Benjamin Moore & Sherwin Williams: Top 5 Off-White Paint Colours
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 there are!
Splashes of blue touches of violet, hints of green or even PINK – 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.
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 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 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’S 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 a few more of today’s most POPULAR off-whites. These colours 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.
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 favours a very (very) mild purple undertone that doesn’t always show up to the party, and when it does, it’s quite passive. It can also flash slightly warm violet (violet-pink) vs cool violet (violet-blue), but I’ve never seen it do that to the point where it looks 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?’ – it’s that subtle. I just don’t want you to be surprised once it’s on your walls!
See the DRASTIC before and after’s HERE
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, offering a beautiful contrast with white trim (ie. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace)
- in some lights, Classic Gray can look quite greige, but really, it’s a warm gray
- while Classic Gray FAVOURS gray, it never looks icy cold like traditional gray paint colours
- with its subtle warmth, Classic Gray is MORE likely to last longer than some of the other gray paint colours
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, but rather than having the subtle purple of Classic Gray, it has a wink more warmth with a touch of cream/yellow. I also love the slightly darker approach of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist.
You might also like the approach of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist, which is similar to Classic Gray but has a bit more depth and body to it.
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.
Having used this colour in my brother’s house (not shown above, pictures are coming soon), 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 story.
Check out my White Duck Colour Review VIDEO!
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
WHICH PAINT COLOURS ARE SIMILAR TO WHITE DUCK?
3. 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…
VIOLET. Remember, every gray will have an undertone, and Silver Satin favours a very slight violet. If you like the general look of Silver Satin, but want your walls LIGHTER, Benjamin Moore Calm has a similar approach.
SILVER SATIN’S LRV & A LITTLE MORE
- Silver Satin 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 Sherwin Williams Pure White or Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace on trim work
WHAT PAINT COLOURS ARE SIMILAR TO SILVER SATIN?
A good comparison/alternative would be Sherwin Williams Toque White which is just a touch warmer. I also like Eider White, which you’ll learn about shortly. HOWEVER, I prefer the subtle approach of Silver Satin to BOTH of those paint colours.
Click HERE or on the above image to see the available packages!
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to 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 DAY, 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
Learn all about saving money on paint samples with SAMPLIZE HERE
4. SHERWIN WILLIAMS CREAMY SW 7012
Creamy is definitely one of my favourite warm off-white paint colours that’s NOT beige or gray!
I’ve had a lot of clients say they love cream, but don’t love yellow. So…(awkward moment) 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 it’s more of a neutral/cream and less of a colour/yellow.
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 colours
- it’s beautiful on walls, but don’t be tempted to put it on trim or cabinets
WHICH PAINT COLOURS ARE SIMILAR TO CREAMY?
If you’d like something with a wee wink more colour, take a look at Benjamin Moore Timid White which is just slightly less neutral/more creamy yellow (also check out Benjamin Moore White Down). If you want a lighter shade, more in the WHITE range, check out Sherwin Williams Alabaster or Dover White.
5. 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 the Aesthetic at its warmest. The photo below shows it at its grayest…
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)…
A few other popular off-whites to consider…
SHERWIN WILLIAMS DRIFT OF MIST 9166
Drift of Mist is a beautiful off-white neutral with a subtle warmth that can pick up an interesting green undertone. TRUTHFULLY, it’s more of a light depth paint colour, but it’s on the higher side of that range. Read all about it HERE.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS EIDER WHITE 7014
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.
BENJAMIN MOORE 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.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS SHOJI WHITE 7042
Shoji White is a gorgeous off-white greige (more beige than gray) that CAN…but doesn’t always, pick up a very vague green. It’s VERY similar to White Duck. Try it, you might like it!
SHERWIN WILLIAMS EGRET WHITE 7570
Egret White is an off-white that is a warm taupe with a subtle feminine purple undertone. More of a warm purple.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS DOVER WHITE 6385
Dover White is an off-white cream. 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 off-whites like this on those surfaces).
Want to know which off-whites are best for YOUR room?
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First published in 2019, awesomely updated in 2022