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What is a creamy white that doesn’t look yellow?

What is a creamy white that doesn’t look yellow?

When choosing a white paint color, it can be tricky to find a shade that is truly white without any yellow or cream undertones. Many off-whites and cream colors can read as dingy or yellowish rather than a crisp, clean white. If you’re looking for a bright white paint that doesn’t veer into cream or yellow territory, there are a few key things to consider.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to select a white paint color that doesn’t look yellow or cream, go over some of the best white paint options that don’t have yellow undertones, and provide tips for picking the right white for your space. Read on for an in-depth look at finding the perfect creamy white paint.

What Makes a White Paint Look Yellow or Creamy?

White paint colors are not created equal. Many whites have subtle undertones that can make them read as slightly yellow, beige, or cream. Here are a few reasons why white paint colors may take on a yellowish or creamy cast:

– Undertones – All paint colors have undertones, which affect the look of the final painted surface. Cool whites have blue/gray undertones, while warm whites contain yellow/beige undertones. The more yellow undertones, the more likely the white will read as cream or yellow.

– Sheen Level – Higher sheens like gloss and semi-gloss refract more light, which can emphasize any yellow undertones in a white paint. Flat and matte finishes diffuse light, minimizing this effect.

– Lighting – The type of lighting in a room can impact how a white paint looks. Natural daylight tends to be cool-toned, so it will emphasize any warm undertones in a white. Incandescent and other warm light sources will downplay yellow/cream undertones.

– Surrounding Colors – Adjacent colors can influence the look of a white paint. Cool blues and grays in a room will make an off-white appear more yellow. Warm peach or beige decor will subtly neutralize yellow undertones in a white.

– Number of Coats – Applying multiple coats of paint provides better coverage and opacity, hiding any yellowness from the primer or previous paint color. Thinner single coats let more of the undertone show through.

Best White Paint Colors Without Yellow

When selected carefully, there are many white paint options that stay true white without veering into cream or yellow territory. Here are some of the best white paint colors that don’t have yellow undertones:

Paint Color Brand Undertones
Chantilly Lace Benjamin Moore Cool blue-gray
Oxford White Sherwin Williams Crisp, clean white
Dover White Behr Slightly cool
Swiss Coffee Behr Neutral bright white
White Dove Valspar Clean, no undertones
Extra White Valspar Bright, stark white
Simply White Valspar No undertones
Metal Mist PPG Hint of gray

These white paint colors are specially formulated to stay true white without any creaminess or yellowness. When viewing paint swatches, look for whites described as “stark”, “clean”, “crisp”, or “bright” white to avoid unwanted undertones. Cooler whites with hints of gray also avoid yellowness.

Tips for Picking the Right White Paint

Here are some top tips for choosing a white paint color that won’t look yellow or creamy for your home:

– Examine swatches in natural daylight – This shows the real undertones of white paint colors. Avoid any with a yellowish tint.

– Consider sheen – Eggshell and satin finishes are ideal for white paint colors. Glossier sheens emphasize yellow undertones.

– Test on wall samples – Paint large sample patches to see accurate undertones before committing to a full wall.

– Check in different lighting – Yellow undertones can look obvious in daylight but disappear under incandescent lighting. Evaluate the white paint color in all lighting conditions.

– Evaluate adjacent colors – Hold up decor items like pillows or art against the paint color to check for any creaminess. Cool blue and green items help downplay yellow.

– Ask for zero-VOC – Zero-VOC paints stay truer to color with less yellowing over time.

– Apply enough coats – At least 2-3 coats are needed for full coverage to override any discoloration from existing paint or primer.

– Maintain consistency – When painting multiple rooms white, use the exact same brand/color to avoid subtle mismatches.

Types of White Paint Finishes

The finish or sheen you select for white paint also impacts how it looks. Here are some popular white paint finishes to consider:

– Flat – Absorbs light to hide imperfections. White appears muted and soft.

– Matte – Minimally reflective with a classic, velvety look. Great for white paint colors.

– Eggshell – Soft glow with moderate light reflection. Ideal balance of sheen and hide.

– Satin – Smoother, more durable and reflective than eggshell. Still subdued shine.

– Semi-Gloss – Highly washable and quite lustrous. Can emphasize yellow undertones.

– High-Gloss – Ultra shiny, like enamel. Very reflective but shows more imperfections.

For white paint, flat, matte, and eggshell finishes are best at downplaying any yellowness or creaminess in the undertones. Satin works for bathrooms and kitchens needing added washability. Semi-gloss and glossy finishes should be avoided unless you want a lacquer-like look.

Where to Use White Paint Colors

Here are some prime locations to use white paint colors that don’t read as yellow or cream:

– Living Rooms – Clean white paint makes the ideal subtle backdrop for any furniture and decor. A hint of cool undertone looks crisp and contemporary.

– Bedrooms – Serene white bedroom walls promote relaxation. Avoid any creaminess by selecting a white with blue-gray undertones.

– Bathrooms – Glossy tile and fixtures work with a true bright white on the walls. Combine with plenty of lighting.

– Kitchens – White kitchen cabinets painted in a layered ultra-white look fresh and clean. For walls, use a durable eggshell or satin white paint.

– Hallways – Long hallways appear larger with reflective white paint lacking any yellowness. Goes nicely with white trim and ceilings.

– Doors and Trim – For a unified look, choose the same ultra-white paint for all doors, baseboards, crown molding and other trimwork.

– Ceilings – Painting ceilings bright white helps bounce light around the entire room, as long as the white has no cream or yellow tint.


Finding a clean, non-yellow white paint color involves carefully examining undertones in lighting, testing paint samples, and selecting the right brand and finish. The best white paints with no cream or yellow undertones tend to have hints of cool blue and gray added. Flat, matte, and eggshell finishes help white paint colors stay true. Test out white paint swatches before committing to the perfect creamy white that doesn’t look the least bit yellow. With the right white paint choice, you can enjoy clean, contemporary walls in any room.