The Ultimate Guide For Choosing The Perfect White Paint

In this post: we will learn about choosing the perfect white paint for your home. Here's what will be covered: different paint sheens for white walls, the importance of undertones, how light affects white paint, the most popular warm and cool white paints and 8 steps for choosing the best white paint for your home.

I love white walls! For me, they are the perfect background for furnishings and white paint makes a room look bright, airy, and even bigger. But white paint can be tricky! The undertones that make white paint so beautiful can also make it hard to choose the perfect white paint for your home!

But, of course, we CAN choose the perfect white paint for our homes by learning a few things that unlock white paint’s secrets! Let’s chat about how you can confidently choose the perfect white paint and how to get the nuances of undertones right!

Here’s what we will cover in this post…

  • we will learn about selecting the perfect white paint for the walls in our home
  • white is a beautiful choice
  • how lighting affects white paint color
  • paint finishes and how they affect white paint color
  • unlocking the secrets of undertones
  • how white paint works with the color palette in your home
  • when to choose warm or cool white paints
  • why choosing the perfect white paint color is all about undertones
  • popular white paint choices

Today we want to take the guesswork out of choosing the right white wall color for your home.



There are many reasons to choose white paint for a room or even your whole home.

If you are toying with the idea of painting a room white or have already painted a room white but are thinking it might be the wrong white paint color then this post is for you!

One of the best reasons to take the plunge and paint a room or home white is white paint’s clean, open, and airy look!

And because of the reflective quality of white, a room will look a bit bigger. White walls receded. It’s a beautiful illusion.

Another reason for choosing to paint a room white is white walls will let you show off the furnishing and art in a room. There is no obvious paint color to compete for attention in a room.

The fourth reason to choose white is white walls are classic! They are tried and true and are stand-out winners for creating beautiful rooms.

White has been an on-trend color to paint walls for quite a while now. But remember white is also a true classic. It has a record of longevity and will continue to be popular even when it is not the “hot” color for walls.

White walls play nicely with most color palettes and styles. So it is not only a beautiful choice for the walls in your home, it is the smart choice!

No wonder white is an interior decorator’s number one overall choice for painting walls!


Oh, goodness! Choosing white paint is not that straightforward. The answer is…


It depends on a lot of things. And that is what we will chat about in this post!

So don’t run out and buy white paint off a store’s shelf without doing a bit of homework first!

Here’s what you need to know…



Have you ever painted a room white and realized that it looks dirty or blue or pink?

White is one of the most complex paint colors. Did you know there are over 900 different hues and tints of white paint?

So the chances of choosing the perfect white for your home are slim if you just grab a white paint color in a store without considering a few things first.

Let me encourage you! You can choose the perfect white for your home. Here are some things that will really help you once you understand them.


Light plays an important role when it comes to color. Actually, we need light to see color. The way light is bounced off or absorbed by an object creates the color we see. And light has an immense effect on white paint!

This is a very easy explanation of the very complex properties of color. But it will help us understand a bit about the importance of light when we talk about white walls.


Both natural light and artificial light have a big impact on the color of white paint in a home.


Instead of talking about Kelvins and the color rendering index, let’s just say that artificial lighting affects white paint just as natural light does.

The warmer the ambient light the warmer the white paint on walls will look. The opposite is true with cool ambient light!

So the color of light coming from artificial light sources will alter the look of white paint.


Since natural light can be both warm or cool at different times of the day, this light can have a big effect on how the white paint on your walls and other surfaces will look.


I have an open concept home with lots of windows. And Simply White (Benjamin Moore) looks very different from room to room and on different white finishes depending on the time of day.


Another way light affects white paint is the direction sunlight comes in through a window.

If a room is south facing the light is warmer and will tend to make white paint look warmer too.

And if a room is north facing the sunlight coming through a window will tend to be cooler and will make your white paint look cooler too.

East and west-facing rooms can go either way. So it is important to observe them to see if that room looks warmer or cooler in natural light.

This is one of the biggest reasons we should always paint big samples of the white paint we are considering on several walls and make notes about how they look at different times of the day.



Paint finishes or the luster or sheen of paint will either reflect or absorb light. Flat or matte paint absorbs more light than semi-gloss paint because light reflects off of it more.

