The Top 8 White Paint Colours: Undertones, LRV and More!
If you’ve been looking for that perfect white paint colour for your walls, trims or cabinets, I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that white paint is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re not at that point yet, once you have 20 different versions of white slapped on your walls, are elbow-deep in a wine bottle and ready to toss said bottle at the wall, I’m sure you’ll jump on board the crazy train!
So, I’m here to de-mystify whites for you. That doesn’t mean you’ll know exactly which white is best for your room and it’s particular needs (but reading this can help), but it will help you figure out which whites you DON’T want based on their undertones.
Above all else, here’s the most important thing to know – white is THE most reflective colour. What does this mean to you? It means that white just LOVES to mess with you. It will take colours from its surroundings and flash them on the walls – giving you a colour that you maybe hadn’t bargained on.
- If you have a lot of green/trees/grass outside your window, one or more of your walls might look slightly green
- If you have northern exposure, your walls might look a bit more gray-blue toned
- If you have southern exposure, your walls might look a bit softer and warmer, even creamy
- If you have furniture that is a particular ‘colour’ (ie: red/blue/green/etc…) this can reflect onto your walls
- If you use warm-toned bulbs, your white will look warmer. If you use a blue-tinted white light, you might see a bit of green if you choose a warm white
- If you have a wood ceiling, this can reflect an orange-warm tone on to your walls from the top down
- And so on…
And THEN…it will all change at night when the sun goes down. Really? Yup, and the ONLY thing you can do is make the best-educated decision you can based on what you learn here.
So, I’ve chosen sample blobs (super technical term) to give you the general idea of what you can expect to see. Remember, these are just computerized blobs, so don’t get yer’ knickers in a knot if a colour looks too colourful/yellow/gray/blue/etc…instead, hop into your local BM store to see the samples in REAL-life.
1. Benjamin Moore Super White OC 152
LRV 89.09 / Undertones: Nada really / Temperature: Neutral
If your trim and baseboards ‘seem’ to be white (but you don’t know what colour they actually are) Super White might be a reasonably good match. There’s also BM White OC 151 which is just slightly grayed-out compared to Super White, but still pretty damn white.
Above, BM Super White. Below, BM White OC-151
Pick it: If you want a white that is just pretty darned white.
Ditch it: If you want a white, but not stark/crisp look.
Instead: Check out Simply White (coming up later).
2. Benjamin Moore White Dove OC 17
LRV 85.38 / Undertones: Creamy greige / Temperature: Slightly warm
White Dove accommodates many different paint colours because while it’s a warm white, it has an almost greige base that calms it right down. It doesn’t come off as creamy warm as Cloud White, but also isn’t as stark/cool as Chantilly Lace. White Dove is a soft white, so it won’t act like white, but a softer warmer version of it.
Pick it: If you want a versatile white trim/door/ceiling colour that will accommodate many cool and warm-toned paint colours throughout your home OR if you want a warm, but not too yellow wall colour.
Ditch it: If you prefer a more clean, crisp look.
Instead: Check out Simply White or Decorators White.
3. Benjamin Moore Simply White OC 117
LRV: 91.7 / Undertones: Yellow / Temperature: WarmSimply White is a great, slightly fresh, warm approach to white. It has a yellow undertone, but not so much that it’s obnoxious. It adds a touch of life, without adding too much ‘colour’. It’s a popular choice for kitchen cabinets if you want a bright white, but not stark look, but is touch-and-go with marble because of the yellow in it. Simply White can act like white (in the absence of a ‘real’ white), but watch out for the warmth hiding in it if you aren’t a fan of yellow-whites.
Pick it: If you have to, but wash your hands after. Just joking. Pick Simply White if you want a fresh white that’s warm and cheery WITHOUT being colourful.
Ditch it: If your walls are a stronger blue/green/purple. It’s okay with grays with those undertones, but not always great with more crisp, clean cool colours. UNLESS you love the play of that warm/cool contrast.
