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What undertone is Swiss Coffee?

Swiss Coffee is a popular neutral paint color that has been around for decades. But there is often debate around whether it has warm, cool, or neutral undertones. Here’s a deeper look at the undertones of Swiss Coffee.

The History of Swiss Coffee

Swiss Coffee was first introduced in the 1950s by Pittsburgh Paints. It quickly became a staple neutral paint color for many homes. The name evokes a warm, creamy, comforting feeling which helped with its popularity. Swiss Coffee remains one of the most popular paint colors today across many paint brands.

What Makes a Color Warm, Cool, or Neutral?

The undertone of a color refers to subtle hints of color that affect the overall look and feel of the main color. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Warm colors have hints of yellow, orange, or red undertones.
  • Cool colors have hints of blue, green, or purple undertones.
  • Neutral colors do not lean particularly warm or cool.

The undertone can impact how a color looks in a room based on the lighting. It also impacts what other colors pair well with it. So getting the undertone right is key for paint colors.

What is the Undertone of Swiss Coffee?

The majority of designers, color experts, and users of Swiss Coffee agree that it has neutral undertones. However, some do pick up very subtle hints of warmth from it.

When you look at Swiss Coffee paint swatches from leading brands like Behr, Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore it contains an equal balance of warm and cool tones. There is not a strong lean in either direction. It sits right in the middle of the spectrum.

Benjamin Moore, who makes one of the most popular versions of Swiss Coffee, officially classifies it as a neutral color. Their description calls it “the perfect neutral canvas, suitable for both warm and cool palettes.”

Why Do Some Sense Warmth in Swiss Coffee?

As mentioned, some designers and users do pick up a very faint warm quality to Swiss Coffee. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The name Swiss Coffee evokes feelings of a warm beverage, causing our perception to shift warmer.
  • It can pull slightly warmer when paired with cool grays and blues in a room.
  • In rooms with lots of natural yellow-toned light, it may take on a hint of warmth.

However, the warmth is very subtle. Overwhelmingly, Swiss Coffee is considered a true neutral that fits well in both warm and cool homes.

Tips for Using Swiss Coffee

Here are some top tips for decorating and designing with Swiss Coffee:

  • Test it on the wall before fully committing. Colors look different on swatches vs an entire wall.
  • Pair it with any colors – it’s extremely versatile. Grays, blues, greens all work well.
  • Use multiple coats for best opacity and truest color.
  • For a warmer room, pair it with reds, oranges, yellows. For a cooler feel, use blues and greens.
  • Accent with bright white trim for a clean, bright look.
  • Use different sheens on trims/accents to add dimension.

Swiss Coffee Undertone Summary

Swiss Coffee is widely considered to be a neutral paint color. It does not have strong warm or cool undertones. Its versatility as a neutral backdrop is a key part of its popularity. A faint warmth can be detected in some lighting conditions but it primarily sits right in the middle of the color spectrum. When decorating with Swiss Coffee, you get to decide whether to give the room a warm or cool vibe based on your accents and decor.