There are many paint finishes. Here are the most popular listed in order of least shiny to the most shine…

  • flat
  • matte
  • eggshell
  • satin
  • semi-gloss
  • high gloss

Today we are only talking about white wall paint so we will be looking at three paint finishes: flat, matte, and eggshell.


I’m going to sing the praises of flat paint for walls! I absolutely love flat paint. Flat paint will give you the truest color when put on your walls and has a soft look.

It also absorbs the most light so it is not shiny.

If you have walls with few imperfections then flat paint is a great choice.

One of the biggest reasons I LOVE flat paint on walls is scuffs and marks can easily be painted and my walls look like they were freshly painted. No funny-looking patch ghosting on the walls.

Matte paint is very close to flat paint. It has the same luxurious look but it has an almost unnoticeable shine.

Flat and Matte painted walls do not wash up well. Touch them up instead.


If you don’t like the idea of touching up your walls then an eggshell finish might be for you! It has a higher sheen than flat paint and is easier to wash. Getting rid of dirt marks is a matter of using a Magic Eraser or a cloth with water and a mild non-abrasive cleaner.

One caution. Depending on how stubborn a mark is on an eggshell wall and how vigorously it is scrubbed you can take some of the paint off of the wall along with the mark. And the area will be noticeable and the entire wall will probably have to be repainted.

A good rule to remember about paint finishes is…

As the luster of the paint increases, touch-ups become increasingly hard to do because you will see the “patch”. You can see where you have painted over a mark.


I would not recommend the other paint finishes listed above for walls. Keep lusters like semi-gloss and higher for trim, cabinets, and doors.

Look for a post about painting with higher gloss paints soon.



One of the biggest things that affect pure white paint are UNDERTONES! And if you take one thing away from this post it should be to know the undertones of the white paints you are considering!!!!!


Pure white paint is important to mention. Think of it as the white paint painters use ceilings. It is a bright white that has no detectable undertones.

You may like this paint for your ceiling but it is quite uninspiring and not very pretty to put on your walls.

There are so many gorgeous paints with beautiful undertones that make white paint interesting and complex so use one of them for the walls in your home.


Color is made up of two “tones”. Mass tones and undertones.

Mass tones are the color you see at first glance. A white wall is white when we talk about mass tones. A daffodil is yellow. The grass is green.

It is also known as the base color.


But hiding behind or lying under almost any color are things called undertones. They are colors that are mixed into pure color to make them unique!

So when we inspect what we think is a white wall more carefully it probably is not pure white at all.

Most likely other tints have been mixed in the white paint to create gorgeous and often frustrating nuances of the color white.

This is why the white paint you bought at the store now looks a bit pink or dirty or blue-ish on your walls.

It’s all about undertones!

You might like to see a very thorough but easy to understand post all about undertones and how they affect color HERE. This post will also help you mix warm and cool colors in your decor like a pro.


Color, even white, is broken down into warm and cool colors.

Undertones are created when a pure color is mixed with a little bit of another color.

White paint with warm undertones is made when a pure white base paint is mixed with just a little warm colored paint.

Warm colors on a color wheel are browns, yellows, beiges, creams, and pinks to name a few. Warm colors, including white paint with warm undertones, are softer and tend to feel cozier and friendly.

White paint with cool undertones is made when a pure white base paint is mixed with a little bit of cool paint color.

Cool colors on the color wheel like blues, purples, and greens. They are crisper, fresh, and feel colder.

Undertones create a plethora of different tints and hues of white, both warm and cool.


Knowing the undertones will tell you two important things…

  1. if the white paint you choose will look warm or cool on your walls
  2. and if the paint you choose will fight other colors in the room you want to paint



There are a couple popular ways to find the undertone in a particular white paint.

It’s important to never look at a paint color in isolation or on its own. White paint needs to be compared with other white paints.



The paint swatches above are all shades of white paint!

If you are looking for white paint using a swatch that has other colors on it, there is a good chance the darkest color on the swatch is best to ferret out the undertone of all the paint colors on the swatch.

Even though the colors on the swatch look different, all the paint on a paint swatch has the same undertone color.

If you are using a Sherwin Williams fan deck, the bottom color will help you figure out the undertones of all the colors on the swatch.


Comparing white paint swatches is another way to find undertones. However, it can be unreliable.


