White paint on the walls just has this calming clean slate effect for me. They are a place for your eyes to rest, and the moment of stillness every room needs. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid of color either! But there is just something so timeless and easy about painting the walls white. Okay – so easy may not have been the best word to use there actually. There are tons of different shades of white! Anyone who has ever gone to the paint store to pick white paint has probably immediately felt that overwhelm at the amount of ever so similar but oh so different amount of choices for white paint. But with a few little tricks, you’ll make a great choice in no time! And if you still need help after reading this post, contact me and I can help with selecting a color!
A Basic Lesson on White Paint
In all of those choices there are 2 main sub categories. Cool whites and warm whites. Remember the color wheel when trying to figure this out. Reds, oranges, yellows fall under the warm color category. Think sun, fire – warm color. Cool colors are the other side of the wheel – blues and greens – think water. Each white other than pure white has an undertone of another color. It could be blue, yellow, pink, etc, but there will be a little bit of another color that lends it feel warm or cool. The best way to see these undertones is to place the paint chip on top of something that is pure white.
You should always get samples of paint to try in your home. The lighting in your house is way different than in the store, and will cause your paint color to change. The color will look different from room to room as well as at different times throughout the day. For example, if your room gets a lot of southern sun exposure the paint color(especially with white!) will look a lot warmer, and it will bring out any yellow undertones in it. On the contrary, northern sun brings out the cooler tones and can lend a white to read blue or gray.
It will also change just from the chip to the wall. You can typically expect the color on the chip to be even more saturated when applied to the wall. The color WILL intensify when you put in on the walls. Keep this in mind and always test! What looks white on the little chip can suddenly appear blue, gray, yellow, or brown when you get it on the wall! Side note – this color intensification is even more true of color than whites!
7 Great White Paint Colors
Simply White by Benjamin Moore – a great neutral white without much of an undertone to it. It’s going to feel warmer than a pure white, but it’s definitely a more stark white than some of the others.
Alabaster by Sherwin Williams – another great neutral white. Reads a little warmer than Simply White, but still a very neutral choice.
Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore – cool white. This one has blue gray undertones and can read as a very light gray in some lighting. I love this for modern spaces and beachy or coastal area. The photo above shows Decorator’s White on the walls, and Chantilly Lace used on the trim.
Chantilly Lace by Benjamin More – a very stark and bright white. It makes a great trim color.
Swiss Coffee by Behr – this is a beautiful creamy warm white. We used it in our basement because I wanted the brightness of white, but I still wanted warmth since it is a basement, and it is perfect.
White Dove by Benjamin Moore – this is another very neutral white that read just slightly warm, but without any yellow undertones.
Dove Wing by Benjamin Moore – a more saturated, warmer white. Think more saturated version of white dove. We have this in our living room, and in certain lights I like it, and certain lights I hate it. We have a lot of south and west light in there, and I chose it quickly. It works beautifully with the vinyl flooring that has a lot of gray in it, but not as well with the brown carpet. Because of the light in that room, it can read a little too yellow.
In Our Stars by Sherwin Williams – I just used this color in our bathroom, and it leans more tan than white. It’s very very light but still definitely more of a tan feel on the walls. I love it and it is pretty neutral with just some very slight pink undertones. I wanted to include it here to show how the colors intensify when you put them on the wall.
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