Behr Smoky White vs BM Swiss Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Behr Smoky White vs BM Swiss Coffee

When selecting a warm, versatile neutral paint color, popular picks across brands include Behr Smoky White BWC-13 and Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee OC-45. Both are beautiful light tan browns that work well throughout homes. But what exactly sets these two shades apart?

In this article, we’ll thoroughly compare Smoky White and Swiss Coffee. We’ll analyze undertones, light reflectance, real life photos, and best room usages. Read on to determine which warm neutral paint color is the right fit for your home’s interior design.

Key Differences Between Smoky White and Swiss Coffee

Before diving into the details, here is an overview of the main differences between Smoky White and Swiss Coffee:

  • Undertones – Smoky White is more gray, Swiss Coffee is more brown
  • Light Reflectance – Smoky White has an LRV of 78, Swiss Coffee has an LRV of 81.91
  • Use – Smoky White for modern homes, Swiss Coffee for traditional decor
  • Rooms – Smoky White shines in bright rooms, Swiss Coffee excels in cozy spaces
  • Availability – Swiss Coffee comes in more finishes

Now let’s explore Smoky White and Swiss Coffee more thoroughly.

Behr Smoky White BWC-13

Behr Smoky White

Behr Smoky White BWC-13 is a gorgeous light tan brown with gray undertones. This versatile neutral works well across interior design styles.

Here are some details on Behr’s Smoky White:

  • LRV: 78
  • Undertones: Gray tan
  • Finish: Flat, eggshell, semi-gloss
  • Rooms: Living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms
  • Pairs Well With: Grays, blues, greens

Smoky White has distinctive gray-beige undertones that give this light brown a sophisticated sensibility. While called a white, it reads as a very soft, approachable neutral with only hints of gray.

The 78 light reflectance value strikes a nice balance between providing illumination and remaining soft and subtle. Rooms feel bright but not stark white.

With its barely-there gray influence, Smoky White suits modern and transitional spaces beautifully. Use it alongside cool-toned colors like grays and blues. Popular Smoky White rooms include:

  • Living rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Dining rooms
  • Offices and studies
  • Bathrooms
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Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee OC-45

swiss coffee

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee OC-45 is a warm, natural-looking light brown. This gorgeous neutral beige has widespread appeal across styles.

Here are some details on beloved Swiss Coffee:

  • LRV: 81.91
  • Undertones: Creamy brown
  • Finish: Available in all paint sheens
  • Rooms: Living rooms, bedrooms, offices
  • Pairs Well With: Brown, greens, blues

True to its name, Swiss Coffee has distinctive creamy brown undertones resembling a latte. This gives the paint color a very welcoming and cozy appearance.

The 81.91 light reflectance value provides enough illumination to prevent dreariness, while maintaining the brown warmth. Rooms feel cheerfully nestled but not dark.

With its creamy brown essence, Swiss Coffee excels alongside other natural neutrals. Use it with color schemes featuring cream, taupe, sage green, and sky blue. Popular Swiss Coffee rooms include:

  • Cozy living rooms
  • Bedrooms and nurseries
  • Offices and studies
  • Dining rooms
  • Kitchens and baths

Comparing Smoky White vs Swiss Coffee

Now that we’ve looked at Smoky White and Swiss Coffee independently, let’s compare them directly:

Light Reflectance

Smoky White has an LRV of 78 compared to Swiss Coffee’s lower 81.91 LRV. This means Smoky White will reflect more light for a brighter appearance.

However, both reflect enough light for most average size rooms without feeling too dark or gloomy.


Here is where the main difference lies. Smoky White has subtle cool gray undertones. Swiss Coffee has very warm creamy brown undertones.

Smoky White’s gray gives it a more refined modern feel. Swiss Coffee’s brown warmth provides a welcoming traditional sensibility.


With its barely cool gray undertone, Smoky White excels alongside airy, bright rooms with cool color schemes.

Swiss Coffee’s cozy warmth makes it ideal for more intimate living spaces like bedrooms, dens and dining rooms.


Smoky White comes in 3 finishes – flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss. Swiss Coffee offers the full spectrum from matte to high gloss.

Smoky White vs Swiss Coffee Comparison Chart

Here is an overview of how Smoky White and Swiss Coffee compare:

Paint Color Smoky White BWC-13 Swiss Coffee OC-45
LRV 78 81.91
Undertones Gray tan Creamy brown
Use Modern, transitional spaces Traditional cozy rooms
Sheens 3 sheens All sheens
Style Contemporary, modern Traditional, farmhouse

Real Life Photos – Smoky White vs Swiss Coffee

Let’s look at real life spaces painted in Smoky White and Swiss Coffee to better see how they compare in actual environments.

