Sherwin Williams High Reflective White: LRV, Undertones and a Little More
I love doing colour reviews, and am slowly working my way towards reviewing ALL of the top paint colours from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. The Quick & Dirty paint series covers colours that aren’t used as often or that I don’t have enough images of yet (as I ONLY use photos from my Online Colour Consulting clients). However, my regular series has the information AND the photos that you’ve been looking for!
And today we’re talking about…
What type of paint colour is High Reflective White? Is it the most WHITE white?
While High Reflective White is PRETTY DARNED WHITE, it isn’t the whitest white (the most GENUINE white is Behr Ultra Pure White, with its LRV of 94). High Reflective White has a weeee wink of softness hiding in it, which we’ll talk about shortly.
Is High Reflective White warm or cool-toned?
High Reflective White is a VERY slightly warm white paint colour.
What’s the LRV of High Reflective White?
Not sure what LRV is? It could save your paint lovin’ life – read all about it HERE.
What are the undertones of High Reflective White? Will it pick up undertones of blue, yellow, purple or green?
Well, whites are hard because while they have their own UNDERTONES, they’re VERY SUSCEPTIBLE to picking up reflections from their environment. Everything from the cool gray-blue of northern light to the reflection of your grass, your neighbour’s brick wall or your bright red sofa can reflect onto white walls, changing the way they are perceived.
However, at heart, High Reflective White has a very minor spot of warmth to it that doesn’t look yellow on the large scale.
What’s the best way to sample High Reflective White?
Like with every paint colour, I highly recommend using SAMPLIZE. Samplize is a peel & stick paint sample that you can easily move around your room for over HALF THE COST of traditional sample pots – and they deliver right to your front door!
Just be careful when sampling. The undertones in white paint colours can be OVEREXPOSED if you compare them to the white of paper or poster board. The best way to pick a white paint colour is to compare it to OTHER white paint colours that are similar.
Learn all about Samplize HERE
If I’m painting my walls High Reflective White, what’s the best white paint colour for my trim?
HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE! That’s right, I would do the same colour on the walls, trim and ceilings and just let the change in sheen do any shifting for you (and there will be shifting).
CAN High Reflective White be used on my walls, trims, and cabinets or is it just a base colour?
This is the tricky part to explain. High Reflective White is actually a BASE that’s used to create other white paint colours; its original intention wasn’t to be used as an actual paint colour. However, Sherwin includes it in the fan deck and I, for one, have used it DOZENS AND DOZENS OF TIMES.
Why isn’t it used as a ‘colour’? It doesn’t have enough tint/colourant in it to offer any hide. ‘Hide’ refers to how well a colour covers another colour. If you take Sherwin Williams High Reflective White off the shelf as it is, you’ll be five coats deep and might STILL SEE your old colour through it.
To actually make High Reflective White, paint techs usually do one of the following:
- add white to the paint can (until the can can’t TAKE any more tin or it will overflow), giving it more hide (I do this with some whites anyways)
- use Extra White instead and add white to that
The first option makes sense to me and is my preferred method, even though paint store employees HATE doing it (and some will even say they can’t make High Reflective White for you). The second method makes me nervous because the blue undertone in Extra White won’t just go away. Will it be more subtle? Sure, but for someone like me, who often wants to AVOID blue, it could be a hot mess. I also worry that the amount of white they’re even ABLE to add to the can won’t be enough to give it the proper LRV of 93, seeing as Extra White starts with an LRV of 86.
So, if you end up using High Reflective White, keep in mind that the paint store might try to talk you out of it. I’m sure at some point Sherwin Williams will discontinue it as a colour option (even though they NEED it as they have NOTHING remotely close). But until then, I’m going to USE IT AND ABUSE IT because it’s a darn pretty and hugely versatile white paint colour.
Is High Reflective White a good white for kitchen cabinets?
YES! While there are MANY gorgeous white paint colours for cabinets, High Reflective White is a great one to look at if you prefer a cooler paint colour palette or some of the popular white quartz or marble countertops.
Is High Reflective White a good colour for the exterior of my home?
If you’re wanting a white house or white trim, then HRW could be a great choice for you. It’s bright and simple and will be absolutely WHITE looking. Just remember, it WILL pick up cues from its environment based on the exposure of your home as well as other factors like grass, trees and water.
Read more: 5 Tips to Choosing an Exterior Paint Colour
Is High Reflective White one of the most popular white paint colours?
These days, softer whites are on more people’s radars, but for those looking for a cleaner whiter approach, High Reflective White is VERY popular, right up there with Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.
What type of paint colours look good with High Reflective White?
As far as white paint colours go, High Reflective White is one of the more flexible ones and can accommodate a WIIIIIDE range of colours. It’s more about what you might NOT do, vs what you can do…
- If you have warm Tuscan products in your home (ie: golden beige tiles, countertops, carpets for example), you might find High Reflective White just a bit too stark and clean
- If you have beige/almond windows or bathroom fixtures, HRW could be too stark
Not sure if High Reflective White is right for you? Want a bit warmer or cooler? I’ve got more!
BENJAMIN MOORE CHANTILLY LACE
SHERWIN WILLIAMS PURE WHITE
BENJAMIN MOORE SIMPLY WHITE
BEST WHITE PAINT COLOURS
Read more: The 8 Best White Paint Colours
Not sure which paint colour is best for YOUR home?
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting – I’d love to help!
KYLIE M INTERIORS E-DESIGN AND ONLINE VIRTUAL PAINT COLOUR EXPERT, SPECIALIZING IN BENJAMIN MOORE AND SHERWIN WILLIAMS PAINT COLORS DIY DECORATING AND DESIGN ADVICE BLOGGER