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Design + Decorate

10 White Paint Colors that Designers Love

Published on:

1/29/20

written by:

Carrie Barker

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Selecting a paint color (in general) is overwhelming. Selecting a white paint can be even more intimidating because there are literally hundreds (possibly thousands) of options to choose from. Honestly, it can be one of the hardest ‘colors’ to choose from … SO, I’ve narrowed the vast amount of choices down to 10 white paint colors that designers love and use on repeat (because the colors are THAT good).

10 White Paint Colors that Designers Love Blog Post Pin

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HOW DO I CHOOSE A WHITE PAINT COLOR?

Before we talk about the best interior white paint colors, let’s discuss how to even begin choosing white paint for your home.

Hopefully, you already have some idea of whether or not you want a stark, bright white (i.e. white white) or a softer white (i.e. slight off-white).

If not, here’s a general rule of thumb: If your home decor style is traditional, stick with softer, warmer whites. If you gravitate more toward a clean/modern/farmhouse aesthetic, use crisper whites.

Of course, you can break ANY decorating ‘rules’ and do whatever you want because it’s YOUR home!

I chose a soft and slightly off-white paint (Benjamin Moore White Dove) for my interior trim, ceilings, cabinets, interior doors, and guest room walls. I absolutely LOVE it! So I guess technically I ‘broke’ the ‘rules’ by choosing a warmer white in my modern coastal-style home.

WHITE PAINT QUICK TIPS

I prefer to keep all the white paint consistent in my house (trim, ceiling, doors, cabinets, etc.). I feel like it gives it a cleaner look and I don’t have to worry about any of my whites clashing.

Do keep in mind that white paint (or any paint color for that matter) may look very different in your home than it does in an edited photo on your phone, computer or in a magazine.

I recommend that you order peel and stick paint samples for all of your top white paint color choices. I have tested these samples for both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore and they are SPOT ON!

Once you narrow down your white paint colors via the peel and stick samples, create a large sample of your top two (or three) color choices on your wall or use this trick to create a large paint sample.

Once you have your larger samples, look at the white paint colors in various lighting (morning, day, night, artificial) and in different rooms to determine which white you like the best.

10 WHITE PAINT COLORS THAT DESIGNERS LOVE

10 White Paint Colors that Designers Love Infographic

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘WHITE DOVE’ OC-17

‘White Dove’ is a soft warm white with a hint of yellow in artificial lighting. This is a VERY popular white and I happen to have it in my home. The hue changes with the lighting. Overall, white dove looks white-white but takes on a creamier, slightly yellow hue when artificial lights shine on it.

I LOVE Benjamin Moore ‘White Dove’ and I am NOT an ‘off-white person’. I don’t consider this a true off-white; it’s more of a white with a soft yellow tint at times.

caroline on design kitchen benjamin moore white dove cabinets

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘SIMPLY WHITE’ OC-117

‘Simply White’ is another VERY popular shade of white. As a matter of fact, it was Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year in 2016. ‘Simply White’ is a warm white but it isn’t too creamy. It’s most definitely a fan favorite.

SHERWIN WILLIAMS ‘CREAMY’ SW 7012

‘Creamy’ is another soft and subtle warm white that looks beautiful on walls, trim, ceilings, doors, and cabinets.

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘CLOUD WHITE’ OC-130

‘Cloud’ is a soft white that has a hint of grey in it. It has a mix of yellow and grey undertones, so it doesn’t lean fully to either the warm or cool side. It’s a very neutral white that isn’t stark.

SHERWIN WILLIAMS ‘ALABASTER’ SW 7008

‘Alabaster’ is a soft, almost off-white with beige undertones. It is a creamy color, but not too creamy.

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘SWISS COFFEE’ OC-45

‘Swiss Coffee’ is a warm white with a hint of a yellow undertone. It is best paired with cool colors.

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘DECORATORS WHITE’ OC-149

‘Decorators White’ is a true cool white with grey undertones.

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘NAVAJO WHITE’ OC-95

‘Navajo White’ is a creamy off-white with hints of a yellow undertone.

BENJAMIN MOORE ‘CHANTILLY LACE’ OC-65

‘Chantilly Lace’ is a cool, crisp, and clean pure white. It has a hint of blue/grey undertone making it a cool white.

