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Is off white and beige the same?


Off white and beige are two similar neutral colors that are often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences between them that set them apart. This article will examine the definitions of off white and beige, look at their HEX codes and RGB values, compare undertones and shades, analyze their use in design, and help you determine if they are the same color or not.

Defining Off White

Off white is a light neutral paint color that is nearly white but has a slight cream or gray cast. It falls between white and beige on the color spectrum. Off white gets its name because it is an “off” version of pure clean white. It has a very subtle warm or cool undertone that gives it more character than bright white.

Here are some key facts about off white:

– It’s paler and brighter than beige. Off white reflects more light than beige.

– The warm version has a faint yellow/cream undertone. The cool version has a faint blue/gray undertone.

– It can be used as an alternative to stark white to soften a space.

– Off white has more personality and depth than plain white.

– It creates a calm, soothing atmosphere.

– Works well in any minimalist or modern decor.

Defining Beige

Beige is a pale neutral taupe-like shade that can range from a warm sand to a cooler tan or biscuit color. It falls between white and brown on the color wheel. The term “beige” comes from the French word for natural wool that has been neither bleached nor dyed.

Here are some key facts about beige:

– It has more color saturation than off white – particularly warm golden undertones.

– Tends to be more yellow/brown than off white which is more white/gray.

– The warm version is like a pale sand. The cool version is like a pale biscuit or tan.

– It’s inherently a warm and calm neutral color.

– Beige is associated with understated elegance and pared-back style.

– Works well for accent walls, furniture upholstery, and textiles.

Comparing HEX Codes

HEX codes are a way to denote colors using a 6-digit combination of letters and numbers. Let’s look at the main HEX codes for off white and beige to compare them:

Off White HEX Codes

– Warm Off White: #FDFCF5
– Cool Off White: #F8F8F8

Beige HEX Codes

– Warm Beige: #F5F5DC
– Cool Beige: #F5F5F5

You can see the beige codes are slightly more saturated than the off white codes which have more Fs – meaning they contain more white. The beige codes introduce more color letters like D for tan and C for biscuit.

Comparing RGB Values

RGB values define colors using varying intensities of red, green, and blue on a 0-255 scale. Here are the RGB values for key off whites and beiges:

Color R Value G Value B Value
Warm Off White 253 252 245
Cool Off White 248 248 248
Warm Beige 245 245 220
Cool Beige 245 245 245

Again, this shows off white skews whiter while beige introduces more color saturation. The warm beige in particular has a much lower blue value than the other shades.


One of the biggest differences between off white and beige is their undertones.

Off white skews to more of a white or gray undertone. The warm version introduces only a touch of cream and the cool version only a touch of pale gray.

Beige has much more prominent golden, tan, biscuit, or sand undertones. It appears more brown, yellow, or taupe.

This means beige has a inherent warmth while off white is derived from white so it maintains more of a clean, icy undertone.


There are many shades of off white and beige. However, generally off whites are paler while beiges allow for deeper, darker, more saturated hues.

Some common shades include:

Light Off Whites

– Alabaster
– Eggshell
– Whisper White

Darker Off Whites

– French Vanilla
– Chantilly Lace
– Linen White

Light Beiges

– Cream
– Buttercream
– Biscuit

Darker Beiges

– Camel
– Khaki
– Taupe
– Sienna

So while lighter colors may seem similar, the deeper shades help distinguish beige’s brownness from off white’s white/grayness.

Design Uses

How are off white and beige used in design? Here are some of their key applications:

Off White Uses

– A popular wall color as an alternative to bright white. Provides a soft, cozy feel.

– Used in modern, minimalist spaces to create a clean but warm backdrop.

– Popular in bathrooms and kitchens for a crisp, clean look.

– Often used for trims, ceilings, and doors in rooms with bolder wall colors.

– Sheets and bedding in off white appear sophisticated.

Beige Uses

– A warm, welcoming wall color associated with understated elegance.

– Used in living rooms, bedrooms, and offices to create a calm mood.

– Popular for sofas, armchairs, and rugs to ground a space.

– Adds a vintage, antique, or retro feel to a room.

– Prominent in Mediterranean, Tuscan, and southwest interiors.

– Sheets and bedding in beige have an earthy, cozy vibe.

So while off white leans modern and elegant, beige is more vintage, antique, and informal.

Are They the Same?

While off white and beige can sometimes overlap and be used interchangeably, they are distinctly different colors.

Key Differences

– Off white is paler, closer to white. Beige is more saturated with color pigment.

– Off white has white and gray undertones. Beige has prominent golden, tan, sand undertones.

– Off white skews modern, elegant, and clean. Beige skews vintage, retro, and cozy.

– Off white works well in minimalist spaces. Beige works well in traditional, rustic spaces.

– Light shades can appear similar. But darker off whites remain pale while deeper beiges become distinctly brown.

So in summary, while off white and beige are closely related neutral colors, off white is a pale white alternative while beige is a light brown. They have distinct undertones and design aesthetics.

When to Use Off White vs. Beige

Here are some guidelines on when to use off white vs. beige:

Use Off White When:

– You want a clean, bright, airy feel. Off white reflects the most light.

– Creating a modern, contemporary, or minimalist space.

– Complementing bold, dramatic colors. It acts as a softening neutral.

– You prefer cool, icy grays and whites over warm tones.

Use Beige When:

– You want a soft, welcoming, earthy feel. Beige is the most inherently warm.

– Creating a traditional, antique, vintage, or rustic space.

– Complementing reds, oranges, yellows, and other fiery tones. It enhances warm palettes.

– You prefer golden, biscuit, and sand undertones over grays.

So consider the overall mood, aesthetic, and color combinations before deciding between these two similar neutrals.

Common Paint Names

Many paint brands offer off white and beige paint colors. Here are some common paint names to help compare shades:

Off Whites:

– Benjamin Moore Linen White
– Sherwin Williams Alabaster
– Behr Whisper White
– Valspar Swiss Coffee
– PPG White Dove


– Benjamin Moore Classic Taupe
– Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige
– Behr Camelback
– Valspar Khaki Tan
– PPG Homestead Tan

As you can see, off whites tend to have “white” in the name while beiges reference “taupe”, “tan”, “khaki” and other brownish tones.

Using Off White and Beige Together

Because off white and beige are so close in hue, they generally look quite aesthetically pleasing when combined. Here are some tips for pairing them:

– Choose an off white for walls and beige for furniture or textiles

– Use beige on main walls and off white for trim, ceilings and doors

– Select darker beige accent pieces like lamps, rugs and artwork against off white walls

– Choose off white cabinetry and beige granite or quartz countertops

– Mix off white and beige bedding, pillows and accessories in a bedroom

– Add off white dining chairs and a beige tablecloth to a dining set

The neutral nuance creates subtle sophistication. Just take care not to use shades that are too similar or it may look monotonous.


Off white and beige are versatile, flexible neutral colors that work together beautifully. But there are definite differences between the two:

– Off white is a pale white alternative with white and gray undertones. Beige is a light brown with golden sand undertones.

– Off white suits modern minimalist spaces, while beige fits traditional antique design.

– Off white reflects light, while beige absorbs light.

– Off white skews elegant and cool toned. Beige skews casual and warm toned.

– The palest shades can seem similar but darker off whites and beiges diverge more.

So in summary, while off white and beige are close neutrals and can complement each other well, they are unique colors with distinct personalities. When choosing between them, consider the mood you want to create. Off white expresses purity and simplicity, while beige evokes earthiness and charm.