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  • Writer's pictureMelichar Architects

White vs. WHITE

Selecting a white paint color seems daunting, doesn’t it? With HUNDREDS of white paint colors, how do you know which one to choose? While most factors are determined by the amount of natural light in a space or which direction your room faces, a lot of it is also aesthetic and personal preference. Think about what look you are trying to achieve; soft and warm or crisp and cool?

With careful consideration, along with these tips and tricks, you can select the right white for your space!

White paint samples

Here are a few things to consider while choosing your perfect white:


It is important to know that not all whites are the same! All whites actually vary with blue, yellow, green, purple and red undertones. And, they are ever-changing depending on your lighting. To determine what undertone is in a white paint sample, simply hold it next to white printer paper. Whites with blue and purple undertones are cool, bright and crisp; while whites with yellow or red undertones are warm and creamy.


Understanding what kind of natural light is coming in through your windows is crucial. If your room is well-lit with sunlight, balance those warm sun hues with a cool toned white paint color.

Cool whites: Extra White - Sherwin Williams, Chantilly Lace - Benjamin Moore, Decorators White - Benjamin Moore

On the flip side, if your room gets indirect sunlight (facing north), you’ll want to select a white with warm accents to counteract the cooler colored light coming in through the windows.

Warm whites: Swiss coffee - Behr, White Dove - Benjamin Moore, Alabaster - Sherwin Williams

And, if your room already gets a nice balance of direct and indirect sunlight, there are plenty of “neutral” and "pure" whites.

Neutral/Pure whites: Simply White - Benjamin Moore, Oxford White - Benjamin Moore, Cloud White - Benjamin Moore

Try them on!

ALWAYS sample your paints selections. Pick your top 3 and paint swatches on each wall that you are planning to paint. Revisit the samples at different times of the day and live with them for a few days until you make a final decision.

Here are our personal favorites!

Diana –"All White" by Farrow and Ball – a "pure" white that is great for pairing with other neutrals.

Bob – “Oxford White” by Sherwin Williams

Gavin – “Shell” by Sherwin Williams

Jen – “Swiss Coffee” by Behr

Jessie – “Origami White” by Sherwin Williams – a little creamy with a hint of soft gray, the perfect neutral if you don’t want white white or gray gray.

If you don't know where to start, here are some of the most popular white paints:

- White Dove, Benjamin Moore

- Simply White, Benjamin Moore

- Decorators White, Benjamin Moore

- Cloud White, Benjamin Moore

- Snowbound, Sherwin Williams

- Extra White, Sherwin Williams

- Wevet, Farrow & Ball

- China White, Pratt & Lambert

- Cotton, C2 Paint

- Historic White, Dunn Edwards

- Silky White, Behr

- Du Jour, Valspar


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