A comprehensive guide to Sherwin Williams Alabaster undertones

The greige undertones in Sherwin Williams’s Alabaster are what makes the color so soft and creamy, and they keep it from being too stark.

The differences between two paint colors may seem negligible, but they will have a huge impact on what the color looks like in your space.

Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is often mistaken for a true neutral paint color. But it actually has subtle greige undertones, which gives the color a soft creaminess.

Paint color undertones and why you should care

It should not take long for all of the paint swatches that you have carefully picked out at your local hardware store or paint store, to start blending together once you have all of them together.

But, although some shades from different brands (and sometimes even within the same brand) can appear similar at first glance, they may actually have a few crucial differences.

These differences often come down to the undertones of a paint color. The undertones of a color may not always be immediately apparent, but they can affect the way the color interacts with the other elements in your design.

A comprehensive guide to Sherwin Williams Alabaster undertones

When it comes to light neutral paint colors like the fan-favorite off-white color, Alabaster from Sherwin Williams (SW 7008), it can be especially difficult to determine not only what the shade’s specific undertones are, but also how they will affect your overall design.

Alabaster is an incredibly popular choice, and this color is often used as the main color or trim color (or both) in a vast range of spaces and design styles.

However, if you want to know when and where Alabaster looks best, you need to know what the color’s undertones are.

One of the reasons why Alabaster is so incredibly versatile is because it is such a light color, with an LRV of 82. But what really gives Alabaster its charm is the color’s balanced greige undertones.

The beige tones give Alabaster its lovely, warm glow, but the grey tones keep the color from looking overly yellow and help Alabaster to maintain that earthy look and feel even in extremely warm lighting conditions.

This combination of warm and cool tones often gives you the best of both worlds since Alabaster usually brings a lot of brightness to a space, without making the space feel stark and uninviting, because of those warm and creamy tones.

How Alabaster compares to other popular light neutrals

Knowing which undertones make up a paint color like Alabaster can go a long way to help you understand how this paint color will interact with a space.

But seeing Alabaster right next to other, similar light neutral colors is the best way to understand the impact that these tones will have on the overall design.

For instance, Alabaster may look fairly neutral on its own. However, when you place this color next to slightly brighter white paint colors like Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Pure White by Sherwin Williams, those creamy tones become really apparent:

Alabaster – Sherwin Williams White Dove – Benjamin Moore Pure White – Sherwin Williams

But then again, placing Alabaster next to even creamier colors like Sherwin Williams’s Greek Villa, or Benjamin Moore’s Alabaster shows you how well-balanced those creamy tones truly are:

Alabaster – Sherwin Williams Greek Villa – Sherwin Williams Alabaster – Benjamin Moore

What happens to Alabaster’s undertones in warm light?

Warm light (like what you will see in south-facing rooms and west-facing rooms later on in the day) will intensify Alabaster’s subtle warmth. It also makes the color seem much creamier than it may have appeared in the store or online.

Though many people are averse to these yellow tones, they can help to give your space a lovely soft glow. Moreover, they are part of the reason why Alabaster is often used in comfy, cozy spaces like bedrooms and kitchens.

Can you use Alabaster in spaces with cool light?

Warm lighting will really help Alabaster to show its subtle undertones, but this does not mean that you cannot use the color in a space with cool-toned light.

In fact, Alabaster has become quite a popular all-over color to use throughout an entire house.

This is because even though the color appears  a little more muted in cool-toned light, its creamy tones still keep the room from feeling too drab and dull, even if you will not get the same glow.

You can even try to enhance Alabaster’s warmth by adding soft warm-toned lighting into the space.

Things to keep in mind about Alabaster’s creamy tone

Alabaster’s warmer greige undertones can be ideal when you want to keep a space from appearing too stark.

But it is important to remember that this color is not light or neutral enough to ever look like a clean, crisp white like other pure whites like High Reflective White would. These shades are placed side by side below:

Alabaster – Sherwin Williams High Reflective White – Sherwin Williams

Where Alabaster will shine

Alabaster has long been regarded as one of the most versatile shades in the entire Sherwin Williams range. This is because it pairs well with both warmer and cooler tones.

Alabaster even works excellently on the exterior of homes, since the greige tones prevent the color from looking completely washed out in natural light.

If you are apprehensive about what Alabaster will look like in your space, your best bet is to create your own large paint swatches using a small amount of the paint and a few large poster boards.

You can place these all around your space so that you can see how this color interacts with the surroundings.

When is Alabaster not the right choice?

If you wholeheartedly dislike yellow, or any kind of warm and creamy tones, Alabaster may not be the right choice for your space.

Although this color will pair well with other cool tones like grey, blue, green and even black shades, the subtle warmth of its greige undertones will always be present.

You should also be careful if your space already includes some stark white elements, as this will make Alabaster look even creamier by comparison.