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Pure White Paint Color – Sherwin Williams

Pure White Paint Color, by Sherwin Williams, is a go-to white paint color for walls, trim, exteriors, cabinets, and more.

Pure White is part of the Trendsetter, Dreamer, Pottery Barn – Fall/Winter 2020, Timeless White, 2020 Play, Acute Care Cool Foundations, ABC’s and 123’s, Inbe Tweens, Teen Space, 2021 Sanctuary collections from Sherwin Williams.

Basically, this means that it is extremely popular. It has been chosen by designers repeatedly as a no-fail white paint color.

What Color is Pure White?

Sherwin Williams’ Pure White is a very bright white paint color that is not overly stark. It is a good, fairly clean white that is not too white, but also doesn’t lean in any particular color.

Let me explain that statement a little bit.

It can be hard to define white paint colors in terms of what they are, without also discussing what they are not. For example, Pure White is not a bluish white, is not a yellow white, is not too stark, is not too cool, is not a soft white, and is not too warm.

I would guess that Sherwin Williams gave it the name Pure White because it is not any of those things.

It is, as the name suggests, just purely white (almost).

With that being said, all white paint colors (and actually just about all any color paint colors) have undertones.

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Pure White Undertones

Pure White is a very white paint color, but it does have a hint of a gray undertone. This gray undertone serves to ground the paint color, and keeps it from being too stark.

Pure White also has just the slightest nod towards a yellow undertone. This makes it come off as slightly warm, but not in any perceptible way.

Basically, the yellow in the formula for Pure White keeps it from going cool. It will likely never look yellow on your walls or trim though (unless you have very yellowy lights in the room).

Sherwin Williams Pure White almost perfectly straddles the line between warm and cool. This is why you will see some websites say it is a cool color and other websites say it is a warm shade.

Because it is so bright, and not a soft white, many will say it is cool. But, because it has that nod towards yellow, which is a warm color, it actually lands in the warm category of paint colors.

But it is really ever so slightly warm. This is why I think it is the perfect white paint color that goes with everything.

Pure White has an LRV, or Light Reflectance Value, of 84. Since the LRV scale goes from 1-100, this means that Pure White reflects a ton of light, and is a pretty white white (yes, I know I said ‘white’ twice).

Where Should I Use Pure White?

In my opinion…

Pure White is the best Sherwin Williams white paint color for trim (also called baseboards). On trim, it looks crisp, clean and bright, but not blue, yellow or dingy.

Pure White, by Sherwin Williams, on trim.
Pure White, by Sherwin Williams, on Window Frame, Trim and Chair Rail

Because it doesn’t have much in the way of undertones, it goes perfectly with almost any wall paint color. In fact, I list it on this post about the best white paint colors for every surface as the best white paint color for trim.

Pure White paint color ranks as one of the most popular paint colors for trim, alongside Extra White and Super White.

In addition, Sherwin Williams Pure White can also be used on walls, ceilings, exteriors, and doors.

Sherwin Williams Pure White Door and Trim
Pure White, by Sherwin Williams, on Door and Trim. Alabaster on Walls.

The 2020 White Paint Color Trend

Have you seen the white paint trend that is all over Pinterest right now? Many of these pictures are of a white paint like Pure White.

While I can’t say for certain that they actually Sherwin Williams’ Pure White, the crisp look they demonstrate, without being too cool or too warm, is entirely reminiscent of Pure White paint color.

I am going to compare Pure White to a few other popular white paint colors, but before I do, let’s talk for a minute out how to choose the best white paint color for your home.

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Pure White Paint Color Comparisons

Pure White vs. Sherwin Williams Extra White

Pure White vs. Extra White

For our first color comparison, lets look at Pure White and Extra White.

Pure White and Extra White are probably the most popular white paint colors for trim. And, both are great, but for different rooms.

While Pure White is has a touch of gray in it, Extra White carries a soft bluish undertone. This hint of blue puts Extra White firmly in the cool category of paints.

In a room with warm colors, I would also go with Pure White over Extra White. In a room with cool colors, I find that either Pure White or Extra White work. But, you want your room to have that crisp, clean look, you may want to choose Extra White.

Pure White vs. Alabaster

Pure White vs. Alabaster

For our next comparison, take a look at Pure White vs. Alabaster.

Alabaster is one of Sherwin Williams’ most popular paint colors. Click on this link to learn more about the paint color Alabaster.

As you can see from the picture, both Pure White and Alabaster have hints of gray in them, but Alabaster has a lot more yellow or beige in it than Pure White does.

This makes Alabaster come off as softer, warmer and much less crisp than Pure White. Alabaster is a great trim or wall color if you want to warm up a room, but it won’t go as well in a room with cool accents.

In addition, if you want your trim or walls to look like a crisp white, you will want to paint them Pure White over Alabaster.

Pure White vs. High Reflective White

Pure White vs. High Reflective White

Next, take a look at Pure White vs. High Reflective White.

