Reality

Simply White vs Alabaster

Simply White and Alabaster are both the perfect warm white paint colors, but Simply White is lighter, whereas Alabaster is creamier.

Picking the right white paint color for your space often turns out to be more complicated than it may have seemed at first.

For instance, while Simply White by Benjamin Moore and Alabaster by Sherwin Williams are both extremely popular warm white shades, they differ when it comes to their undertones and LRVs. Hence, they will not always work in the same spaces.

Picking the right white paint color

Choosing your paint colors and color palette is always one of the most important steps in any design process. But that does not mean that this step is easy.

Adding a white paint color into your palette is a great way to bring balance to the space, but choosing the right white paint color is much more complicated than it may seem.

White paint colors, just like any other shade, have a combination of undertones and also come in varying degrees of brightness, which means that not every white paint color will work for every space.

Simply White vs Alabaster

Many homeowners choose to go with a white paint color because they think that this is a safe and easy choice. And, while white paint colors can certainly create a timeless, classic design, not all white paint colors are made equally.

Simply White by Benjamin Moore and Alabaster by Sherwin Williams are both incredibly popular off-white paint colors which are preferred by designers and DIY-enthusiasts because of their versatility and flexibility.

However, even though these two shades may appear very similar on a swatch or in a tin, you will notice pretty quickly that when you place them right next to each other, they are actually very different beneath the surface:

Simply White – Benjamin Moore
(OC-117)
Alabaster – Sherwin Williams
(SW7 7008)

Simply White and Alabaster are both best-selling shades (Alabaster was even named the Sherwin Williams Color of the Month in April 2022).

However, Simply White is a much softer warm white than Alabaster, which makes them suited to entirely disparate projects.

Simply White is also slightly lighter, which is why it will be the better choice if you are looking for that perfect almost-white shade with just a little bit of warmth.

Whereas Alabaster is usually the better choice if you need a shade that leans into its creaminess, but is still not overly yellow or dark.

Neither of these colors will be the right choice if you are looking for a stark white or a color to pair with stark white trim and appliances.

Comparing Simply White and Alabaster’s LRVs

The LRV (Light Reflectance Value) of a color indicates how much visible light the color reflects. The higher the LRV (or the closer to 100, which is pure white), the more light is reflected and the lighter that color is.

Simply White has an LRV of 89.52, which is quite a few steps lighter than Alabaster’s LRV of 82.

This is why, even though Simply White and Alabaster can technically both be classified as white paint shades, Simply White usually gives a much cleaner, crisper look.

Comparing Simply White and Alabaster’s undertones

Alabaster’s slightly lower LRV is not the only thing that makes this color appear creamier than Simply White.

Alabaster and Simply White are both warm white paint colors, which get their warmth from their subtle yellow undertones. But Simply White’s yellow undertones are much softer than Alabaster’s.

Although Alabaster is still not an overtly cream color, these more noticeable yellow undertones are what can make the color appear creamier than Simply White, and even almost muddy in some lighting situations.

The best way to pick between the two

While comparing Alabaster and Simply White on paper can help you understand the nuances of each shade, there are many things that can influence the way that a color looks in your space.

This is why creating your own large non-permanent paint sample swatches is the absolute best, surefire way to determine whether Simply White or Alabaster is the better choice for your space. To do this, you need to:

  • Purchase a paint sample of each shade
  • Use these paint samples to paint large foam boards to use as sample swatches (remember to mark which boards are painted in which color and give each board at least three coats)
  • Place these boards all around the space at different heights and angles. Also make sure that you get both shady and sunny spots
  • Observe the swatches over the course of a few days to determine which color you prefer.