White may seem like an extremely simple color (I mean, it’s actually the absence of color). But in reality, it’s a complex shade that can be bright, crisp, warm or cool, and just about anything in between. So it’s no surprise when it comes to white paint, things are just as complicated. To help simplify things, we’re sharing Bobby’s 5 favorite white paint colors so you’ll know what white is just right for you.
To understand the variety in whites colors, you first have to look at the undertones (the subtle influence of one color) that make each shade different, and determine how it looks in a space. A shade can appear warm, cool, or bright based on the undertones present, whether they’re yellow, pink, blue or grey. The undertones also shape how a shade of white feels in a room, be it clean, inviting, or cozy. Taking this information, it’s easier to narrow down which whites will work for you. Whether you have a living room with abundant natural light, an entry thats needs brightening, or kitchen you want to make cozier, there’s a shade that’s tailor made for your space. And to help you find it, we’re sharing the 5 shades of white that Bobby relies on for every design project. Keep scrolling to find out about all his favorites, and shop each shade. Before you know it, you’ll find the white that feels right.
Want even more painting ideas? Be sure to check out our post 7 Paint Treatments To Give Your Walls An Upgrade Right Now.
SUPER WHITE / Benjamin Moore
If you want a pure, almost sparkling white, this is the color for you. Without any undertones, it’s a crisp shade that will pop against other colors. It’s also a great choice for rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light, as it will help bounce light around a space and make it appear brighter. Our own Creative Director Brady used this shade in his apartment to create a clean backdrop for more graphic and textural furnishings.
Before painting any wall bright white, make sure to sand and finish it until it’s completely smooth. You want a perfectly even surface to apply paint to, otherwise imperfections will be even more noticeable.
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SNOWFALL / Behr
For something a bit cooler in tone, without being cold, Snowfall is our go-to. With blue/gray undertones, this white pairs well with neutrals, blues and purple tones. It’s definitely still bright, but won’t feel as stark or overpowering as a bright white.
Before you decide on a final color, paint a few sample areas in a room and view them at different times during the day. As the day progresses, light changes and colors will appear darker and lighter.
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NATURAL WHITE / PPG
To achieve a cozy feel in a space, go with a warm color like natural white. With subtle grey tones, it will help a room feel more open and inviting. The warmth of this shade will also nicely compliment pieces with character and texture, like worn woods, baskets, and natural stone.
To help compare and contrast white shades, place color swatches in front of a sheet of pure white paper. It will help make the subtle differences between colors more apparent.
ULTRA WHITE / Valspar
With an ever so subtle green cast, this color will keep things feeling fresh and clean- ideal for a kitchen, bathroom or anywhere you want to feel soothing. It pairs especially well with light colored wood and black for graphic contrast.
Paint your walls and trim in the same white color, with walls in a flat finish and trim in semi gloss. It’s a subtle way to make trim stand out, while keeping things very uniform.
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SNOWBOUND / Sherwin Williams
Not too warm and not too cool, this color is the ideal mix, resulting in a white that works in lots of different spaces. It has slight greige feel to it, while still feeling clean and refined. This color looks especially great on kitchen cabinetry or in more formal spaces.
When painting a wall, work your way down. Starting at the top means any drips and splatters you make will get covered up as you continue painting.
I love Snowbound. I really like them all. But Snowbound spoke to me !
It’s a great color! Thanks for reading. -B
Nice to read about someone that undetstand the meaning of the undertones of the color.
But you can take it even further- every decade have it’s own undertone. If you know this and what color /shade it is for each decade you can instantly choose the right color. And awoid the paints that’s have been stacked on the shelf for years.
Nice selection! I find it’s always the same few BM and F&B colours being featured so this was different and interesting.
Happy to give my perspective. Thanks so much. -B
Nice, fun, helpful article! Thanks.
Glad we could help. Thanks for stopping by. -B
Love it! I had over 10 shades of white and this article helped me tremendously. Thank you very much Mr. Berk.
You’re so welcome. Thanks for reading. -B
Great article. Always want to know which white will work and why!
Thank you! -B
Was too scared to go white until I saw Bobby does it!
I’m going to go for it. I live in the PNW where everything can feel gray or green, I think PPG Natural White has the perfect linen inspired texture and tone to warm up the gray days. Thanks for helping us all with basics Bobby and Team!
White is such a great color, so I’m glad I could convince you. Love your choice and sure it will look fab. Thanks for reading. -B
Love this article! So helpful! Thank you!
Glad we could help. Thanks for reading. -B
I loved snowbound! This is so helpful. Thank you for this. Saving this article for when I buy my own home. 🙂
It’s a great color. Thank you! -B
Bobby and Team, you guys are brilliant and I love you!
Thank you so much! -B
Love the tip about the trim being a semi-gloss. What about a coat closet door in the middle of a wall? Same color white to keep uniform or a contrasting? Thanks!
Hi Bobby! You are a huge inspiration to me! We are about to buy our first home so that my mother-in-law has a place to live. It’s an outdated home with a lot of funky wallpaper, and painting will be the first update! When I watch episodes of QE, I often notice that you choose light blue/seafoam colors for living room spaces. Could you please recommend a few of your favorite light-but-nonwhite shades for living spaces? Thank you so much for the guidance you give on your wonderful website and the show!
Yes, light blues and greens are really soothing and work well for spaces you want to relax and unwind. I really like this shade of light blue to really brighten up a space and this green tone that’s got some grey undertones to give it depth and some sophistication. Thanks so much for your kind words and congrats on your first home! xx -B
After reading this article, I was convinced to use snowbound on my 2 BR condo walls, all over the house. While I had initial apprehensions, ended up loving it after the third coat. I got it in eg-shell though it’s not my favourite texture-wise, and I’m not a fan of the shine either, I was told it’s easy to clean. What would you suggest for the trims, baseboard and the doors, that will go with snowbound?
I would either paint the trim the same color but go with a semi-gloss finish, or choose a shade slightly more grey like Toque White. I usually paint doors in the same color and finish as walls. Thanks! xx -B
Bobby, you and your staff are absolutely the best! I worked for Pardee, now TriPointe Homes, for thirty years in new home sales. You need to know that much of my success was due to your outstanding designs and colors you chose to showcase our homes. I am now so happy to see your help with paint colors for my own home.
Please give my best wishes to all and especially Adam Nelsen who was kind enough to respond to my email last year.