Sherwin Williams Alabaster: Classic or Dated?

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Sherwin Williams Alabaster (SW 7008), was announced the Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year way back in 2016. It was described as “the true neutral paint”.

But designs trends change rapidly! What was once a “must have” way back in 2016 is snubbed years later. So where does the Alabaster color stand in all of this as we approach 2023? Do design pros still recommend using this as a neutral? Hint: even color fanatics will admit neutrals are what hold staying power when it comes to “trends”.

a brick house painted Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Alabaster on our painted brick home seen above. Shutters are Gauntlet Gray by SW.

Alabaster Sherwin Williams Full Review

Tread with caution with this one! The undertones are warm when compared to true crisp white. On its’ own, it is categorized as a soft cream color, but it can get a bad rep if not used in the right setting. Undertones are subtle beige and warm cream.

Is Sherwin Williams Alabaster Yellow?

No, SW Alabaster is not categorized as a yellow. With its neutral undertones, the creamy, almost off-white color of this piece is simply a warm white. The neutral base ensures that the color remains grounded, avoiding excessive warmth or any hint of yellowish hues.

painted brick with Sherwin Williams Alabaster

The undertones in Alabaster are not crisp and clean! Because of this there are places in my home I would typically not recommend using the Alabaster color. Keep reading to hear specifics.

Is Sherwin Williams Alabaster White?

SW Alabaster exudes a soft, off-white appearance. While it may not be classified as pure white due to its neutral beige undertones, it comes remarkably close. The subtle infusion of neutral beige undertones adds a delightful creaminess to the color, striking the perfect balance of a warm white.

What Color Does Alabaster Look Like Inside?

SW Alabaster is a creamy off-white; a true warm neutral creamy white paint color. The paint color will depend on the natural lighting in the room.

Sherwin Williams alabaster painted walls
via H2H Design Co
  • If you have north facing rooms, Alabaster is a good paint to sample. It will warm a room up and get rid of those blue or gray undertones that come out when using cold stark whites in dark, northern rooms. If the room is too dark however, it may look drab.
  • In a room with intense western afternoon sunlight streaming, it could be warm and beautiful, but tread with caution. Adding heavy yellow sunshine will intensify the undertones and can bring out too much of Alabaster’s warmth.
  • In south-facing rooms, you get to enjoy a steady influx of light throughout the day. The beauty of this lighting is that it complements both warm and cool tones! Alabaster is wroth a try here.
  • East-facing rooms are blessed with the brightest light during morning hours, casting a warm glow. So if the room is predominantly utilized in afternoons or evenings, opting for a warm color palette can effectively counterbalance the absence of natural light, ensuring a more balanced white throughout the day.

What Color Trim Goes With Alabaster Walls?

What color trim with Alabaster walls is a common question that has a simple answer. If you are painting Alabaster on your walls, the color trim you can use is also Alabaster!

If you have Alabaster walls already, there’s no need to use two different shades of white, one for walls and trim. Alabaster is an excellent choice for trim and moldings. No worries about your trim blending into the white walls: the trim will still stand out because you use a different sheen on trim and again on the ceiling.

I prefer to use satin sheen on my walls, and Advance high gloss on my trim. You can even take Alabaster to the ceiling with a flat!

I have been matching the paint on my trim, ceiling and drywall together in all of my homes and it’s not only simple, but a lovely decision design wise. It’s pleasing on the eyes when you are using whites to see the same undertones. Plus – how easy is that?

The soft undertones create a visually pleasing contrast against walls painted in bolder or deeper colors, making the trim and moldings stand out.

SW Alabaster on Exteriors

a paint swatch of Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Our white brick home is painted Sherwin Williams Alabaster, seen above. A note on using the Alabaster color on exteriors – it is nowhere as creamy when used outside and appears lighter. The outside of your home will be a soft, lovely, true white. When used on exteriors you will not have a yellow home, regardless of the weather.

a paint swatch of Sherwin Williams Alabaster

I would use this white paint color on a brick home again and again!

When Sherwin Williams Alabaster Is Not A Good Choice

This comes down to personal taste! Want my opinion? I don’t love yellow tones in our current design era. What I wouldn’t do is mix Alabaster in a room that receives intense warm sunlight with a crisp true white trim paint, as the contrast won’t be feel polished to my eye. The cold white next to the very warm white, with the added intense warmth from the sun could leave Alabaster looking a little like butter.

Sherwin Williams Alabaster
via: The Harper House
garage painted alabaster

Sherwin Williams alabaster on brick, Gauntlet Gray on trim and shutters. Sources: garage lights | blue pot

BM White Dove Vs SW Alabaster

This is a common comparison done because the paint colors are so similar! There are a few key differences to note, although if you like one you should sample the other:

  • White Dove is a slightly cleaner whiter than Alabaster, making it a more versatile choice
  • White Dove possesses a subtle touch of gray in its undertone, which prevents the color from becoming excessively warm. Despite both colors having a blend of warm and cool undertones, White Dove is cooler.
  • Both paint colors are exceptionally light with a high Light Reflectance Value (LRV), but White Dove edges slightly higher at 85.38.
  • In a room where Alabaster is feeling too creamy, White Dove may have the same result.

Is The Alabaster Paint Color Dated or Still On Trend for 2023?

All that being said, the warmth Alabaster holds can be a great choice in today’s design world, but it is not right for every space. (Read about warm whites being popular in 5 Kitchen Trends in 2023)

alabaster by Sherwin Williams
sw alabaster in a living room
via: Jenna Sue Design

2023 is loving warm colors! Brass, wood tones – these are two design elements that are very on trend and Sherwin Williams Alabaster is a beautiful choice to mix with these warm tones.

Warmer kitchen cabinets are also trending, and the Alabaster color would make a great choice here now that most aren’t going for a stark white kitchen. Try it on shiplap, to warm it up and keep it feeling on trend.

There are instances when SW Alabaster is not the ideal paint color choice.

  • Alabaster is not right in rooms with such intense sunlight and warmth that it appears more yellow
  • I wouldn’t recommend Alabaster for spaces using cool toned whites already. The warm and cool whites next to each other doesn’t work.
  • Alabaster may not be suitable is in rooms that require a more vibrant or energetic atmosphere. Since Alabaster is a soft and neutral color, it doesn’t have the visual impact in spaces that call for a bolder aesthetic. For example, if you’re aiming for a vibrant and dynamic playroom, Alabaster doesn’t deliver the desired level of excitement.

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