History of Hues: Cream

Updated: May 31

What images come to mind when you hear the color cream? Perhaps it’s sitting outside in the English countryside having tea and being served scones with jam and clotted cream. Or maybe it’s the memory of your beloved childhood dog who had the softest fur and was named Cookie after his cookies ‘n' cream coloring. No matter what image it evokes, the color cream has its place in our history.

The color name cream was first recorded in the English language in 1590. Cream was used to describe the color of the cream produced by grazing cattle. The natural plants that these cattle grazed on were rich in yellow pigments, and this tinted the fresh milk a yellowish color. Cream became cream because it was between the white of the milk and the yellow of the butter.


Considered a shade of white, cream in paint and art is created by reducing the intensity of the hue of yellow by adding white. This is also referred to as a pastel color, and cream is to yellow as pink is to red.


Cream City

You can also travel to cream! Milwaukee, Wisconsin is called Cream City. In the mid to late 19th century, the city received this nickname for the cream or light yellow-colored bricks they produced of the same name. The bricks were first produced in 1835 and quickly became popular because of their pleasing neutral color. The bricks were made from red lacustrine clay that is common in the region. The clay had high levels of lime and sulfur. Once the bricks were fired, they would become a creamy yellow color.


The large old Schlitz Brewery complex is a great example of the use of cream bricks. The bricks were widely exported to major American cities like Chicago and New York and even made their way to Europe, including Hamburg, Germany!


By the 1920s, manufacturing brick in Milwaukee came to an end. Trains and trucking made it easier to import red clay bricks from other areas of the country. The standard red clay brick was less expensive and more durable.


The Meaning of Cream

The color cream is associated with warmth and comfort. It is a neutral color that feels classic and reliable. People who favor the color cream are often athletic and have competitive traits. They don’t like to lose but remain cheerful with a pleasant disposition.


Cream also evokes a sense of reliability and of history. Think of it as your go-to friend that is always a constant in your life, but can often be found kicking around a ball on Saturday morning with a smile on their face.


Have you dreamed of creating a calm and peaceful room in shades of white and cream? It does make you want to relax. White walls with cream curtains can be magical. Too much neutral for you? Vexed by kids and pets? Use darker neutrals, tans, and greys for furniture and rugs, and frame your windows with drapes of cream.


At the drape, our most luscious fabric, the textured velvet is available in cream. It is dreamy and will make you feel calm and relaxed as if you have moved into a luxury hotel.


If you want to see this fabric for yourself, order 5 free swatches. Sample all the neutrals, the colors that speak to you, or choose by fabric. Selecting curtains should be fun! If this is overwhelming, we are here to help you. Ask a designer, is one click away. Schedule a live virtual call with a designer from our team.