The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home
02/26 Design Tips

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

An updated list of our favorite white paints!

White paint colors are not all created equal, which makes choosing the right shade quite tricky.

 

There are so many options in undertones, finishes, and tones, and each one has a different impact.

We get asked, “What is the best white paint color?” more than any other question, so we keep a running list of our favorites.

After years of swatching, we’ve narrowed it down to six basics we think could work well in every home.

If you’re looking for the best white paint for your space, scroll through this post for photo examples, undertone details, and our most common white paint FAQs answered!

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

1. SHERWIN WILLIAMS ALABASTER

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

This paint color is a soft neutral, off-white. We love the warmness it offers without being too creamy. We recently used it in one of our projects and it was the perfect calming white for the bedrooms!

 

2. BENJAMIN MOORE CHANTILLY LACE

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

Benjamin Moores’ Chantilly Lace, was named after the crisp, clean white lace you may have inherited from your grandmother. Some say if you hold this color up to any other shade of white, you can identify the undertones of that shade. In other words, this shade of white is pretty pure. If you’re looking for a bright white with minimal undertones, this could be the one for you!

3. BENJAMIN MOORE SWISS COFFEE

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

Warm, welcoming, and smooth are some words often used to describe Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore. It’s a great option for more traditional spaces and plays well with other creamy tones and golden hues. We used it in our Cove Remodel, which hosted our Summer Catalogue!

We also used it on the walls of the McGee home at 75% strength, because it was showing just a little too yellow when they tested it. It worked perfectly for the home!

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

4. BENJAMIN MOORE SIMPLY WHITE

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

We’ve used Simply White by Benjamin Moore on nearly everything. Cabinetry, trim, walls, and ceilings. It’s one of those colors that looks warm when paired with warm tones and cool when paired with cool tones. It was named color of the year in 2015, but it still has our hearts five years later. We’d call it a classic.

5. BENJAMIN MOORE WHITE DOVE

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

Known for reflecting light beautifully, White Dove by Benjamin Moore is a favorite for its luminescent finish and creamy grey undertones. While not a true white, it still has a soft, calming effect without looking yellow. We love using this shade in spaces with lots of natural light.

6. SHERWIN WILLIAMS WHITE FLOUR

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

Sherwin Williams’ White Flour could be defined as a very light shade of brown when looking at the color wheel. However, in naturally lit spaces, it reflects a clean, creamy white that we can’t get enough of. We love using this shade for open-concept living spaces to create a minimal yet warm look.

The Best White Paint Colors For Every Home

COMMON WHITE PAINT FAQS:

 

HOW DO I PICK FROM THE FAVORITES?

If you tend to like a more clean/modern aesthetic, start with the crisp/soft whites. If you lean a bit more traditional, try the soft/warm whites. 

The best advice I can give is to TRY IT OUT! This is what we do for every single project. We paint large swatches on card stock and hold them up to different walls in different lights. Then we leave them up for a while to test different times of the day. 

I HAVE DARK WOOD TRIM AND WANT TO PAINT THE WALLS WHITE…HOW DO I CHOOSE?

I would recommend staying with a crisp or soft white to give a nice, clean contrast. Stay away from the warm whites against the warm trim – it will look “muddy” and have a dated appearance. 

WHAT SHEENS DO YOU USE? IS IT THE SAME COLOR FOR WALLS, CEILING, CABINETS, AND BASEBOARD?

Walls – Flat or eggshell. The eggshell sheen is generally our go-to for families since it is easier to wipe clean, but doesn’t look shiny.

 Ceiling – Flat

Baseboard – Satin or semi-gloss depending on how traditional or formal the client’s style is. I love a subtle sheen difference between the baseboard and walls.

Cabinets – We typically always use a satin finish.

MY HOUSE GETS NORTHERN EXPOSURE, WHICH WHITE SHOULD I USE?

North facing light is gray, so it will magnify cool tones. I would try a warm white. 

Should the cabinets and walls be the same color?

