HomeThe Best Paint ColoursBenjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams: Paint IdeasHOW TO UPDATE CREAM OR OFF-WHITE CABINETS & TRIM: Common Questions


Posted on May 25, 2023 by KylieMawdsley


When it comes to updating a kitchen or bathroom with cream cabinets, it’s not just about looking for the best paint color (you’ll find a link to them in this blog post); it’s about understanding WHY it’s the best.

This is why I’ve compiled a collection of the most COMMON questions I get asked in my comment section, on Instagram, and on my YOUTUBE channel.

So without further ado, let’s get this cream-inspired color party started!

How to update cream painted kitchen cabinets or off-white. best colors by Kylie M Online paint color expert


Hard no. You can stop looking; you can stop agonizing – that magical color doesn’t exist (insert wine here). It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at a warm white or a true white; NO white will work, no exceptions (sorry).


  • If you partner your cream cabinets (or trim) with a white, your cabinets will look MORE YELLOW in comparison. If this is okay with you, fill yer boots, but isn’t usually the desired look.
  • If you partner your cream cabinets with an off-white paint color that’s the SAME COLOR as your cabinets, you risk some seriously clashing undertones – the two colors will be fighting for the same color slot.

Take a look at this next photo. You’ll see a range of warm off-white neutrals partnered with very creamy cabinets. Notice how much richer and more yellow the cabinets look compared to these warm off-whites…

Title Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, Divine White, White Duck compared to cream glazed kitchen cabinets - off-white neutrals DON'T WORK. Kylie M Interiors Edesign Caption Description File URL: https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Sherwin-Williams-Aesthetic-White-Divine-White-White-Duck-compared-to-cream-glazed-kitchen-cabinets-off-white-neutrals-DONT-WORK.-Kylie-M-Interiors-Edesign-scaled.jpg Copy URL to clipboard Required fields are marked * Imagify Optimize ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS Alignment Center Link To Attachment Page URL https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/?attachment_id=44157 Size Large – 742 × 989 Selected media actions 1 item selected Clear Insert into post

Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, Divine White, White Duck

Don’t worry; the above samples weren’t intended to be ‘coordinating wall colors’ – they were for a different project; I’m grateful as they came in handy for this blog post as a great example of what DOESN’T work!

Now let’s try to partner cream cabinets with a warm white or two…

This first example shows Sherwin Williams Antique White cabinets with a sample of Benjamin Moore Cloud White, a WARM white paint color…

Benjamin Moore Cloud Whtie with cream Antique White painted cabinets, white walls and cream cabinets doesn't work. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

While it never hurts to TRY, notice how much more yellow the cabinets look IN COMPARISON to a warm white – examples like these are important to see! It’s one thing to have cream walls and white trim; it’s a WHOLE ‘nother thing to turn that around. With this client, we were TRYING to humor a warm white, but it was a hard no.

And here’s Sherwin Williams Creamy, a warm off-white on Antique White again…

Sherwin Williams Creamy warm offwhite paint color on cream cabinets, Antique White - it doesn't look good. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

LOOK AT HOW GOLDEN YELLOW THOSE CABINETS LOOK IN COMPARISON! I mean, sometimes you don’t know until you TRY, but once you’ve tried and it doesn’t work, it’s time to move on (I tell this to Tim every Friday night).

Remember, just because you don’t want to hear it doesn’t mean it’s not true (said with love, wink wink).


1. If you’re among the lucky few who have cream cabinets that are on the HIGH of the off-white range (LRV of 80/81), you can get DARN CLOSE to soft white on your walls, as you’ll want to repeat your cabinet color on the walls. For example, Sherwin Williams Creamy is on the border of white/off-white. When a color like Creamy has this high LRV, it’s slightly more likely to act like a soft, warm white than an off-white, making it a GREAT choice for walls & cabinets (& trim).

2. If you have darker/heavier/more yellow cream cabinets or trim and are dead-set on having off-white walls…

I suggest painting your walls and cabinets the same color; there simply isn’t another choice in the off-white range.

