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 kitchen cabinets, I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that white 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 its particular needs (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 LOVES to mess with you. It will take colours from its surroundings and flash them on the walls – giving you a colour that you maaaaybe hadn’t bargained on, for example:
- 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 more gray-blue toned
- If you have southern exposure, your walls might look softer and warmer, even creamy
- If you have furniture that’s 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 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 Benjamin Moore store to see the samples in REAL-life.
1. Benjamin Moore Super White OC 152
LRV 89.09 (learn more)
The undertone of Super White is a very vague gray-blue, making it a slightly cool white, while still leaving it looking simple and clean.
Above, BM Super White. Below, BM White OC-151
Pick it: If you want a white with no warmth (unless you have south-facing light)
Ditch it: If you want a stark bright white. The slightly lower LRV of Super White makes it softer than some others, but the cool tone helps it look white and crisp.
Instead: Check out Chantilly Lace (coming up later).
2. Benjamin Moore White Dove OC 17
LRV 85.38 (learn more)
White Dove has a warm creamy yellow undertone that’s WELL grounded with a neutral base to calm it down, making it a WARM white paint colour.
White Dove accommodates many different paint colours because while it’s a warm white, it has an almost greige base bringing the warmth down. It doesn’t come off as creamy warm as Cloud White, but also isn’t as clean as Chantilly Lace (both coming shortly). 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 white wall colour.
Ditch it: If you prefer a white that looks ‘white’
Instead: Check out Chantilly Lace or Oxford White.
3. Benjamin Moore Simply White OC 117
LRV: 91.7 (learn more)
Simply White has a yellow undertone, making it a warm white paint colour. This undertone can be subtle at times, acting more like a true white, but partner it with a cool tone and it can show up a bit more to the party.
Simply White is a great, slightly fresh, warm approach to white. Its yellow undertone is noticeable, but isn’t obnoxious – adding a touch of life, without 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 its warmth 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 Chantilly Lace or Super White.
Shown here with Benjamin Moore Collingwood
4. Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC 65
LRV 92.2 (learn more)
Chantilly Lace is a lovely white that’s one of the WHITEST white paint colours (it’s only beat by two others!). It has no noticeable undertone, making it neither warm nor cool – which also means it’s SUPER susceptible to responding to the colours in its environment.
Chantilly Lace is a simple, clean choice if you’re looking to use white. It can be a bit chilly for a north-facing room as it will reflect some of that cool gray-blue look, however, in a south-facing room, it can have a beautiful soft warmth to it. It’s often referred to as the best ‘whitest white’ paint colour
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!
If your trim and baseboards ‘seem’ to be white (but you don’t know what colour they actually are) Chantilly Lace might be a good match. There’s also BM White OC 151 which is just slightly grayed-out compared to Super White, but still pretty damn white.
Pick it: If you want a paint colour that’s fresh, clean and acts like white. It is flexible with a WIDE variety of paint colours.
Ditch it: If you prefer a soft, warm approach.
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 (learn more)
Atrium White isn’t one of the more popular white paint colours, but that’s due to its pink undertone – that’s right pink. Because of the TYPE of pink it has, Atrium White is a slightly WARM white, not a cold one.
Atrium White is the prettiest of the bunch with its weeee willy wink o’ pink! Atrium 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 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 (learn more)
Decorator’s White is a popular white paint colour with its subtle undertones of gray, purple (purple-blue), making it a COOL white paint colour.
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.
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.
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 (learn more)
Cloud White is one of the BEST warm white paint colours from Benjamin Moore. With its soft cream (yellow) undertone, Cloud White offers warmth without being ‘colourful’ as it has a neutral base to calm it down.
Cloud White won’t act like white as it has more warmth to it. However, for those wanting a softer approach it can be a GREAT choice for cabinets, walls, trims and more.
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 more subtle.
Read more: Can I Paint My North Facing Room White?
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.
8. Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC 30
LRV 88.85 (learn more)
Oxford White is a popular white paint colour from Benjamin Moore because of its slightly warm, but SUPER neutralized undertones. That’s right, Oxford White has a subtle warmth, but enough gray to tap it right down so it’s more muted and neutral in its approach compared to some of the traditionally warm whites.
Generally speaking, Oxford White will 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 overly warm, just soft and white.
Ditch it: If you like a noticeable warm 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!
Originally written in 2018, awesomely updated in 2020