Generally, when we do the white cabinets/white walls look, we use the same color on the walls and cabinets. However, if you’d like a slight contrast, I would go with a crisper white on the cabinets and a warmer white on the walls. The other way around usually makes the cabinets appear yellow.

MY ROOM DOESN’T GET MUCH LIGHT, WHICH WHITE SHOULD I USE?

When doesn’t receive much light, it will appear gray-ish regardless of the white used. However, if you’re dying to use white in the space, I would go with something from the warm whites category.

THE WHITE IN OUR HOUSE CURRENTLY TURNS A WEIRD HUE DURING CERTAIN TYPES OF THE DAY, WHAT KIND OF UNDERTONE SHOULD I USE?

I have no idea until I try something! I would paint several swatches (from each category) and leave them on the wall and peek in at different times a day for about a week. Testing at only one time a day is not enough!

This post has been updated from its original version

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76 Comments
Studio McGee
  1. If you are doing white walls what color combo would you do if you were to paint your cabinets white? Do you do the same color? You want some contrast don’t you?

  2. so glad you shared this info! however, i was hoping you might share some tips on how to choose a white based on the type of light that the room gets (or doesn’t get)…we have a "white" all over our house right now (we didn’t paint it so we don’t know what color it is), but it has a weird greenish hue in the late afternoon, which has made me want to re-paint. i’m just not sure what undertone i should choose or how bright i should go! if you have any advice on which whites are meant for which rooms/light, i would sure appreciate it!

  3. Thank you for this! What color white would you suggest for a darker room? A crisp white, warm white, or soft white?

  4. I have the same question as heather:) we also are remodeling a kitchen and family rooms and would like to do white walls. Would the cabinets and walls and baseboards all be the same white? Thank you!!!

  5. Thanks for the tips! Do you recommend painting the trim the same color, or a different shade of white? What about ceiling?

  6. This is very helpful! What white would you suggest for a room that gets a lot of light but has a northern exposure?
    Thanks so much!

  7. What sheens do you used when painting a room white? Do you use the same white Color for ceiling, walls and baseboard? And is it in the same sheen for the whole room?

  8. i am in the same boat as all these questionnaires. I’ve seen all the popular whites listed, but what I don’t know is how to pick from the popular list! Haha. I have an old home with lots of dark cherry wood trim. Would I want a warm white to go with the warm wood, or a cool white to contrast? I don’t know what I’m doing!

  9. Love this! After reading through your blog many times and repeatedly being drawn to the bright, clean look of the rooms where you used Simply White, we decided to use it in our bedroom -and I couldn’t be happier with the results! Thanks for the great blog-I’m constantly being inspired by the spaces you design!

  10. Love your paint choices. What blue-grey would you recommend for a lower level with some but not a lot of natural light?? Can you do a post on blues and greys, please??

  11. We are moving into a brand new home and it will be white when we move in; however, I do not know what type of paint the builder will be using. Is there a problem with leaving it as is – "builder white"? Thanks!

  12. Your work is lovely! May I ask if you can SHED SOME LIGHT ON SIMPLY WHITE (no pun’ intended)? 🙂
    Have you ever seen Simply White turn a bit muddy/dirty looking? Last year, I had all of my trim/doors painted Simply White in a large open concept room (LR, DR, Kitchen, Sitting Room). I like Simply White in ~85% of the room — My issue is that Simply White looks yellowy, and a bit muddy, on the trim and doors where natural light is very minimal. I’m repainting it all.
    So, I recently tried several white samples throughout the room and, after much anguish, I selected Super White – clean, crisp, and not picking up strange tints. Here is what I found:
    BM White Dove – Not clean, a bit muddy like a light Bone White.
    BM Chantilly Lace – Crisp, bright white. It casts a bit of a bright greenish/blueish tint in some light. I used this with gray in a bedroom – very pretty, but very bright. Perhaps too bright for the other room.
    BM White – Bright, but not overly bright – My issue with this one is that it casts very slight blueish/grayish tint.
    BM Super White – Clean, crisp, no cast of tint! Is this too bright?
    SW Pure White – Seems to be just like Chantilly Lace
    BM Decorators White – Very gray in my light.
    ** My fear is that Super White could look too stark. Unfortunately, paint stores only sell eggshell finish so I am missing the reflective qualities of the samples. Any thoughts?