That’s right, keep things simple and seamless; let the shift in sheens do the work for you. Even if this color is more yellow than you want, you can’t always get what you want when you have cream cabinets. If there were a BETTER CHOICE – I’d tell you, I promise. You can TRY lightening your cabinet color by 25% to get a slightly lighter look. It won’t make your cabinets look less yellow, and if it were me, I’d stick with the same color.

Cream kitchen cabinets, painted with granite countertop, orange warm wood floor. Kylie M Edesign client photo


When it comes to cream cabinets, it’s not about making them look less yellow – they ARE a yellow hue paint colour. And if this is your concern, it’s more about not making them look MORE yellow.

It’s hard to turn cream into something it’s not – and it’s not white. Of course, you have a WAY better chance of a muted look if your cream color has a high LRV (which we’ll learn about shortly). However, short of that, you HAVE cream-yellow trim.


An off-white or light-depth paint color that’s the same depth or lighter than your cream cabinets will make your cabinets or trim LOOK MORE YELLOW…


Walls painted in a cool paint color (i.e., gray or blue-green) will make your cream cabinets or trim LOOK MORE YELLOW in comparison…

Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray to go with cream cabinets and trim in kitchen with granite countertop. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, best update ideas

Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray – BEAUTIFUL combo, but that yellow sure lights up! 

The same applies to greige and taupe. While these are warm paint colors, they’re ‘cooler than’ cream.


This is a tricky one, as the flow to adjoining rooms with WHITE trim can be tricky, but sometimes you can’t hit EVERY need with one color. When it comes to paint colors and design in general, you have to do what suits the room itself first and then work out from there.

the best paint colours for cream cabinets or trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, cream, greige, gray, taupe and more

Sometimes soft and simple is best – Benjamin Moore Navajo White

In this next example, my clients have Sherwin Williams Antique White cabinets…with a glaze on them. The glaze makes it SUPER TRICKY to work with as it tweaks the original color and intensity.

Update cream cabinets. Sherwin Williams Antique White cabinets, glazed. Off-white paint colour, cream subway tile backsplash, granite countertops. Kylie M Interiors.

Their original goal was to find a warm white, but it just wouldn’t work with these cabinets. By eliminating other potential options (i.e., beige), we landed on Antique White, 25% lighter, which is as CLOSE to white as we’ll get!  Even though the match isn’t 100% and varies from one side of the wall to the other, they got the brighter look they were going for!

Sometimes when the ideal world doesn’t exist (the ‘ideal world’ usually being white cabinets), it’s about finding the NEXT best thing.

This next kitchen has VERY creamy-yellow cabinets, and the best solution is cream walls. This being said, while cream cabinets are often the best choice for particular granite countertops, if starting from scratch, we’d choose a cream with less yellow in it…

Cream painted kitchen cabinets, warm granite countertop, cream walls, wood floor. Kylie M Interiors online consulting, client photo


Neutrals in a light-medium to medium depth are your BEST shot at reducing the look of your cream cabinets. But remember, cream cabinets ARE cream cabinets, and short of painting them a more flexible white, they are what they are!

This last point isn’t one my E-Design clients usually want to hear, but it works.


YES! But let’s be honest; it’s never that straightforward…

Warm colors rarely love being partnered with COOLER colors that are the SAME DEPTH OR LIGHTER than them. 

I want you to inscribe that on the annals of your soul (I’ve been made aware there are two ‘n’s in annal, duly noted). And while things change as warm colors get DARKER, if you’re anywhere in the white to medium range, tread carefully.

The #1 Secret to Coordinating Warm & Cool Paint Colors

Warm colors will only tolerate colors that are COOLER than them if they’re DARKER than them.

And I’m talking about a good 20+ LRV points or more (it can vary depending on HOW YELLOW your cream is). By the way, I don’t mean just COOL colors; I’m talking about colors that are simply ‘not as warm as‘ the color they’re being partnered with. If you look at WARMER options for your walls, you can sometimes bump down to 15 LRV points difference.

Once you memorize that magical tip, your paint-pickin’ life will be SO…MUCH…EASIER (you’ll learn about LRV shortly).

This dining room has Sherwin Williams Creamy on the trim. Because Creamy is ALMOST a white paint color, it looks wicked gorgeous with Chelsea Gray walls. It also helps that Chelsea Gray is significantly darker than Creamy, so they don’t come close to competing in depth…

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, Sherwin Williams Creamy trim, Oakwood manor painted ceiling, Dining room round table, home decor.

