Choosing the right shade of white can be a big challenge. It’s highly reflective so you have to consider the other elements in the room: accent walls, wood tones, bold furnishings, ceiling color, light bulb color temperatures, even the direction the windows are facing (and possibly what’s outside those windows)! White paint is also notorious for having subtle undertones lurking in it that tend to be magnified once they’re on the wall.
And in case you haven’t noticed yet, white walls are trending right now. Color popularity shifts about every 5 to 7 years, and with grays and taupes starting to see a decline, white walls are on the rise.
Tip: If you’re painting your walls white, you may want to consider painting the trim, cabinets, and ceiling the same color but in different sheens.
When choosing a white paint for your home, start by picking up a few actual paper color swatches from the store (or get them from one of our In-Home Color Consultations) to compare in your own home. Don’t ever make a paint decision based solely on a swatch you only looked at while in the store, online, saw in your friend’s house, or read about in a blog post! My hope is that this will help point you in the right direction and at least eliminate the shades that WON’T work for you.
With that in mind, here are a few of my top favorite white paint choices to use when selling your home:
- High Reflective White, SW 7757 – High Reflective White is probably the truest, no-undertone white paint available at SW. It’s a really flexible color, not too warm or too cool, so it works great in homes that have a mix of tones. It’s the brightest white Sherwin-Williams offers with a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 93, making it possibly a little too stark for kitchens and baths with white quartz or marble countertops.
- Alabaster, SW 7008 – Alabaster is a great off-white that’s just a little bit softer and more subtle without being too yellow or creamy. The warmest of the four whites I chose, it works really well in homes with lots of earth-tones. Whereas many whites are used primarily as a trim color, Alabaster works just as well on large areas as it does on small. Because it’s still neutral with just a hint of warmth, it works especially well in rooms with a southern exposure (conversely, it may look a bit lackluster in rooms with north-facing windows).
- Extra White, SW 7006 – Extra White is considered by many designers to be the white-est white in the SW palette. My personal opinion is that it reads a just little more on the cool side, making it a better choice for homes that feature grays, blues, silver tones, and espresso colored woods. As a trim color, it doesn’t pair up quite as well next to warm or earth-tones as maybe Alabaster or Pure White. Extra White is a clean, crisp color that works great for homes that have a more contemporary feel. In rooms with a northern exposure, the you may see a bit more iciness in the color whereas the light from a south-facing room may neutralize this effect (during daylight hours, anyway).
- Pure White, SW 7005 – Pure White is similar to Alabaster in that it’s a great neutral base with just a tiny hint of warmth. It’s a little more crisp than Alabaster and works really well in both warm- and cool-toned homes as a trim, ceiling, and cabinet color. It reads a little warmer in rooms with a southern exposure, while north-facing windows diminish that effect a bit.
- Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore OC 65 – Chantilly Lace is a crisp, clean white that has a little bit of an icy edge. It pairs well with cool-toned colors, particularly blues. It may look a little stark in rooms with a northern exposure.
- White Dove, Benjamin Moore OC 17 – White Dove is a softer, less stark shade of white than Chantilly Lace. It’s a classic versatile off-white that has almost a gray-brown undertone (not yellow or creamy). This paint works well with a variety of warm and cool colors without being too stark or bright and is a favorite choice for doors, ceilings, and trim.
If you’re having a hard time choosing the right color, let us help! The right color can transform a room! Let us help you reinvent your space with paint. Three Bears Home Staging has extensive training and experience with interior and exterior color consultations. We’ll help you create a custom color palette for a single room or create a whole home scheme that flows smoothly from one room to the next. Click here to learn more about our In-Home Color Consultations.