t_evatt

SW Creamy or Alabaster-which is "warmer"?

E Evartt
October 19, 2019

Can anyone share your experience with Creamy vs Alabaster in terms of undertone and which is warmer? I don't want "yellow", and I don't want bright white. I painted 2 bedrooms in BM White Dove and honestly it a little too "white" for me.(one room east facing, the other west facing). I'd like to tone down the white slightly. I will be doing my entire downstairs, and eventually painting the cabinets. I plan to do the trim in the same as the wall color but change the sheen. Any thoughts on which is a great soft white?

Comments (113)

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya



    Precisely.

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    Finally,


    Since I detailed in great detail the flaws of "Understanding Undertones" and Maria Killam's color wheel, there's a good chance this entire thread will disappear. #colorconsipracytheories

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  • nhb22

    @nhb22 Can you tell me what your trim color is?


    My trim paint is 13 years old. It was a painters white oil from Dulux, I believe. Still looks bright white to me with all of my medium to dark wall colors, but sure it has yellowed. Definitely does not look good with other lighter whites. Our kitchen ceiling is SW Navajo White. Looks great with my trim! The walls are BM Decatur Buff. Both colors are slightly lighter looking in real life.

    Hope this helps!


  • bbtrix

    Because that also means they are especially prone to shifting in light sources that are not balanced across the visible spectrum -AND- in relation to the colors of other colors in context of a space.

    Absolutely! That’s why we homeowners need to sample paint in our own homes, in many rooms, on different walls, under many light conditions using our own eyes.

    @E Evartt, I went through exactly what you are doing last summer when I redid my lower level. I wanted SW Creamy because it looked beautiful in my sis’s home. It looked great in my guest room with lots of natural light but was too yellow for me in the rooms with less light. I sampled so many SW whites, including Greek Villa, and chose Alabaster mostly because I used it in nearly every room in my daughter’s house. Pictures may help you, but really sampling in your own home is really the only way. Here is what Creamy looks like in my sister’s former home. Tons of natural light.

    Here is SW Alabaster in my daughter’s home with SW Extra White trim and doors. no natural light in this hallway.

    SW Alabaster in my lower level guest room with a South and West window.
    SW Alabaster in my laundry room next to IKEA Bodbyn cabs which are very creamy.

    BTW, in my house I used SW Alabaster Emerald Matte for the walls and Emerald Urethane Enamel semi-gloss for trim. I really like the Emerald line! Also, there is no way to snap pictures that accurately represent the colors. All I can relate to you from my experience is that I loved Creamy in my sisters home and I love alabaster in mine. Good luck with your search - it is painful! I hope this thread does not disappear since choosing whites is so difficult and others may learn from the value of the info here.

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    I hope this thread does not disappear


    Read and screen shot while you can.

  • E Evartt

    I hope no one takes this thread down, I started it and have received information on the thread that I am using to help me in finalizing paint color choices. Thank you all for your responses.

  • E Evartt

    @bbtrix Thank you for all these pictures!!! yes, I totally understand about how the paint colors will look different in each home, but it still helps me a lot to see these pictures! And wow, based on your pictures, I would say that I love both Creamy and Alabaster. One of my rooms that I will be painting is south and west facing. Even from your pictures, I can see the warmth in creamy vs Alabaster.

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    @E Evartt, I feel bad that your thread was hijacked. :(

  • ladas

    In my house wall color is very much affected by what’s on the floor (for example dark blue black tile versus warm caramel hardwood) and what kind of light the room gets. And in my bathroom (with a dark gray floor with chocolate undertones) Shoreline is close to taupe.

  • bbtrix

    @E Evartt, you’re welcome! I know what you’re going through and I appreciated pictures too! Here’s a few more. These have Alabaster walls and Extra White trim in different lighting

    Alabaster walls and trim.

  • E Evartt

    @Lori A. Sawaya no, please do not apologize. I appreciate all the comments, I have learned a lot and I especially appreciate that you take the time like you do to explain so in depth. I have very often had a hard time with the descriptors of "undertones" because as I've mentioned in my posts, I understand that what looks warm and creamy in my home, may seem cold and gray in another. Please continue to give your thoughts, I appreciate your knowledge.

  • E Evartt

    @ladas yes, we just added a study to our home and I painted the builtins in Benjamin Moore Cheating Heart. The cabinets definitely throw off a blue cast onto the surrounding wall which is an off white color!

  • E Evartt

    @bbtrix interesting, in those last pictures-the Alabaster appears to me as a "vanilla" white, or slightly off white. I love that look. Hmm..I am going to have to get some Alabaster and test it.

    P.S....cute little guy..I miss those days..mine are all grown :(

  • Bunny

    Are you all sure that Lori is right and I, along with some very well respected color experts are all wrong?