    1. Basically, your experience is the same that we have had! We use simply white if the house has lots of natural light, because it is soft and beautiful. We rarely use white dove because it often looks yellow, but it works great on exteriors. We use chantilly lace a lot because many of our clients like a very crisp white right now. I’ve used super white and it’s great, but usually works best in a really modern setting. Decorators white is always too blue for me. Bm-White can read a little gray, but sometimes that is nice!

  13. Correction:
    SW Pure White = Much like BM "White"
    SW Extra White = Much like BM "Chantilly Lace"

  14. Thank you for sharing this post. I was going to choose White Dove for our lake house kitchen cabinets and switched to Simply White because of this post. I do not want any yellow and we have tons of natural light. Please do a post on Benjamin Moore blues when you have time. Would love to read about the soft "hint of color" blues you would use.

    1. How did the simply White turn out for your cabinets? Is it yellowish with your natural light?

  15. I’m curious on the right white paint on cabinets with a Carrara marble backsplash. Can I pair a soft white (I really like White Heron) with polished Carrara Marble subway tile backsplash? This white would extend to all my trim. We will have honed black granite counters on the perimeter. We do not have shaker-style cabinets, but more traditional flat panel doors (with rounded-out trims), and my fear is that something as bright as Chantilly Lace – while I really like it, will read too stark/bright in a more traditional/transitional kitchen. (As it may also factor in: We have Walnut floors, Cambria Brittanica island, Chelsea Gray painted island cabinets, and likely Repose (or similar) gray walls). Thank you!

    1. Erin I know this is in the past for you but I’m curious how you made out. My choices are similar but still debating the white. I as well want to use "white heron". So my question is, did you use white heron? And we’re you happy with the result?

  16. Any reccos for a bathroom with no windows? I have lovely b&w subway tile but the color on the walls is currently a yellow-tinged off-white. Looking for something really fresh and crisp that still looks ‘finished.’ Thanks!

  17. I’m getting a new kitchen put in my home, I’ve heard lots of good things about simply white but am afraid it will look a little yellowish. Do you find this happens at all? And if you do a white cabinet what do you usually do on walls if you want a white wall? The same?

    1. Hi Cheryl! We often do the same, but not always. We do always recommend a crisper white on the cabinet than the wall if you want them different. If you want a super white look then don’t do simply white – try something from the crisp whites category.

  18. I am doing a new build and the walls are all simply white. Would doing the cabinets in the same be a good idea? Or do you do a different white with simply white walls?

  19. I just discovered your beautiful clean designs, and subscribed to your site. My question is what sheen’s do you use on walls, trims, cabinets ect. Would you be kinda enough to address what paint types are used for the above mentioned items. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  20. We are using chantilly lace for our trim. I also want to paint the walls white, but like when there is a very subtle contrast. Do you have any suggestions of a white paint that will work with chantilly lace, but give it just a slight contrast?

  21. Thank you! Getting my samples today and including a couple of yours 🙂 What are your thoughts on having a different paint company mixing/matching a BM color? Does it turn out as nice? Or would you say better to just stick with BM?

    1. Kathryn – you’ve probably already made your selection but thought I’d post for anyone else who has this question… We made the mistake of purchasing 5 gallons of an untinted base from Home Depot as they were having a $40 rebate with the idea that we’d have it tinted when we selected the color. I later (maybe 5 days) selected BM White for our kitchen/family room. We brought the color sampler (actual paint pot) to HD and, remarkably, they don’t have BM White in their system. They then scanned it (I was home, prepping for paint – the BF did all this) and gave us the color. Got it home and it was just wrong. Much brighter than the sample. We ended up purchasing 5 additional gallons of the BM paint. Pricey lesson.

