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As a Certified Color Consultant, one of the most common questions I’m asked is about selecting the most popular white paint colors for walls. It seems simple, right? Just pick a white and go with it. However, the truth is, finding the right white paint can be surprisingly complex.

The perfect shade of white can make a room feel fresh, spacious, and beautifully lit, but the wrong shade can make the same space feel cold or dull.

In this post, I’m sharing my insights and tips on choosing the perfect white paint color for your walls, drawing from my experience and favorites among both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore collections.

Understanding White Paint

First, let’s talk about the nuances of white paint. White isn’t just white. There are cool whites with blue or grey undertones, warm whites with red or yellow undertones, and neutral whites that strike a balance between the two.

The best white paint color for your space depends on several factors, including the room’s lighting, the colors of your furniture and decor, and the overall vibe you want to achieve.

Also, it’s important to note – because white paint colors have such a high LRV, they are reflective by nature. The reflect light back into your space, but will also reflect back external colors. If you have a lot of green outside your window, your walls may take that on. If your area rug is bright white, your wall may look a bit pink, and so on.

The Importance of Lighting

Lighting also plays a crucial role in how a white paint color looks in your space. Natural light can make white paint appear brighter and more true to its base color, while artificial light can reveal hidden undertones.

For instance, a white that looks crisp and clean in a room bathed in southern light might look gray and dull in a north-facing room. Always consider the light in your room when choosing your white.

My Top Picks for White Paint Colors

1. Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore (LRV: 92.2)

Undertones: Virtually no discernible undertones, making it a neutral white or “true white”.

Vertical Paneled Entry Accent Wall Chantilly Lace
DIY Vertical-Paneled Entry Accent Wall Chantilly Lace via Making Home Pretty

A favorite among interior designers, Chantilly Lace is a neutral white that offers a clean, airy feel to any room, especially perfect for south-facing rooms. It’s especially stunning in spaces with plenty of natural light, where its pure white quality can truly shine, making it a good choice for living rooms and kitchens.

2. Sherwin Williams Pure White (LRV: 84)

Undertones: A balance of slight warm and cool undertones, making it incredibly versatile.

Pure white walls in a kids' room with blue accents.
SW Pure White walls

For those looking for a soft white without harsh coolness, Sherwin-Williams Pure White is an excellent option. It’s a versatile color that works well as both a trim color and a main wall color, adapting beautifully to different lighting conditions.

3. Benjamin Moore White Dove (LRV: 85.38)

Undertones: Soft, warm undertones that provide a cozy, inviting feel without becoming too creamy.

primary bedroom with BM white dove walls, blue curtains and white bedding.
BM White Dove bedroom walls

Benjamin Moore White Dove is a beloved choice for its versatility and soft warmth. It strikes a beautiful balance, making it an ideal selection for a serene and welcoming atmosphere in any room. Its ability to act as a unifying color for various elements in a space makes it particularly popular for trim, walls, and even kitchen cabinets, offering a cohesive look throughout the home.

4. Benjamin Moore Cloud White (LRV: 87.35)

Undertones: Slightly warm undertones, offering a hint of creaminess without overwhelming the senses.

BM Cloud White bedroom walls via The Coastal Oak

Cloud White is another favorite, especially for those seeking a hint of warmth in their white paint. It’s an excellent choice for creating a soft, muted backdrop that complements both contemporary and traditional decor, making spaces feel open and airy yet inviting.

5. Benjamin Moore Simply White (LRV: 91.7)

Undertones: A touch of yellow undertones, bringing a warm, radiant glow to the space.

shared boy bedroom with two beds, shiplap walls painted Benjamin Moore Simply White and blue accents.
BM Simply White walls

Celebrated for its radiant and lively quality, Simply White brings spaces to life with its subtle warmth. It’s particularly effective in enhancing natural light in a room, making it a top choice for living areas where a bright, cheerful ambiance is desired.

6. Benjamin Moore Super White (LRV: 89.09)

Undertones: Minimal undertones, offering a crisp and clean look that reads as a true white.

