White: of the color of milk or fresh snow, due to the reflection of most wavelengths of visible light; the opposite of black.

Ok…that seems pretty straightforward, on second thought what kind of milk are we talking about? If it’s skim milk then you probably mean a nice crisp cool white, but if it’s buttermilk we’re talking about then you probably mean a warm cream colored white. And so begins the debacle of choosing the right white paint.  What one might assume to be an easy and straightforward decision, can actually be an overwhelming nail-biting experience.  With hundreds of variations to choose from, picking the right white paint for your space can be a daunting experience.  Here are a few tips to help make the best selection.

1. Paints look entirely different on a wall than they do on a small chip at the paint store.  Buy a sample jar from your local store and bring it home…it will be the best $7. you ever spend! Put your samples on the wall, wait till they dry and look at them during different times of day.  Paint colors change with the light, so make sure the one you pick is one you like in  the morning and at night.

2. Warm vs. Cool.  Warm whites have a bit of yellow in them and can brighten up a dark space and provide a relaxing vibe.  Cool whites with a bit of blue or green in them and can energize a space.  Figure out which look you are going for.  A few things to remember in the warm vs. cool battle

  • If your space is dark to begin with, you probably want to go with a warm white.
  • For a modern feel go with a cool white, cool whites tend to make things feel new
  • For an antique home warm whites have more traditional lived in feel
  • Cool whites can make a space feel larger

white paint

3. Coordinate with adjacent rooms.  If you have two spaces that are right next to one another you will want to go with either warm whites in both rooms or cool whites in both rooms.  The colors can be different but should be in the same family.

4. Consider the trim color you want to use when choosing a white for the walls.  If you are going with white walls and white trim, make sure that there is enough contrast between the wall white and the trim white otherwise it will all blend together.  * If your walls/trim are in bad shape, stick with the same color for both in order to purposely make the imperfections disappear.

White trim and white walls

5. Here are some of our favorite whites…

White Dove – Benjamin Moore

Simply White – Benjamin Moore

Decorator’s White – Benjamin Moore


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