  22. I’m in love with white paints on the exterior lately (especially some of yours!) and would love to hear more about your favorite exterior whites.

  23. Love these whites! However, I’m trying to decide on different shades of white that all go together for the Walls, Ceiling & Trim. Would love your advice!

  24. Noticed in a few remodels, you’ve chosen Super White. Just curious why Super White versus Chantilly Lace? I’m about to paint interior of a modern home. I originally picked Chantilly Lace due to it’s crisp whiteness; however, you now have me curious about Super White. They look very similar on the paint chip, but I do see a slight warmth in Super White that I don’t see in Chantilly Lace. I am, however, looking for a clean white. I need to paint a sample board with Super White. Thx!

  25. Going to paint my living room simply white. What would you recommend for trim? Same color or different?
    Thanks!!!!

  26. Hi there. We are currently reviving our own little Denver brick tudor and I’m looking for the best white for trim to help cut the "blueness" of the BM Gray Owl that I used on the walls. Thank you!

  27. i am trying to balance a cheery floor that is too red for me. Looking for wall color, the fireplace has a beige/tan tile surrounding. I’m sick of the tans sonwas thinking white. Any input is welcome!

  28. When you typically paint the walls white, do you do the same color for trim or do you advise to do a different color for trim? Would love to know what you guys recommend for this!

  29. I have a dark living room chantilly lace trims and bookshelves and doors which white do you recommend ? Right now I have on the walls decorators white and the walls look soft gray. I want the walls white. Do you think chantilly lace? Please help me decide on color to add elegance to my living room. Thank you!,???

  30. Help , I just painted my new bedroom wall and ceiling white dove , I wanted to do something different so I painted the trim light blue 22 ( Farrow and Ball ) , not sure if I love it , is there a white I could pair with white dove that would make it pop a little but not clash ? Any help is appreciated!

  31. Please help in resolving my dilemma. We have recently had our “simply white” cabinets installed in our windowless but bright kitchen. There are multiple big windows all along the wall opposite the kitchen letting the northern exposure light in. I chose simply white for trim, ceiling and shiplap because of the grayish light that comes in. I love the soft white of my trim and shiplap but the cabinets look yellow compared to them. Has this ever been a problem for your clients?

  32. Hi if I have white dove on my walls trim and ceiling, which white would go on my kitchen cabinets? Thank you

  33. Hello, do you suggest the same color white for trim that was used for the walls? for example…walls are Swiss coffee, trim the same?

  34. I have simple white on the trim and garage door of the exterior of my home. It looks warm and creamy. I will be painting the exterior of my home soon and I want to use chantilly lace by BM because it is a small house about 1200sqf. Do you recommend it? Also, I really liked the exterior of the ocranchremodel. You mentioned that you used chantilly lace for the exterior of the home is that right? Thanks.

  35. What is the paint finish you would recommend for a range hood when painted the same colour of white as the walls. I would like it to look soft almost plaster like but it also need to be able to be cleaned properly

    Thankyou Team McGee

  36. My interior walls are Chantilly Lace (love!). Started painting the exterior White Dove and it’s too yellow. What’s your favorite white for the outside?

  37. Hi! We are at the very beginning of remodeling our kitchen (a complete GUT). Our home was in 1954 and kitchen was remodeled in the early 2000’s. The ceilings are tall, but are a blonde/“yellow” wood. Ugly to me…but we aren’t ready to paint/stain them. I absolutely love the kitchen cabinet color in your Cove remodel and in your kitchen as well! I saw you post your kitchen cabinet color is Creamy White by BM. It looks a lot similar to the Cove kitchen, which I thought you said was Swiss Coffee BM. Is that correct? My question is how do you think that kitchen color cabinet would pair with our ceiling? Thanks in advance! Love your design and eye for things.

