White paint colors are super in style right now… no matter if it is on your walls, cabinets or furniture.
But not all white paint colors are created equal. Some can feel flat and boring, and others can warm a room up making it feel inviting and clean.
So how do you choose the best white?
Well it depends on what you are painting.
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White Paint Undertones
Before we go into which white paint color works best where, we should chat for a minute about undertones.
The undertones in white paint can make a big difference in how it looks.
White paint with cool undertones, which are shades of blue, green and purple, will tend to look more stark on your walls.
White paint with warm undertones, which means it will have a hint of yellow, red or orange, will likely look softer on your walls.
There is no right or wrong in which one you decide on, but there are few general guidelines you should consider.
If your room is north facing, there will tend to be a little less light, and a warm white does well to brighten the space.
If your room is south facing, it tends to get a lot more warm, golden sunlight. In this case, a cooler white will look a little warmer on the walls, and may be just perfect to neutralize the warmth of the sun.
So consider these things when you’re picking a white paint color for your home.
The Best Whites for Trim
House trim looks amazing in a crisp, clean white. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes if you repaint yellowed, white paint with a brighter white.
My favorite white trim paint color from Sherwin Williams is Pure White.
As the name implies, Pure White is a good, true white. It is a very bright white with just a touch of warmth to it.
It isn’t yellowy and it isn’t beige. But the hint of color in it makes sure it doesn’t give off a cool blueish tone like many whites do.
Pure White has a LRV (Light Reflectance Value) of 84, meaning it is a very white paint color, with just a hint of color.
If you want a white paint color without any warmth to it, Extra White is also great for trim. Some say that is Sherwin Williams whitest white, or truest white, but it does have a hint of a blue undertone.
You likely won’t see any blue in it if you’re putting it next to another color, but if you hold it up next to a bright white piece of paper (or paint your walls a bright white with a more neutral undertone), you may see a bit of that blue.
It has an LRV of 86, which means it reflects just slightly more light than Alabaster. With its pale blue undertones, Extra White is perfectly cool and crisp.
If you need help figuring out how to paint your trim without getting paint all over your floor, check out this post on DIY trim painting.
The Best White Paint Colors for Cabinets
If you are looking for a great warm white for your cabinets, you should check out Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.
Alabaster has an LRV of 82. It is a warm white paint color, with hints of yellow and gray in it.
This very slight hint of yellow it possesses echos the warm undertones of natural wood, making it a perfect complement to a kitchen with wood elements.
Alabaster is so popular, it was named Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year in 2016. Check out this post for more information about the color Alabaster.
Before you paint your cabinets, check out this post on how to paint your cabinets and hide the wood grain.
If you want a cool white paint color for you cabinets, Snowbound is a nice option.
Snowbound has an LRV of 86. It has a slightly gray undertone, making it a great match for other cool colors.
The Best Whites for Walls
If you’re looking for a cool white for your walls, Eider White is a gorgeous choice. It has more than a touch of gray in it, which makes it stand out nicely against white trim.
I should mention, Eider White has a purple undertone.
This sneaky undertone can pop out when you least expect it, so be sure you’re okay with it before you paint your whole house.
Eider White has a LRV of 73, meaning it has the most color in it of all of the whites discussed. Put another way, it is the darkest white listed. In fact, some may look at it and say that it is gray.
I recently painted the the walls in my powder room Eider White. Check out how it turned out with the reveal of my modern boho bathroom.
If you prefer a warm white for your walls, Westhighland White is a perfect choice. It is bright and almost creamy, but not yellowish.
Because it has just a touch of color, it will look beautiful and slightly distinct next to Pure White trim, where as some whites will just look the same as the trim.
For example, when Alabaster is placed next to Pure White, it tends to look like the walls and trim are painted the same color.
It has a LRV of 86, meaning it is the bright.
Because it is a warm white, it’ll go nicely with wood or white trim.
I recently painted my son’s room in Westhighland White. I love how it is perfectly creamy without being yellowy at all.
And while we’re discussing white paint colors, I’ll give you one more bonus one. White Dove, by Benjamin Moore, is highly popular. It is a great soft white with just a hint of gray undertones.
When you look at all the different whites together, you can see their differences.
Pure White is crisp and clean, not strongly leaning any way (but has a hint of gray that takes the edge of starkness off of this white).
Extra White is cool, with bluish undertones.
Alabaster has beige undertones with a touch of gray.
Snowbound has gray and slightly beige undertones.
Eider White has gray and purple undertones.
Westhighland White has yellow and beige undertones.
Pairing White Walls With White Trim
If you want to paint your walls and your trim white, as is so in style right now, I have another option for you.
Instead of trying to get the undertones of two different paint colors to match perfectly, consider painting your trim and wall color the SAME white, but in different sheens.
So paint your trim Pure White in a semi-gloss, and your walls a Pure White in a satin.
Because a high gloss finish reflects more light, the trim will look brighter than the walls, but the undertones are guaranteed to be perfectly matched (because they are, perfectly matched!).
The Best White Spray Paint
I have one more bonus white for you, and is not a Sherwin Williams color.
If you’re looking to spray paint decor or furniture white, pick up a can of Rustoleum Heirloom White. The spray can lid makes it look almost beige, but I assure that that it is the perfect warm white spray paint color (perfect for a farmhouse themed home).
I hope that this list is helpful for you as you try to choose a white for your home!
Before you pick out a white and paint the whole house, remember to try the colors in your own home. The amount of light a room gets, as well as the other colors in the room will really change how a white looks.
In addition, remember that my recommendations on where to use these white paints are just a guide. Whites are very versatile, and you can use all of the whites listed in other ways – Pure White can go on walls, Alabaster can go on trim, etc.
Be sure to pick up a few swatches from Sherwin Williams, or check out Samplize. At Samplize, you can order stick squares covered with real paint to see how the color will look in your home. These 12×12 squares will help you see if Alabaster will look boring, but Eider White will look amazing! Plus, get $5 off your first order!
If you’re looking to hire someone to paint your home, you can be connected with a painting professional in your area by clicking here!