    "All" encompasses a lot of people. Every single one.

    I don't know--am not sure--that Jennifer Hogan and other very well respected color experts are all wrong, or if just some are, or maybe none are. That needs a whole other thread.

    I do know that Lori's expertise has helped me immensely. In my situation(s) she was right. I'm sure of it.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    I will also defend Lori's incredible knowledge and gracious sharing of it on this site.

    As for the "very well respected color experts" that's also very subjective and one woman's opinion.

  • mrichter54

    bbtrix, from a desktop browser save the page as html. You will be able to open and view the thread (up to the point at which you saved it) in your browser even if the page or web site no longer exists.

    I just did that to be able to reference the knowledge Lori shared here. Thank you Lori!

    And thank you E Evartt for starting this thread. I'm hoping some day to stumble on a better color for my walls, one I'm considering is SW Alabaster, but sadly Lori's great Best White Paint Colors chart doesn't include Behr paints, so can't compare - hoping not to need to repaint Behr Polar Bear trim :) .

    E Evartt thanked mrichter54
  • gardener123wewantsophie

    So, maybe I'll ask here. (Did a separate post, no replies).

    Can I do Alabaster kitchen cabs with Alabaster walls and ceiling, instead of matching the Dover White trim? Other option is SW Pure White.

    Dover looks a bit yellow at night (great in the day). Alabaster holds more true.

    Low gloss or satin on the cabinets?

    ETA apologies to OP EEvartt

  • chloebud

    "I just did that to be able to reference the knowledge Lori shared here."

    I've done that myself several times. :-)

  • PRO
    PaintColorHelp.com Dallas

    @mrichter54, Behr's Polar Bear is 96.3 L, 3.3 C, with a hue angle of 101.3 Yellow.

    If you used SW 7008 Alabaster on your walls next to that, it is 93L/5.6C/99.9H in Yellow family. So yes, those should be compatible. The trim will appear brighter and whiter, since it's lower chroma. Behr's colors are among the highest LRVs because their white base starts out so pure.


    I used their products in my 60s house, and in the guest room where I have a jade green blanket over the bed, plus light from a big picture window, it's unbelievable how it casts an aqua light on certain parts of the wall. It's just the reflection from the blanket onto a very light wall color in a Behr paint product. Interesting though.

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    Behr's colors are among the highest LRVs because their white base starts out so pure.


    Interesting tidbit of color tracking info. Noted.

  • PRO
    PaintColorHelp.com Dallas

    @gardener123wewantsophie, I don't see any reason why you have to keep using Dover if you want something less yellow. I think Pure White would be a little too stark; it would just make Dover look even yellower.


    As I referenced above, SW 7008 Alabaster (in the LCh model) is roughly 93L/5.6C/99.9H.

    SW 6385 Dover White, using that same system, is about 93.7L/8.2C/99.3H. Same part of the yellow family, but Alabaster is closer to neutral. I'm surprised to see that they are about equal in Lightness, would have figured Dover to look darker. So unless you want the walls to be noticeably lighter or darker than your trim, this combo would technically work.


    Sorry to butt in on the discussion, but I finished early today and as you can see, I'm bored. I've already cleaned the fridge and this is much more interesting. ; )

  • mrichter54

    PaintColorHelp, thank you for that info! Getting a sample. Thanks again E Evartt for sharing your thread.

  • E Evartt

    @katinparadise I've had the same happen to me! I mentioned above about having built-ins painted BM Cheating Heart, which is a pretty deep color, and how it casts a blue tone onto my lighter walls adjacent. The wall paint is Sherwin Williams


  • E Evartt

    Another question regarding SW Creamy vs. Alabaster- I know that many people paint their trim in Alabaster when they paint the walls Alabaster. Does any one have any recommendations for a trim color when using Creamy? Ideally I'd like to have my trim color the same throughout the house.

  • gardener123wewantsophie

    Thanks Paintcolorhelp!

  • PRO
    CK Hoffman Design

    Alabaster is a good "classic" white - not to bright, not too dark, no pinky or blue cast - just white - it's perfect for ceilings. Creamy is nice, it has more of a yellow tone to it... I saw someone mention Westhighland White earlier - this is probably right in between. Creamy is typicaly NOT a good color for Trim - too yellow. My go to's for trim are: Snowbound and Westhighland White. Hope this helps...

    E Evartt thanked CK Hoffman Design
  • Sylva Leduc

    E Evartt, you asked, "Has anyone used Creamy and if so can you give me your thoughts? I do know that lighting is different in everyone's home, but would still love to hear what comments are on Creamy."