You may be able to see the undertones of a white paint swatch by comparing it to a white piece of paper or a white tissue but again this is a bit unreliable. Undertones can be very tricky and elusive things!

Also, paper and tissues are not pure white and will make seeing the true undertones of a white paint color difficult.


My favorite way to find the undertones in white paint is to go to the source!

Google the company that makes the whites you like and they will usually tell you what the undertones are.

I also like to check out other sources to confirm the undertone.

This takes the guesswork out of the whole mysterious undertone thing!


It’s important to know if the white paint you like will look nice in the room you want to paint.

We need to consider the color palette of the room and whether the color palette is warm or cool.

The undertones of the white paint need to work with the warm or cool colors of a room’s color palette.

Our living room is made up of warm neutral colors. So I chose Simply White by Benjamin Moore because it is a warm white that reads white but has slight yellow-beige undertones.


The colors all play well together because the paint is a slightly warm white and my color palette is warm too!

If a room’s color palette was navy, green and white, all cool colors, the best white paint for the walls would be a cooler white like Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White.

Your room’s furnishings and wall colors should be the same temperature. Either warm or cool.


Here are some of the most popular white paints to consider for your home.

Although these paints may not look white on your computer screen they are white paints with cool undertones.

To see more about these colors go to the paint sources listed below…


top/ left: Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore

second from top/ left: Pure White by Sherwin Williams

third from top/ left: Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore

bottom/ left: White Diamond by Benjamin Moore

top/ right: Ice Cube by Sherwin Williams

second from top/ right: Paper White by Benjamin Moore

thrid from top/ right: Dove Wing by Benjamin Moore

bottom/ right: Nano White by Behr


Here are some of the most popular warm white paint colors you might like to consider for your home.

Just like the cool whites above, these are white paints but the computer screen may make them look different than they would appear on your walls.

Simply White, the color of our walls, all the trim and doors, and our kitchen cabinets is the top left paint circle.

Here is how Simply White looks in our kitchen…


top/ left: Simply White by Benjamin Moore

second from top/ left: Alabaster White by Sherwin Williams

third from top/ left: White Dove by Benjamin Moore

bottom/ left: Swiss Coffee by Behr

top/ right: Atrium White by Benjamin Moore

second from top/ right: Cloud White by Benjamin Moore

third from top/ right: White Opulence by Benjamin Moore

bottom/ right: Acadia White by Benjamin Moore



Here’s the boiled-down formula for choosing the best white paint color. Following these steps will go a long way in helping you pick that perfect white paint color.

1. Do not go into a store and buy paint off the shelf without following these steps.

2. Collect white paint swatches.

3. Narrow down the swatches to about 6 colors you like.

4. Find the undertones of each white paint color and make sure they work with the undertones of the decor in the room to be painted.

5. Choose 2-4 colors and buy paint samples. Or buy large peel and stick pain squares and use them instead.

6. Paint or stick large samples of the paint on several walls in the room you want to paint.

7. Look at the paint at different times of the day and in different artificial lighting. Make notes.

8. Choose your perfect white paint and paint your room!



White paint is a beautiful choice for the walls in most homes. And you don’t need to have a degree in interior design to choose the right one for your home.

Use what you have learned here and choose what you love!

Happy painting!


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  1. Teddi Lowry says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful decorating ideas. I look forward to reading them every day. Where did you get the white sideboard/credenza ? The doors are glass? The one that has the big click above it with the 3 small plants. I’ve been looking for one & really like yours. Thank you again for the amazing ideas!
    Grace & peace,

      1. Beverly Troup says:

        Yvonne, this post was so informative, I’m saving it for future reference. I will now look at white walls In a different way. Thank you.

  2. Lorraine Hitchcock says:

    I am sitting in my kitchen staring at paint samples on the wall. Our house is quite old, 53 years, and we have opened up some of the rooms. Our front door faces north, as does my front kitchen window. The back of my kitchen faces a large open airy dining room, which faces south. My living room is very dark and moody. Some of the samples look wonderful in the dining room but they look green in the front part of the kitchen. I should mention, my cabinets are painted BM Chantilly Lace and my countertops are classic marble. Help! Did you have any suggestions? Choosing a paint color is one of the most stressful things in home decorating.