Instead: Check out Decorators White or Oxford White.
4. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC 65
LRV 92.2 / Undertone: Blue / Temperature: Cool
This is one cool customer! Chantilly Lace is a white that’s juuuuuust slightly cool-toned with a wee wink of a fresh blue in it. It’s a clean choice, but can be a bit chilly for a north-facing room. That being said, it’s often referred to as the best ‘white’ look.
Chantilly Lace hallway leading into Hale Navy
Chantilly Lace is a great white for a super hot sun like you’d find in Hawaii as the sun will warm up your white considerably!
Pick it: If you want a paint colour that’s fresh, clean and acts like white. If you have cool paint colours on your walls, particularly blue tones.
Ditch it: If you don’t like a stark, crisp look.
Instead: Check out Simply White or Oxford White.
Click HERE or on the above image to see your available packages!
5. Benjamin Moore Atrium White OC 145
LRV 87.04 / Undertone: Soft, subtle pink / Temperature: Slightly cool
This is the prettiest of the bunch with its weeee willy wink o’ pink! Atrium White will generally act like white in the absence of a real white, but watch out, if you have yellow or green tones in the room it can activate the pink and bring all of those undertones more to life – and not in a good way!
Pick it: If you want a soft, pretty white and aren’t afraid of your feminine side!
Ditch it: If you think the ‘p’ word is a 4 letter word.
Instead: Clean things up with Super White, Oxford White or Decorators White.
6. Benjamin Moore Decorators White
LRV 84.69 / Undertones: VERY vague gray/blue/green / Temperature: Slightly cool
Decorators White might look like a pretty ‘white-white’, but it’s just a flash on the cool side with a touch of gray and blue-purple undertones. Decorators White will act like white when partnered with cool wall colours, but against ‘white’ you’ll see that shadow in it.
Decorators White on the bottom
Pick it: If you want a white that’s cool, but not totally stark.
Ditch it: If you lean to the warm side of things rather than the more clean/stark side.
Instead: Look at Simply White or Cloud White.
Read more: Can I Paint My North Facing Room White?
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…
- Samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
- At $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needing for traditional paint sampling
- If you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE
7. Benjamin Moore Cloud White OC 130
LRV 87.35 / Undertone: Creamy / Temperature: Warm with a neutral base
Cloud White is a soft warm white. It has a creamy base that is tapped down by a neutral undertone so that it isn’t overly ‘yellow’. Cloud White will NOT act like white. It’s softer and warmer.
Cloud White on the left, compared to the slightly softer White Dove in the middle
Cloud White is one of my fave whites when I don’t want a typical clean white and crave something soft and warm.
Pick it: If you want a relatively versatile white that works well with earth-tones and warm colours.
Ditch it: If you prefer a more clean looking white or if you have other ‘white’ things in the room as it will look dirty in comparison (ie: white appliances).
Instead: Look at Simply White or Oxford White.
Read more: Maple No More – A Cloud White Kitchen
8. Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC 30
LRV 88.85 / Undertone: Gray / Temperature: Neutral
Oxford White has a weee willy wink of a soft, almost warm gray in it, it’s so fractional it’s hard to tell. Oxford White will generally act like white, just not stark.
White Dove walls, Oxford White trim
Pick it: If you want to keep things simple and want a relatively straight-forward, but slightly soft white – not cold, not warm, just white.
Ditch it: If you like a slightly softer approach.
Instead: Check out Cloud White or Simply White.
Here’s a post on Sherwin Williams Best White Paint Colours if you want to see more!
Not sure which white is best for your home?
Check out my E-design & Online Color Consulting Packages – I’d love to help!
KYLIE M INTERIORS ONLINE E-DESIGN VIRTUAL PAINT COLOR CONSULTING AND DIY HOME DECORATIVE ADVICE BLOGGER EXPERT IN BENJAMIN MOORE AND SHERWIN WILLIAMS PAINT COLOURS
Originally written in 2018, awesomely updated in 2020