40 Tips – How To Choose The Perfect White Paint ( 30 Pictures To Inspire )

Natural Cane Painted White ChairNarrowing down your color choices couldn’t be easier when you decide whether you are more attracted to cool or warm tones.

How do you tell if a white is cool or warm?

The easiest way to determine which category a white falls into, is by placing the paint sample next to a pure white sheet of paper, which will allow you to determine if the shade falls into a blue-gray undertone (cooler) or if it’s creamier (warmer).

Hunting around the net, I have pulled together the top 40 tips from home owners and bloggers alike who reveal their best whites by trial and error….

The Best 40 Tips

1 – “The darkest color on the paint strip is your best friend.  To see the true color tint….look at the darkest color on the strip. This color has the most color saturation and you can see the true base color much more easily.”

2 -“No matter how much you love a paint color in the store, you must see it in your home. Your lighting is likely different from the store’s lighting, and your lighting will vary at different times of the day.
Look at the color in your room at various times of the day to make sure you still like the color.”

3 – “The best warm neutral white/off white Ben Moore color I’ve found so far is Grand Teton White. It looked good against every color I put it up against (you know sometimes you think you have a neutral and then you pair it with another color and it suddenly shows the green/yellow/pink/gray undertone? Grand Teton White still looked like a neutral warm white with every color I tried it with.) I think Cloud White (while much lighter) is another good neutral white in this regard also. ”

4 – A white bedroom can be a very relaxing haven.  For best results, use a few different tones of white and layer them in the space.”

5 -“Use warmer shades of white with hints of yellow or brown for the walls, and then go a little darker on the trimwork. This  will add visual interest to the room and break up all of that white space.”

6 – ” When painting a ceiling any other color than white go at least one shade lighter. Color on a ceiling appears darker than on the wall”

7 – “The color consultant at the BM store is the one who encouraged me to use the colors that each looked best in their respective spaces, rather than worrying about keeping the same trim color throughout the house. She emphasized that all colors look completely different depending on the light exposure and the other colors they’re surrounded by”

8 – “Reddish or creamy whites work well to show off the color of natural wood accents. If the room has wood furniture or a staircase with exposed natural wood coloring, a slightly red tinted white will complete the

9 – “One important step is to hold the chips up next to your appliances (or color samples of your appliances, if you don’t have them yet). Unless the appliances are black, which pretty much goes with anything, you
should see how each color plays off the stainless or the particular shade of white or the color that each appliance is. Do this in different lighting conditions–daylight, nighttime, etc.”

10 -” What other colors are you using in your home? If the existing colors are clear and bright, use pure or blue whites. If they’re neutralized with earth tones, choose a creamy or reddish white. Keep the thought consistent.”

11 – “If the space you are painting has a modern feel to it, typically pure white or whites with a blue tint to them will work best. They create a stark and clean ambiance. To capture a more warm and traditional look,
check out reddish or creamy whites for a more homey and lived-in feel.”

12 -” Many people like the look of white cabinetry in the kitchen, but they don’t want the space to appear too cold.  In this case, look for a white that has a slight ivory undertone”

13 – “I did a search on here and read tons of threads. From what people had said, I narrowed it down to a few colors. One was White Dove, by Benjamin Moore…it’s one of the most popular colors.  I went to the store, looked at the samples and bought 2 small cans of paint. White Dove and another I can’t recall. Came home and painted them on poster board. After looking at each one for a few days, I did choose White Dove. I didn’t like it much on the little paper paint swatch, it looked too grey. But on my cabinets, it’s PERFECT!”

14 -“Whites can be grouped into categories, including pure whites, yellow or creamy whites, reddish whites that can even look a bit peach or pink, and blue whites that have touches of gray, green, blue or purple.”

15 – “When looking at a paint chip in the store….hold it next to something white to see the true color.Holding it next to anything else can throw off the tones in the paint”

16 – “I really want a warm/ivory looking white (like old white oil-based cabinets that have ambered out a bit with age.) A warm, but not totally yellow based, white. When I told this to the Sherwin Williams guy, he suggested Dover White or, if I wanted darker, Antique White.”

17 -“Keep in mind that the number of windows in the room and, therefore, the more sunlight there is, the brighter the white will look. In a windowless spot, consider a crisper hue to lighten the area.”

18 -“A rustic Scandinavian white-on-white palette is  easy to achieve if you stick to soft whites. Select one family of white,  then vary the tones for depth. Play with texture, such as matt finishes  and limewashes, and add either soft accents like blue or pink, or  lively accents like acid yellow and chartreuse.”

