Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is a soft, warm off-white that our designers love for its versatility. It was named the 2016 Sherwin Williams color of the year, as a nod to “personal solace and revival” – an understated, soothing, peaceful color. But it’s far from trendy. It has staying power and has been a bestseller for years. Alabaster remains a popular neutral tone for both interiors and exteriors. We think it will be a favorite for a long time to come.
Finding the perfect white can get your head spinning. Call on the experts at brick&batten to guide you through the process. Our team of virtual exterior designers will create a customized design plan for your home’s exterior so you can ensure you’re on the right path before you ever pick up a paintbrush. Begin your paint color transformation here.
Read on to determine if Alabaster by Sherwin Williams might be the right choice for your home exterior makeover.
Alabaster has a higher LRV of 82, meaning it absorbs less light and reflects more of it back. (Learn why LRV matters when painting your house white.) If your home gets lots of direct light, this shade will seem lighter than if your home is in the shade. (Remember, we always recommend testing your paint color before committing!)
Warm vs. Cool
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is certainly more of a warm off-white than a cool off-white, but it comes across as very slightly creamy, not yellow, with beige undertones.
How Does Alabaster by Sherwin Williams Compare to Other Off-Whites?
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams vs. Alabaster by Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore’s version of Alabaster made our list of the 15 best exterior paint colors for your home in 2021. So, what’s the difference between the Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colors by the same name?
This coastal modern Mediterranean home’s exterior has been mocked up in Benjamin Moore’s version of Alabaster.
The home design above features Alabaster by Benjamin Moore paired with stone.
The most notable difference is Benjamin Moore’s Alabaster has an LRV of 87, making it a full 5 points closer to pure white than the Sherwin William version. If your home gets a substantial amount of direct sunlight, the Benjamin Moore version of Alabaster will come across a bit brighter than Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. You may even think too white at certain times of day. If your home is tucked into the woods or is in the shade most of the day, you may welcome the brightness of Benjamin Moore Alabaster.
Benjamin Moore’s Alabaster also has a touch more of a pink undertone and definitely one we recommend testing in your environment to observe undertones at different times of day.
If you like the sound of Alabaster by Sherwin Williams but either prefer Benjamin Moore paint or it’s more accessible where you live, the closer alternate goes by a different name…
Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee has a lot in common with Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster. For one, the LRVs are really similar – Swiss Coffee’s is 84, just 2 point above (or closer to pure white than) Alabaster. And Swiss Coffee also leans warm with a creamy, cozy feel. They’re two of the closest off-white alternatives to one another, so if you simply prefer Benjamin Moore paint to Sherwin Williams, Swiss Coffee could be a great choice for you.
The biggest difference between these two paint colors is Swiss Coffee has a bit more of a yellow undertone than Alabaster, which is a bit more brown/beige/greige.
Benjamin Moore White Dove
Alabaster is just a touch warmer than White Dove by Benjamin Moore. White Dove also has a higher LRV of 85, giving it more of a true white appearance than Alabaster. It also has a hint more of a gray undertone than Alabaster. White Dove works well on all different types of architecture and as a trim paint color selection.
Benjamin Moore Simply White
Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster doesn’t have as much yellow in it, nor is it as bright, as Simply White by Benjamin Moore.
Applications for Alabaster
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams works well across a variety of home styles, and can help you update a cozy farmhouse, modernize a traditional brick home, or bridge a transitional home style.
Some call it more neutral, while others say it leans warm. Either way, Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is adaptable – it can pair with other neutrals for an elegantly cohesive aesthetic or it can be the backdrop against which vibrant colors and statement design elements shine.
Love the monochromatic look? Use Alabaster as your house and trim color. It’s simple and effective.
Looking for more contrast? We find that Alabaster harmonizes particularly well with contrasting dark colors used on the roof, front door, trim, and/or shutters. The example above uses Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black on the doors and Sherwin Williams Alabaster on the siding, brick, and trim.
We always recommend sampling and testing paint colors before committing. Factors such as natural lighting, undertones, and your property’s fixed elements will have a significant impact on how a color will appear on your exterior. Our friends at Samplize offer extra-large 9 x 14.75 inch peel-and-stick paint samples of the colors we love for exteriors. Order your ‘Real Paint, No Mess’ samples from Samplize here.
If you find the monochrome look too, well, one-dimensional, but the black-and-white high-contrast look too stark, know that Alabaster can strike the Goldilocks chord you’re looking for — it also plays well with softer contrasts. We like pairing Alabaster-painted siding or brick with a second material, such as natural stone or light-to-medium wood tones. (See the two examples above.) Keep in mind the warmth of Alabaster when pairing with other colors and materials. Try a bright, warm color on your front door, as seen on some mid-century modern homes. Incorporate copper or an earthy bronze for exterior lighting or gutters for a real show stopper. Speaking of bronze, Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams, a gray with bronze undertones, is a contrasting neutral that complements Alabaster perfectly.
Alabaster can be a great paint color choice for both brick and siding. (Don’t love your brick but worried about painting it? Don’t be.) Romabio has captured our hearts as the perfect paint for masonry surfaces.
The Bottom Line on Alabaster by Sherwin Williams
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is a go-to warm off-white paint color. It’s a tried-and-true, timeless option for interiors and exteriors. Alabaster is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to paint your home white but want nurturing and inviting curb appeal.
If you prefer a cooler color palette or want to use other colors or materials that live in the cool-toned realm – think stone with blue undertones – then you’ll want to find a different white, off-white, or neutral as your base. If your home gets a ton of direct sunlight and you’re worried about Alabaster appearing too bright, look for a warm neutral with a lower LRV like Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, Olympic Mountains by Benjamin Moore, or Shoji White by Sherwin Williams.
Love learning about paint colors, but overwhelmed by all of the options out there? That’s what we’re here for. Our designers are experts in determining which tones work best in your environment and which paint colors make for a cohesive look and feel. All you have to do is send us a picture of your home and answer a few short questions. Give us as much detail as you’d like. From there, we’ll get you a virtual design, complete with paint color suggestions and so much more. Get started.
Subscribe for more content like this!