The color cream: It can be hard to describe this shade. Technically, it's a form of off-white that shows yellow undertones. But there are many, many variations of this tried-and-true hue. Different shades of cream feature fluctuating levels of "yellow." Some are so yellow that they can warm up a space. But at times, cream can almost look white, except for that little bit of warmth that catches the eye.
When it comes to the color psychology of cream, there's just one word to describe it: soothing. Oh-so-very soothing. Since it's not a bright, loud color, it won't compete for attention, allowing the viewer to rest their eyes and simply take it all in. Additionally, it's a trend-proof, and incredibly easy, hue to design with. Sifting through cream paint swatches can be dizzying, to say the least, but the good news is that you'll be able to match the winning shade to virtually any hue on the color wheel. And if cream walls don't interest you, weave the neutral shade into your design with the help of decor, appliances, tile, furniture, wallpaper, linens, or lighting.
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Aly Morford, co-founder of Pure Salt Interiors, continually uses cream in her designs. "We are big lovers of all things neutral and natural, and cream is the quintessential neutral, meaning it works in every space and with every style," she says. "Since cream leans warmer than crisp white, we love to embrace the cozy factor and layer up cream textiles with rugs, drapes, pillows, and upholstery. And when you add in pops of other neutrals, like earth tones, woods, and a touch of white, the cream in your space becomes a dynamic design feature rather than merely a neutral staple."
Leigh Lincoln, co-founder of Pure Salt Interiors, prefers starting with a cream base to "set up your space for success since it's such a timeless and classic color palette." Also, she and Morford enjoy playing with different materials to create a spectrum of tones within a predominantly cream space. She says, "Think gauzy cream linen drapes paired with striated vintage kilim pillows, or a Venetian plaster range hood that complements a cream zellige backsplash. The variety of textures keeps things from looking flat and amplifies the calm, cream color palette with unique dimension."
If you'd like to incorporate cream into your home, read on to discover 15 accent colors that will pair beautifully with the light and airy hue.
15 Cream Color Combinations
1. Cream and Light Blue
When you pair cream with any pastel, such as sky blue, it's sure to be a match made in design heaven. Whether it's cream walls punctuated with light blue furniture — or in the case of this kitchen belonging to Erin Kestenbaum, whisper blue cabinets with a cream tile backsplash — the space will always look beautiful and airy. Invite in some natural light, and the room will appear even breezier.
Perhaps you'd like to anchor a cream room. In that case, we urge you to consider navy blue. In this living room by Studio McGee, the geometric navy blue wall art acts as a strong focal point amid the cream details and other neutral accents sprinkled throughout.
3. Cream and Teal
Any shade of dark green, such as the color teal, will always look flawless next to cream. For instance, you could go with a teal accent wall in your bedroom, which Alex of AVE Styles did here, playing quite well with the area rug and wall decor. Or, you could paint your living room cream and make a teal sofa the star of the show.
4. Cream and Aqua
Another form of blue that continually looks spot-on with cream is aqua, as witnessed in this bedroom by Jewel of Jeweled Interiors. The patterned aqua chinoiserie panel looks lovely next to the cream wall sporting stylish molding. As a color that doesn't overly compete for attention, the warm shade of white acts as the perfect backdrop for all of the other eclectic hues used throughout the room.
5. Cream and Pure White
Or, perhaps you'd prefer a tone-on-tone color idea? Well, you'll be pleased to know that white and cream will look very sophisticated and on-trend. Whether you opt for cream walls and white furniture or vice versa, like this cozy living room styled by Lisa of Rock My Style, you can't go wrong. Here, a cream sofa looks stunning next to crisp white walls and shelving.
6. Cream and Sage Green
Fun fact: Basically, every shade of green goes with cream, but a lighter green, like sage, will look particularly cool and on-trend. For this bathroom, Casey of Casework.it went with variegated sage floor tile, then paired it with cream wall tile for the win. The lush foliage completes the spa-worthy scene.
7. Cream and Light Gray
For those neutral devotees out there, we guarantee that you'll adore a palette of cream and light gray in any space. Don't believe us? Just check out this living room by Chrissy of Harlowe James. The soft gray sofa cools down an otherwise warm setup, thanks to the cream walls. This is the type of space where the color taupe could also live comfortably.
8. Cream and Forest Green
As we mentioned, cream looks great whenever it appears with any shade of green. And Liz Kamarul's kitchen is yet another picture-perfect example. A deep green tile backsplash was the perfect choice to live alongside the modern cream wallpaper. The statement ceiling design is further proof of the color combo's appeal.
9. Cream and Yellow
If you want to really bring out the warm tones of cream, look no further than pops of yellow. You could always weave the sunny hue in through furniture and decor. Or you could get inspired by this space crafted by Natalie of Veneer Designs and paint a luminous, yellow-tinged mural.
10. Cream and Black
For a generous dose of contemporary style, gravitate toward cream and black as a forward-thinking color combo. You can choose cream wallpaper and other decorative details, which is what Kyla of House of Hipsters did in the corner of her living room. Then top it off with jolts of black through artwork and a striking side table.
11. Cream and Charcoal Gray
There is no denying the power of a high-contrast color scheme such as black and white. However, if you're worried that black will be a bit too much, charcoal gray is the perfect solution. We love the way Shea of Shealin Ashley brought the idea to life in this living room, with the help of a modern fireplace and a pair of rolled arm sofas.
12. Cream and Orange
To coax out the yellow undertone of your cream wall paint, making for a warmer room, bring in an orange element. You can keep it small with tiny bits of decor or florals, or you can go big with an orange sofa, like the sectional spotted in this living room by Justina Blakeney.
13. Cream and Brass
Speaking of warming things up, don't underestimate the power of metal finishes such as gold and brass. Since cream is a warm color, lustrous accents — like the framed mirror witnessed in this bedroom belonging to Shea McGee — will look positively idyllic within any neutral setup.
14. Cream and Cognac Brown
For something that leans a little masculine or vintage-inspired, look to cognac brown. And what better way to get the look than with a leather sofa, especially if it's draped with a cream throw and accent pillows á la this living room by Neelam of Patterns and Prosecco. A well-worn leather stool scored at a flea market is another easy way to bring in a dash of cognac brown.
15. Cream and Lilac
A cream color will always look amazing next to any sort of pastel, including purple. For example, when interior design maven Emily Henderson tackled this small bathroom, she didn't just pair a ho-hum color with the cream tile wall. Quite the contrary. Instead, she went with a lilac-striped wallpaper and matching paint, resulting in a one-of-a-kind bath.
Colors That Go With Cream
So you've decided that you're ready for a cream room makeover. Now it's time to get down to brass tacks and hammer out the rest of your palette. We've just shared 15 of our favorite hues to pair with cream, so all you have to do is decide what will work best for you and your home. Let's recap:
- Light Blue
- Navy Blue
- Pure White
- Sage Green
- Light Gray
- Forest Green
- Charcoal Gray
- Cognac Brown