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Design Inspo

Best White Paint Colors To Use According to an Interior Designer

There are hundreds of shades of white. Find out how to pick the best one for your space and what to consider before you buy.

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Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that white paint is boring. Interior designer Leanne Ford will be the first to tell you it’s not! And while we don’t all need to aspire to be Leanne Ford-level obsessed with white paint, there are benefits to using it in your designs. White is the color of purity and serenity.

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Although white evokes feelings of peace and well-being, the number of shades of white available is enough to give anyone anxiety. Before you throw in the towel, we’ll give you our expert advice on selecting the ultimate shade of white paint for any room in your home. 

We’ll also cover factors to consider when selecting your white paint colors, like your color palette, the amount of natural light in the room, and the existing pieces that play a role in how the shade you select will actually look on your walls

Now, let’s dive deep into everyone’s favorite non-color. 

So Many Shades of White

White isn’t just white. Despite it being incredibly difficult to tell the difference between the five samples of white you have on your wall currently, there are several undertones in shades of white that give it either a warm, cool, or neutral feel. There are also options to consider, like finishes, that can impact the look and feel. The same shade of white can look completely different if it has a high gloss finish compared to a flat finish. 

There’s also the problem of staying in the family of white colors. Go too warm, and you’re likely going to enter into yellowy creams. Too cool, and you’ll end up with gray. If it’s a true white you want, you’ll be viewing paint samples that, at first glance, can be virtually indistinguishable. 

How To Choose the Best White Paint Color

Before you begin to feel overwhelmed between eggshell, ecru, pure white, soft white, and warm white, let us help. (Consider this your reminder to pull out this article the next time you’re shopping for white paint.) Selecting a clean white color that complements your room is easy when you break the task down into small steps. 

Consider the Room

First, consider the purpose of the room. For instance, if you’re painting a kitchen white, the shade will likely have cooler undertones than the color of white you might select for a bedroom. While bright white kitchen cabinets can make a kitchen appear larger, cool white colors may make a bedroom seem too antiseptic. 

For rooms geared to rest and comfort (bedrooms, guest rooms, or living spaces), consider creamy white colors with warm or yellow undertones. For rooms where you typically need extra lighting (kitchens, bathrooms, game rooms), you can consider white with blue undertones. 

Natural Light

North-facing rooms generally have less natural light, meaning cool undertones will make them look and feel uninviting. Crisp whites can leave these rooms feeling chilly, while different shades of warmer whites have the reverse effect. 

Rooms that receive a lot of natural light can handle the coolness of whites with gray undertones or even whites that border on “greige,” a combination of white and gray. Cooler white colors can help balance the amount of light coming into the room, especially if the room is exceptionally bright. 

Color Scheme

The existing color palette in the room can help you decide on the perfect white wall color. The right white color works with your current style elements and doesn’t compete for attention. 

Checking undertones will help you match your decor to your white paint. For a living room with richer tones like burgundy or navy blue, opt for off-white colors with warmer yellow undertones. 

Rooms that have lighter color palettes can support lighter, brighter white walls. A kitchen with stainless steel appliances and stone-colored countertops works well with extra white cabinetry. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your white paint choices by undertones and purpose, hone in on a specific white color for your room.

Best White Paint Colors of the Year

A white dining room design by Kaitlyn Rowsey

From semi-gloss decorator’s white to high-gloss white trim, we’ll cover the go-to white paint shades that are most popular among interior designers. 

Most Versatile

The white paint that attracts more every year is Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. The popularity of this shade is due to its clean and warm but never sterile feel. It’s the perfect white with the most neutral undertones so that the shade is always refined without being cold. Benjamin Moore says this shade is inspired by cotton and silk. For walls in this color, choose a semi-gloss finish.

For Moldings and Baseboards

The trim work around your room will generally be at least one shade whiter than the wall white shade. It can be hard to find a trim color that doesn’t have obvious undertones that are too warm or too cool, but Sherwin Williams Pure White might be the perfect white paint color for trim in virtually every room. 

SW Pure White works because it doesn’t have obvious undertones and plays well with a myriad of other colors. Pure White has a slight touch of gray-blue, so if you’d prefer a neutral white with a warmer undertone, try Sherwin Williams Alabaster. SW Alabaster is a popular white trim color because it has warm undertones but is still neutral enough to look pristine. 

Best Creamy White

For added warmth without switching to cream-colored paint, ask for Benjamin Moore White Dove. Designers love that this color has the ideal blend of warm undertones that immediately makes a room feel more welcoming and inviting. This is a solid choice for color in spaces that don’t have a lot of natural light.

Another crowd-pleasing, warm white option is Dunn Edwards Swiss Coffee, a shade of white that is about the warmest you can get without becoming cream (just the name sounds delicious). Similar to this color is Backdrop’s Harvest Moon — it’s slightly warm, but still reads very clean and white in rooms. Plus, Spoak members get exclusive trade discounts when they purchase from Backdrop.

Favorite White Paint Colors for the Kitchen

The most popular color for kitchen cabinets has been white for years. Though gray paint is becoming an increasingly popular choice, it’s likely that the appeal of clean white cabinetry isn’t going anywhere soon. 

The best white paint colors for your kitchen give the room a fresh feel. Benjamin Moore Simply White is a fail-safe choice. With just the slightest warm undertone, it presents a pure white color that isn’t overbearing. 

If crisp, undefiled white is what you’re after, Benjamin Moore Super White is it. Super White is a shade that has a slightly cool undertone but is still considered a pure white that is exceptionally versatile. 

Best Off-White

It’s hard to nail an off-white color. Too warm, and you end up with cream; too blue, and you end up with gray. Farrow & Ball Schoolhouse white is the balance between both, with equal parts yellow and blue undertones for an off-white that is just a slight shade darker than a creamy white. There’s also Backdrop’s Moonlight, which is a nice balance to give you the right amount of off-white.

These options are only a tiny sampling of the cross-sections of whites available at your favorite home improvement store. They can help you narrow down the swatches you take home and decide on the best shades for your spaces.

Another helpful tool? Spoak’s interior design suite. Test out what colors will look like ahead of time (there’s an actual roster of real paint colors in the system) before you make the trek to Home Depot and cancel your evening plans. 

Design Before You Decide

At Spoak, we pride ourselves in making interior design easier, faster, and more fun. From choosing a paint color to full remodels, our tools guide you through the process (headache-free). 

For more design inspiration, check out our discovery feed, a place for like-minded individuals to share ideas, learn new interior design concepts, and find unexpected things to brighten their homes. 

Photo Credit: (Left) Studio McGee


The Best White Paint Colors, According to Designers | Elle Decor 

7 Things You Need to Know Before Painting Your Walls White | Bob Vila

What you need to know about painting your walls white | NBC

20 Warm White Paint Colors to Cozy Up Your Space | Southern Living

Gray + Beige = Greige: The Best Neutral Color Ever? | The Spruce

You’ve got the space, now it’s time to learn to make it your very own. Spoak gives you the tools you need to DIY any home design job. 

Date Posted
March 27, 2023



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