19 -“One thing I noticed on Sherwin Williams cards, they have the Light Reflective Value on the back. I don’t normally read the backs of these, but I had them on the table and turned them over as I eliminated colors. That might be helpful too to decide how “light” they are compared to each other. It might be on the back of the deck too, but I can’t check right now. Mine has gone missing… My kids LOVE to play with it. One color I was looking at, Westhighland White has a reflective value of 85 which is exactly the same as Extra White. Hmmmm, interesting. They also had some coordinating colors listed on the back.”

20 – “When choosing a color for the floor…..always go one or two shades lighter.The color on the floor appears darker than on the wall.”

21 – “Whites reflect light more than any other color, and blue or pure whites look best on surfaces in very good condition.”

22 -“If you don’t want to highlight your trimwork, then don’t paint it white at all. Use a semigloss or satin finish paint that’s the same shade as the wall color. This trick will also make tight spaces feel a little larger.”

23 -“Biscuits are both warm and cool neutrals that are  deeper than whites, being closer to natural stone hues. However, to prevent a dated feel, avoid biscuit-coloured  paints with heavy yellow or pink bases.These tend to create peach or  overly yellow tinges. Brown- and red-undertoned paints are a more  contemporary approach to biscuit”

24 – “I think your white depends what is going on with floor/counters/backsplash/wall color. A color changes depending on what is next to it…when you look at whites find the brands total white color and take that with you to compare other whites…that will help you see what the color’s undertones are.  Then look at your swatch next to your countertop material, floor, and any other key color in your kitchen (wall color/fabric/backsplash). Your cabinets are probably the biggest painted space in the room – that is going to be your defining color – so keep in mind what the cabinet color will do to the other materials.   There are cool whites (with blue/grey/green undertones) and warm whites (yellow/orange undertones). You want to keep a balance of warm and cool – and of course, decide what feel you want in your kitchen. I think most people prefer a warm white for cabinets since it is such a large part of kitchen color scheme and cooler colors can make a room feel stark if there is alot of it everywhere.   Definitely paint some big samples on board – totally worth the cost of the paint – many company’s have sample sizes these day- hold that up in the room – against the other materials you are using. Look at it in the morning, afternoon and evening light if you can.”

25 – “Ben Moore Colors- “I should have looked up the LRV values before I bought these samples-but I now know that colors in the upper 80’s are waay too light for me! (LRV: Generally higher #’s=light, lower #’s=darker) For reference the popular Marscapone (92.25) White Dove (90), Cloud White (87.1) and Acadia White (85)”

26 -“Cool and warm greys are now standards of the neutral  palette. There are many ways grey can be played with and the result can  look casual and relaxed, or chic and elegant. Just be wary of opting for  greys that are very pale – they can come up looking like dirty white. A  mid-toned grey is still soft and works as a neutral backdrop”

27 -“Surely, a beige carpet will always complement a white wall – right? Not entirely. Sometimes the undertone of a white or neutral is not obvious until you put it against a white or neutral with a contrasting
undertone.  Every colour has different undertones so when we put a beige carpet with a green undertone against a white wall with a pink undertone the effect can be different than what we expect.”

28 – “ou’ll see options for flat, satin, and glossy paints. Save the glossy stuff for your trim. Satin is good for bouncing light around the room, but it will highlight any flaws on your walls. If your walls aren’t in
perfect condition, flat paint will help hide the problems.”

29 – “……a really good tip to NOT look at the colors together, they do influence each other! Looking at our choices separately with the melamine & countertop, each one went well enough. But when I looked at the cabinet colors against each other, each potential cabinet color started looking too yellow/gray/green compared to each another, which doesn’t help”

30 -“Paint colors tend to appear more intense on the wall than on a tiny little rectangle of paper, so the strip chip does allow you to preview what a ­deeper value might look like. And if you’re nervous about a given color, going one step lighter can be a safer bet—you’ll probably get something in between once it’s up on the wall.”

31 -“Is there natural wood that you want to showcase? Creamy or reddish whites will show wood to much better effect than pure or blue whites.”

32 – “Just remember that the sunlight will make it appear warmer than it is. Alternately, if you live in an area that is cloudy the majority of the time, you will be much more able to choose a warmer, truer color”

33 – “Most paint stores have color matching machines. If you’ve found a piece of fabric or a photo with the perfect color, they can match it. The sample must usually be at least the size of a quarter.  If you fall for a paint color used in an internet or magazine photo, don’t rush out and buy the color listed in the credits or source pages. Your lighting could be different, and the photos have probably been digitally enhanced. Take the magazine or printed photo to the paint store and have them match it. That way, you’ll get the actual color you love”

34 – “Anyone who has worked in an office can testify to the washed-out effect of fluorescent lights. That’s why it is important to take the light source into account when choosing a white for your home”

35 – “If your room gets lots of sun, even too much sun, cool it down by painting the walls with a cool color. Likewise, if your room feels too frosty, warm it up with a warm paint color”

