HomeThe Best Paint ColoursNeutral, Gray, Greige Cream and WhiteWhy is Sherwin Williams High Reflective White SO HARD TO GET???

Why is Sherwin Williams High Reflective White SO HARD TO GET???

Posted on December 29, 2021 by KylieMawdsley

The most popular HARD to get white paint colour 

When it comes to my Online Paint Colour Consulting, I have a few favourite paint colours that I refer to time and time again. Why? Because they work. However, there’s one particular white that’s not always the easiest to get, and that colour is Sherwin Williams High Reflective White.

White laundry room with mud room built-in benchs, hooks, cubbies, white subway tile, gray tile floor. Sherwin Williams High Reflective White, Kylie M Interiors online paint color consultant

High Reflective White is one of the most WHITE white paint colours on the market, which is why I refer to it so often. Without the warm nod of Alabaster or cool wink of Extra White, High Reflective White keeps things simple.

So why is it so FREAKIN’ HARD TO GET?

A lot of paint store employees claim that it doesn’t cover well. Fair enough, but that point could be made for MANY white paint colours – they simply don’t have the same hide (ability to cover old colours and look solid) compared to colours with a bit more meat on their bones (lower LRVs).

So with this being said, I KNOW that High Reflective White is a great option and have the clients and personal experience to prove it. I’m just not totally sure why so many of my clients have a hard time getting it, saying that their paint store won’t make it for them/doesn’t carry it.

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Sherwin Williams High Reflective White and Magnolia Teak Cups island, white quartz countertop, whitewash wood floor. CLIENT PHOTO of Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Sooooo, why is it listed in the fan deck? Why is it offered as an option if it isn’t really an option?

Because it CAN be made. Oh yes, it can be made.

Whitewash wood shiplap ceiling, built ins, High Reflective White, Stonington gray. Kids toy storage in playroom, gray carpet. Kylie M Interiors edesign


(as told to me by Sherwin William’s employees)

If you ask the tech for a gallon of High Reflective White and they say ‘no problemo’, then Bob’s your Uncle. HOWEVER, if they aren’t too excited about the idea, here’s how it works…

1. Ask the paint store tech to grab Sherwin Williams Extra White (BTW, Extra White is ALSO a ‘base’ paint used to make other colours)

2. Ask them to top up the gallon with white tint, again, improving the coverage AND brightening it a stitch. 4 OUNCES should do it, but this can vary a bit depending on the type of paint you choose.

And while this is a possible solution, I won’t lie, I’m slightly sceptical.


High Reflective White has an LRV of 93, making it pretty darn WHITE white. Extra White comes in at 86, making it a SOFT white (read about LRV HERE). It seems to me that it would take an AWFUL LOT of white tint to increase Extra White’s LRV by seven points. Will it brighten it and cut back the blue undertone found in Extra White? Sure, but will it have that gloriously high LRV? Hard to say.

ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE SHERWIN WILLIAMS HIGH REFLECTIVE WHITE (again, as told to me by a Sherwin Williams employee)

This next idea is an OPTION, but it’s pretty slim pickin’s as not many of Sherwin William’s paints are actually available in ‘actual’ High Reflective White.

1. Grab a gallon of High Reflective White (the base) if they HAPPEN to have the type of paint you want pre-made in this colour

2. Top up the gallon with white tint, you know, the stuff that squirts out of the machine – approx 4 ounces


And, of course, it will be the trained paint technician doing this, not you.

Now you have your SIMPLE white base, topped up with more white colourant, giving you a usable version of High Reflective White. The additional colourant gives your paint more HIDE and body, helping it cover your old colour better.

And I have one more great tip for you…


When it comes to paint, you really DO get what you pay for. And as it relates to whites, higher quality paint is going to COVER better. Think of it this way, would you rather spend $90 on one gallon of paint that covers your room or $120 (two less expensive gallons @ $60) as you needed to apply four to five coats to get the same hide and coverage found in the pricier line???