    I'll provide my experience with Creamy. I, too, though it would look warm in our great room. But that is not what has happened. Our great room faces west and has three large patio windows (8' tall and 12' wide) made of Low-E glass which cast a green light inside the house. In this same thread, I'd asked Lori how Low-E impacts the light and she responded that it depends. She also recommended that I keep track of all the testing I am doing.


    So, I have been examining more and taking notes. The ceiling height in the dining nook and by the patio doors is 10', and with the vaulted ceiling is app. 13' at the highest point in the middle of the room. Outside the great room, is a covered patio which is about 10' high.


    Since I know how hard it may be to track what I described, I included our floorplan showing where the sun is in the afternoon.



    As the light enters the room the color changes. In the morning, the great room looks grey and dingy so I leave the warm 3000K LED lights on.


    In the afternoon, on the wall with the door to the laundry/garage (yellow arrow), from floor level to about 8', Creamy is light creamy yellow with a greenish hue. And then, from 8'-13' it looks less green and has more of a sickly grey tinge. On the wall in the kitchen (other yellow arrow) the color is darker but has the same green look to it.


    This afternoon, I invited our new painter over so that he could see what I've been talking about since I'm trying to decide which is the best color for this space. I showed him the wall directly across from the patio doors (yellow arrow). He said he could sort of see what I meant about the wall color looking like it has a hint of green Then I opened the patio door, all the natural light flooded in and the color was much brighter - the way that I expected Creamy to be. He was shocked, saying he'd never before seen the color of walls change as much.


    So, it's not just the paint color. It is the color, the light(s), the direction of the sun and, in our case, the Low-E glass.


    Hope that helps.

    E Evartt thanked Sylva Leduc
  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    Then I opened the patio door, all the natural light flooded in and the color was much brighter - the way that I expected Creamy to be. He was shocked, saying he'd never before seen the color of walls change as much.


    Wow.


    Wonder if full spectrum paint colors would render differently. Benjamin Moore has Color Stories and also C2 Paints are available in limited markets.

  • Sylva Leduc

    I've not heard of full spectrum paint colors. I'm in the Phoenix area and it doesn't appear there are any C2 Paints stores here. I'll check out BM's Color Stories. Thanks for the tip, Lori.

  • CC

    I just wanted to chime in and say, Lori A. Sawaya is a rockstar! She knows her stuff. I’m not sure what Jennifer’s problem is but she probably needs to spend less time on Pinterest. I am also an artist and I’ve found Lori’s information to be invaluable and has completely transformed the way I see color. Lori is the best!

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    BM is full spectrum paint. C2 isn’t in our area either. Daughter arrives in 3 hours! Others on Friday. No time. Talk to you later. Have a Blessed day!

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    For my artist friends you should check out David Briggs and Maggie Maggio.


    They both have an evidence-based approach to color like me but instead of applying it to the built environment, they apply it to painting and art.

  • E Evartt

    @loriasawaya I will be honest, I had to google to read what was meant by "full spectrum paint". Could you explain the benefit of this?

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    Yeah, that gets deep and complicated.


    I spent about a year mixing full spectrum paint colors.


    The theory is if you do not use black or gray to create complex colors, you get a different result.


    You should only mix other "colors" to create new tints, tones and shades of colors - never black or gray.


    It's a theory and debate that goes back centuries. Artists who like how colors look when black is used to tone color vs artists who believe that any trace of black "kills" color and its inherent luminosity.


    The difference is measurable in terms of a spectral curve.


    The debate centers around how much that spectral curve matters because COLOR APPEARANCE is the same.


    In other words, there is more than one way to combine colorants/pigments to make the same color.


    You can use full spectrum color mixing theory to make a match of a regular paint color.


    Since they both look the same, are they actually different?


    The answer is technically yes, they are different because they refelect light differently.


    A tangible example of exploiting the benefits of not using black to mix and match paint colors are the vinyl safe paint products. Sherwin-Williams has "Vinyl Safe" colors. Benjamin Moore is in the process of discontinuing theirs. No black in the mix means the colors reflect more light and solar energy which keeps the vinyl cooler and helps avoid warping.


    Another tangible example is Munsell neutral gray paint available from GTI. It's a balanced across the full spectrum color of gray. I don't know how they make it, but when it's dry its reflectance is balanced. There's a graph at the bottom of the page linked that illustrates what I'm talking about.


    So, the question is since we can see physical reflecantace differences in full spectrum colors, is there some kind of positive and useful affect/effect that can be leveraged in the built environment?


    In my experience, because of its unique reflectance profile, full spectrum paint colors with no black in the mix can be the answer to impossibly unbalanced inherent light sources, like it leans heavily green.


    And then there's the whole metaphysical lane you can go down too. Read more here.

    E Evartt thanked Lori A. Sawaya
  • Sylva Leduc

    Lori, I'm convinced! Last night, I read a lot about full spectral paint including your article. And I checked out the colors available at Benjamin Moore.