36 – “Do not buy the ceiling paint that changes color as it dries. If for some reason the humidity should change in the room, if it’s in the bathroom for example, the ceiling paint has been known to turn back
to pink. This also goes for caulking or any product that is pink when wet then turns white when dries. Sounds fun but … just no”

37 – “for the low ceilings in contemporary rooms, painting the trim the same color as the walls (or a shade or tint that’s close) is usually better. This trick keeps the walls from being visually chopped up and makes the ceiling look higher”

38 -“Go online. Use Pinterest to organize ideas. Organize boards on the major colors you would like to use and it can help you visualize what colors look like on real walls. Simply google the color you are after, and pin the pictures of the paint colors you find most attractive to your pinterest board”

39 – “Consider painting the ceiling the same color as the walls. Using the same paint on both surfaces gives a contemporary feel”

40 –  ” Try color-blocking. In tiny spaces, think about a shot of bright color instead of an entire room. For condominiums and apartments, consider using blocks of color to define space. Consider painting interior doors and trim in the bolder dream colors, and the really lighter version on the walls”

Cool Whites

Cool Whites – livethemma.ikea.se,

Paper dresses made by Danish artist Violise Lunn..

Violise Lunn’s Paper Creations

Scandinavian Interiors

Probably the oldest building at the manor, and often referred to as “kavalerfløjen“or
“the General’s house”. Inside the trophies hangs close. The decor is wonderfull,
performed and inspired by nature, wildlife and hunting. Together this make Sneppehuset the ultimate retreat for the discerning family who whant to experience the enchanting and authentic Langeland.

Chunky Knit Blanket

Cool and Warm Tones Paired Together

Chunky Knit Blanket- fotoflickr.ru 

White Paint Colors

White Paint Colors…..

Natural Cane Painted White Chair

Natural Cane Painted White Chair

D. Stanley Dixon Architect

D. Stanley Dixon Architect– Seen In atlantahomesmag.com 

Pair of 18th Century Painted Armchair- Yellow Church Antiques

Pair of 18th Century Painted Armchairs- Yellow Church Antiques

D. Stanley Dixon Architect

D. Stanley Dixon Architect

Interior Design by Jane Moore Photographed By Peter Vitale

Interior Design by Jane Moore Photographed By Peter Vitale

Interior Design by Jane Moore Photographed By Peter Vitale

Interior Design by Jane Moore Photographed By Peter Vitale

Scott Slarsky

The Boston kitchen of architects Scott Slarsky and Katarina Edlund

Early 19th Century Original Painted Windsor Settle Bench- East Meets West Antiques

Early 19th Century Original Painted Windsor Settle Bench- East Meets West Antiques

Dulux products available in Off White

Dulux Paint

Interior Design by Pam Pierce Photographed By Peter Vitale

Interior Design by Pam Pierce  Photographed By Peter Vitale

Dulux Paint

Dulux Paint- Find These Colors Here

A Pair of Louis XVI Gray Painted Bergeres- Each with an arched top railed centered by two urns, above a rectangular upholstered

A Pair of Louis XVI Gray Painted Bergeres

Vintage By Nina

Vintage By Nina- Buy It On Amazon


ZARA HOME International

Julia Reed and John Pearce’s home in New Orleans. Elle Decor.

Julia Reed and John Pearce’s home in New Orleans. Elle Decor.

A hallway in the Puglia hotel Borgo Egnazia

A hallway in the Puglia hotel Borgo Egnazia

kitchen of fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka

Kitchen of fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka

Scandinavian comfort in Denmark

Scandinavian comfort in Denmark

Catherine Gratwicke Photography

Catherine Gratwicke Photography

Black forst house located in East Sussex.

 Black forst house located in East Sussex.

Patina Style Brooke Giannetti, Steve Giannetti

Patina Style Brooke Giannetti, Steve Giannetti- Find it on Amazon

Photos of villasartirana - Flickr Hive Mind

Photos of villasartirana – Flickr Hive Mind

Seattle Apartment Cassandra LaValle of the style blog Coco+Kelley

Seattle Apartment Belonging To Cassandra LaValle of the style blog Coco+Kelley

White Interiors

White Interiors Seen At : jjlocations

LE VALDOR- abandoned hospital Le Valdor in Liège

LE VALDOR- abandoned hospital “Le Valdor” in Liège

Robert Kristiansen's Summer Home

Robert Kristiansen’s Summer Home

Pantry- Architect D. Stanley Dixon and designer Betty Burgess

Pantry- Architect D. Stanley Dixon and designer Betty Burgess for Atlanta Braves
Derek Lowe- If you want to see more of the house click here. 

Stephen Shubel

Stephen Shubel