The Best White Paint Colors for Interiors
White paint colors can be tricky, plus there are so many to choose from. Today, we are breaking down the most popular white paint colors for home interiors.
White paint. It seems like such a trend, but when you look back, it’s always been there in one way or another. Maybe the walls were filled with color, but the trim was white. Or, the cabinets were white with wallpaper on the walls. Whatever it is, white has always been a traditional color to bring into a room to quiet the space.
I have loved white houses and white trim for years and years. I remember being a kid and always loving homes with white siding on them. I would instantly feel like it was the most charming home on the block. Back when I was expecting our fourth baby, I had my mom paint our bedroom white. I couldn’t wait to quiet the space and make it feel calm and peaceful. She painted it and I remember waking the next morning to the sunlight dancing around the room in a way that I hadn’t seen before. That’s when I discovered that white was my favorite interior paint color ever.
White isn’t just White
The hardest part about white is that white isn’t just white. There are cooler whites and warmer whites. There are yellow undertones and green or pink undertones. Whites can also look different depending upon how much natural light vs. artificial light is in the space. Below is a good rule of thumb for picking the right white that is perfect for your space.
- North-Facing Room- Choose a warm white since the natural light coming from the north tends to be a bit cooler.
- South-Facing Room- Choose a cool white to balance out the rich, warm light that comes from the south.
- Neutrally Lit Room- Choose a neutral white to compliment the natural light.
- Rooms with No Windows- Typically, rooms with no natural light need some sort of pigment to keep the room from feeling sterile. White needs a bit of natural light bouncing off of it, so it tends to lose its beauty in a room with no sunlight.
When choosing the perfect white paint, you not only need to consider the natural light in your room, but also what is outside of your windows. Keep in mind that if you have large windows with lots of natural light and tons of green trees outside, the green will be reflected on the white walls.
If you pick a white paint, only to realize it isn’t pulling the undertone you thought it would, make sure something outside isn’t impacting the color on your walls.
Mixing Whites in One Room
Layering whites in a room is key to making it look rich and not flat. So, when you put a fresh coat of white paint on your walls and it doesn’t quite look the way you had envisioned, don’t despair. Layering is magic and it makes a huge difference.
Mixing whites in a home adds softness and layers, which also helps to keep the space from looking sterile. That is one of the main concerns people have with painting rooms white. They are afraid of the space looking unwelcoming.
Layering whites eliminates that issue. To the eye, you might not notice the subtle changes from one white to another, but our brains do notice it.
Paint swatches usually list whites that compliment the color you chose. Consider layering the whites in your room. Paint one on the woodwork and another on the walls. Or, paint one on the walls and another on a piece of wooden furniture in the same room.
How to Choose the Perfect White Paint Color
Finding the right shade of white paint that is perfect for your home can feel overwhelming. The best method is to buy samples and try them in your home. This isn’t always a fun process, but it does save time and money in the long run and it ensures that you will love the paint that is on your walls.
- Purchase several white paints that you love
- Paint swatches on each wall. Take each color and paint a 1′ x 1′ square on each wall so you can see what the individual paints look like in different lighting.
- Notice the coloring each swatch gives off and which one you prefer in the room.
- Keep in mind that many companies offer peel-n-stick squares that eliminates the paint sampling process. Be sure to ask about this when you go to the paint store to pick out your colors.
The Best White Paint Colors for Interiors:
Snowbound by Sherwin Williams
This white is one of my favorite white paint colors. I first painted it on our bedroom walls here in our own home and gasped when I saw how soft and lovely it was. It is a cool white that goes with anything. We have it in our kitchen and master bedroom, too.
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams
This is a white with warm tones that I love for trim. We painted our built in dining room cabinets and the brick on the outside of our home in this color, too. It is neutral and doesn’t look muddy or yellow next to truer whites. This was Sherwin-William’s color of the year for 2016.
White Dove by Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore’s White Dove is a classic, warm white that has been swatched and painted on many walls. This white is a warm white with a bit of a yellow undertone, but in some lighting it pulls a gray undertone. This is one reason why it is so versatile and a perfect choice for so many homes.
Our last home was all painted this color and our current home has it on the living room and dining room walls. Be sure to pair it with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, or another warm white, so the yellow undertones don’t pull “buttercream” on your walls.
This color is often paired against Swiss Coffee, so if this shade doesn’t feel quite right, try Behr’s Swiss Coffee.
Simply White by Benjamin Moore
This white also has some warm undertones and pairs beautifully with the White Dove. It is often used on trim and cabinets to give a bright, but not blinding finish. I have also seen it as a wall color and I love it so much. In our last home, we used this white on our kitchen cabinets and all of our trim, paired with White Dove on the walls. It is truly a beautiful white.
Pure White by Sherwin Williams
If you are going for a true, true white, then this is the one for you! It has neutral undertones and looks lovely in any lighting. It was also a Pottery Barn color choice of the year, which means it’s a good one.
Warm White Paint Colors
- Benjamin Moore White Dove
- Behr Swiss Coffee
- Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Cool White Paint Colors
- Benjamin Moore Decorators White
- Sherwin-Williams Extra White
- Sherwin Williams Snowbound
Neutral White Paint Colors
- Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
- Benjamin Moore Simply White- this could also fit into the “warm” category, depending on other colors in the room
- Sherwin-Williams Pure White
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I LOVE the color choices for your kitchen! What color do you have on the baseboards in there?
Loved all the great tips and color information. Ĺearning about the different whites, lighting, and undertones were all helpful. Pulling different undertones is huge. I hope paint companies can start labeling their cans with listed undertones. My question is about Behr paint. The color soft focus. It looks like a warm cream white. What are the undertones in it? I have a true north facing bedroom with dark brown carpet, and large window with some trees by the street. (I learned all of this from your blog!) Not sure if the color soft focus is my best choice. Thank you so much for helping me understand the basics of color.
I LOVE Swiss Coffee by Behr. We’ve used it in both our homes!
I have friends who love that color and put it on both their walls and their cabinets! It’s very pretty.
I have snow in aspen painted trim and the am looking for a brighter color on the wall to go with the trim. Was considering BM white dove. Would this make the trim and or walls look more yellow? Any advice would be great!!
I picked my cabinet/trim color prior to picking my wall color. I picked snowbound (paint has been purchased and Painting has started) and now I’m struggling to find a wall color that looks good next to it. I had wanted a creamy warm white (ish) look to the kitchen/dining area. I have read that the undertones in snowbound can pull out purple or pink in other colors, I do NOT want that. I’m throwing around the idea of going alabaster sw, creamy sw, egret white sw for the walls or ???. I honestly am lost and have no idea which direction to go. It’s seems I should have went with pure white sw and I would have had a lot more options for wall color. The kitchen is south facing with plenty of natural light. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
As much as I hate saying this, paint swatches on the wall. I don’t like paying the money to do this or taking the time, but it pays off in the end.
We did everything in Alabaster I love how warm it is and we live in northern Idaho where we get a lot of snow and grey days and I just love having that warmer white. When we moved in the walls were grey, the fireplace was navy, and the kitchen was BLACK now, it’s allll white
YES! I have found that with our home, too. Having cream walls makes winter not seem so gloomy… at least indoors. lol. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!