    1. I don’t know if you will see this, and your comment was a year ago so I hope you found your answer?! I feel your pain. I thought I would ditch the agreeable gray in my great room and go white, and it has created a huge domino effect that isn’t over yet.

  3. Shirley duke says:

    Yvonne, I’ve read your blog for years and learned so much about decorating. I also like your Sunday posts as well as your menus. Thanks for everything you do!

    1. Thanks, Shirley! The Sunday Scripture posts are the most important thing I do!

    2. Patricia Duffy says:

      Thank you! I’m contemplating painting over a cream/biscuit walls with west facing window. Your article is very helpful!!

  4. Patti Peterson says:

    Thank you for all the time and effort you put into sharing your knowledge of interior design. Many times I don’t know where to begin and I look to you for ideas, guidance, and solid advice! Your home is beautiful!

    1. Awww, Patti! That makes me so happy. My passion is to help other home decorators be more confident decorators of their homes!

    2. Perfect timing! My summer project is to repaint. Thanks for the thoughtful and informative post.

  5. What an instructive post, saved to my reading list so I won’t lose it. So much to consider when choosing paint!

  6. Gail Prowant says:

    Thanks for all the information on white paint. We have struggled with whites for years. We ended up with SW creamy and SW pure white in our new Florida home. I love your blog and look forward to it every day. God Bless, Gail

  7. Leslie Larkin says:

    Thanks for sharing! I always learn so much from your bl9g.

  8. Yvonne, your posts and always so informative and inspiring!

      1. Marti Jefferson says:

        Great guide. I love your blog!

  9. Jenny Bolt says:

    Thank you for all your great decorating advice. I have lightened up my home in so many ways by following your advice.

  10. Colleen Jo Howell says:

    Wow, didn’t realize how much goes into choosing the right color of white. I usually just look at the samples and go from there, I will try to remember some of your suggestions next time.

    1. Yes, white is complicated but these tips should really help demystify how to choose the right white.

  11. I love your blog and appreciate all your decorating advice. I’m learning so much. Thank you!

    1. Yay! My goal and passion is to help my readers and knowing you are learning makes my heart sing

  12. I enjoy looking at your blog everyday, I share your ideas on Facebook also.
    Thank you for all the great ideas. We painted our living room the color that looks
    Very light gray/beige . And love it!

    1. Robin, I did not know you share my ideas on Facebook. Thank you a million times!!!! Oh, so so nice!

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this tutorial in the complexities of white! It is so helpful! Your blog has been a blessing I look forward to opening several times each week.

  14. Paint colors look so different at each time of day according to light conditions. Sunny day, cloudy day, morning/afternoon/evening natural light, incandescent or led lighting..?? It all changes so! Pick the time of the day you will be in the room most often…. but it is soooooooooo hard!

    1. You are so right! But knowing undertones in whites make a big difference. All colors look different in different light.

    2. All paint color changes. It’s all about undertones. Get the undertones right and the color will look amazing in any light.

  15. Your post is very helpful. In the past when I have had white walls in my home I was not a fan. I think that’s because it was the wrong white. Learning about choosing the right white gives me the confidence to want to try it again. I am pinning your post for future reference.

    1. Yay! Knowing how to choose the right white makes all the difference!

  16. I used SW Greek Villa in my new kitchen, a bit lighter than Alabaster, more reflective and in my north facing kitchen we’re still saying, “wow” when we turn on the lights in the morning! But we don’t even need lights during the day yet it’s serene and gentle……I am very impressed by this color!

  17. Sarah Vodicka says:

    Yvonne, Your blog is my favorite! I’ve learned so much from you and never miss reading it! Thanks!

  18. Great post! White paint is SO hard! This was very helpful.

  19. Annmarie W says:

    Thank you for this very helpful lesson in choosing White paint. In the past I have chosen Benjamin Moore Sonnet for many rooms in my home. A color I choose from your beautiful Stone Gable home. Thank you for your help once again.

    Blessing, Annmarie W

  20. I find white so intimidating when at the paint store. Your thorough explanation of considerations makes the variables more understandable.

  21. I have learned SO MUCH from you! Thank you for sharing your talents! And I appreciate you use your decorating platform to share your faith.