SHERWIN WILLIAMS ‘EXTRA WHITE’ SW 7006

‘Extra White’ is crisp and clean, but not too stark of a white. There are no yellow undertones so it CAN appear stark if painted in a north-facing room that gets minimal natural light.

BEST WARM WHITE PAINT COLORS

Warm whites are softer and creamier than cool whites and range in the spectrum of ‘off-whites’. Warm whites have an undertone of red and yellow. They work well in rooms that get very little sun because they have a soft and welcoming glow.

Here is a list of many designers’ favorite warm white paint colors:

Benjamin Moore ‘WHITE DOVE’

Benjamin Moore ‘SIMPLY WHITE’

Sherwin Williams ‘CREAMY’

Benjamin Moore ‘CLOUD WHITE’

Benjamin Moore ‘SWISS COFFEE’

Benjamin Moore ‘NAVAJO WHITE’

Sherwin Williams ‘ALABASTER’

BEST COOL WHITE PAINT COLORS

Cool whites are much crisper and brighter than warm whites. These are your true whites and can sometimes look very stark.

However, cool whites look great in rooms that get a lot of natural sunlight because the cool white tends to neutralize the bright natural light. Cool whites work great in minimalist and ultra-modern homes.

Here is a list of many designers’ favorite cool white paint colors:

Benjamin Moore ‘DECORATOR’S WHITE’

Benjamin Moore ‘CHANTILLY LACE’

Sherwin Williams ‘EXTRA WHITE’

CONCLUSION

Alright girlfriend, now you have a list of 10 white paint colors that designers love. Go ahead and order peel and stick samples of your favorite white colors so you can see exactly how the color looks in YOUR home!

  1. Susan McAbee says:

    Hello again,
    I have written to you once before about my huge remodel and I appreciate all your advice. I am actually copying some of your ideas (on a much smaller scale) as I am new to all this design stuff. It honestly is like a foreign language to me. I even hired a designer to help but her ideas were almost completely opposite of my taste. I fell in love with your house, your design, and your philosophy of design. So my new kitchen will have White Dove cabinets and trims, LG Viatera Everest quartz counter tops, Accessible Beige walls all thanks to you, Carrie. My husband and I are thrilled with this. However, for the kitchen island we would like to paint it a contrast color, something a bit darker that picks up on the darker color in the Everest. I found one called Adaptive Shade HGSW 3493. But I wonder if you would be so kind as to give me your opinion. Appreciate your blog and all your advice. Thanks you so much,

    Sincerely,
    Susan McAbee
    Paso Robles, California

    • Hi Susan! I’m not familiar with HGSW 3493, so I can’t give you an opinion on that particular paint color. However, I do think that an accent island color that picks up on the darker Everest flecks will look AMAZING! Please email me a photo when your kitchen is complete! – Carrie

  2. Halleu says:

    Hi Carrie,

    This is a great post! We are doing color samples at our home soon. We are not sure what is going to happen with everything going on but at this time home construction is still going in our city. My question is related to trim, crown, and walls. Did you paint the main spaces in your house all the same white for the walls, baseboards, and crown but with different sheens? I’m trying to figure out what direction to go with our home.

    • Hi! Yes, I did use the same white EVERYWHERE … interior doors, trim, ceilings, some walls, cabinets, etc. I believe we used satin on all of the trim (I didn’t want glossy at all) and eggshell on the interior doors and ceilings. I can’t remember for sure, but I think that’s what we did. xo, Carrie

  3. […] One other question you may have … what COLOR of white should I use? Start narrowing down your options by reading 10 White Paint Colors that Designers Love. […]

  4. […] Neutral paint colors include beiges, greys, tans, whites, and other light colors. In addition to the list below, you can find more neutral options in 10 White Paint Colors that Designers Love. […]

  5. Carolyn says:

    What do you think about SW High Reflective White? We are painting our exterior and all interior this color. I have found very little about this color on the internet except it’s comparable to BM Chantilly Lace (which I have found a lot of information about on line). Our builder only uses Sherwin Williams. We are building modern farmhouse on our lake front lot. Do you think SW high reflective white will be to stark? My husband and I do not want undertones in the white and really love BM Chantilly Lace pictures we have seen on line.

