Benjamin Moore Simply White Paint Color Review

simply white walls in a living room
Simply White walls in our living room

When I find a paint color I love, I stick with it. For awkwardly long periods of time, and Benjamin Moore Simply White is one of those colors.

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I first used Simply White in 2015, when it was named the brand’s ‘Color of the Year.’ I was about to paint my condo in Chicago, and was looking for a good shade of white. The color of the year option seemed like a safe bet … and it was. I never even bought a paint sample of the color (which I don’t recommend, especially for whites, but luckily it worked out for me this one time). Since my first Simply White encounter, I’ve used it in three other homes, and it’s become my go-to white paint.

In fact, when we were renovating our Vermont ski house, my husband joked that he was going to start a drinking game based around the number of times I said “simply white.” He decided he couldn’t drink that much. I’m like a walking endorsement for the color at this point.

It’s also not just me who loves this hue. Simply White is regularly one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular colors (out of all the colors, not just whites).

If you’re debating the best white paint color for your home, allow me to dazzle you with all the information you ever wanted to know about my favorite shade…

My Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117 Review

You won’t be surprised to find that, on a scale of 1-10, I give this paint color a perfect 10. That’s it. That’s my review.

Kidding.

So what’s so great about Simply White? In my opinion, it’s a bright white that doesn’t look stark or sterile, thanks to some oh-so-subtle warm undertones.

Despite how the color swatch appears, above, it’s not a cream color. If you walked into a room painted in Simply White, your first thought would be white, not cream. I always find that, when it comes to white paint, the digital color swatches always look a lot darker than they do on IRL walls. Hot tip.

What Color is Benjamin Moore Simply White?

Simply White in my primary bathroom

Benjamin Moore says Simply White is “Fresh as the first snowfall, this clean, crisp, multi-purpose white is a perennial favorite for trim, ceilings, and walls,” and says “The slightest hint of warmth makes this clean, crisp white a favorite to use anywhere in the home.”

I feel like, honestly, that’s a pretty good summary.

I’d call it a bright white with a touch of warmth. Simply White is technically a slightly warmer shade of white, but it’s also so bright that it looks pretty close to pure white … without the starkness that actual pure white tends to have. The creamy undertones complement traditional decor well, but it also lends a little bit of softness to contemporary and modern decor schemes, too.

I always think Simply White looks super white on walls until I hold up something next to it that’s a true white.

Here’s a look at the walls in my kids’ playroom, which are painted Simply White, with straight from the can, non-tinted white trim paint.

Here is a Simply White wall with pure white trim paint, in my kids’ playroom. Don’t mind the caulking I need to do.

What is the LRV of Simply White?

Simply White has a LRV, or light reflective value, of 89.52, which makes it a pretty bright paint color.

LRVs range from 0-100, with 100 being a true, bright white, and 0 being absolute black.

There are no paint colors with a 100 LRV. The closest they generally get is 93ish. By comparison, Benjamin Moore Hale Navy, another popular paint color, has an LRV of 6.3. So again, Simply White is a bright white.

Simply White is part of Benjamin Moore’s off-white collection, and is considered an off-white shade. It’s one of the brand’s best selling colors, and a common choice for both interior and exterior use, as well as for trims and moldings. (If you’re debating Simply White vs. White Dove, or Simply White vs. Swiss Coffee know that Simply White is the brightest of the bunch.)

Is Simply White cool or warm?

Benjamin Moore Simply White is a warm white, thanks to subtle yellow and green undertones. Because the undertones are minimal, the hue can look like a pure white, or a soft, warm white depending on where it’s used.

A look at how Simply White, top left, compares to other popular white wall paint colors

Simply White isn’t the only cult-favorite white out there. There are dozens of them, and a lot of them are similar. So, if you’re debating Simply White vs another color, here’s a quick run down on the differences.

Note that the images below make these paint colors appear darker than they do on the walls, so take them with a grain of salt!

Simply White vs. White Dove

This might be the most popular white paint battle of all time. Simply White and White Dove are two of the top warm white paint colors for walls. The key difference is that White Dove is a touch darker.

Simply White vs. Sherwin Williams Pure White

Sherwin Williams Pure White is one of the brand’s most popular shades. But it’s not, in fact, a pure, bright white. It has an LRV of 84, which means it’s a bit darker than Simply White. When I say ‘darker,’ know that Pure White is still a very bright white, it’s just not quite as bright as Simply White.

Pure White is also a neutral white that has chameleon tendencies, taking on the hues around it. I.e. In a warm space, it will look warm, and in a north-facing space or a room that gets a lot of shade, it will look cool. You can see in the photo above, the shade is a bit more of a greige-y white, white Simply White is more of a creamy white.

Simply White Vs. Alabaster

If I had to choose, Sherwin Williams Alabaster would be my second favorite white paint color. I tend to use it in spaces where Simply White just feels too bright, like in our bedroom, which you can see here. It’s a bit deeper than Simply White, and the undertones are more neutral, and less creamy.

Simply White vs. Cloud White

Benjamin Moore Cloud White is a off-white shade that’s slightly darker than Simply White. It has an LRV of 85.05, so it’s still a bright white, just, again, not as bright as Simply White. If you’re choosing a white for a space that gets lots of light and want a paint color with a little warmth to it, Cloud White is a good option.