  22. Tammy Bennetts says:

    I absolutely love your home and find such inspiration from your blog. And not only from your decorating. The menu/food category is great. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!

    1. I’m so glad you like all the recipes, Tammy! Can you imagine how hungry I get posting them? LOL!

  23. LINDA CARSWELL says:

    I always learn so much about how to choose a perfect color for my walks from reading your articles. Thanks!

  24. What a wealth of information!! Thanks so much. I love white as well. So pretty!!

  25. Diane Noe says:

    Yvonne- you’ve commented many times how much you love BM Simply White. A friend has been looking for a white paint to repaint her condo, which doesn’t get much natural light. I suggested Simple White; she is very happy with the resutls. Thank you!

  26. Tonya Baker says:

    Thank you for the inspiration. I followed your advice and now Ben Moore’s Bohemian Lace is my favorite white!

  27. I have read your excellent paint suggestions many times , Yvonne, and have found them very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I’ve pinned this. I need my house repainted and I’m so nervous about picking the right color. Ugh. Thank you for the information.

    1. Thank you so much for pinning. I can use more people to pin. It makes such a big difference!

  29. Just in time for me. I am thinking of painting a room white and I needed a guide. Thank you!

  30. This comes at the most opportune time .There are so many choices out there and having them broken up into manage- able choices works for me.

    Thank you for providing a great lesson and starting place

  31. We are building our retirement home in Arkansas and I am planning on using white in nearly every room because your house is just beautiful no matter what time of year. I need to save this post for sure and refer back to it when it’s time to pick our paint. Fingers crossed that I pick the right one-lol!

  32. I love your blog and website! I have used so many of your ideas in my own home and love it! The neutral colors are always so serene and soothing.

  33. The undertones are so important and can be so illusive! Very good explanation on white paints!

  34. Good information and thorough

  35. Rebecca Kassulke says:

    Thanks for all the great tips. White paint has always confused me. I like the information on comparing undertones, very informative.

  36. Yvonne picking a white paint has always been a challenge. Thank you for helping this girl out.

  37. Great article on Whites!
    Been using White Dove
    By Benjamin Moore for years.
    My classic lovely white for my traditional home.
    Thanks for your details regarding whites. Very informative.

  38. So much good information! Thanks you! I enjoy your blog and your teaching.

  39. I love white walls too and your home is stunning. Thank you for the wonderful tips and for sharing.

  40. Mary Stevens says:

    You always give such good advice!! have a great summer!

  41. Cynthia Parnell says:

    Would love to achieve this look and style. Thank you for the great ideas!

  42. Very informative post. Thank you for sharing. Picking the best paint color is so hard. I am hoping this will make it a bit easier.

    1. I have been following your blog for years. You inspire me to try new things. I have learned so much from you. Thank you.

  43. Choosing a paint color is so difficult, thank you for such great tips!?

  44. Love your blog I get so many great ideas.

  45. Suzie Sanders says:

    I love the Swiss Coffee – I want to repaint my whole home this color.

  46. Babette Thurston says:

    I’m not a fan of white paint, but when we moved in our new home last year my daughter had a purple room! She just wanted a calm space so we chose pure white and she loves it! Very serene and no garish colors!

    Thanks for the giveaway! So excited!

  47. Nancy Chambliss says:

    Yvonne you are so right about undertones, if you do not consider this it will be a disaster! I love your soft neutral style, and how you add texture to your decorating.

  48. Mary Beth says:

    This white paint information is great. I love white walls and will be painting our new home when we downsize and move. You have great decorating ideas!

  49. Linda Smith says:

    You always have such great posts! Thank you,

  50. This is so helpful. Thank you!

  51. Lisa Swint says:

    Love all of your posts but especially this one on white paint. I have used chantilly lace and alabaster and love them! And the cool light bulbs make such a different so it isn’t yellow looking in the room! I love your home and get so many ideas from it.
    Thanks so much for all you do!!!!

  52. Ellen J Sorce says:

    Great tips for knowing how to choose your white without going crazy! I normally get some test paint samples and then look at them on the wall every two hours, just to see if they are really what I want. You just cut my time in half!

  53. Kimberly Absher says:

    Just in time as I repaint the yellow interior house we bought. I want it crisp and white. I love Ultra Pure White by Behr, but some rooms call for more depth & dimension in the paint. I was considering Alabaster by SW for a couple of rooms, but will look at your recommendations as well. Thanks for sharing this!

