White is a color you’ll find in every home in America, and likely every home in the world. How is this possible? Because there are so many different types of white! Cream and ivory are two of the most popular.
The problem is that these two colors are also often confused with one another. That’s fair because they are both warm whites or off-whites used in wedding dresses. But it doesn’t take much to get them straight.
What Color Is Ivory?
Ivory color is the same color as real ivory. Ivory is the material tusks are made out of. While it starts out quite white, as it ages, ivory starts to turn more yellow, which is why the term ivory color is often broad.
The color ivory is used very often in wedding dresses and jewelry. It is used for the off-white color that isn’t quite white and has a slightly yellow tone to it, but not a blue tone. This makes it a warm white.
What Color Is Cream?
The term cream color comes from the color of the butterfat in homemade cream. It has a yellow hue to it and it is soft and warm. It is darker than ivory on most occasions but the term cream is even broader.
Because sometimes, cream is used to describe any off-white color that has warm tones instead of cool tones. This is where the confusion sets in and people are confused as to whether they like cream or ivory.
Cream, Ivory, And White
Now that we have the simple definitions for cream and ivory out of the way, it’s time to compare the two. Cream and ivory are very similar colors and they both often fall under the category of white.
However, neither of them are bright white nor pure white. They are off-white with warm tones. However, there are major differences between the two that can help you decide once and for all which you prefer.
Cream and ivory both have warm undertones, unlike white which has cool undertones or been undertones. However, cream usually has primarily yellow undertones while ivory has brown undertones.
While both cream and ivory can be used to describe any paint, fabric, or art piece, it is more common that ivory is used in fashion and cream is used in home decor. This is just the standard but it isn’t a rule.
The color cream does not change. It is constant. But ivory starts out much whiter and turns darker, more yellow, over time. This isn’t always true with paint colors and fabrics, but it is a common trend.
The basic color code for cream is #FFFDD0 while the color code for ivory is #FFFFFO. This is only a slight difference that is in correlation with the RGB balance of the two technical colors, cream and ivory.
Cream has an RGB of 255, 253, 208. While ivory has an RGB of 255, 255, 240. As you can see the biggest difference is the blue. The color ivory has quite a bit more blue making it a much cooler color than cream.
Ivory Color Combos
Ivory goes well with a lot of different colors. It is similar to white yet toned down to be just a little less blue, ironically. You may notice the color code is 255 on red and green, which is the max color code.
You may be surprised to hear that white goes well with ivory. Because the tones go together so well, you can layer them to add another dimension to your room without adding too much color. These neutrals do not clash!
When working with ivory and white together, find a good balance. It’s better to find one to be the primary neutral and then accent it or shade it with the other. This will give the most depth and best balance.
Any light blue works well with ivory. It can be soft or medium. Blue in general works well with any white but lighter blues is slightly better than medium or bright blues when working with ivory color.
Try pairing ivory bed sheets with light blue throw pillows or adding a bouquet of sweet light blue flowers to the table with an ivory table runner. There are endless possibilities with colors as sweet as these.
If you like blue but don’t prefer light blue, navy is your next best bet with ivory. For an ivory wedding dress, navy is often something blue. Imagine grandmother’s old necklace or a garter that lovely navy.
The two really do look lovely together and contrast each other quite well while still adding some color. You can also use black if you prefer but navy is a better and safer alternative if using very much of the darker color.
Dark brown is also a nice alternative to black. If you want a specific brown then both chestnut and chocolate brown work amazingly well with ivory. This is the treat wrapped in a gorgeous ivory gift box or wrapper.
That’s why you try to use primarily ivory and let the dark brown peek out as if it is the chocolate or chestnut treat hiding behind the wrapper. Now that’s a fun trick that everyone will subconsciously understand.
Purple is another wonderful color and you can pair it with ivory anytime. In almost any shade. However, darker purple and deeper purple colors tend to work better with ivory than light colors do.
Light purples tend to get lost in the ivory. While they do look good together, you need a bit of contrast with ivory, or else it will be a little too soft and you won’t have anything to hold onto with your eyes.
Olive is a lovely color that you can pair with purple. The two look fabulous together! If you’re not into olive then you can try sage which is similar but with less brown and more softness, making it perfect for any kitchen.
Olive and sage are great green colors for any room and when you add the ivory, it lifts them up. This is the same way that olive grounds the heavenliness of ivory so that the two meet in the middle for bliss.
Mint is a rather safe color to use with ivory so if you want something daring, then you will have to choose a third color to add to the mix. A soft brown is a good choice to add for the third color or you can stick with the mint alone.
This is a gorgeous combo, and safety does not take away from how beautiful it is together. You can probably almost feel yourself relaxing just imagining that minty throw blanket on the fluffy ivory accent chair.
Cream Color Combos
Cream is at max red with an ever-so-slightly tune down on the green and a noticeable tune down on blue. This does one thing. It makes the color much warmer as blue is a very cool color. The less blue, the warmer.
Lavender is a good color to complement cream because the two are near opposites on the color wheel. The two together look amazing and are everything that you need to bring softness to your home.
They naturally have vanilla and lavender essential oil aesthetics so why not add some real essential oils to the mix? You can add the colors with the diffuser and have your own solace in your bedroom.
Burnt orange isn’t a common color to add with cream except during fall. But if you love everything about fall but want to lighten it up then you will love this dynamic color combo so much you’ll want to add it everywhere.
Deep orange with a rusty or burnt hue looks good alone but when you add cream, it lifts it up and smooths it out. You really have to see this combo to understand the magic that hides within it.
Dark cherry is a color that isn’t used often enough. It is primarily used in woods for that dark cherry wood color. This looks perfect with cream if you’re looking for a darker color to pair with that cream.
You can use dark cherry wood for a subtle dark cherry color. But if you want to be bold, find a dark cherry color to add to the mix. Don’t go overboard and take it in small sections at a time.
Mauve is a great color that is often used to accent cream in fashion. It can be used in small amounts or large amounts. The problem with mauve is that not many people know what color it really is so it isn’t used enough.
This makes it even better if you want something unique because you can identify it and add it to your cream room! Mauve is a pale purple often with red tones that is named after the mallow flower.
Did someone say shabby chic? Pale pink and cream are all you need for the shabby chic recipe. This color combination was made in heaven and looks good in any room in the house due to the subtlety.
Although if you want to play it safe, you’ll have to ensure that the pink is very pale, you can branch out to a slightly darker or bolder pink if it suits you. Add mint and baby blue for those extra touches.
If you want to add black to cream, then make it charcoal. This is the best black or gray you can add to cream because of the rustic nature of the color. Both of these colors look aged and worn, which is perfect.
If you can’t find charcoal, then search for a dark gray. This will usually get what you want. You can also whitewash black furniture to get a similar look that will look rustic or complete the farmhouse look.
Yes, denim is perfect with any color in fashion but it works exceptionally well with cream. Denim jeans paired with a flowy cream top is hard to beat and so are the two colors paired together in home interior designs.
No matter what color you choose, know that pairing it with the right color is important. Both ivory and cream are wonderful colors! It’s what you do with them that matters so choose your favorite and design wisely.