All-white rooms are classic, timeless, and ubiquitous right now. What’s not to love? White rooms can create a sense of space and highlight different features in a room. Millwork, for example, will stand out and yet let the room’s features and contents really shine. Homeowners and designers alike often use white paint colours to make rooms feel larger and more spacious. … but it’s anything but simple to get the white paint right.
We wrote about our top go-to whites in a previous post. Those are really the basic whites that are most often used. But there a few others you really should know about if you are looking for a white paint for your house. White is tricky for a number of reasons. The white paint colours all have some cast or undertone that will shift and come out more-so in some light than others, and with different furnishings and surroundings. Whether your room faces north, south, east or west will also play into this. Metamerism is a term used in colour theory that explains why colours, including white, may seem to match under certain lighting conditions and not under others.
Popular white paint colours you should know about
In that previous post, I talked about Chantilly Lace which is the baseline white paint colour, the whitest white against which all other whites are measured. It provides a crisp, clean backdrop against which colour pops, and is a perfect base to compare other whites and off-whites to.
If none of those popular whites I wrote about work for you, I’ve got a few more great whites to share.
Super White (Benjamin Moore)
Super white (OC-152): is a crisp, clean white paint. It is described as brilliant and sparkling, BM Super White will brighten up a room without making it feel too cold, yet has a definite warm gray cast. With no obvious undertone , this makes it a go-to for those who want a versatlie bright white paint shade. It is a beautiful way to highlight architectural details, and art and decor pop like in a gallery, and t’s a great choice for trim too. With no distinct yellow or blue cast, it is a bit grayed. Here you see how beautifully it plays against wood-tones in this gorgeous foyer by Stuart Nordin. See more of their portfolio. You won’t be dissapointed!
Pro tip: any white will reflect its surroundings so consider your flooring, furniture, artwork, and amount of greenery in nearby windows etc as these will reflect in the white you choose and may shift it to seem warmer or cooler depending on where you use it.
Decorators white (Benjamin Moore)
Decorators White (OC-149): part of their Off-White collection, this colour is versatile and sophisticated. This white suits a serene tranquil environment that is so popular right now and offers a slightly cool white. It is a bit more grayed than Super White, but softer than Pure White. It has the faintest hint of blue-gray without giving off any obvious undertone. It’s a versatile and popular white shade that works beautifully on trim, walls, and cabinets.
Pro Tip: White works best in a well-lit space! Contrary to popular belief white doesn’t bring in more light; it only reflects the light that exists in your space. If you paint a dark room with little natural light white, you may notice that it looks dingy and drab because it calls attention to the shadows in your space. Carefully consider how much natural light your space actually receives before going all white.
Pure White (Benjamin Moore)
Pure White (OC-64): This off white is even cooler than Decorator’s White, containing a subtle almost imperceptible hint of blue. It also has a bit of gray giving a colour that is crisp, yet soft. It works well with grays and cool colour tones such as blues.
Intense White (Benjamin Moore)
Intense white (OC-51): This white, another grayed version of an off-white so if you are looking for a soft trim colour for grey walls this will work well. With a subtle green undertone, it feels a bit warmer without yellowing. If you want a wall colour with just a hint of depth to it, this will read a bit of warmer than a cool gray-white. It is a great complement with many shades of grays, or set it off with a clean white trim in an different sheen for subtle effect.
Paper White (Benjamin Moore)
Paper white (Benjamin Moore OC-55): Paper White falls in between the warmth of Intense White and the gray from Pure White. It carries qualities of both colours, a mixture of blue, green and gray to form a creamy version of a cool gray. The Paper White performs best on walls, creating a fresh, yet diffused white, that pairs well with cool tones of blue, greens and grays. On the walls, it pairs beautifully with Super White to provide a subtle tone-on-tone look.
Cotton balls (Benjamin Moore)
Cotton balls (2145-70): A much softer white with noticeably warmer undertones, if you want a white room with a hint of warmth, this is a great go-to.
Pro Tip: Painting your walls white is no different than painting your walls any other colour! It is important to repeat the colour in a significant way elsewhere in your space in order for it to look intentional and pulled together.
It is important to get the undertone of your wall colour and trim right to get a pleasing result under your lighting conditions and with your rug, drapes, and furniture. Benjamin Moore has 150 paint colours in their off-white collection so you can get the one that is exactly right for your space.
So there you have it…6 great whites to consider for your home and some tips to help make them work for you. White paint can definitely be a tricky to get right. If you need some additional help, we love to do colour consultations to make sure you get the colour right the first time!