As shown in this next space, the walls are too cool and too light for the creamy off-white warmth of the trim and cabinets…

Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray does not work with cream cabinets or cream trim.

Even if the LRV were lower, this cool-toned paint color doesn’t SUIT the surrounding finishes. The above is a great example of someone who wanted a certain color on their walls, regardless of whether it made sense.

Pick paint colors for the home you HAVE, not the home you WISH you had.

Let’s look at cream cabinets (similar to Sherwin Williams Antique White) with Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray and Popular Gray. These two colors are 15 and 11 LRV points (respectively) lower than Antique White.

Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray & Popular Gray with Antique White cream cabinets. Doesn't work together. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

These weren’t options I loved, but my client wanted to try them, and sometimes you just don’t know until you try! 

Notice how Worldly Gray (left) sits a BIT better than Popular Gray (right). HOWEVER, neither are any screamin’ glory. While Worldly Gray is ‘better,’ it’s still very questionable and makes the cabinets look darn warm in comparison. I’m always happy to humor clients when they want to TRY something like this, as sometimes they need to see for themselves why it doesn’t work.

In this next photo, my client had cream trim (colour unknown). LUCKILY, it wasn’t a super dark OR super yellow cream, meaning we had a bit more flexibility. Even then, we had to darken Edgecomb Gray by 25% just to increase the LRV between the two colors and get some kind of play between them…

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, creamy trim, dark wood flooring. Kylie M Interiors, best neutral greige or taupe color. E-design, decorating and design blogger advice

What’s LRV & why do I need it? 

If you’ve been drinkin’ my wine-spiked Koolaid for a while, you’ll know how IMPORTANT LRV is in the paint-picking process. Here’s the gist…

Every paint colour has an LRV number on a scale from 0-100.

0 is pure black, and 100 is pure white. 

The closer a paint color’s LRV is to 0, the closer to black it is. 

The closer a paint color’s LRV is to 100, the closer to white it is.

As it relates to the different depths, here are the approx. Ranges for our purposes here today…

  • OFF-WHITE PAINT COLORS: 74 – 81 (average cream cabinet depth is 72-78 LRV)

If you’re unfamiliar with LRV, PLEASE take a few minutes to check out this article; it will be SO worth it and show you WHERE TO FIND the LRV of paint colors.

In this next kitchen, in between the cream/yellow hues of the cabinets, pink undertone in the countertop, and white window trim, it’s a TRICKY one. However, it has some beautiful bones!



To find paint colors that look good with your cream cabinets or trim, you’ll want to start with colors approximately 20 LRV points LOWER than your cream colour (I said 15 earlier, but that’s a stretch). This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to nail down which cream you’re dealing with (or as close as possible).

The closer the two paint colors are in depth, the more they’ll compete. You need APPROX. 20+ LRV points between your cream cabinets/trim and your wall color.


I swear, when I read online info, it’s like some advisors pull colors out of their…well, out of thin air. One site says, ‘blue, taupe, white, gray.’ Seriously, thanks – I’ll pass on pretty much all of those.

Sherwin Williams Barcelona Beige, best colours with cream cabinets. Kylie M INteriors Edesign

In reality, this is a HUGE topic. SO BIG that I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to it, which you can check out below…


The Best Wall Paint Colors for Cream Cabinets & Trim

The 6 Best Off-White Paint Colors

The 13 Most Popular Cream Paint Colors

The Best Warm Paint Colors that AREN’T BEIGE! 

