Oh the elusive Just Right White Paint Colors! Even though we know choosing the right white paint color for your interior is dependent on all sorts of factors such as natural light and various interior design elements, it seems that the best white paint color remains a hot topic.
Just Right White Paint Colors
And I am all too happy to dive into the topic since I have a doctorate in painting interiors and furniture white.
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White Paint Color on Walls (above): FARROW & BALL Strong White 2001.
Trim Color in Bathroom
No Universal “Just Right” White
With thousands of white paint color possibilities, it’s important to note the white a stylish blogger used for her modern farmhouse kitchen may look all wrong in your home.
Your room’s: amount of natural light, decor plan, finishes, and even geographical location all factor into the equation. So do your personal preferences and artful eye for color.
While there are certainly JUST RIGHT WHITE paint colors for your walls, the aim here will be to hold your hand through the process.
Overview of This Analysis
My opinions here about the quest for a just right white paint relate to: (1) my personal experience with flattering, beautiful white paint colors, (2) design wisdom concerning the process of choosing the best white paint color from smart design sites, and (3) guidance from talented designers and serial decorators we have come to trust.
1. Best White Paint Color Smarts: From Me
I have decades of experience as a decorator for dozens of homes for myself and others as well as a trained eye for color as an artist.
What I know for sure is the best white paint color for one particular space may be all wrong for another.
For example, the light here in Northern Illinois is completely different than the light in the Southwest. So keep in mind you’ll want to narrow your search for the right white paint color to a handful of tones and then try samples of them on the walls.
A Favorite White
In my own home we completely renovated ourselves, I tested five white paint color contenders by painting large swaths on the walls then observing how each color changed throughout the day.
All of the whites I chose had very subtle undertones, but a clear winner emerged. We painted all the walls BENJAMIN MOORE “White” which imparts: a modern gallery-like feel, coolness with minimal undertones, crispness, and no yellow cast.
Can you believe the simplicity of the name of this white paint? Yes, it’s WHITE! There’s no chance of forgetting this one, and it was the only white I found which worked with the intense yellow natural light flooding our North-South exposure home.
Here’s the white in another home in South Carolina:
Buy it Right Off the Shelf
Here’s a dead ringer for this bright white:
We painted ceilings with the same white color as well as the trim (in satin). What a world of difference it made!
Mixed Messages About Choosing Paint Color
BEWARE. There are color experts who recommend that we NEVER look to photos online for guidance choosing a paint color and others who insist this is the only way! Why the disparate views?
Here’s my two cents: Reviewing photos online (where the name of the white paint color used is supplied) seems a great place to start and can be more helpful than viewing a small swatch from the paint store!
If you don’t already have a Pinterest board devoted to best whites, create a board and PIN THIS POST so you’ll have paint names at the ready when you head to the store to buy samples to try on your walls.
Trustworthy Neutrals & Whites
Here’s an infographic with a few more of my favorite white and neutral paint colors from BENJAMIN MOORE (including Classic Gray which we just used for a new bathroom we added at the fixer upper!):
Easiest way to see if a paint color will work? Order samples with Samplize and have them delivered straight to your door.
Tried & True Pretty White Paint Colors
In our prior French Country style home, BENJAMIN MOORE White Sand was my favorite shade of white paint for walls, and BENJAMIN MOORE Dove Wing went on all the doors and trim. BENJAMIN MOORE White Dove was used to paint my family piano and various furniture.
2. White Paint Color Advice: From Pros
I turned to Country Living to discover the white paint colors Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines tends to favor and use in her projects. Her go-to white?
SHERWIN WILLIAMS Alabaster, which she used on the walls in her own home as well as many of the homes she and Chip renovated on the show.
More Decor Ideas for a Neutral Room
For a soothing grey paint color, Joanna likes Wedding Band from Kilz.
Is it any wonder, another white paint favorite of Joanna’s is known as “Shiplap?”
Romantic White Bedroom Ideas
Wisdom from a Trusted Source
Remodelista published a thoroughly researched piece about choosing white paint colors, and design experts advise:
1. Understand the different nuances of white (is it cool, warm, bluish, pinkish?). 2. Determine if objects in the room are cool (choose a cool white) or warm (choose a warm white). 3. Assess whether the room gets a lot of natural light (go with a pure white) or little light (go with a more pigmented white). 4. Choose a few whites and test large swatches on the walls. 5. If still stuck, turn to interior designers’ top picks.
Everybody’s Hungry For the Perfect White!
Since I am asked about white paint and white decor more than anything else, I have concluded a ton of home decorators get stuck. I turned to a panel of some of my favorite design friends to offer their favorite white paint color picks.
3. Just Right White Paint Colors: Picks from Experts
Greet of Belgian Pearls
“It is hard to name a favorite white as using the right color of white is dependent upon the room that has to be painted. Is it a small or a large room? Is there a lot of light coming in or not? Another factor….fabrics to be used in the room for curtains and upholstery. But I often turn to FARROW & BALL Pointing White or White Tie.”
POINTING…Farrow & Ball. This fresh and uncomplicated white is named after the color of lime pointing used in traditional brickwork.
WHITE TIE…Farrow & Ball’s prettiest white is named after the old, pre-brightened, starched cotton used for white tie jackets.
More Praise for Alabaster
Lauren DeLoach of Lauren Deloach Interiors:
ALABASTER…Sherwin Williams. Sherwin Williams named this the 2016 Color of the Year. Alabaster creates an atmosphere of ease and contentment for many spaces.
In Case You Need A Greyed White
Megan Pflug of Megan Pflug Designs:
A Crowd Favorite White!
Is anyone surprised at all that WHITE DOVE still reigns!?!
Sherry Hart of Design Indulgence, Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips and Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home —>WHITE DOVE…Benjamin Moore. Unerring style defines this classic, softly shaded white. Light and luminous, it is a favorite choice for moldings and trim.
Have a Go-to White?
YOUR TURN! Have a favorite go-to white or neutral paint color? Why do you love it?
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Most of my house is painted BM Collingwood…walls, ceilings all in Satin finish and trim in Gloss. I love it and will likely use again in my next house. My other go-to color is RH Stone. There are rooms in my house where Collingwood and Stone somewhat meet up through a hallway and most people don’t realize the color change. Stone has a tint of purple in it and looks great with RH Graphite (cabinetry).
Thank you so much! I’ll be taking a closer look at all of your picks and especially RH Stone. Collingwood is on my radar as one of the best. Thanks for adding another helpful layer of lovely here!
Great article! Choosing the right white paint color can be a daunting task, as there are seemingly endless variations of white available. It’s important to consider factors such as the natural light in the room, the existing decor and furnishings, and personal preferences when selecting a white paint color. Some whites may have warm undertones, while others may have cool undertones, so it’s important to test out samples in the actual space to see how they look in different lighting conditions. Additionally, it can be helpful to consider the sheen of the paint, as different finishes can impact the overall look and feel of a room. Ultimately, finding the “just right” white paint color may require some trial and error, but the effort can be well worth it to achieve a cohesive and harmonious design.
Thanks for reading.