    Congrats on 300! Thank you for the opportunity to win the gift card.

  54. Lorraine Hitchcock says:

    After reading and rereading all of your information on white paint and following your suggestions, we finally have a winner! My painting contractor uses Kelly Moore which made it somewhat more difficult as there is not a lot of on line information about KM paint. We purchased numerous samples and found the perfect paint. Thank you for all of the wonderful and truly useful posts.
    I love your decorating style and how you help each of us find our own niche. May the Lord bless you, indeed.

  55. Laraine C Larkin says:

    WOW! Thanks Yvonne. I am learning so much about color from your posts!

  56. Yvonne, this post came at the most opportune time! I just had a friend ask me to recommend a white paint color to her. I am going to forward this article to her, and she will have ALL the info she needs to make a smart decision! Thank you for doing so much research for your readers! Bunny

  57. Rose Mills says:

    This is an outstanding reference tool. Thanks for gathering and posting all this helpful information!

  58. Patti Beutler says:

    White is amazing- and complicated ?

  59. Jan Kinman says:

    Congratulations on 300! Thank you for sharing your talent.

  60. I also like using white paint for wall, doors, framing, and furniture. You gave some great advice & info! Thanks for this and for the giveaway!

  61. You have really done the homework for all of us concerning white paint. There is so much to consider before choosing a white paint color. I have large cased openings in my open concept home that have fluting, corbels etc-big impact. They are whatever the “builder white” is now but need repainting. This same white Carrie’s throughout the house in window trims, doors, etc. Your guide will help me choose the right white-thank you!

  62. Susan Horn says:

    I loved this post! I just painted sleek white in my entire kitchen and am loving the clean, fresh look.

  63. May Lee-Jarvis says:

    There’s certainly a lot more to white paint than though.

  64. What a great comprehensive guide to white paint! I think you covered everything anyone would need to know (there is SO much) and are probably saving your readers from making a lot of mistakes. Thanks so much for sharing this, Yvonne. I always enjoy your design posts!

  65. Thank you for this excellent information.
    I love a light neutral palate so this article is very helpful to me

  66. What a wealth of information! It took me awhile to come around to white paint, but once I did I fell in love with Simply White. It made artwork and my blue and white collection pop, not to mention the brightness factor!

  67. Who knew white paint was so complex!!? I love everything white! Your home is just beautiful!

  68. Love your blog. It is the one I read every day. So much good information and beautiful photography! Thank you!

  69. This has come at a time when I really needed it. Thank you.

  70. Lynda cox says:

    ThAnkyou for all the information

  71. I had no idea that there were so many choices. Overwhelming fir sure. I’m in the process of choosing paint for the stairwell and upstairs hallway. Wish you lived near me to help!!

  72. Love Whites! Thanks for the helpful info!

  73. My choice is BM Cloud White, Yvonne. All our trim is cloud white and I’m seriously considering painting more of our house that colour too. I’m so done with green grey which was a default colour when our house was built 6 years ago. We get a lot of rain here on the British Columbia, Canada coast and I need to brighten things up. I think I’ll start with our guest bath and go from there. I also love white with black! So classy and neutral!

  74. Long time follower of yours… and so thankful for ALL you have taught me!

  75. Yes white is hard to work with but I will keep your guidelines in mind for upcoming painting.

  76. Love your style;clean and simple! Less is more!

  77. Congratulations on 300 episodes, great job!
    Thank you for your help today with white paint. It’s
    probably one of the hardest paint colors to work with because there are so many different undertones. It’s come a long way since the good ole days. Now you can buy sample sizes of paint or “stickers” to try the color on your wall at home before you buy it. I found your tips helpful and I have some upcoming painting to do, so thank you!

  78. Thanks for the great tips you always share with us.

  79. Wonderful information. I love your decorating ideas and information. I have learned so much from you. Your Sunday posts are wonderful and inspirational. First ones I read when I get home from church on Sunday. Thank you for sharing.

