You may already know that Simply White (OC-117) from Benjamin Moore is a favorite among design professionals. It was even the 2016 Benjamin Moore Color of the Year and still reigns as one of the best white paint colors among homeowners.
But just because it’s one of the most popular whites doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone, so how can you determine if Simply White is right for you?
Benjamin Moore simply white review
In this post, I’m going to talk about the various features and advantages of Simply White, while also sharing my own experiences with this neutral white color. I’ll even offer some scenarios where I would not recommend using this paint color. Find out if this is the perfect color for your next paint project.
Simply White LRV
LRV stands for Light Reflectance Value and describes the percentage of light that a surface will reflect. Benjamin Moore’s Simply White has a high LRV of 91.7. By comparison, a pure white color would measure at 100 LRV and absolute black would be 0 LRV. With this measurement, you can see that this paint is quite bright and reflective!
But you may be thinking, how does Simply White translate into different lighting conditions within my home? Let’s explore some key examples of how this white looks in different exposures and room sizes.
How does simply white change with light?
Almost every paint color (and especially white paints) will change with lighting conditions. With bright natural lighting conditions, Simply White will appear as a bright white color without much of the yellow undertone peering through.
East Facing Exposure
If your room is bathed in a lot of natural light due to east-facing exposure, then you can expect Simply White to reflect the brightness for most of the day. As the sun winds down, some warmth may appear to show through, but it may be more subdued.
With Warm Lighting
Under warm lighting conditions, the warm yellow undertones of Simply White will appear more prominently. It should not be exaggerated or TOO yellow, but more of an off-white or cream appearance can be expected (not a true cream, but more yellow than a pure white).
With northwest exposure, Simply White will have some yellow undertones shine through, but not as much as with warm lighting, and not enough to mistake it with a cream. In a north facing room, this paint will work as a true warm white.
Now, there are some rooms where a lot of natural light cannot be expected, but with the right bulbs and lighting selection, you can still decide how your paint will look.
We previously revamped our powder room, and part of the process involved a new coat of Simply White paint for both the trim and wall color to bring it all together. With the bright sconce lighting we chose for the room, you can see how this paint choice appears a clean bright white, with very little undertone.
This was a very important selection, as our powder room has no windows and doesn’t receive much light from the adjacent hallway. This particular shade seems to do wonders to brighten up dark rooms.
Is Benjamin Moore Simply White warm or cool?
Benjamin Moore Simply White is classified as a warm white. This warmth comes from its yellow undertones, which can be noticeable in the right environment, especially in south-facing rooms.
The yellow undertones should never be too overt, but you should be careful and test the paint in the room where you would like to apply it.
Is Benjamin Moore Simply White too yellow?
I mentioned that BM Simply White’s undertones are yellow, but will they appear too yellow for your project? Personally, I don’t think this color will often come across as a strong yellow, but it can change depending on what the the surrounding environment looks like.
With rooms that get a lot of natural bright lighting, this paint should consistently appear as bright white color. If your room gets less natural lighting or is consistently dim/dark, then the yellow undertones may be more prominent. Even in these cases though, it usually shouldn’t be too yellow.
For an example of a room with a lot of natural lighting, I recently made over our dining room last year for the Better Homes and Gardens One Room Challenge, painting the entire room in this gorgeous warm shade.
This color is one of my most reliable wall colors, and you can see it featured in this project. With the beautiful bright light coming in from the windows, my white walls provide a refreshing and crisp feeling.
When should I use Simply White?
Simply White is a very flexible paint, which is why it has been so popular for several years now. Most notably featured on walls and white kitchen cabinets, it’s been known to occupy an entire home’s color scheme, including my own. If you really like this color, then I am sure you can find a place for it in your home!
Sometimes, cooler whites can feel brighter, but they can also make a room feel a bit sterile. So if your room requires just a tad more warmth, then Simply White can provide more of a “clean” or “fresh” feeling without being too stark.
Simply White is also a great choice if you want to emphasize accent colors and other décor in your home. This color will typically appear as a bright white without many obvious undertones, so other colors and materials in your room can pop even more.
You can even think on a smaller scale than painting walls and rooms. We recently completed a DIY Built-In Media Center in our family room and opted for Simply White as the prominent paint color. In this case, it worked perfectly on a piece of furniture to compliment the room.
