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 the spawn of the devil. Does that seem extreme? Oh you just wait. 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 the best for your room and it’s particular needs, but it will help you to figure out which whites you DON’T want on your walls/cabinets based on their undertones.
Now here’s the important part – 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 it’s surroundings and flash them on the walls – hence the spawn of the devil comment.
- If you have a lot of green/trees/grass outside your window, 1 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/warmer
- If you have furniture that is a particular ‘colour’ (ie: red/blue/green/etc…) this can be reflected onto your walls
- If you use warm toned bulbs with a blue tinted white, you might see a bit of green
- 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 about it 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 with each colour. Remember, these are just computerized blobs, so don’t get yer’ undies 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.
Benjamin Moore Super White OC 152
LRV 89.09 / Undertones: Nada really / Temperature: Neutral
If your trim/baseboards ‘seem’ to be white (but you don’t know what colour they actually are) Super White might be a reasonably good match.
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
Benjamin Moore White Dove OC 17
LRV 85.38 / Undertones: Creamy greige / Temperature: Slightly warm
White Dove accommodates a lot of different paint colours because while it is a warm white, it has an almost greige base that calms it right down. This way 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 just a VERY slightly softer version of it.
Pick it: If you want a versatile white trim/door/ceiling colour that will accommodate a lot of cool and warm toned paint colours throughout your home. 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
Benjamin Moore Simply White OC 117
LRV: 91.7 / Undertones: Yellow / Temperature: WarmSimply White is a great, slightly fresh, slightly warm approach to white. It has a yellow undertone, but not so much that it’s obnoxiously yellow. 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. Simply White can act like white (in the absence of a ‘real’ white).
Pick it: If you have to, but wash your hands after. Just joking. Pick Simply White if you want a fresh white that is warm and cheery WITHOUT being colourful
Ditch it: If your walls are a stronger blue/green/purple. It’s good with grays with those undertones, but not with more crisp, clean cool colours.
Instead: Check out Decorators White or Oxford White
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC 65
LRV 92.2 / Undertone: Blue / Temperature: Cool
This is one chilly white! Chantilly Lace is a white that is juuuuuust slightly cool toned with a wee wink of a fresh blue in it. It’s a fresh clean choice, but can be a bit chilly for a north facing room.
Pick it: If you want a paint colour that is 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.
Benjamin Moore Atrium White OC 145
LRV 87.04 / Undertone: Soft, subtle pink / Temperature: Slightly cool
This is the prettiest of the bunch with it’s 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 things a bit more to life!
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
Benjamin Moore Decorators White
LRV 84.69 / Undertones: VERY vague gray/blue/green / Temperature: Slightly cool
Decorators White is another pretty darned ‘white white’ – it’s just a flash on the cool side without really showing any obvious colour. Decorators White will act like white…because it is white.
Pick it: If you value your sanity and just want a relatively simple ‘white’ look without the streamers or fan fare
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?
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 a bit by a neutral undertone so that it isn’t overly ‘yellow’. Cloud White will NOT act like white. It is softer and warmer.
This is one of my fave whites when I don’t want a typical clean white and want something subtle 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
Benjamin Moore Oxford White CC 30
LRV 88.85 / Undertone: Gray / Temperature: Neutral
Oxford White is definitely a white. And while it has a weee willy wink of gray in it, it’s so fractional it is hard to tell. Oxford White will act like white.
Pick it: If you want to keep things simple and want a relatively straight-forward white – not cold, not warm, just white
Ditch it: If you like a slightly softer approach
Instead: Check out Cloud White or Simply White
So there you have it, the 8 best white paint colours. I will be doing a post on the best from Sherwin Williams as well, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that one!
Not sure which white is best for your home? Check out my affordable E-design & Online Color Consulting Packages – FUN and affordable!
Kylie M Interiors Decorating and Design Ideas Colour Expert E-design and Online Colour Consultations