Simply White vs. Decorator’s White

If you’re looking for an off white without any yellow or beige tones, Decorator’s White is a good choice. Unlike Simply White, it’s a cool white, and gets it’s undertones from blue-gray hues. If you’re debating whether you want a warm or cool-toned white paint, these are two great shades to compare in your space as a starting point.

Simply White Vs. Swiss Coffee

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee is one of the brand’s most popular shades of white, especially since Shea McGee declared it her favorite paint color. If you’re looking for a warm white with more depth, that’s not quite as bright as Simply White, Swiss Coffee is a pretty shade to try.

Also note, Shea McGee usually uses the color at 75% strength, which gives it a whiter appearance!

Simply White Vs. Chantilly Lace

With an LRV of 90.4, Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace is brighter than Simply White, though still considered an off white. It’s a more neutral white than Simply White, in that it’s undertones aren’t obviously warm or cool.

Trim Colors for Simply White

Here is a Simply White wall with pure white trim paint, in my kids’ playroom. Don’t mind the caulking I need to do.

If you’re looking for a trim color for Simply White, I have three suggestions:

A Pure White Shade

If you want to paint your trim a different shade of white than Simply White, go for a bright, clear white shade to create just a touch of contrast. Using a white color with an obvious undertone, or one slightly deeper than Simply White will make either the walls or the trim look muddy or dingy.

I personally love the out-of-the-can white trim paint against SImply White walls. This ensures you aren’t getting something with an undertone that will accidentally contrast the walls.

Using Simply White in a different sheen

The other thing I’ve often done in my own homes when I’ve used Simply White on the walls is to use Simply White for the trim, too, just in a different sheen. I go for flat or eggshell paint on the walls, and then a semi-gloss on the trim. The look is subtle, but super sophisticated (especially now that color-washing has become so popular).

Going for a bit of contrast

If you want a bolder look, you can also choose a colored trim. In this case, Simply White is incredible versatile because there are all kinds of shades that it’ll work with. For something more elegant, I love the idea of using Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter for a trim color

Where to use Simply White

I’ve used Simply White all around my homes in various paint grades and finishes. Kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, everywhere. Here are a few examples of how it looks around the houses I’ve used it in. And keep scrolling for examples of Simply White in other homes, too.

Simply White Living Room

Simply White on the walls of our Chicago condo

The first time I used the color was, as I said, our home in Chicago. It was a spec condo built in the early 2000s, and we wanted to make it look more contemporary. So, we painted over the yellow-cream colored walls with Simply White. It definitely created fresh, modern vibe we were going for.

And here it is again in my current living room, on both the walls and the built ins. I think its warm undertones make it a a great match for traditional decor with a modern twist, which tends to be my aesthetic.

Simply White Dining Rooms

Simply White in the dining room before I painted the whole thing Wales Gray

The second home is our current home, a 1930s colonial in Connecticut. Everything about this house is traditional. The architecture, the millwork, the layout. I love a traditional home and it has incredible bones, but it was painted shades of pink and taupe that made it just look old, not charming. Once again, I wanted a clean slate, and chose Simply White for almost the entire house.

The third time I used Simply White was in our ski house in Vermont. Here, we used it to paint over a log wall in our cabin. The room we used it in is absolutely flooded with light, and in this space, the color was almost *too* bright.

Simply White Kitchen (walls)

This is the kitchen in our old condo in Chicago (the same home as the top living room photo), back in 2016. I used Simply White for the walls behind the cabinets.

Simply White Bathroom Walls

Simply White on my bathroom walls.

This is a great example of the hint of warmth in the color – if you look above the sink, you’ll notice there’s a bright-white tile backsplash there. Then just above that, the Simply White starts. See the slight difference?

Benjamin Moore Simply White FAQs

Is Simply White too yellow?

Image via Studio McGee

One of the common concerns about Simply White is that it will be too yellow, but it’s not at all. It’s considered a warmer paint color because, as I mentioned, it has with yellow-green undertones, and if you break it down into its RGB values, it has the least amount of blue ( RGB profile is 96.86% red, 96.86% green and 93.33% blue).

At the same time, it depends a lot on your space and what is reflecting into and around your room. In rooms that get less natural light, or when a room is receiving warm, dim sunset light, the creamy tones tend to be more visible. On the other hand, however, if it’s in a very bright space, the undertones will be almost completely washed out and it’ll look like a pure white. I’ve used it in a space with a ton of light, and in that case it was almost too bright of a white.

Let me climb on my soapbox to say that: This is why it’s always worth the $5 to buy a paint sample, because a color can look very different depending on the environment.

Is Simply White too white for walls?

If you’re wondering if Simply White is too white for walls, you won’t be surprised to know that my answer is: No, no, it is not. Again, it will depend on your home and your style. But if you’re looking for a white paint color, this is about as bright white as you can get without the paint making the room feel cold.

The verdict on Simply White

Overall, Benjamin Moore Simply White is a safe bet if you’re looking for a warmed-up white paint for pretty much any room in your home. The only time I would suggest against it is if you’re after an ultra contemporary or minimalist scheme and prefer a cooler-toned color.

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