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Building a Home

How to Choose the Perfect White Paint from a Ridiculously Small Sample

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Carrie Barker


Are you trying to choose the perfect white paint from a (ridiculously) small sample, and just can’t picture how it will look IRL (in real life)?! Worried you’ll make the wrong decision and hate it once it’s on the wall?! Overwhelming, right?!

You’d think white would be the easiest paint color … but it isn’t! By the end of this post, however, you will have a solid plan (and more confidence) to choose the BEST white paint for YOUR home! In this post, I will cover:

  1. HOW to choose the best white paint for your home
  2. A TIP to envision the white paint in your home
  3. ANSWER your question of whether or not to keep the shade of white consistent throughout your home

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benjamin moore white dove

Benjamin Moore White Dove in my Foyer I Blue Rug I Wood Flooring


There are many (MANY) shades of white paint! It’s a little bit insane how many choices there are!

When I built my house, I knew I did NOT want a true off-white (yellow hue) or a white-white (too stark for me). So, I thought it would be an easy choice … choose something in between off-white and white-white.

Umm …there are TONS of choices within that ‘middle ground’ … there are even more layers of middle ground within the middle ground! OMGoodness!

I ultimately chose Benjamin Moore White Dove for my home …. and I LOVE it (in case you were wondering)! It’s a beautiful soft white in natural lighting but does have a slight yellow hue in artificial light.

It is entirely up to YOU what shade of white you want for your home. I’ll share six popular shades to get you started (see diagram) … however, the opportunities are endless!


choose the perfect white paint


Updated 4/3/2020

There is a REALLY GREAT new way to view paint samples in your home now … peel and stick paint samples.

I have tested these in my own home and the color is SPOT ON!

I highly recommend that you order peel and stick samples of several paint color choices, and then narrow down to your top two or three color choices before doing this trick …

This will cost you a little moo-lah (and time), but it’s worth it! Trust me!

  1. Choose 4-6 (or as many as you want) shades of white paint, and purchase a (small) sample of each color. You’ll also need white poster board … or (even better) drywall remnants … to use as your canvas.
  2. Paint each drywall remnant (or poster board) a different shade of white. I suggest using a primer and two coats of white paint to get a good idea of how the finished white will look IRL.
  3. Now you are armed with larger (and more accurate) samples of your white paint choices!

If your home is already built, you can view the samples IN your home. If you haven’t built yet, look at the samples in the various lighting in your current home. BE SURE to look at the white paint in BOTH natural and artificial lighting. Paint color can vary significantly in different lighting.

choose perfect white paint

Benjamin Moore Simply White / JS LIFE AND STYLE


YEP …  you should! Is that enough of an answer?! J/K!

I get this question often. My answer to this is yes, yes, YES! Others may not agree with me, but I pay (WAY) too much attention to detail to feel good about my whites NOT matching!

ALL of the white paint in my home is Benjamin Moore White Dove … cabinets, trim work, doors, ceilings, window frames, etc. ALL OF IT!

choose perfect white paint

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace / STUDIO MCGEE


I hope that you now feel more CONFIDENT and EXCITED to get out there and choose the perfect white paint for YOUR home.

When choosing a white paint color (or any paint color for that matter) …. keep in mind that what looks great in an Instagram or Pinterest photo might look VERY different in your home. So make sure to order peel and stick paint samples to help you narrow down to your top white color choices!

  1. All white is not the same. It’s kind of hard to image, but it’s like we learned in elementary school art class; white is made up of all colors, so it has an undertone. Some whites show more blue or greens than the others. So if you want your white to match the rest of the house, you should definitely put a paint sample near trim, furniture,etc and look at it in both natural and artificial light

  2. […] Decor Tip: I recommend that you keep your trim paint color consistent throughout your home as well. Learn more HERE. […]

  3. […] You might enjoy How to Choose the Perfect White Paint! […]

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I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

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