Best True White Paint Colors With No Undertones
April 13, 2021 –
It can be hard choosing any paint color for your home but selecting a true white paint color darn near impossible! If you feel this way, youre not alone. There are many white paint colors to choose from. It can get pretty exhausting to find that perfect white.
Why is white not just white? White paint can look too bright, creamy, or slightly grey. All the options were making my head spin as I started searching for the perfect true white color for the faux shiplap in my foyer. Of course, I decided to find out some answers and share them with you.
How Do You Pick The Perfect White Paint
Choosing the perfect white paint for your home can be challenging, but this cheat sheet should help.
Consider whether the light coming into the space is north facing or south facing . If it is cool, pick a warm white paint color. If it is warm, pick a cool white paint color.
Also consider the other tones in the room.
If most of the room is made up of cool tones, you may want to coordinate with this by selecting a neutral or cool white.
But most importantly, you need to test the white paint in your home, with your lighting and with your accents.
My favorite way to do this is with Samplize squares.
Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee OC-45 is a creamy off-white that beautifully complements an earthy palette or brings a warm, cozy touch to cool rooms and decor. Its character and charm makes it a favorite choice for all-white palettes.
Kitchen in Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee
Leaning towards a warm white paint color? Check out our Top Benjamin Moore Off White Colors round up for more ideas.
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Gray Paint Colours With Violet Undertones
Gray with a violet undertone is the second most popular and is often seen as the most gray.
- gray-violet can appear a bit more fresh-clean or more grounded-stormy
- a cool gray-violet is more likely to pick up a touch of blue
- gray with a violet undertone can also lean a bit warm
Gray with a purple undertone can be suitable for most exposures, but because its cooler, is better suited to south and west-facing rooms. The ones with just a touch of brown often do better in north or east-facing rooms as they arent quite as cold.
This type of gray is also OFTEN found in many of todays popular laminate, marble and quartz countertops.
How To Choose The Perfect White Paint Color
Before you even begin to browse paint decks and swatch your walls, its important to take stock of your spaces qualities like the amount and direction of light coming into your room. If its a north-facing room, a clean white will feel too chilly, so consider whites that have underlying red or yellow notes through them, ODonnell says. On the flip side, whites with cooler undertones will help balance out the intensity of the light in a south-facing room.
Another thing to consider? How your white in question will work with the rest of your color palette. If using whites on your trim and moldings to go with your chosen wall color, think of a white that has underlying tonal notes of your wall color, ODonnell adds. a dark green such as Green Smoke, consider a slightly dirtier white with green undertones like Old White from our traditional neutrals this will create a softer contrast than a true white.
Once youve figured out the type of white your space needs, its time to peruse these top, designer-approved tones.
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The Best Rooms For Simply White
I rarely refer to Simply White in my Online Paint Colour Consulting? Why? Because I can usually get the job done BETTER with Chantilly Lace, Cloud White or White Dove. Why? Because the yellow in Simply White is that BIT more noticeable.
BUT, this doesnt mean Simply White isnt the best white for you and YOUR home. If youre looking for a BRIGHT white, not a soft whiteand have northern light, it can be a fabulous choice!
Benjamin Moore Simply White
Benjamin Moore Simply White
Simply White is a bright white paint color with soft warm undertones. This crisp white is a popular choice for walls, ceilings, trim, and cabinetry. Its a modern shade of white bright and reflective for contemporary spaces, and rich and complex for a traditional home.
Simply White is the perfect all-over color for an open-plan space. It works beautifully on trim work and kitchen cabinets to complement deeper wall colors, and even pairs well with white quartz countertops typically a tricky match to find. A popular white paint color, Benjamin Moore Simply White is part of the Benjamin Moore Modern Farmhouse color palette and was chosen Color of the Year in 2016.
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Pearl White Pratt & Lambert
“My designs are contemporary and neutral, so I tend to favor tones of white that will add more approachability to a space. One of my favorites recently has been Pratt & Lambert’s Pearl White, which I used in my latest project redesigning one of the newest model units in The Ritz-Carlton Residences, North Hills. It’s a warmer and more inviting shade that blends very naturally yet still keeps things elevated.” Ryan Korban
Plummett No 272 Farrow And Ball
Houston-based designer Mary Patton puts the dark gray paint color Plummett by Farrow and Ball on the top of her list. “It’s a soft, soothing dark gray,” she says. “It works beautifully on cabinets, in bedrooms, or in living spaces. If you want something a little lighter, it also looks great cut by 50% with white.”
