I have chosen in my last renovation to paint all of my walls white.  I chose white because I have beloved art work and a white background will help give the art a proper display home.  There’s a reason why galleries choose white walls.  

I mistakenly thought “how hard can it be to choose white?” famous last words.  You could spend hours looking at all the colors of ‘white.’  I’m not even joking but I don’t want your head to explode so keep reading this blog. White is equally as varied in tone as blue, green, or any other color. There are warm, cool and neutral tones of white.  

What white is right for you?  It depends on your space.  

Consider the light in the space you want to paint white, first.  My house tends to be naturally a bit dark and cool in tone.  I have a lot of tree cover and the house is facing some direction other than South (in which you would receive the most amount of sun and natural light). So I chose a warmer toned white to balance out the natural cool tones.  Warmer toned whites tend to have undertones of pink, orange, red and yellow.

If you have a sunny space that receives a lot of light you will be happiest with a cooler toned white. Cooler tones whites tend to have undertones of blue, purple or green. You can see the differences when  you hold the sample to a plain sheet of white paper.

 If the light is just right then go with a neutral tones white.  

Before choosing a white you also need to consider the purpose and feel you want the white to reflect. I’ve outlined a few likely scenarios for you and have made the work of choosing one a little less frustrating by sharing a few of the tried and true whites I use! (You are welcome)

Neutral whites are really the best for highlighting art.  The bolder the better.   If you wanna go glossy finish Neutral white is a great choice.  The more gloss the more yellow the appearance.

Pure White SW 7005

Sherwin Williams

Simply White OC-117

Benjamin Moore

Warm Whites for a room that is more rustic. A warmer white is a great match.   Warm whites are best for darker North facing spaces.

White Dove OC-17

Benjamin Moore

Alabaster SW 7008

Sherwin- Williams

Cool White, best for South facing or very sunny rooms. Cool whites can read antiseptic if they are paired with a really sunny space.

Extra White SW 7006

Sherwin Williams

White on White 30GY 88/014


I chose to provide easy to find paints.  If you want to go higher designer end.  There is a paint brand “Clare”  created by designer Nicole Gibbons.  This brand offers 3 types of whites.  You guessed it.  Cool, Neutral, Warm.  

It’s a good idea if you can to TEST the white before you buy a lot of it. You can usually get samples. Paint a big section on the wall and see how it looks after a few days. Even better, paint a moveable sample so you can see how the light reflects in different parts of the room. Don’t forget to look at it in the day and night! 

Happy painting!