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Alpaca by Sherwin Williams (SW 7022) is a greige neutral paint color that is a bit warmer than a traditional gray color, leaning toward more of a taupe paint color with strong undertones. 

Sherwin Williams alpaca paint swatch

Sherwin Williams alpaca can definitely be a confusing color. You may be asking is it gray, beige, or greige? It’s hard to tell with this warm paint color! Let’s take a closer look at this chameleon color.

What Color is SW Alpaca?

This isn’t your average gray or taupe color, it definitely falls in line with greige paint colors. With an LRV of 57 this color is considered a light paint color. Referred to as a color chameleon and even a color ninja, this color has a bit more going on underneath the surface. 

It is a bit warmer than a traditional gray, leaning toward more of a taupe color with strong undertones. While it’s not amongst the most popular colors from Sherwin Williams, it does have a definitive look that can definitely enhance your space if done properly.

What is The LRV?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is an indicator of the amount of light that is reflected by a color when it is illuminated by a light source. A higher value (closer to 100) means that a color will reflect more light back at you and a lower value (closer to 0) means that a color will appear darker, or absorb more light. 

This paint color has an LRV of 57. With an LRV of 57 this puts Alpaca on the lower end of the light range.

Alpaca painted board and batten walls in a bedroom with a white bed.
Alpaca Board and Batten via Simply Beautiful by Angela

Is SW Alpaca a Warm or Cool Color?

This can be a little difficult to answer, because different factors can change the appearance of this color. Sherwin Williams Alpaca is mostly a warm gray paint color. You can see the warm brown undertones although it can read slightly more gray and cool depending on the lighting.

What Are The Undertones of SW Alpaca?

Alpaca has some strong warm undertones shining through. Depending on the circumstances you can see brown, taupe, and even violet undertones. Again the chameleon nature of this color can come out depending on the lighting environment.  

In a south-facing room you will see the warmth shine through, and it can tend to look more taupe than gray. In a north-facing room you will see more cool gray undertones, but you can still feel the warmth.

Light can play a huge role in how neutral paint colors actually end up looking in a space. Hidden color palettes can peek through depending on windows, natural light, and artificial light in your space.

With its brown undertones Alpaca comes across as a warmer color. What can throw you off is the purple undertones.

If these undertones don’t bother you then Alpaca may be the perfect color for you. If these undertones are an issue do your homework before committing. 

On another note, another very popular color, Repose Gray also has a slight purple undertone, but I’ve never heard anyone complain about it! So don’t let the purple scare you off before you’ve sampled the color in your own home. It might just become one of your new favorite colors!

If I’m using this paint color on my walls, what white trim color will look best?

Sherwin Williams Pure White is always a safe choice as it works with both cool and warm wall colors.

For a really bright, crisp white that’s on the cool side, SW Extra White is also an awesome choice.

Is SW Alpaca a Good Exterior Paint Color?

Alpaca is not a very popular choice for exterior design because it’s a bit risky. Although it might look like a nice warm beige at first, it can show unexpected purple and pink undertones in different lights.

This can make your house look different than you might want. Using Alpaca outside can be a gamble because it might not turn out the way you expect, especially next to other colors or in natural light.

A good remedy for this may be to just use it on your front door, and not the entire exterior of your home.

What Colors Pair Well with Alpaca?

Alpaca goes well with a few specific colors that help bring out its best qualities. Pairing it with crisp whites like Simple White can make the space feel bright and clean.

Dark grays, such as Moonlit Orchid, add a nice contrast and give a modern touch. Some browns also match well with Alpaca, creating a warm and cozy look.

Where Can I Use Alpaca?

Many interior spaces will look beautiful with Alpaca. Most often you will see it be the main color in a room like a dining room, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, and on kitchen cabinets. 

Real Room Examples

Here are some examples of Alpaca in different spaces so you can get an idea of how it looks. Most neutral paint colors can be used in a wide array of spaces. 


This first image is a great example of Alpaca done right. You can see that with all the brown in this bathroom, Alpaca worked well this space.

It adds the perfect amount of warmth to the space, and the white trim adds a crispness needed to brighten the space.

The taupe (and slightly purple/violet) undertone is quite apparent in this space but with the right colors it looks just lovely.

Neutral colored bathroom with vanity, mirror, and sink with walls painted SW Alpaca
Bathroom painted in Alpaca via Driven By Decor


Since there’s enough light the paint color is brightened up. You see less brown and taupe and more of a warmer gray, neutral color. It was the perfect choice for this nursery!

This goes to show the decor and lighting plays a huge role in the result of this color in your spaces.

gender neutral nursery with closet and chair near window with walls painted SW Alpaca
Nursery Wall in Alpaca via Table and Hearth

Living Room

Pop goes the violet undertones in this space. With the darker decor and violet chairs and accents you can see more of the violet undertones shine through. It plays out more taupe than gray in this space.

Neutral brown and gray living room with large sectional with walls painted SW Alpaca
Alpaca in a living room bringing out the violet tones by Beret Design Group

Sherwin Williams Alpaca vs. Agreeable Gray

comparison swatch of agreeable gray vs alpaca

These two paint colors are very similar, however you can see when placed next to each other, that Agreeable Gray is more of a greige and Alpaca has more brown and taupe in it.

Agreeable gray has an LRV of 60, which means it’s a brighter color than Alpaca, but they are quite similar in terms of depth of color.

Final Thoughts

Sherwin Williams Alpaca sure is a tricky color to work with. So many factors are in play when it comes to using this paint color. Whether it is lighting or decor, you can end up with a completely different looking paint color. The best way to ensure it’s right for you is to use samplize sheets first.

So play it safe, do you homework and sample this color in your spaces, to ensure you are happy with the choice you make.

Don’t Forget…

Don’t forget – no matter what you’ve read or photos you’ve seen online, it’s really important to sample paint colors in your home before committing!

Samplize provides real paint samples that are easy to move around your home, and cheaper than buying a gazillion paint pots! It’s the only way I buy paint samples.

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  1. We have honey oak molding throughout and Alpaca looks AMAZING with it.

  2. We have the 90’s honey oak EVERYTHING.
    Our kitchen cabinets, base boards, stairwell railings…
    I am working on a plan to redecorate and want to embrace the honey oak. Would this color work? I read your other article about the colors that work best for Honey Oak. I am loving the Salamander for our dining room to add that sexy pop of color. I want to complement the rest of the home but keep it a little more calmer.

    1. In theory – yes….but I wouldn’t use it as a whole house wall color unless you’re fine with that slightly pinkish/taupe undertone which may pop up in certain rooms.