  38. Hello SM,
    I need some advice… I am getting ready to have the entire interior of my home painted. My home was built in 1912 , remodeled, feels traditional (wainscot, transom windows over all doorways, 9 foot ceilings, built in book cases etc… Here is the challenge open concept kitchen, dining nook, and living spaces, and hubby wants the interior painted all white. I was thinking Chantilly Lace for kitchen cabinets… I have very white/grey Calacatta marble in the kitchen, and lots of Carrera in the bathrooms, fixtures are polished nickel, my hardwood flooring is distressed, warm oak…I want a modern/traditional feel BUT is Chantilly Lace too white for entire home? I sampled Simply White but it feels creamy against the marble in the kitchen, is that okay? … I’ve considered White Dove BM, and I love Swiss Coffee all warmer colors… I feel completely stuck!!

    Any advice is appreciated,

    Brandy

  39. Hello,
    A simple question. Is it advised to paint an entire house the same shade of white, or change shades depending on the lighting?
    Thank you,
    Vicki K.

    1. Hi Vicki! We typically paint the entire house the same shade of white, but we do mix finishes. For example, in the McGee home we did a flat white on the walls but a shiny finish on the trim for contrast. 🙂

  40. Hi! This post is so helpful! We want to paint our exterior white. Our house faces West, with our front door/porch at an odd angle, facing North West. We also have a brown tile roof. Any suggestions on the best white to use?

  41. In the McGee home. She used Swiss coffee at 75% but did she also use this on baseboards and ceiling?

  42. Hi! Would you recommend these for exterior whites as well? Our entire interior is Simply White and I love it. However, we’re now on the search for the perfect white for our exterior, and having a tough time! We definitely have warmer accents with custom window boxes that are warm & stained a “canyon brown”. Thanks!

  43. When you design an all white kitchen with white’ish walls, do you use the same color white on the ceiling? I have a kitchen/living room with A-frame type ceiling structure… should it all be the same color white? Or should I have a little contrast on the walls? Agonizing over this 🙁

  44. I have an exposed red brick wall and natural wood floors. What would be the best white paint out of your 6 favorites? Room has southern exposure so late afternoon sun
    .

  45. I have Chantilly lace waynescotting on walls in living room, foyer and dining room with white dove ceilings. It’s an open concept plan and have white dove walls in ding room but wanted a whiter white on walls in living room and possibly foyer. Was thinking about the Chantilly lace or super white. What is your suggestion please? I’m thinking I may have messed up with the ceiling color? ? Thank you!!

  46. Hi there – Our whole house has cream trim (including doors) and we are looking for a color that works. The previous owners picked a color that makes everything look yellow. We would love to do an off white color .

  47. Hi! In the first example, are the walls or trim painted Alabaster? I love that look, but wanted to be sure before I make the leap. Thanks for your help!

  48. sorry. it looks like everyone has a swiss coffee, actually. my bad! maybe it’ll be good to do a comparison of everyone’s swiss coffee and everyone’s navajo white!

  49. In the top picture of Sherwin-Williams alabaster. I’m assuming you used it on the walls only. Can you tell me what color you used on the trim to make the crown molding pop a bit?
    Also, We need to paint our house before we put it up for sale but it has beautiful crown molding like in the top picture. Can we get away with just doing a one tone?

  50. Hello! In the first picture of Alabaster what trim color is being used? I really love the contrast and would love to accomplish this look.

  51. What trim color would you suggest with Alabaster. We picked extra white for trim and cabinets and alabaster for the walls. Will those pair well? Thanks!

  52. We just had four rooms painted BM Simply White matte walls & semi gloss on trim. These are all north facing rooms with lower natural light. Living area is a very high vaulted dark wood planked ceiling and faces east to west. It was painted in SW Creamy walls with BM Simply White trim. We could not be more pleased with the results! All decor, furnishings & art work show beautifully without that too stark white look. It was a very hard decision but could not be happier. Medium to dark wood floors just glow now. Interesting that everyone thinks that all rooms are the same color!

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