High Reflective White is probably the whitest white paint color you can pick. It doesn’t have really any undertones, and it is bright bright bright.

Lest you think that this means it is the perfect white, hold on. I have been told that it doesn’t cover very well. I haven’t tried it on my own, so I can’t verify, but you may want to ask at Sherwin Williams before you purchase a big can of it.

Click here for a full paint color review on High Reflective White.

Pure White vs. Snowbound

Pure White, by Sherwin Williams, vs. Snowbound

For one last color comparison, let’s look at Pure White and Snowbound.

Snowbound is a cool white with gray undertones. It has an LRV of 83 (Pure White’s LRV is 84), and is a very similar depth of paint color to Pure White.

Snowbound is a very popular paint color for walls and trim, and they are actually pretty similar colors. Where they differ is that Pure White has that touch of yellow, where Snowbound does not.

If you want a cool paint color with no warmth, but is not particularly stark, Snowbound might be a good choice for you.

Click here to read more about Sherwin Williams Snowbound.

Final Thoughts on Sherwin Williams Pure White Paint Color

Pure White is one of my favorite Sherwin Williams paint colors because of its versatility. It is a great color for trim, crown molding, walls, exteriors, cabinets, furniture, and more. Plus, it can coordinate with either warm or cool paint color and accents, because it really straddles the line between warm and cool.

When you want a no-fail white paint color, strongly consider Pure White for your home.

Need a painter? Click here to find a painting professional in your area!

Want to see all your paint options in one convenient place? Click here to pick up a Sherwin Williams fan deck (contains all SW colors) or a Benjamin Moore Collections fan deck (contains many popular BM colors – other fan decks sold separately)!

Sherwin Williams Pure White

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Sunday 29th of August 2021

Hello, starting to remodel our 1994 kitchen. Thinking of doing the cabinets and trim in Pure White. Mont Blue granite countertop. Floor will be a warm medium brown (no grays). I’m sure the backsplash will be in a white as well. My kitchen does not have a lot of natural light. Do you have a suggestion for the wall color? Was thinking of white as well but to contrast alittle with the Pure White. Thank you!!!!!


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Hi Tammy! Check out White Duck or Origami White and see if you like either of those!

Kit Chiu

Saturday 28th of August 2021

Thank you for the comparison! We are repainting our living room and I’ve managed to narrowed down to two whites. I can’t decide between Pure White or Alabaster. This will be for the dining and living rooms, we have sunset/reddish color wood floors and we get lots of afternoon light. Which do you recommend as better options? Thank you for any tip you can give!


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Hi Kit! Alabaster is likely going to read very warm in your home, from what I can tell. It'll pick up more of that yellow undertone with the reddish floors and afternoon light. Pure White will soften up a bit, but not as much as Alabaster will. If it were me, I would go with Pure White because I like the more balanced look of a clean white wall with sunset/reddish floors BUT this doesn't mean it is the right answer. It is just my opinion. If you want a warm look to your home, go with Alabaster. If you want a more clean, bright look, go with Pure White. Hope this helps!

Debra Nicholas

Thursday 26th of August 2021

Thanks for the great information. We are building a farmhouse and have opted for pure white on exterior, as well as cabinets and trim on interior. For the open family/kitchen area I am looking to layer the whites. We will have warm wood floors and the granite is a mixture of grayish undertones with black and brown in it. Do you have a suggestion for wall color that will pair well with pure white trim that will not be overly cool or warm, essentially a darker version of pure white? Thanks for your help.


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Hi Debra! Sounds lovely! Unfortunately, coming up with a darker version of Pure White is a little tricky. Part of why Pure White is so balanced is because it doesn't have a lot of color in it. When you start adding more color to the mix, shades end up leaning warm or leaning cool. But, check out Spare White and Moderne White (both lean cool) or Heron Plume (leans warm) and see if you like any of those!

Libby Woodworth

Monday 23rd of August 2021

Thanks for sharing this valuable info! I’ve gone through 22 sample cans trying to find the right “barely there” color for my walls that seem to read colors strangely and also very differently in every area. I thought I had picked a wall color so went with Extra white trim, only to decide that the wall color does not work. Ultimately I wish I had chosen pure white trim and walls. Can I do pure white with the extra white trim? I tried extra white on the walls but it seems too bright. Is there a way to salvage this?


Monday 23rd of August 2021

Hi Libby! I'm sorry the Extra White didn't work out how you had hoped. You could use Pure White on the walls. It won't be perfect with Extra White, and will likely make the Extra White look even more cool, but it shouldn't look bad or too clashing. Good luck! Do a sample wall section right against the trim to try it out!


Thursday 5th of August 2021

Hello! Thanks for a great article. I’m painting the exterior of my home sherwin Williams retreat. Would you recommend pure white or high reflective white to go with it?



Saturday 7th of August 2021

Hi Ali! Either works well with Retreat (such a gorgeous shade!), but for an exterior, I might go with Pure White. High Reflective White is very bright and white, and that may look a little blinding with the light on an exterior. Good luck!