A Guide to White Paint

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A couple of you mentioned needing some help finding a white paint that could give you the look of the home I posted on Monday.   It’s such a wonderful look, an all white room.  The way it gives a clean backdrop allowing your furnishings, art and architectural details to take center stage is magical.  But there are a zillion shades of white, which one is right? You don’t want something too sterile or too yellow- in fact even the WSJ did an article on the struggle of finding the perfect white paint. I thought I’d chime in with my tips for going all white.

Let’s start by talking about types of whites- there are bright, very true whites,  warm whites and cool whites.  Bright whites you will see a lot on trim, woodwork and cabinetry as it’s very clean and crisp.  Warmer whites can range from very light ivory or off-white to deeper creams and cooler whites have grey or blue undertones to them.

Here are some of my favorite white paint colors by tone (and don’t judge by these swatches, they look almost nothing like the real colors!):

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Many paint companies make it easier with dedicated white palettes, such as Ralph Lauren Paints at Home Depot.  His line has an AMAZING selection of whites I love.

 

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– I like to use bright whites on trim and cabinetry most of the time.  The crispness really draws attention to the details and in the case of cabinetry, gives you that bright, clean look we all love in kitchens and baths.  On walls this shade can be too sterile though, unless is an incredibly modern space.  It can look dingy quickly and in contrast, make other items in your home  look dirty as well.

– For walls I like to use more of a toned white- something with an off-white quality or slight warmth is really lovely if you are going for that Parisian apartment look.  Pair it with one of the bright whites on trim to define the color a little more and add interest to the space.  If you live in an old or antique home always stick to warm whites on cabinetry and woodwork too- it works better with the style of home as a bight white can look off.  Also, if you have a lot of wood tones in your home,  beyond just the floors, warmer whites compliment best!

– I love using cool whites in spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.  Paired with grey toned marbles it really looks fantastic.   These whites also look great in bedroom spaces you are decorating with cooler tones like grey and blue.

– You NEED to test the paint in your own space- because a color looks amazing in a picture on Pinterest does not mean that it will look the same in your space. Whites vary SO much based on light, location and surroundings.

Here are some examples of rooms done in various whites.  Always test paint on multiple walls in the space you are painting and look at it during different times of day.

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

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Benjamin Moore Simply White

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Benjamin Moore White Dove

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Benjamin Moore China White

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Farrow & Ball White Tie

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Farrow & Ball Pointing

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Walls- Farrow & Ball Strong White Trim & Mantle- Farrow& Ball All White

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Sherwin Williams Pure White

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Sherwin Williams Extra White (I used this on all trim and woodwork in my new master bedroom and mudroom/laundry)

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Do you have a favorite white paint?

 

 

67 comments

  1. Thought it would be nice for you to do a post similar to this on hardwood floors! What goes well in a modern home versus older, etc.

  2. Awesome post, Erin! I, too, prefer bright whites like SW Extra White. They are amazing when used on trim work to make wall colors pop.

  3. I want to paint my house white but I also have white tile with grayish grout and an open layout, what white would fit in this situation? Thank you

  4. Hi Erin!
    I love your Master bath, and the paint color, Eider White, looks like the perfect “white gray” that I have been looking for. I have gray & white marble countertops, and have been looking for a soft, pure white with a hint of gray to paint our walls in our master bath, but everything looks taupe, or blue, or purple, etc next to the countertops. Do you think that paint is a good one, or do you have any suggestions for another for a paint that is light with a touch of pure gray??? Just came across your site and am loving it!!!

  5. BM White Opulence works brilliantly for the trim in our cold climate & north facing bedroom & bath. So well that we are switching most of the rest of the house to it from White Dove.

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