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What Paint Colours Are Similar To Classic Gray
If Classic Gray doesnt hit the spot, check out Benjamin Moore Gray Mist. Its an off-white thats a greige, but rather than having the subtle purple of Classic Gray, it has a wink more warmth with a touch of cream/yellow. I also love the slightly darker approach of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist.
You might also like the approach of Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist, which is similar to Classic Gray but has a bit more depth and body to it.
Benjamin Moores Best Gray Paint Colours
Silver Satins Lrv & A Little More
- Silver Satin has an LRV of 76, so its sittin pretty in the off-white range
- because its a warm gray, Silver Satin will come up a bit warmer in a south-facing room, but gray out more in northern light
- Silver Satin looks pretty with Sherwin Williams Pure White or Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace on trim work
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Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace Oc
According to Nicole Green, Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore is the most universal paint colorand rightfully so. I find myself going back to it again and again in order to create a bright white space that is warm and welcoming rather than sterile and cold, she shares. In a sea of whites, this is my tried and true!
With a subtle, cool gray base, this is a clean, pure white that offers the perfect blank canvas. In fact, designer Rosa Beltran used this shade in every room of her Spanish Modern home in Los Angeles.
Benjamin Moore White Heron
Kitchen in Benjamin Moore White Heron
White Heron is a bright off-white that also has cool undertones. Its a popular choice for both walls and trim color in kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms. Barely-there cool undertones make this a consistently white paint color, even in a sunny room. Paired with cool paint colors White Heron may feel a bit stark, so be sure to order a paint sample to see how it appears with the lighting in your home.
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Neutral White Paint Colors
Neutral paint colors are ones that have little to no undertones, or grayish undertones.
If a white paint has almost no gray in it, we call it a clean white. This type of white will look very bright.
If a white paint has some gray in it, it can still be a very neutral white paint color , but it will be more of a dull white.
A neutral white will be pretty neutral in any lighting.
While they wont work to your advantage like a warm white will in cool light or a cool white will in north light, they will perform just how you think they should.
How To Choose The Perfect White
Paint Samples on the wall with lighting in mind. We light to paint samples on the wall in a couple of places to see how they show in each area. Different lighting can also bring out different undertones of white paint. Every paint will pull some type of undertone color whether that is blue, green, pink, brown and so on.
The natural lighting in your house might make white paint with pink undertones seem pinker. While a darker area might make the white paint seem more cream with hardly any pink. This is why it is so important to put the paint samples in different areas so you can see how the different lighting makes the paint look and feel in your specific lighting.
This sneaky undertone can pop out when you least expect it, so this process is worth the time to see what works best in your home.
I hope these examples and white paint choices help you choose the perfect white for your home. The process of choosing paint can be overwhelming but it can also be a lot of fun when you have some really great choices. Id love to know if you have any questions in the comments below or if you have a favorite white that I didnt mention. I love hearing from you in the comments!
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Alabaster By Sherwin Williams
Alabaster LRV: 82
Alabaster was the Sherwin-Williams color of the year a few years back, and for good reason. Its a beautiful white with dusty undertones that make it a really versatile color for interiors. It looks good in kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
In fact I used Alabaster throughout our entire renovated RV. It has quickly become one of my very favorite white paint colors.
Jackie Jordan, the Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing describes Alabaster as:
A hue symbolic of new beginnings, Alabaster , is Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year. At a time of interconnected commotion and overstimulation, Alabaster offers a sense of personal solace and revival to weary minds. It is the true neutral to set the tone
View the color Alabaster on the Sherwin Williams website here.
Compared to White Dove, Alabaster is less creamy and more of a true white. This makes it a great option if you are looking for a naturally flattering hue with little undertone.
I love how the Sherwin Williams director of color marketing describes it, Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring hue of white.
Check out how Alabaster looks in the neutral nursery below.
FAQ: Alabaster or White Dove?
Repose Gray Sw 7015 Sherwin
A tried and true favorite, both Aldred and Wadden love Repose Gray by Sherwin-Williams. This reliable and ever-popular favorite gets top marks for versatility. “I love Repose Gray because it’s a true, neutral gray that has always been a top seller,” Wadden says. “It pairs well with textures and finishes, making it the perfect blank canvas for any space.”
