Gray Mist. It’s an off-white (heavy off-white) that is a greige, but rather than having the subtle purple of Classic Gray, it has a wink more warmth and can almost grab a touch of cream/yellow.
Read more: Benjamin Moore’s Best Gray Paint Colours
Sherwin Williams White Duck – SW 7010
I LOVE White Duck as it’s the perfect blend of greige and cream.
Having used this colour in my brother’s house, I’ve been able to see firsthand how it shifts from a beige/greige blend (but never definitively gray or beige) into a really subdued, neutralized cream. Mad love. I’ve also been able to see firsthand how lucky he is to have me in his life. True.
Check out my White Duck Colour Review Video
A bit more about White Duck
- It has an LRV of 74, so it really is on the border of off-white and light
- It’s great if you’re looking for a warm, but not OBVIOUSLY beige, gray or creamy neutral
- Like Aesthetic White (below), it’s one of the few with no obvious undertone to wrestle with
- In the above photo, it’s shown with BM Edgecomb Gray cabinets – super wicked combo
- A great choice for a north, east, west or south-facing room. The passive warmth can help counteract the cooler exposures, while the greige base can help calm down the warmer ones!
Similar to White Duck
If White Duck is close, but no cigar, check out Shoji White, which we’ll take a closer look at below.
Benjamin Moore Silver Satin – OC 26
Silver Satin is the grayest of the bunch, being a soft, slightly warm gray, but it DOES have a sneaky undertone to consider…
PURPLE. Remember, every gray will have an undertone and Silver Satin favours a vague purple.
A bit more about Silver Satin
- It has an LRV of 76, so it’s sittin’ 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 SW Pure White or BM Oxford White on trim work
Similar to Silver Satin
Sherwin Williams Creamy – SW 7012
Now, I’ve had a lot of clients say that they love cream, but don’t love yellow. Sooooo, cream IS yellow, it’s just yellow with a neutral base added to it and that’s JUST what you get when you choose Creamy. The neutral base calms it down so that it’s more of a ‘neutral/cream’ and less of a ‘colour/yellow’.
A bit more about Creamy…
- Creamy has an LRV Of 81, which is an UBER fab off-white depth, on the lighter side of it
- It looks good with SW Pure White or BM Cloud White trim
- It is beautiful on walls, but don’t be tempted to put it on trim or cabinets
Similar to Creamy
If you’d like something with a wee wink more colour, take a look at BM Timid White which is just slightly less neutral/more creamy yellow.
Read more: The Best Cream Paint Colours: Benjamin Moore
Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White – SW 7035
Aesthetic White is a soft, light beige in the off-white range, but it’s not just any old beige…
A lot of popular beige paint colours have a slightly golden, yellow-orange undertone to them. Aesthetic White DOES have some warmth, but it’s nicely subdued by a wink o’ gray.
The above photo shows Aesthetic at its warmest. The photo below shows it at its grayest…
A bit more about Aesthetic White…
- It 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 SW Alabaster or Pure White on trim work
- It’s nice for a north facing room for a neutral, but not particularly warm NOR cold look
An alternative to Aesthetic White
Oooo, Aesthetic is kind of a creature unto itself. I’d say that Shoji White, again, is a good alternative (but I still love my Aesthetic).
A few other tricky, but popular off-whites to consider…
SW 7014 Eider White
Eider White is a gorgeous off-white that is a barely warm gray. However, it can flash a NOT quite as subtle purple undertone. Deal-breaker? No, but certainly something to keep in mind.
BM Intense White OC 51
Intense White is a gray in the off-white range, a slightly stormy (so not icy cold) gray. It can often pick up an interesting green undertone.
SW 7042 Shoji White
Shoji White is a gorgeous off-white greige (more beige than gray) that CAN…but doesn’t always, pick up a very vague green. Try it, you might like it!
SW 7570 Egret White
Egret White is an off-white that is a warm greige with a subtle feminine purple undertone. More of a warm purple.
SW 6385 Dover White
Dover White is an off-white cream. However, while Creamy has a more subtle neutral base to calm it down, Dover White has a slightly more obvious yellow to it, which often surprises people once they see it on trim/cabinets (which is why I’m not a fan of it on those surfaces).
Want to know which off-whites are best for YOUR room?
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