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The Best White Paint? 16 Designers Weigh In

DECEMBER 10, 2019
Photo credit: Photo by David Tsay for One Kings Lane

There's no denying the simple elegance of a fresh coat of white paint. It's a surefire way to brighten up the home, and designers have long turned to various shades of white to create crisp backdrops in their interiors. Still, with so many subtle variations of white, from off-white to ivory, it can be challenging to find the right tone for your home. 

To provide you with a little guidance, we asked some of our Decorist designers to share their favorite white paint below. Read on for their picks along with tips for decorating with white paint. 

Have a specific paint question or need color advice for your home? Ask a Decorist designer!


kendall simmons preppy white office
Photo courtesy of designer Kendall Simmons.

Kendall Simmons

White Dove OC-17 by Benjamin Moore

"It's my all-time favorite white paint because it's crisp but warm, so it never feels cold or stark," says Kendall. 

Her tip: "White is especially impactful in common areas like your foyer, stairwell or hallway. White paint also has an instant 'gallery' effect. Any colorful piece of artwork, fantastic fabric, or sculptural furniture feels extra special when displayed against a fresh white backdrop that lets it shine."

Jarret Yoshida

Brilliant White - POP01 by Ressource Peintures

"It's a beautiful bleach-white color with a gorgeous textured finish," says Jarret. "The paint is mineral-based and produced using eco-friendly methods, and so it gives a thick finish to walls. It's something you can't replicate with mass-produced paints."

His tip: "You always want to go for high-quality paints. With Brilliant White, you don't have to worry about it being 'too warm" or "too cold" color-wise. This shade is close to the white of a fresh, crisp piece of paper, with very little undertone to it, so it goes well with everything."

Stephanie Hearn Purcell

Bakery Box BL-W9 by Behr

"It's a cool white that looks good in any style home, from mid-century modern to bohemian to classic farmhouse," says Stephanie.

Her tip: "A clean white background is always best when you're working with a multitude of styles and colors in a room. Think of it as creating a flawless canvas that you can decorate on however you want."

Alter Interiors

Cloud Cover OC-25 by Benjamin Moore

"It's a soft white with cool undertones, which makes it great if you want a more modern look that isn't too stark or too warm," says Jenny Magdol, co-founder and principal of Alter Interiors with Steffie Oehm. 

Jenny's tip: "Cloud Cover is a great choice if you want a space to appear larger. It also offers a neutral backdrop that makes most artworks shine. We love the bright, clean, and crisp feeling this color can provide."


audrey margarite traditional white dining roomPhoto courtesy of designer Audrey Margarite.

Audrey Margarite

Architectural White C2-516 by C2 Paint

"This is the most crisp and purest shade of white," says Audrey.

Her tip: "I love to use this paint in an eggshell finish. It looks great paired with contrasting dark furniture, and it's the perfect backdrop for art."

Meg Weber

All White by Farrow & Ball

"This is a completely pure white with no undertones, which makes it a great chameleon and the perfect blank canvas backdrop," says Meg. "It's a beautiful crisp shade that has been my go-to for most of my modern projects."

Her tip: "Always sample paints in your own space because light can be so different and unique in each home. All White works well in a wide variety of spaces because it stays bright even in darker rooms without reading too cool or blinding. It also works well in modern spaces and rooms where you want the furniture or artwork to be the stars of the show."

Alabaster SW 7008 by Sherwin Williams

"Alabaster is the perfect cabinet and trim color to use with dark, moody wall paint," says Alana. "It has just enough warmth to it to frame the wall color without drawing attention away from it."

Her tip: "Use Alabaster in a satin finish for trims to create a warm yet clean look."

Melissa Grieve

Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore

"I love that this is a true bright white without having a blue undertone," says Melissa.

Her tip: "It's the perfect white for kitchen cabinets. I've used it in many kitchens, and it has always turned out wonderfully in many different lighting conditions."


erika dale boho white bedroom
Photo courtesy of Jules Hunt. Interior design by Erika Dale.

Erika Dale

Decorator's White by Benjamin Moore

"This is my favorite white shade because it has cool gray undertones that make a space feel light and airy," says Erika. "It gives a room that fresh, pure white you see in a lot of Scandinavian interiors, and it makes the pieces in your room pop!"

Her tip: "Decorator's White looks great in any light given its neutral undertones. It looks wonderful on the walls when you want a crisp look. It's also an amazing white for trims and can make the contrasting wall color come alive!"

Hannah Miller

Whipped by Clare

"It's a gorgeous creamy warm white that doesn't go yellow (which many whites easily do) and does not feel cold and stark," says Hannah.

Her tip: "If you don't want to commit to a bold color for your walls and you're tired of gray, this is the color you want. It allows you a lot of freedom to be creative, whether you're mixing in other shades of white, layering on a statement gallery wall, or getting adventurous with color through furniture!"

Noeliz Diaz

Pure White SW 7005 by Sherman Williams

"It's simply the perfect shade of white with no undertones," says Noeliz. "It's timeless, serene, and it will look amazing for years to come."

Her tip: "With no undertones, this is an ideal white for walls. If you have trims and baseboards that look a little dull, I suggest painting them in this white as a way to brighten up your space."

Caitlin McBride

Birch White by Dunn Edwards

"I love this shade of white for its warm undertone, which keeps it from looking sterile and cold," says Caitlin.

Her tip: "I would recommend using it in a space that gets a lot of natural light because the creamy undertone can start to make it look yellow in rooms that rely mostly on artificial light. I love it for walls and trims, but I could see cabinets or furniture painted in Birch White as well!"


found + collected mid-century modern white breakfast nook
Photo courtesy of designer Sarah Ramirez of Found + Collected Design.

White Dove by Benjamin Moore  

"White Dove has this amazing ability to pull warm or cool undertones, which makes it incredibly versatile," says Sarah of Found + Collected Design.

Her tip: "Try this in a room that feels cold to warm it up while still keeping a fresh brightness. It's perfect for an open concept kitchen and living space where you want a seamless transition from one space to the other. It's also great on kitchen cabinetry and for subtly highlighting architectural details like trims."

Rita Schulz

All White by Farrow & Ball

"Since there are no overtly cool or yellow undertones, it makes this a very versatile white that can be used in many different applications," says Rita. "The result is more reliable than other whites, which can sometimes read much cooler or warmer than intended."

Her tip: "If you want a very pure white color, you can't go wrong with this shade, which works equally as well for walls and ceilings as it does for trims and moldings."

Casey Hardin

Decorator's White by Benjamin Moore

"It's my go-to white paint color because it's cool but doesn't feel stark or sterile. There's just a slight gray undertone, and it's my favorite white for contemporary spaces," says Casey. "I use it a lot for modern boho living rooms and bedrooms. It's also great for trims."

Her tip: "If you're painting your walls in this shade, I recommend going with a flat or eggshell finish. For trims, use semi-gloss for the finish. Because Decorator's White is highly reflective and neutral, it's the ideal backdrop for bold artwork and large-scale plants."

Christina Manzo

Alabaster SW 7008 by Sherwin Williams

"Alabaster can enhance the other colors surrounding it," says Christina. "It's classic and sophisticated, and I love it for a fresh white that still has depth."

Her tip: "For a modern look, I would pair Alabaster with Sherwin Williams' Iron Ore. It brings out the warm white tones of the color. For something more transitional, I'd pair it with Urbane Bronze, which will make it appear a creamier white and add an extra layer of depth."


Inspired to paint your rooms? Or do you need some color advice? Start a project today with one of our Decorist designers!

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