  6. Laura says:

    I am planning on painting my office and mud room Sherwin Williams Creamy and am trying to figure out what to do about a trim color. I want something bright enough to provide a contrast with the creamy. The rest of my house has Benjamin Moore Decorators White trim — it really does look like a bright white in the rest of the house but would it look too gray against the creamy?

    • Hi Laura! I might be the wrong person to ask. I personally prefer ALL white paint in my house to match. This includes white walls with white trim. So I don’t really have an answer for you :).

  7. Hi Carrie,

    I am painting my open concept living/kitchen area white. I have samples on the wall and am tossed between white dove and swiss coffee. My kitchen cupboards are currently red cherry but will be refinished in white dove (I think) My quartz is called Serra which seems earthy, white, gray and I think I see some green undertones in it. Do you think these colours will work well with my island or do you have another suggestion.

    Thanks
    Barb

    • Hi Barbara! My suggestion is to paint your walls ‘White Dove’ if that’s what you plan to paint your cabinets. If there was a drastic color difference between two whites, then you could maybe get away with mixing whites (i.e. cabinets one white paint color and walls another paint color). There isn’t enough contrast between White Dove and Swiss Coffee … I think it will look really ‘off’ if you use these two colors together.

  8. Dwayne Bailey says:

    Hello, I’m painting the exterior of my1963 coast ranch in Simply White. I’m struggling with what color to use for the trim. Usually I like to have my trim “pop” when you look at the house. The roof is dark grey and the shutter will be painted a dark navy. Any input would be appreciated!

    • Hi Dwayne! I personally would have the trim match my painted home IF I were painting my exterior ‘Simply White’. If you really prefer to have the trim pop, I would go with the same color as your shutters or else you’ll have a little too much color contrast happening on your exterior. Just my initial thoughts. – Carrie

  9. Brenda Scharman says:

    Hi Carrie, I am hoping you can help with our new home that is nearing painting. Our home is Victorian/Ranch Style leaning more Victorian. Soft very pale pistachio green kitchen cabinets with fancy glass and very dark rustic cherry accent island and cabinets. I want to do a white trim (base, case, crown…quite a bit of finish millwork with the fancy door woodwork above). I’d like a slightly warm wall color (but off white). So white trim and off white wall color but where you can see the trim clearly is not so close to the wall color- can you give advice? The house has alot of sun. Thanks so much

    • Hi Brenda! Your home sounds beautiful! Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to help with personal design dilemmas since I have over 100K readers on my blog each month. I would recommend that you talk to a local designer for personal advice and support. Best of luck to you! – Carrie

  10. Janice says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for this article on choosing a white. I am currently looking for a BM off white or warm white color my new kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, I am having to work with beige travertine tile floors, which is making this challenging. My walls are BM Bar Harbour Beige and my trim is BM Navajo white. I am trying to decide if I should do my cabinets BM Cloud white or BM Navajo white. I am also looking at SW Creamy. My kitchen faces North/North East and lighting isn’t the best. Thank you for your recommendations.

  11. Teresa Carter says:

    Good morning! Our home is white aluminum siding which needs to be repainted. We are going to stay with a white body color. A previous owner painted the brick foundation white and I hate it!! My front door and shutters are Tradd Street Green. Can you please give me your opinion on the best white for the house and what color should I use for the foundation? If you would like a picture of our home, I will be happy to submit. Thank you for your suggestions 😊.

    • Hi Teresa! Unfortunately, there isn’t enough of me to go around when it comes to offering specific and personalized design advice. I reserve personalized design support and feedback for my paying clients. If you are interested in this, please email me at hello@carolineondesign.com. Best of luck to you! – Carrie

  12. Tina says:

    Hi Carrie, love all of your advise! I just wanted to ask if there is a specific white that you would recommend for entire house(all rooms) white look including all trim and ceilings same colour for a modern/Boho look? Thank you for your suggestion!

    • Hi Tina! Well … modern and boho don’t exactly scream the same ‘white’ to me, so I’m not sure what white to tell you. However, I think that Benjamin Moore ‘Simply White’ is the perfect subtle white that isn’t too bright white and isn’t too creamy. It looks great all over the house.

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