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Smoky White BWC-13

Real Behr Smoky White

Swiss Coffee OC-45

Real Room Photos Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

The photos demonstrate how Smoky White generally appears to be a cooler, more gray-toned neutral compared to the warmer, more brown Swiss Coffee. However, depending on lighting they can look quite similar.

Should I Choose Smoky White or Swiss Coffee?

So how do you decide between Behr Smoky White vs Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee for your space? Here are some helpful tips:

Consider Smoky White BWC-13 if you want:

  • A light tan brown with subtle gray undertones
  • A versatile neutral suitable for modern homes
  • Enough warmth without going too creamy-brown
  • A sophisticated and refined neutral

Consider Swiss Coffee OC-45 if you want:

  • A light brown with distinct creamy brown undertones
  • A super cozy and welcoming traditional paint color
  • A soft brown suitable for nearly any room
  • Benjamin Moore’s most popular brown

As always, get samples before fully committing to a color. View large swatches in your actual lighting and with your furnishings. This will give you the best sense of which paint color you prefer before finalizing a choice.

While Smoky White suits contemporary homes, Swiss Coffee’s cozy vibe gives it an advantage in traditionally styled spaces. Choose the one that best matches your goals.

Ideal Room Pairings

While Smoky White and Swiss Coffee work well throughout homes, here are some rooms particularly well suited:

Smoky White BWC-13

Thanks to its barely cool gray influence, Smoky White excels in brighter rooms. Perfect spaces include:

  • Sunlit living rooms and kitchens
  • Bright bedrooms and nurseries
  • Bathrooms and laundry rooms
  • Dining rooms and entryways

Swiss Coffee OC-45

This cozy neutral excels in more intimate, enclosed living areas. Ideal Swiss Coffee rooms:

  • Cozy living rooms and dens
  • Bedrooms and nurseries
  • Offices, libraries, and studies
  • Windowless spaces needing warmth

Use light-reflecting Smoky White to illuminate your brighter, modern rooms. Let welcoming Swiss Coffee provide coziness in your home’s traditional living spaces.

Decorating Ideas and Color Pairings

On their own, Smoky White and Swiss Coffee create peaceful backdrops. Paired with other colors and materials, you can design beautiful spaces:

Smoky White BWC-13 Ideas

  • Light brown modern kitchen with cool gray marble counters
  • Tan bedroom with light blue and gray bedding
  • Sophisticated gray-brown dining room with brass accents
  • Crisp white open shelving against smoky tan walls

Swiss Coffee OC-45 Ideas

  • Cozy living room with chocolate leather furniture
  • Creamy beige bedroom with natural fiber bedding
  • Warm galley kitchen with butcher block countertops
  • Bright white wainscoting against creamy tan walls
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Color Pairings for Both

  • Crisp blues, grays, and whites
  • Black and white graphic prints
  • Warm metals like brass and bronze
  • Rich wood stains and finishes

Keep walls neutral tan to make accent colors pop. Easily change accents seasonally for a fresh new look.

Smoky White vs Swiss Coffee – Which is Best For You?

So what’s better for your home – light modern Smoky White or cozy traditional Swiss Coffee? The right choice depends on your goals:

Pick Smoky White BWC-13 if you want:

  • A light tan brown with subtle cool gray undertones
  • A sophisticated paint color for modern spaces
  • A comfortable backdrop without going too warm
  • Flexibility across modern design styles

Choose Swiss Coffee OC-45 if you want:

  • A light brown with noticeable creamy brown undertones
  • Benjamin Moore’s most popular, cozy paint color
  • A super welcoming backdrop for living areas
  • A versatile neutral that fits any traditional style

Get large in-home paint samples before deciding. While Swiss Coffee excels in cozy traditional homes, Smoky White shines in laidback modern spaces seeking a soft refined backdrop.

Choose the light tan paint color that best complements your existing design, furniture, and style. Both will serve as gorgeous neutral base colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still trying to decide between Smoky White and Swiss Coffee? Here are some commonly asked questions:

Is Smoky White warm, cool, or neutral?

Smoky White BWC-13 is a slightly cool-toned light brown thanks to its subtle gray undertones. However, it still reads as fairly neutral.

What colors complement Swiss Coffee?

Swiss Coffee pairs beautifully with other natural tones like cream, taupe, light blue, sage green, as well as rich wood stains and white trim.

Can you use Smoky White in bathrooms?

Yes, Smoky White is suitable for bathrooms. Its 78 LRV prevents dinginess, and the gray undertone resists yellowing over time.

Is Swiss Coffee suitable for bedrooms?

Yes, the welcoming warmth of Swiss Coffee makes it an ideal bedroom color. Pair it with white trim and natural textiles for a peaceful sleeping space.

What sheen should I use for Swiss Coffee cabinets?

For a durable kitchen cabinet finish, use a semi-gloss or gloss Swiss Coffee. This adds a nice subtle sheen against neighboring flat paint.

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