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Sherwin Williams Pure White SW 7005 is considered one of the best white paint colors for interiors. It’s bright and clean without being stark and cold – a great white for walls, trim and cabinets.

Sherwin Williams Pure White (7005) header image

Every day I get questions about the “perfect” shade of white for walls, trim and doors. While there’s no perfect color that will work for everyone, Sherwin Williams Pure White comes close to it, thanks to how versatile it is.

If you’re looking for a bright white that looks soft and works with both warm and cool colors, Pure White is an excellent choice. In fact, since we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago, we’ve slowly been repainting all our trim and interior doors this color (which were previously BM Decorator’s White and then SW Extra White).

What Color is Pure White?

While pure white is, as the name suggests, a pretty pure white it does not at all feel cold and stark and has barely any undertones.

It’s considered the best white paint for interior doors, trim and moldings, and interior walls due to its soft color.

living room fireplace and built-ins painted Sherwin Williams Pure White
Living Room painted Sherwin Williams Pure White for the fireplace and built-ins

What is The LRV?

Firstly, let’s talk about the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of Sherwin Williams Pure White. LRV measures the amount of light a color reflects or absorbs. On the LRV scale, a higher value (closer to 100) means that a color will reflect more light back at you and a lower value (closer to 0) means that a color will appear darker, or absorb more light. 

The LRV of Pure White is 84, which means it reflects a lot of light, which makes it a soft white color, and not an in-your-face ultra-bright white.

nursery with SW pure white walls and blue rug
In this nursery, you can see the slight gray of Pure White on the walls compared to the ultra-bright white ceiling paint. This undertone is only apparent in this space on the walls (not the trim) in the morning because of a Western exposure (no warm morning light).

What Are the Undertones of SW Pure White?

SW Pure White has More has the slightest hint of warmth (touch of yellow) as well as the tiniest touch of gray to offset the warmth.

This slight softness makes it a great option for any design style. It pairs well with cool-toned colors such as blues, greens, and grays and with warmer colors like greige, beige, and tan. This is what makes it such a versatile shade of white.

pure white trim with repose gray walls lightened by 50%
Pure White trim/wainscoting with SW Repose Gray walls (lightened by 50^%). You can really see the softness of the color here, but it still looks nice and white.

Where Does Pure White Work Best?

Pure White as a trim and door color will work in any room of your home, with any exposure. It doesn’t matter whether you have warm south-facing light, only morning light, afternoon light or gray northern light. It’s an excellent, versatile choice for a soft warm white.

Sherwin Williams Pure White 7005 painted nursery walls with a white dresser

For walls, in a room that gets cool light all day long, Pure White may lean more into its gray undertone, but it will still appear as a soft white. On the other hand, a south facing room or rooms with a lot of warm western afternoon light will see the warmer undertone become a lot more apparent.

side by side of powder bathroom painted pure white with dull morning light versus warm afternoon light
See how the dull morning light makes the Pure White look grayer? Conversely, the same room in the late afternoon has warm light that brings out the warmth of the color.

We also used Pure White to spray our deck. It ties in perfectly with our bright white siding, so I know it would also be a great color if you were choosing to paint the exterior of your house a bright white.

Sherwin Williams Pure White on an exterior wood deck

What Paint Sheen Should I Use?

The sheen of paint used on walls, trim, and ceilings can make a difference in the final look of the space.

For walls, a matte or eggshell finish is typically used, while a semi-gloss or gloss finish is recommended for trim and doors. Ceilings should be painted in a flat finish. Using these different sheens will create a subtle contrast and add dimension to the space.

SW Pure White on Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re wondering how this particular color works on kitchen cabinets, the photo below is a great example at how well it works not only on cabinets, but in the whole kitchen—walls, ceiling, and trim! It’s a great option if you’re looking for a timeless white for your kitchen.

Bright kitchen with SW Pure White cabinets, ceiling, trim, and walls with a navy blue island.
Full Pure White kitchen via Kylie M. Interiors

Pure White versus Extra White

sherwin williams pure white vs extra white

Now, let’s compare Pure White to other popular Sherwin Williams white shades.

Extra White (SW 7006) is a brighter, crisper white with a higher LRV of 86. It doesn’t have the softness that Pure White has and can appear starker in certain lighting (especially East facing rooms or those with Northern exposure). It has a tendency to flash a little blue, so I usually prefer to use it alongside other cool colors.

If you place Pure White alongside Extra White, it will immediately look a bit dirty, thanks to that little drop of black that gives it the gray undertone.

Extra White is one of those really bright whites, that when placed next to another white, instantly makes them look dingy.

I would not use these two whites together. If you are choosing between the two for doors and trim, Extra White is a really bright, crisp, almost stark white that can turn a little bit blue in cool light. Pure White is less bright and has barely any tendency to show its undertones, making it a great choice.