Romantic farmhouse style bedroom, Sherwin Williams High Reflective White board and batten, vaulted ceiling, chandelier. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consultant

And remember, this lack of hide isn’t unique to High Reflective White, it’s a common thread with many of the popular white paint colours. You often have to bump up in QUALITY and add those shots of white to get half-decent coverage (I also recommend two coats of primer to get a good headstart).

Bathroom vanity cabinet High Reflective White, white countertop, subway tile accent feature wall. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consultant

FULL Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams High Reflective White

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Hardie Light Mist grey siding, board and batten, shakes, High Reflective White exterior trim. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy update blogger and consultant

Long story short, when it comes to High Reflective White, it’s a toss-up as to whether the paint store will make it for you. However, in my experience, if it’s the type of white you’re looking for, it’s DEFINITELY worth asking. And until they discontinue it as a colour option and replace it with something equally as bright (high LRV), I’m going to USE IT and ABUSE it because it’s a darn pretty and hugely versatile white paint colour.


If you’re having a hard time getting High Reflective White, check out…

  • Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. The difference between Chantilly Lace is that it’s a tiny bit softer than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)
  • BEHR Ultra Pure White. The difference between Ultra Pure White is that it’s a tiny bit WHITER and brighter than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)
  • Sherwin Williams Extra White. The difference between Extra White is that it’s a touch COOLER than High Reflective White (read about it HERE)


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6 Questions to Ask Before Painting Your Cabinets WHITE

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature




  1. As a previous Sherwin employee and color consultant- High Reflective and Extra White are both “bases” used on their own or to create other hues as you so well described:) High Reflective is the only one that needs some bolstering to get coverage. Most stores should be very used to adding white tint to it as many contractors request this. The other option is to move to a better product like Duration or Emerald which have better coverage by design. I used Duration White Heron (high reflect base, VERY little tint) in my kitchen and got perfect coverage in one coat although two is always prescribed for best longevity, cleanability etc.
    P.S. The company has been plagued by shortages of bases this last year, my understanding is the freeze in Texas and trucking issues have been largely the cause. Staff is stressed and doing their best!
    You know your s**t girl, enjoy every post and learn some stuff too!

    1. Post

      Lori, I LOVE LOVE LOVE you for this comment, thank you! I’ve only heard from a few SW employees about this ‘being the way to do it’ and you confirming this makes me feel SO great. Good to know about Extra White too! Do you usually add a few jolts of white to its gallon as well to improve the coverage?

      I also love the advice to up the QUALITY of the paint, I’m going to update the post to reflect this – THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  2. Hi, I want to use BM Advance paint in Satin on my interior doors and trim. So my question is how to I ask BM to make High Reflective White?
    Thanks so much

    1. Post

      Ahhhhh, WELLL, you can’t. To get HRW, you have to go to SW. There are some colours that can be colour matched ‘reasonably’ well, but not HRW as it’s SO white.

      1. Ok thank you so much for letting me know. That’s such a bummer because of all the whites I have tested Chantilly, Simply White, Pure White, White Dove, Super White, Extra White, HRW looks the best (truest, without any grayness) best in my NE facing, low light house. I painted/sprayed my kitchen cabinets about 5 years ago with BM Advance in White Dove and really like how that paint worked and has held up. I know I know I should paint everything else in White Dove but it doesn’t look as good as the kitchen cabinets do, m which just happens to be the brightest room in the house. What to do now…lol?

  3. How much exactly white do you add to the HRW? They are saying they go as low as 1/28th of an ounce… they want an amount? Please help! Thank you!

    1. Post

      Hi Jennifer, I double-checked with my local store and while it can vary a bit depending on the type of paint you use, ‘generally speaking’ – 4 ounces, as long as it doesn’t overfill the gallon!

  4. Ah yes, high reflective white. The most useless base in the painting world. It never covers and the expectations never meet up with reality. I for one cannot wait until its dropped from the shelf. Most of the time this garbage pops up its because the customer is trying to be a pain in the rear.

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