It's easy to think that all white paint is the same...but if you've ever flipped through a fan deck of paint colors or stood at the paint store paralyzed and overwhelmed by a wall of sample paint cards you know that all whites are absolutely not made the same!! You'll see whites that read stark white to creamy yellow. The trick to see the difference in undertones is in comparison - take a true white that forms the basis of all paint mixtures, or even flip a sample card over to its plain white back and then compare that to the whites you're considering. You'll start to see how much blue, yellow, gray, or pink is in the undertone of the "white" paint you like!
If you're having trouble choosing a white paint, I'm sharing my favorites today, and a few tips to remember when you're choosing the right white for your space, because there is no go-to white paint, no matter what anyone tells you.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE
Don't let the name fool you, Sherwin Williams Pure White is actually an off-white white. (Not to add to the confusion but you should also know that there's also a Benjamin Moore color called Pure White.) Every time I see a photo of this kitchen I stop in my tracks. Seriously I do. For this project we selected SW Pure White for its versatility in that it worked with both the new quartz countertop and the lighter warm stain finish of the lower cabinetry.
BENJAMIN MOORE WHITE DOVE
BM White Dove...talk about a great soft, off white that doesn't read creamy but definitely adds warmth to a room. Bonus: it has a touch of grey to keep it from looking yellow. In the kitchen project above it worked beautifully with the marble look quartz countertop by Caesarstone.
BENJAMIN MOORE CHANTILLY LACE
One of my all time favorite whites - I consider BM Chantilly Lace to be a true white but one that is not too stark or bright bright white. In the project above, we used it on walls, trim, and ceiling, but because we used different finishes for each of these surfaces, each is able to stand apart and still stand alone with the necessary contrast. If I ever paint our bedroom again, (who am I kidding....it's on my upcoming project list) this is exactly what I'm planning to do. Mind you, it won't work for every room...you really do have to take into account what's in the room itself, both hard and soft finishes, in order to select the right paint color. Be aware and when in doubt, trust me - hire a professional.
TIPS FOR SELECTING WHITE PAINT
White is the most reflective color so be forewarned that white can take on colors from its surroundings, albeit green from outdoors should your room face glorious trees or rolling hills outside, or yellow or blue from overhead lighting. Be sure to take a look around your space first and take this into consideration too when choosing white paint colors to sample.
Speaking of samples, never, ever, NEVER paint a room without sampling first. Please don't just slap paint on the wall, or worse slap multiple "squares" of paint colors on a wall to make your selection. The existing paint color on your wall will skew the other colors... all...day...long. I always tell clients to sample but by that, I mean a whole wall...not the whole room, but a whole wall. I have our painters sample on wall space next to hard finishes like countertops and backsplashes or for trim they'll sample paint on the trim next to flooring and cabinets.
Don't feel up to doing that? Get a big piece of poster board from a hobby shop like Michaels and paint it, then let it dry completely. Hang or lean it on different walls within a room on consecutive days and see how light hits it throughout the day to ensure you'll like the color in all of the various lighting situations your home experiences. In this case I'd suggest buying a second piece of white poster board to tuck behind the painted sample board to block out the old paint color.
When in doubt or overwhelmed just by reading the above tips, hire a professional for expert paint color selection.
Do these tips help? Shoot me a message on IG @nancylaneinteriors or reach out here if you need some more guidance! Want more than white on your walls? We also covered neutral paint colors we love here - have a read if you're looking at adding a little color in your life and on your walls!