Pure White versus Stonington Gray
Pure White on the left, Stonington Gray on the right

SW Pure White vs SW Alabaster

sherwin williams pure white vs alabaster

Alabaster (SW 7008) is a warmer white with both a yellow undertone and some gray to help soften it up. It has an LRV of 82, making it a slightly darker option than Pure White. Alabaster verges on feeling like an off-white.

While it’s a popular color for walls, trims, and cabinets, it’s not what you would want to choose for a traditional “white” trim or cabinet color.

SW Pure White vs SW Snowbound

sherwin williams pure white vs snowbound

If you’re looking for a traditional “white” white, Sherwin Williams Snowbound most likely is not the color for you. It’s not a true white and has warmer undertones that make it lean closer to the off-white color range, despite its LRV of 83.

Snowbound has a taupe undertone that can look quite pink in certain lights, while in southern exposures it can even look a bit creamy.

If you’re looking for a soft, warmer color for your walls, Snowbound may not be a bad choice, but if you’re looking for a nice bright white for your trim and doors, this is probably not the color you’re looking for.

SW Pure White vs SW High Reflective White

sherwin williams pure white vs high reflective white

High Reflective White is Sherwin Williams’ whitest white, and it’s almost a completely true white with no visible undertones. If you want a really really bright white that is neutral (no warmth, no coolness) then High Reflective White is an excellent choice.

High Reflective White is actually the base white used to make other paint colors so it has no tint added to it.

Compared to High Reflective White, Pure White will look a lot softer, and depending on the light, you’ll notice either the warmth or that touch of gray. Of course, that’s only when they are compared side by side.

What Colors Compliment SW Pure White

SW Pure White is very versatile and works with both cool and warm color schemes. Basically, it works with any paint color and that’s why it’s so loved. So whether your home is full of grays and blues or you lean warmer with beiges or tans, Pure White will work.

Is Pure White Good in a Dark Room?

It depends. If you are looking for a nice bright white for trim that’s not stark, then it’s a great choice. If you’re looking for a white paint color to brighten up a dark room, other shades of white would be a better choice as a paint color for a dark room.

What Type of Paint to Use

Sherwin Williams paint is really high quality, but I would definitely stick to their Emerald or Cashmere lines. The cheaper paint does not cover as well, so you just end up using more.

For trim and doors, both Sherwin Williams’ Urethane Trim Enamel and their ProClassic formulas are excellent for a tough-as-nails finish on trim, doors and cabinets. The Urethane Trim Enamel in particular, is self-leveling and cures to a finish similar to that of an oil-based paint.

Add a short headline

No. SW Pure White is a nice, bright white with a slight softness to it. It does not look dingy.

In a room with cool light (North facing for example), the slight gray undertone of Pure White can become apparent. However, in most lighting conditions it won’t look gray. I have never seen it look gray as a trim color, only slightly on walls.

Yes, SW Pure White is a nice bright white that works well in ceilings.

Final Thoughts

Pure White is considered to be one of the most popular whites for many reasons —it shows as a soft, clean white that doesn’t come off too stark or cold.

In a north-facing room, the slight gray undertone may become more apparent, while in a south-facing room it will look a bit warmer, especially as a wall color. The inherent sheen used for trim reflects more light, so the undertones are less apparent as the light changes.

It’s an excellent choice for all the woodwork in your home, from trim and doors to cabinets, and also works well as an interior paint color. Looking for a nice bright white for an exterior paint job? Pure White is a great choice!

Pure White works with both warm and cool color palettes, making it incredibly versatile.

Don’t Forget…

Don’t forget – no matter what you’ve read or photos you’ve seen online, it’s really important to sample paint colors in your home before committing!

Samplize provides real paint samples that are easy to move around your home, and cheaper than buying a gazillion paint pots! It’s the only way I buy paint samples.

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45 Comments

  1. Hello, have been researching SW Pure white for weeks! Found your post most helpful. Planning to do kitchen cabinets in SW Pure white, would the island in BM Wrought iron work? Southern light with lots windows. Would you mind recommending a wall color as well. Would really appreciate any help, I feel like my head is going to explode with all colors choices!

    1. Yes Wrought Iron would have nice contrast! I would pick something light and slightly warm for the walls. You could just do Pure White (which would be beautiful with all the light coming in) or if you want some color, BM Classic Gray, SW Repose Gray (lightened by 50%) something along those lines would be nice. If you go all-white, try to balance that out by adding more warmth with brass hardware or even just rattan or warm wood barstools.

  2. Joyce Cason says:

    I am in the process of having my new construction house painted. The interior is going to be pure white in satin, I went with extra white gloss for doors and trim. I read your article and now I’m afraid that my pure white will have the dingy look as you said. Will it be that bad? I’ll probably still have time to take the buckets and have them tinted to pure white for my trim and doors??

    1. I would not do pure white and extra white together. Pick one and use it for both walls and trim. With the different sheens, there will be enough contrast that it won’t look like the same color but you won’t have to worry about the undertones.