How hard can it possibly be to choose a white paint? One might assume that simply walking into the nearest hardware store and saying, “I’d like a gallon of white paint,” would yield a stunning end result, worthy of brightening up both your home and your Instagram feed.
Oh, if only it were that easy.
The difference between a room with white walls that wows, and one that is yawn inducing, is in selecting the correct tone of white. This basically breaks down into cool tones, warms tones and pure tones. A pure tone is one that skews neither warm nor cool.
Warm tones have a slightly creamy or pinkish tint. Cool tones have a whisper of gray or blue, or even green. The color variant is typically so subtle that isn’t instantly identifiable. It sets a mood rather than making a statement.
One might also assume that doing a Google search of “What is the best white paint?” would instantly solve the right-white conundrum. Such is not the case. There is more online opining on the topic than there is about whether or not Tom Brady will add a seventh ring to his collection.
Fear not. We’ve done the research for you. We searched with various terms, and relied on websites with enough design cred to have earned them influencer status. We winnowed down copious amounts of information to come up with a list of white paints that work well just about anywhere.
Simply White: Benjamin Moore (OC-117)
This warm white tops our list because it was on literally every online story we read. In a story on Remodelista, one designer refers to Simply White as the “perfect balance between bright and warm.” On ElleDecor.com, the praise for the shade was profuse. “Benjamin Moore’s Simply White has a slight warm undertone, which keeps it from feeling too sterile (no hospital vibes here). I have yet to come across a color scheme Simply White wouldn’t complement,” said one designer, while another describes it as “a crowd pleaser. It’s a warm, but true white, that looks both crisp and cozy in every space.”
Decorator’s White: Benjamin Moore (OC-149)
Another winner in the world of design is Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White, which skews cool. At least that’s what we gathered from the various, somewhat disparate ways in which its appeal was explained. On ElleDecor.com, it’s described by various designers as “crisp and slightly cool, making it the perfect backdrop to pop other colors used within a room,” and “a true white that is both warm and modern.” On RealSimple.com, Decorator’s White is declared a “can’t-go-wrong” choice for woodwork, and on Remodelista, it earns a shout-out for being “a bright, clean white that doesn’t have gray or yellow undertones to it, that’s perfect for kitchen cabinets.”
Chantilly Lace: Benjamin Moore (OC-65)
“It feels clean and bright without being cold or ‘dormy,’” is how one designer describes Chantilly Lace on ElleDecor.com. Given that we wouldn’t wish a room that feels ‘dormy’ on anyone other than a college student, we consider that high praise. The kudos for Chantilly Lace continue elsewhere. On RealSimple.com, one devotee says, “It has a subtle cool grey base as opposed to warm yellow undertones, which makes for a very clear and beautiful shade of white,” while another says it’s “warm and welcoming rather than sterile and cold.”
Wevet: Farrow & Ball
Leave it to a British purveyor of paints to come up with a shade of white with just the right amount of gray – dare we say “grey” – that even designers on the sunnier side of pond love too. Noted for having “plenty of depth” and a “beautiful hue of gray” on ElleDecor.com, Wevet “always looks brilliant and has great contrast that goes with many of my other favorites as well as looking beautiful on its own,” according to a designer. RealSimple.com’s resident tastemaker says, “Wevet is a great choice in a home office because it has a hint of gray that contrasts really well with dark wood that you might have on a desk or your floors.”
All White: Farrow & Ball
While some white paints are labeled as warm and others as cool, and still others as both (color us confused — pun intended), Farrow & Ball’s All White is a winner for being just that: all white. According to a story on TheSpruce.com, it is has no other pigments. Their take on what makes it work is, “All White is a neutral white that doesn’t favor cool or warm undertones and works well with a variety of accent colors [such as] black or deep hunter green,” while RealSimple.com says, “All White is noteworthy for its ‘clean and clear pigment.’”
Admit it. You’re suddenly feeling the urge to grab a brush and start painting, aren’t you?
Top photo via Remodelista.