Choosing the right shade of white paint 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) can all affect the color. White paint is also notorious for having subtle undertones (they’re actually hue families) 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. With grays and taupes starting to see a decline, white walls are on the rise.
Tip: If you’re painting your walls white, 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 swatches from the store (or get them from one of our Color Consultations). Next, hang them up and 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!
Want to stop guessing about undertones and learn how to choose the best interior paint colors for your home? Our new self-paced, online course Color By The Numbers™ teaches you how to use the science of color to get the paint results you want!
…and Now, The Paint Colors…
My hope is that this blog post will help point you in the right direction and at least eliminate the colors 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:
- White Dove, Benjamin Moore OC 17 – White Dove is a soft, warm off-white. It’s a classic versatile color that has almost a gray-brown feel (not yellow or creamy). This paint works well with a variety of warm and cool colors without being too stark or bright. It’s also a favorite choice for doors, ceilings, and trim. The cabinets in the photo below are painted in White Dove:
- 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. The walls and ceiling of this beautiful kitchen are SW 7008 Alabaster:
- 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 crisper 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. The perimeter cabinets in this stunning kitchen remodel are in SW 7005 Pure White.
- 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. This often makes 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 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. The light from a south-facing room may neutralize this effect (during daylight hours, anyway).
- Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore OC 65 – Chantilly Lace is a crisp, clean white with a 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. The walls of this gorgeous bathroom are painted in Chantilly Lace:
- High Reflective White, SW 7757 – High Reflective White is one of the brightest (meaning: reflects the most light) paint colors on the market. It’s a flexible color that 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 which may make it a little too stark for kitchens and baths with white quartz or marble countertops. In the photo below, all cabinetry and wood work was done in SW 7757 High Reflective White in a low lustre.
Need Help Choosing a Color?
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. Whether it’s for an interior or exterior space, we’ll help you create a custom color palette . Click below to learn more about our online Color Consultation services.
One Room Paint Color Report | Virtual
Need help choosing the best paint colors for your room? Then this is the (virtual) service for you! Based on your on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for you. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Click below to learn how it works or to get started!
Exterior Paint Color Report | Virtual
Ready to give your home exterior a fresh new look, but feeling overwhelmed with the decision? Get a little virtual help from the color experts at Three Bears Home Staging! Based on your on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for your home’s exterior. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Read below to learn how it works…
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