How to Pick a White Paint Color

Picking a paint color, especially a white paint color is no easy feat. To help avoid all the squinty-eyed faces and reassure you in your selection, here are some of my all-time, “seriously love this paint” whites.

A Cool White 
Our current home, is Behr’s “Weathered White”, a white that took me a million samples to find. I stared at this color on nearly every corner of our home. The color is bright and modern with a slight grey undertone, which I love. It’s the third color from the left in the line-up but also next to the baseboard in the foreground of the picture below.

With the floors, baseboards, and windows done it was time to pick the paint color and finally lose the boring sand beige color that we inherited with this house. White was proving to be a difficult challenge, but luckily Kane, our Brown Boston Terrier  was there for support.

A Neutral White

Another Behr favorite of mine is the slightly putty-like paint color, Off-White #1873. It’s got a nice earthiness, that is perfect for anyone. It’s not just a white, it has real color. In the picture above I tried sampling it (it’s the on the far right almost all by itself) but it has a little tiny hint of green that wasn’t right for this house we are in now, nor did it pair well with the floors we had installed.  Maybe not this time, but it’s one I have used, love, and continue to recommend.

Image of the Waterfront Estate entry in Behr Off White

A Warmer White

Not only do I love these next two paints, but the store too! If you want to turn to the store that the designer’s use, go to Benjamin Moore. I love the small paint-store feeling and helpful assistance I get here. My go-to whites are the modern hued Chantilly Lace #OC-65 and the classic Sand Dollar #OC-71.

In this  Kelly Deck Design bedroom Benjamin Moore’s Sand Dollar is just the right tint of pink to make this space feel clean and feminine.

Helpful Paint Tips

Looking for some other helpful white paint tips? Choose the brand first. I would not recommend requesting a color match from one brand’s color name and mixing with another brands paint because each brands base is slightly different and can alter the color. Choose a paint brand that matches your budget, VOC, or durability needs then start sampling the color selections.

Second, always consider your finish. Flat finishes appear more chalky and absorb light making the sample color appear slightly lighter on a wall. Glossy paint finishes reflect the light in a room and can make the color appear darker. Typically a satin or egg shell finish will stay true to the color on the swatch.

Sample, sample, sample. Pick your top 3 (or in my case top eight usually) and paint the samples in every part of the room or house. Just a few patches with the options side by side. Check them at different times of day over a few days to see the light coming into the room, and how it affects the color. I have a three strike your out rule where I walk by and put a mark on my least favorite. I guess its a lot easier for me to say what I don’t LOVE rather than what I see working in the space. Eventually one makes the cut.


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