The Best Off-White & Light Depth Kitchen Cabinet Colors



Online paint colour consultant Benjamin Moore Sherwin Williams, Vancouver Island, USA, UK. Interior, exterior, edesign colors. Kylie M Interiors, blogger marketing

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas


  1. On a former home I sold a couple of years ago, the kitchen cabinets were creamy “white” (slight pinkish undertones) with a subtle glaze over the paint. I struggled with what to do with the walls as I prepared to ‘update’ the home prior to my move, and ended up re-doing [painting] my entire main area of the home (living, kitchen, dining, hallways) a color I hit on that worked beautifully. I chose Sherwin Williams Oyster Bar (NOT Oyster Bay!) which was a truly perfect and unexpected spot-on match to the cabinets making the area look seamless. I didn’t fight the creamy, but recommend going with it, but leaning towards ‘softening’ the effect. It ended up being a color that reminded me of the softness of BM’s Gray Owl, but leaning more warm-beigy, rather than Owl’s ‘gray’. I did everything in a flat/matte finish which kept the ‘softness’. I think people have to look far beyond the top 10-20 ‘popular’ colors and explore the entire fan deck when trying to ‘correct’ or update! I feel the stark, harsh white that’s been trending in the late teens & early 2020’s is going to be the bugaboo in just a year or two. Anyway, I think soft & creamy is more ‘home-y’ than the current crystalline primer-ish white that ends up looking cheap and worse than builder-grade, in my opinion.

  2. This is timely. Thanks!
    I have been working on my kitchen for 107 years. I am getting ready to order the paint. I had decided to not even mess around and just paint the cabinets the same white as all the trim in my house which is Behr Swiss Coffee (not to be confused with BM of the same name). I have hemmed and hawed about a wall color and had finally decided just to do a flat sheen of Behr Swiss Coffee for now because my kitchen faces north and I have looked at paint colors till it is just silly. I just couldn’t come up with anything that struck me as a good idea.
    So, seeing you say to just use the same color on the walls as the cabinets cements my choice and just gives me one less thing to think about.
    I never hopped on the grey trend and I am absolutely loving that the creams and beiges are back.

    In fact, I am about to paint my north facing low light basement. I had always intended to use Knoxville Gray which is in my husband’s office and is delightful. But now I am thinking a crazy choice of Everard Coffee, simply because I doubt anyone else is using it and I think it will compliment my linen sofa beautifully.

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      What a great note to get Lori! Let’s hope you can spend the next 107 years enjoying your home! And Everard Coffee is DELICIOUS! I had a dark brown room in one of our last homes and LOVE it. With paint color, it’s often about finding that color that suits your home, but that ALSO makes you happy – whether it’s trendy or not!

  3. Hi Kylie! I cannot find my previous post, so I am using this blog. I need some help with trim color. We painted our kitchen cabinets Aesthetic White with your help and Love them!!! In our bright light they show up quite light (they look white, but soft). For the trim, we sampled SW Pure White, but it is a bit too white in contrast against the cabinets. We sampled BM White Dove and it is a bit too creamy. Is there something in between that would work? Or, bite the bullet and have the trim whiter than the cabinets? By the way, we also sampled Aesthetic White trim, but it shows up more beige than the cabinet color and does not compliment the Agreeable Gray walls (we are not changing walls at this time). We have rich brown/black/gray/cream granite counters, and tumbled stone backsplash with gray/taupe/grout, and Urbane Bronze Island. Thank you so much!

    1. Post

      Ooooo, with the Agreeable Gray walls/Aesthetic White cabinets, it’s about finding something they both AGREE on. While you might not love Pure White, they both can handle it. I suppose you could tryyyyy Aesthetic White 50% lighter and see what that looks like – could be a happy medium?

  4. I have watched so many of your video color reviews and read so many of your articles. You are incredible at what you do! I’m hoping you may be able to help me with a dilemma. We are building our final retirement home with my husband and I having differences of opinions. Haha. He loves the revere pewter on the walls which I actually do too. What trim do you suggest for this color. Now to the dilemma. He wants wood cabinets while I wanted to paint them. Can you tell me which wood cabinets and stain you would use with the revere pewter walls or do you usually just deal with the paint stuff? Or could you even just tell me if you would go light, medium, or dark cabinets with revere pewter and whatever trim you suggest. Thank you so so so much!

    1. Post

      Hi Erin! Well, Revere Pewter looks gorgeous with White Dove and Sherwin Williams PUre White. HOWEVER, it’s your countertop and backsplash that will really determine which is BEST. As for wood cabinets, I’m a big fan of ‘middle of the road’ stains – not too light, too dark, and not too COLORFUL. If you can find the blog post of our kitchen cabinets in Revere Pewter, our wood floor is my happy medium :).

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