How To Select the Perfect Tint of White Paint for Your Home

Have you ever attempted to choose a shade of white paint for your walls? If you have, then you know that this can be a tremendous undertaking. You think you’re going to simply walk into Sherwin-Williams and say “I’ll take two gallons of white paint,” but that is NOT what is going to happen. 


The reality is, two hours later you will likely be sitting amidst a pile of white paint chips, babbling incoherently and seriously considering leaving your walls as-is. Ok, that may be an overexaggeration … but take a deep breath … we’re here to help.

We could get into a very lengthy discussion here about geographic region, cool versus warm undertones, the amount of natural and artificial light in the room and so, SO much more, but we want to actually help you.

The truth is, the best way to choose a white paint for your walls is to do the following:

1. Go to A Paint Store

Okay – we are purists on this point – buy your paint at an actual paint store. The paint experts at a Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore store will be a huge resource when you are standing baffled in front of 50+ shades of white paint.

Take the time to do this part right and it will save you time in the long run.

2. Grab Some Different Whites

Choose two or three white paints you like. This part CAN be tricky given the myriad white paint options out there.

We like the idea of trying out just two or three so as not to become overwhelmed.

Can’t narrow it down? Try taking your cue from this excellent go-to white paint list culled from some very savvy and successful architects. Or maybe try out a couple of the Benjamin Moore whites that designers and architects recommend in this white paint article. Or take a look at the whites that top designers are loving right now in this Real Simple article. Once you’ve picked two or three, purchase a quart of each in the finish you prefer. 

3. Test the Whites in Your Home

The one thing you must NOT DO is pick a white and go paint your walls. Paint looks different depending on the furnishings in the room, the light, which wall they’re on, the time of day and more.

A white paint that looks simply divine on a paint swatch may look positively pink on your actual walls. So, to avoid a white paint disaster, take the time to try the colors out in your home before you commit. While some people will paint large areas of a wall to test a paint color, we think a large, movable sample is better. This lets you assess the color on different walls and in different light.

So, pick up two or three large pieces of raw lumber/masonite board (the larger the better) and paint them with a couple coats of each of your whites. Then, move the three boards around to different walls at different times of day and see what you think.

After a day or two of sitting with the colors you will know if any of them hit the mark. If not, it’s back to the paint store for three more samples…then rinse and repeat!

Bet you didn’t think choosing a white paint would be this involved, did you?

If you use our method for choosing a white paint, you are sure to find just the perfect shade with zero regrets. And, if you need help, we are always here to help you!

Other Factors When Choosing a White

Let’s discuss other factors to help determine the right white for your space.  Other factors may include geographic region, the effects of cool versus warm undertones, and the amount of natural and artificial light on the room.

Cool Whites in Warmer Climate, Warm Whites in Cool Climates

The geographic region you live in can have an impact on what tint of white appears best in your home.

If you live in a warmer climate, such as Arizona or California, it may be beneficial to opt for a cooler shade of white. This will help balance out the intense heat outside and create a more refreshing and calming atmosphere inside your home. A bright white with blue or gray undertones would work well in these regions.

On the other hand, if you reside in a colder climate like New York or Minnesota, choosing a warmer shade of white may be more suitable. This can help add warmth and coziness to your home, especially during the long winter months. A creamy white with yellow or red undertones would be a great choice for these areas.

The Effects of Cool vs. Warm Undertones

When it comes to choosing the perfect shade of white, undertones play a crucial role. Cool undertones, such as blue or gray, can give off a more modern and crisp look. They also tend to make small spaces appear larger and brighter. On the other hand, warm undertones like yellow or red can bring a sense of richness and cozyness to a room.

beautiful luxury bathroom
white espresso kitchen

Consider Your Decor

Also, keep in mind the style and decor of your home. If you have a modern and minimalist design, a crisp and clean white may be the best option. However, if you have a more traditional or rustic style, an off-white or cream color may complement the overall aesthetic better.

Natural vs. Artificial Lighting

Consider the lighting in your home as well when selecting a shade of white. Natural light can vary depending on which direction your windows face, so it’s important to test out different shades in each room before making a decision.

Lighting is another important factor when selecting the right white for your home. Natural light can vary greatly depending on location and time of day, so it’s essential to test out different shades in your space before making a final decision. A cool white may appear stark and harsh in a room with lots of natural light, while a warm white may seem too yellow.

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