    Am I correct in thinking that one's level of color discernment impacts whether the black pigment makes a color look muddy? I can see very fine differences in color and shifts according to light and reflection. My husband and friends sometimes give me that sideways glance when I talk about color nuances.


    Since I finished my last client meeting for the day, I'm now heading to BM to see what I can find.

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    I can see very fine differences in color and shifts according to light and reflection. My husband and friends sometimes give me that sideways glance when I talk about color nuances.


    Ooooooooh, I see. You are "one of those people". I've met many like you because all things color from typical resources don't align with how you see color and people seek me out because I have a different approach.


    It's not a bad thing but it sure can make it more complicated. And you're not crazy or too picky.


    Totally could explain why you're not finding your color. Throw in the window situation and you have your work cut out for you. Not gonna lie.

  • Sylva Leduc

    Wish Houzz had a laugh emoji.

  • Sylva Leduc

    Here's an example of when I've been perceived as, "one of those people." I ordered some replacement lampshades from Restoration Hardware. The color is called white. When they arrived, the color of the linen was a beautiful, clean, crisp ivory. But one was damaged so another shade was sent in its place. But when it arrived, I could see the color differences. The second shade was the slightest bit darker and no longer looked clean and crisp. When I returned all three of them to the store, the salespeople said they were the same until I held the three of them side by side, and also compared them to the shades in the store. That's when they shared they now have a new manufacturing plant or a new manufacturing process, so the light, clean colored shades are no longer available.



  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    Yep. Oh girl, I get it.

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    😂😂😂

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    Houzz just put emojis on the system. They haven’t fixed any real problems but at least we can distract ourselves with cute faces etc. 🤭🎨

  • Sylva Leduc

    So now that I know that the Low-E glass we chose is definitely casting a green on our rug, furniture and walls, I've been trying other colors that are still light and bright without picking up the green. I tried SW Panda White, but it still had the dingy green/grey. Then I tried SW Downy and it is nearly identical to SW Panda White but has a bit more pink or peach. But it doesn't look pink/peach. It is also not nearly as muddy, dingy or green as Panda White. And it actually looks Creamy!


    Lori A. Sawaya, can you help me to figure what's going on? Has the pink canceled out some of the green from the windows?

  • PRO
    Lori A. Sawaya

    And it actually looks Creamy!


    This is a good thing, right? Is Downy going to work?

  • Jennifer Hogan

    Sylva,


    Back on Jan 7th I I advised you " To combat the green you need to add pink/peach to the color. To combat the low light gray you need to have more saturated color or a higher chroma. "


    I also gave you the link to Maria Killam's article on how to combat green where she used C2 Wedding cake to create creamy walls that were green from the reflected outdoor light.


    I don't blame you for not trusting me after the disagreements here, but that is exactly what happened and why Downy worked.


    Downy
    CIE-L*ab = 92.639 0.051 5.618
    CIE-L*Ch(ab) = 92.639 5.618 89.480°


    Creamy
    CIE-L*ab = 92.875 -0.803 7.457
    CIE-L*Ch(ab) = 92.875 7.500 96.147°

  • Sylva Leduc

    Yes, this is a good thing. It doesn't look pink, peach, grey or green. Just a light, warm, creamy white. It looked great this afternoon. And it still looks good now with the 3000K overhead light on in the kitchen.


    I'll check in the morning to see if the lack of direct light does anything weird.

  • Rosa

    It may be too yellow for you, but when I wanted a warm white SW whitetail was recommended to me (I used on trim, but would have used on walls). I really liked it.


  • Sylva Leduc

    Thanks for commenting, Rosa. Whitetail was one of the colors I tried, along with Paperwhite. Yes, they were both too yellow

  • Sylva Leduc

    Thanks, Jennifer, for reminding me that you suggested more pink or peach.


  • Rosa

    Sylvia - amazing how different color can look ! I also tried but did not use paper white. I did not see yellow with it but more a dirtiness (for lack of better word). Not at all saying wrong you saw yellow (as I have seen colors look so different in different lights) just would have thought whitetail could look yellow but never would have guessed that about paper white but for your comment. So interesting !

  • PRO
    Sandy LeRoy

    To me, Maria, Kylie, and their ilk aren’t true color experts, just very good marketers who’ve monetized their color points of view, which unfortunately are vague and/or inaccurate, and above all, lacking a basis in color science. They part of the color analysis and communication problem, not part of the solution.

    “Yellow beige” and “wink o’ green” prove my point, whereas the Colographies developed by Lori Sawaya give precise color data values that facilitate easy analysis and comparisons. Lori is the true color expert, hands down, and she shares her knowledge generously, clearly, politely, and with a twinkle.

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