How to Use Sherwin-Williams' Alabaster Paint Color

Living room interior using Sherwin Williams' alabaster paint


Sherwin-Williams always releases a "color of the year," and Alabaster SW 7008 was the winning color choice in 2016. Though it may seem counterintuitive to have a simple color be awarded that distinction, it's a versatile, neutral color and can be used in so many different settings that it's worth celebrating it. Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, noted that in this age of taking time out for mindfulness, "Alabaster offers a sense of personal solace and revival to weary minds. It is the true neutral to set the tone for 2016.”

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  • 01 of 07

    Create Bold Stripes

    Black and White Striped Wall


    Being a light neutral, Alabaster is versatile and useful for any room, from an entry to a home office to a dining room. It can be peaceful on its own or form "a yin and yang harmony with contrasting dark colors, such as Urbane Bronze (SW 7048) or Gray Area (SW 7052) in a spa-like bathroom," Sherwin-Williams said in its materials about the winning color.

    Bold contrast works perfectly for creating stripes, and high contrast can pack a heavy design punch. Horizontal stripes can make a short room feel wider and thus larger (or vertical stripes can make a wall feel taller). You'll want to consider whether stripes should be on just one feature wall in the space rather than the whole room. Too many stripes can be overpowering. Wide stripes in a small room can make the space feel boxy and make you feel closed in. Narrow stripes in a long room can seem to blend together.

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  • 02 of 07

    Create a Teen Retreat With Alabaster

    Colorful Room with Alabaster paint on the walls

    Thistlewood Farms

    KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms partnered with Sherwin-Williams to makeover her daughter's room with Alabaster paint. The transformation was fun and playful and showed how much you can do with a simple and beautiful white paint color. If you have warm tones, like in this cheerful room, a warm white is what you're looking for as a neutral base. 

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  • 03 of 07

    White Plus Bright Colors Equals Perfection

    Colorful Bedroom
    Thistlewood Farms

    The bright colors of this teen girl's bedroom from Thistlewood Farms are not overwhelming because they are balanced by the simple white paint. Interesting details such as a shutter wall provide some flair and texture to make this bedroom lively and out of the ordinary, yet the white ensures that the room doesn't get too chaotic.

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  • 04 of 07

    It's a Soothing Choice for Bedrooms

    Grey master bedroom


    A bedroom should be a soothing retreat from everyday life. Paired with the right bedding, furniture, and decorative details, Alabaster can help create that calm in a modern and stylish bedroom. In a primary bedroom, the bed is always a focal point, so a neutral bed in a calm space needs to have a complementary neutral backdrop. A room that mixes neutral tones will not automatically appear stark. Texture, such as in flooring, furniture finishes (such as the dresser in the photo), and textiles, adds comfort, and a little shimmer, such as in lighting, adds elegance. 

    About This Term: Primary Bedroom

    Many real estate associations as well as the Real Estate Standards Organization have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as potentially discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is now recommended and widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.

    Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.

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  • 05 of 07

    Alabaster Makes a Living Room Elegant

    An elegant living room

    The Alabaster paint color can show off an elegant living room, as it turns walls into a fine showplace for artwork, frames, mirrors, or other decorative elements; it won't compete with whatever color scheme the decorative touches contain, even if the color scheme is largely neutral. Although Alabaster functions well by itself or with warm colors, it also pairs well with light blushes and grays. These colors can bridge transitional and traditional styles, from a room with a more formal design to one that is more shabby-chic, such as in a home with both a formal living room and a den or family room.

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  • 06 of 07

    A Charming Nursery

    Boy's nursery with wooden animal cut outs on wall

    Vintage Revivals

    Alabaster can be a classic backdrop for this sweet baby's nursery from Vintage Revivals. The nice thing about this color is that it ages well. After the crib is gone, the color still works for a child's room and will be appropriate even through the occupant's teenage years, no matter what colors the bedding happens to be as the seasons change. 

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  • 07 of 07

    White Paint Shows Off Small Details

    Changing Table in a boy's nursery

    Vintage Revivals

    This slightly warm white works so well as a backdrop for any art or creative wall decorations, allowing them to be a focus, and no matter what, the decor won't clash with Alabaster, guaranteed. As Mandi from Vintage Revivals said, "If you love color, white walls give you freedom to use it way more than you would be able to if you committed to something dramatic." 

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  1. Sherwin Williams Names Alabaster 2016 Color of the Year. Sherwin Williams.