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Benjamin Moore China White Oc
Inherently sophisticated, cool gray undertones freshen up this shade of white. With greige undertones, this white paint color brings depth to your space. Its extremely versatile and is a great selection for any space. Perfect for walls, cabinets, ceilings, and trim.
For the primary bedroom of our Rice Residence, we selected Benjamin Moores China White paint.
Cheating Heart 1617 Benjamin Moore
For another bold option, Seattle interior designer LeeAnn Baker suggests Benjamin Moore’s Cheating Heart. “This is such a dramatic color that reads as a soft black and sometimes gets confused as a navy,” she says. “It works wonderfully as a soft backdrop and really is dramatic when used on cabinetry. I have used it in kitchens, bathrooms, and offices. It is the perfect neutral dark gray for any space.”
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Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray Sw 7641
I love Colonnade Gray so much that I painted a lot of our last home in it. Colonnade Gray has a VERY passive warmth which will die down in northern light and perk up with south-facing light. It ALSO has a mild preference for a green undertone, but can easily slip into the others.
And dont forget, DARKER grays and charcoals have undertones too!
A colour like Wolf Gray might look charcoal on the paint chip, but paint that big bad wolf on the wall and youll see a BEAUTIFUL blue-purple rise up!
Farrow & Ball Pointing No 2003
If a warm ivory is what youre going for, consider Farrow & Balls Pointing, which Cathy Purple Cherry of Purple Cherry Architects says is reminiscent of an old piece of parchment paperin the best way, of course. I am drawn to colors that are what I call noncolors, such as Farrow & Balls Pointing, she shares. A sunny day can intensify the hue even more, bringing a great glow to a space.
Tilton Fenwicks Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham also love the tint because it can look at home in both a sun-drenched farmhouse or one-windowed city bedroom. This is the perfect ivory for almost every settingnot too bright and not too creamy, the duo shares. Were all about striking that balance.
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Gray Has Left The Building
Where do we go from here? Were definitely using a lot more color, said McGarity, as people “want to feel happy, they want to feel warm again. But crisp, clean white fits our current lifestyle, she said. And we can thank IKEA?
Think about it. In past generations, people bought furniture in their 20s when they got married, and thats what they kept for 40 years, said McGarity. Now we have access to design-forward furnishings and accessories that are financially plausible to replace every few years.
We live in an economy and society where we can have anything we want, she said. Now we can have the bright red sofa or the green chair. If you have a blue velvet couch for five years then you can change it.
Not that this is necessarily a good thing, she added. Im not saying I agree. I dont like that we have a throwaway society. But its influenced how we live.
Benjamin Moore Paper White
Dining Room in Benjamin Moore Paper White
If youre looking for a cool white paint that can pull together an open plan home, check out Paper White. This soft white has cool undertones with a hint of green to keep it from feeling cold. Choose Paper White for all the walls, and create contrast by trimming it with a bright white like Benjamin Moores Super White. Paper White is a rich, versatile white that complements gray marble finishes, so its a great choice for the master bath or kitchen. Use Paper White in both traditional and modern interiors for a touch of sophistication.
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The Rest Of The Cool Whites
I tend to stay away from specifying these for trim and cabinets because the undertones come out a lot stronger in these colors and I like to have trim and cabinets that dont have saturated undertones coming through. They can be beautiful on walls, though!
Sherwin Williams Greek Villa
JUST ADDED 2022
I am adding Sherwin William Greek Villa to the list of Best White Paint Colors. I recently used this color in a my latest projects and I have to say it is hands down a winner.
If you love that other brand famous white paint color, this a close comparison. Greek Villa is slightly warm. It doesnt look cold, even in hallways and shady corners.
You can feel the warm of this white paint color, like a hug of warm white flooding all around you. I will note that depending on the ceiling color and natural lighting it can look yellower that the ceiling white. But that is to be expected.
To avoid any yellow tones, paint the ceiling the same color or a slightly warmer color than ceiling white.
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Benjamin Moore Acadia White
If you are in the market for an off-white, Benjamin Moore Acadia White is an incredibly sophisticated and classic hue that blends well with an array of palettes. This ivory shade adds depth to a room but still feels clean and bright. Pair it with a bright white trim to add dimension to dining rooms and living spaces.