Interior walls painted with Super white by Benjamin Moore.
Super White by Kylie M. Interiors

For those in pursuit of a sharp, clear white, Super White stands out. Its high LRV and minimal undertones make it one of the purest whites available, perfect for creating a crisp, modern look that enhances other colors and design elements in a room.

7. Sherwin Williams Alabaster (LRV: 82)

Undertones: Soft, warm undertones that create a cozy, inviting space.

White shiplap adorns a small powder room wall, with large mirror and white sink below
Alabaster shiplap via The Harper House

Alabaster by Sherwin Williams is a favorite for its soft, warm glow that brings a soothing ambiance to any room. It’s especially popular for living spaces and bedrooms, where a gentle, nurturing atmosphere is desired. Alabaster pairs beautifully with a wide range of colors and materials, adding depth and warmth to the home.

8. Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee (LRV: 83.93)

Undertones: Warm, creamy undertones.

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee walls in a kitchen with cream cabinets and a black island.
BM Swiss Coffee Walls at 75% strength via Studio McGee

For a warmer white with creamy undertones, Swiss Coffee is a go-to. This off-white shade creates a cozy atmosphere, making it perfect for bedrooms and dining rooms where a softer, more inviting feel is desired.

9. Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White (LRV: 84.61)

Undertones: Slight gray undertones, offering a cool, crisp appearance.

upstairs hallway with doors and wainscoting painted benjamin moore decorator's white
BM Decorator’s White trim, wainscoting and doors.

Decorator’s White is a classic white that leans towards the cool side with a slight gray undertone. It’s a great choice for modern spaces and works well as a trim color or for walls, providing a fresh coat of paint that revitalizes the space.

10. Sherwin Williams Extra White (LRV: 86)

Undertones: Pure, with no discernible undertones, but can lean slightly cool in north-facing or afternoon east-facing light.

SW Extra White walls via The Coastal Oak

For those seeking a brighter, crisper white, Extra White is one of the brighter whites available. It’s particularly effective in spaces that receive a lot of light, where its brilliance can be fully appreciated.

The Significance of LRV in Choosing Paint Colors

An essential factor to consider when selecting paint colors is the Light Reflectance Value (LRV), a measure of the percentage of light a paint color reflects back into the room.

LRV ranges from 0 (absorbing all light) to 100 (reflecting all light), and it plays a crucial role in how light or dark a color appears once applied to your walls.

Whites with higher LRVs make spaces feel more expansive and brighter, making them ideal for smaller or darker rooms. Conversely, whites with lower LRVs offer a cozier feel, suitable for well-lit or larger spaces seeking warmth.

Understanding LRV for paint can help you make more informed decisions about which white paint will best achieve your desired ambiance.

Tips for Choosing the Right White

  • Sample, Sample, Sample: The best way to ensure you’re choosing the perfect white paint color is to test it in your space. Paint large swatches on different walls to see how the color looks at different times of the day and under both natural and artificial light.
  • Consider the Room’s Function: The function of the room can influence your choice. For instance, a kitchen might benefit from a clean white like Sherwin-Williams Pure White, while a living room might call for the warmth of Benjamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee.
  • Think About the Mood: Different shades of white can create different moods in a room. Cooler whites can make a room feel more modern and fresh, while warmer whites create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Don’t Forget About the Trim: If you’re painting your walls white, choosing the right white trim color is crucial. Choosing the same shade of white in a higher sheen (satin or semi-gloss), while using eggshell paint on the walls will give enough contrast to stop the color from looking identical. Want a different shade of white? Pick one with a neutral undertone or a similar cool/warm undertone so that there’s no weird clashing going on! Don’t want white trim? Consider one of the contrasting trim ideas instead.


Benjamin Moore White Dove and Sherwin Williams Pure White are currently the two most popular white paint colors.

The brightest white paint colors are Sherwin Williams High Reflective White with an LRV of 93, and Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace with an LRV of 90.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the perfect white paint color for your walls doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By understanding the nuances of different whites and considering your space’s unique characteristics, you can select a shade that enhances your home’s beauty and style. Whether you’re drawn to the pure simplicity of Chantilly Lace or the creamy warmth of Swiss Coffee, there’s a white out there that’s perfect for your space.

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