When to avoid simply White
The subtle undertones in Simply White are good for providing a hint of warmth, but sometimes you want the warmth to be more overt. If you are looking for a warmer white that shows more color, such as something more creamy or off white, then this paint may not be for you.
With that being said, if you are looking for a cooler white, then Simply White will also not be a great option. There are no blue or gray undertones in this paint, so it may not be ideal if you want a cooler white.
Also, consider the other décor and materials you have in the room where you want to paint. In a kitchen, for example, certain marbles and granites will clash with Simply White. The cool undertones of the countertops will make those warm yellow undertones really stand out (but maybe not in a good way).
Best trim colors to pair with Simply White
One thing you can try with Simply White (and it could work with other paint colors as well) is to use the same color for the trim work, and simply change the sheen. Having a different sheen for the walls and trim will provide a complimentary appearance without having to stress over finding another paint color.
This is exactly what I chose to do when painting both our powder room and my daughter’s bedroom. I chose a matte flat sheen for the walls and I slightly glossier satin sheen for the trim work and doors.
Of course, if you do want to use another white trim color consider finding a lighter or brighter white. Anything warmer than Simply White may appear as creamy or off-white, so a nice bright white paint color is an excellent choice.
You will want to avoid strong blue and green undertones when working with this paint. As always, try to compare some colors with an eye test, and also do some test painting, before you commit to a full painting project.
Is there a Sherwin Williams equivalent to Benjamin Moore Simply White?
There are some circumstances where you are required to use a specific brand like Sherwin Williams over Benjamin Moore. In case this happens, you may ask, “Can my painter match simply white to Sherwin Williams?”
I would absolutely NOT recommend a paint match as I and many others have had subpar experiences with this attempt. Different paint manufacturers use different shades of bases to mix their colors creating subtle nuances that you may not be too pleased with.
In this case, attempting to mix Simply White in a Sherwin Williams line results in a greenish tone which, while not unappealing, is not the same appearance you can expect from the Benjamin Moore line. And this green undertone becomes much more apparent in low lighting situations.
If you must find a close Sherwin Williams match, then some recommendations are Alabaster (SW 7008) or West highland White (SW 7566). These both have their own differences from Simply White, but are also popular white paints if your limited to. the Sherwin Williams brand specifically.
I always recommend trying to obtain your paint from the company that originally produced the color. Their process and materials may be unique, and matching colors across brands might remove some of the particular elements that attracted you in the first place.
Can I use Simply White for Exteriors?
Benjamin Moore’s Simply White is great multi-purpose white for many different areas of the home and this extends to the exterior! For both a modern new build and a traditional home it’s reliable as a bright white color without being blinding in full light. The warm undertones will also pop in the right lighting, making this paint a treat to experience at sunrise or sunset.
Many times, when we are looking for white paint, we come across a color that is a bit too cool and will appear grey when fully applied. You also don’t want a color that is too warm and appears as a cream or off-white. If you want a reliable bright white for your home exterior with subtle warmth, then Benjamin Moore’s Simply White could be a good choice for you.
Still, as with all paint reviews, this is a matter of personal preference, and what I think is too bright or just right may differ from you. I recommend testing a large sample of this paint on your brick or siding to see how it reacts to the changing light conditions outside. I’ve heard a suggestion before, that you can even paint a board with the color of your choosing and place it outside and observe it. This can help prevent costly mistakes when redoing an exterior.
What is the difference between Benjamin Moore White Dove and Simply White?
While White Dove and Simply White are both great warm white paint colour options, there are a few differences that will make you choose one over the other in a particular painting project.
If your goal is to select the truer, brighter white, then this paint will be your best option. The yellow undertones are subtle, and it will appear as a brighter white unless paired next to a pure cool white.
White Dove will appear warmer than Simply White, so if you are looking for a true bright white, this may not be the choice for you. If you desire a more cream or greige appearance, then White Dove can fit better in this scenario.
Simply White is one of my favorite paint colors and still holds its place as one of the most popular white paint colors for interior walls. I’m currently in the process of repainting our entire house with it and I’ve been incredibly impressed with how versatile this color has been in every room we’ve painted.