Choosing the right white paint can be a stressful overwhelming task as it is easy to design around however hard to choose. There are more than 32,000 shades or hues of white to choose from as white is the most versatile of colors and has a timeless feel. Whether you are looking for a color for your walls, cabinets, or doors the same process can be followed for choosing the correct shade of white for your home. The most important things to consider when choosing the correct shade are; light sources, what is permanent or not changing in the area you are painting, and the feel you would like in the room.

There are 4 main shades or hues of white to help you narrow down your search for the perfect color. Pure white, cool white, warm white, and off white are the main hues found in whites.

Pure white as the name suggests is the purest of the white hues with no distinct undertones. Pure whites are clean and bright but can be stark depending on the surroundings. A pure white is not recommended for rooms with a lot of natural light.

Cool white has more of a blue, purple, or green undertone and can open a room with a tempered brightness. Cool whites are great for a room with moderate natural light.

Warm white hues will have yellow or ivory undertone and aregreat for a more neutral feel. Warm whites are great for rooms with a lot of natural light that are bright open and airy.

Off white hues will have more of a gray or bronze undertone and are the most versatile of the four hues of white. They can be paired with almost any color and will work with different light sources and amounts.

With these main shades in mind the first step in choosing the right color is to consider the items in the room that are not changing. This can be flooring, countertops, furniture, and more. Take the colors from these items and determine which is the best hue for your space. If you have a blue veined granite countertop and are looking for a white to refinish your cabinets, you will want to look at a cool white hue. If you are looking for a color for your living room walls and have brown furniture you may want to start with a warm white or off-white hue to balance the room.

Next will be considering the light sources in the room you are adding the new color to. Is there more natural light than artificial light? The amount of light will influence the tone of the paint once it is in the room. What direction is the lighting projecting? If the natural or artificial lighting is directed right at the surface, you are painting you will need to consider that as well and be sure to test your color there. Keep in mind when evaluating your light sources, if your room has mostly natural light you will want to lean toward warm or off whites but if you have more artificial light you will want to consider more pure or cool whites to brighten the area.

Finally, you will want to consider the feel you are wanting from your space or surface. If you are looking for a bold look you may want to consider a pure or cool white for your space but if you are wanting more of a relaxing or warm feel you may want to look toward warm or off-white hues.

Once you have chosen a couple shades you are feel will work in your home you will need to test the paint in the area being painted. Do not just use the sample cards as the lighting will not give you a true feel with them. You will need to get a sample paint and paint the area to get the real feel of the color. Once you have tested the color it should be an easy choice to pick your color!

Our Recommendations

  • Pure White – Benjamin Moore White Dove
  • Cool White – Benjamin Moore Snow White
  • Warm White – Sherwin Williams Pure White
  • Off White – Sherwin Williams Alabaster