  80. My finished basement had to undergo significant reconstruction this winter due to a pipe leak which led to mold. It had previously been painted a yellowish creamy white but the color looked dirty in what little natural light came in and too yellow under incandescent lighting I was hampered in choosing materials and colors due to Covid-19’s comings and goings but did manage to collect paint chips from the big box stores the contractor was using. I had the wall and trim colors picked out but the new LED lights, carpet, and some cabinets were not yet installed. When the contractor called one evening for the paint colors for the crew to pick up the next morning, he told me that I chose the wrong brand and that I needed to choose SW colors that night. It was too late to run out for more paint chips so I set to work on the Internet. I found a number of blogs and articles on choosing white paint. Using the info on undertones and the effect of light colors/Kelvins from both natural and artificial light I was able to make a choice without so much as a paint chip. I selected SW Alabaster White for the walls and cannot be more pleased with the result. It has just enough warmth to keep it from reading stark white under lights at K4500 yet does not look dull when there is little natural light.. I did not need a paint chip but used the information on undertones and lighting to make a great choice.

    1. Yes, Kelvins and reflectivity is important. I’ll address those things about white in a post. Glad you found a white you loved!

  81. Joanne W. says:

    Congratulations Yvonne! Your blog was the very first one I subscribed to years ago and I look forward to receiving each and every posting. Thank you for your lovely giveaway.

  82. I always have white walls because they are flexible when choosing colorful accents to a room. It makes it easier to change the colors in a room whenever you feel like it. Colorful pillows, rugs, lamps, plants, furniture and whatever else you want! I will save these great tips for using white paint.

  83. Simply love the simply white which we chose for our kitchen cabinets. I would love to one day paint my walls as well but my husband is dead set against it. It doesn’t help when most people who visit love the teal blue walls! But love your white walls!

  84. Robin Defenbaugh says:

    A lot of great information! Thank you so much!

  85. We have lived with white walls for 20 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They change with different lighting.

  86. Perfect timing for this. I’m trying to pick out white paint and having a hard time. Thanks for all the good info!

  87. While I love your home, the paint color White Opulence is about as white as I would use – not really a fan of white walls – they just don’t give me a cozy feeling. White has always seemed too sterile for me to use in my own home.

  88. Mary Beth says:

    I love white walls. This is great information I shall keep!

  89. So much get information about the right white. Thank you !

  90. I love white. I have white floors and all kinds of other things in while.
    Everyone always tells me my house looks so clean and spotless.
    You can change the accents easily, because everything goes with white.

  91. Very thorough and informative. I am a big fan of White Dove by Benjamin Moore. We have white walls with just a slight gray tint and all of our woodwork & doors are White Dove. Love the clean look

  92. Just finished painting several room white and I love it!
    I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about painting with gloss paint! I just painted the interior of my front with a semigloss and found it so much harder to work with than matte.

  93. My ah ha moment was the difference between a clean white and a dirty white! Thanks for the post.

  94. I enjoy your posts so much, the photos, information and ideas are great! Thank you.

  95. I feel like I got an education in all there is to know about white paints. White can be beautiful!.

    1. This was a master class for information. Thank you. I’m surprisingly satisfied with my all White House. Everything looks bigger and cleaner.

  96. Thanks for all the tips on white paint. I love the freshness of all white.

  97. Joyce Frink says:

    Love the white rooms- great info!

  98. Debra Funkhouser says:

    What a wonderful post! This is a “must save”! Love your blog, and if I ever find a curlacue chest like yours, I am snapping it up!

  99. MaryClaire Petro says:

    Yvonne, I have followed you for years, and LOVE your style! Thanks for this great website and the beautiful pics to help everyone see what you’re teaching. Love and blessings!

  100. Congrats on 300. Thanks for quick class on choosing white. Now I know when we paint our walls, we will go for cool whites. My decorating color for decor pieces in pillows, pics, and drapes is blue, so that is why I never liked the yellow tones in our paint. Thanks for the great info.

  101. Very informative post. I’ve bookmarked quite a few of your posts over the past several years to keep handy. I very much appreciate the valuable information that you pass on and always look forward to your new articles. Congratulations on hitting #300 with your Homestyle Saturdays. All the best!

  102. All your advice rings so true. I spent months reviewing white paint samples to be sure they matched up with my new quartz countertops. I settled on BM Chantilly Lace which turned out to be just perfect. It’s more than worth it to research and test your colors before you paint!

  103. This was so informative and I am keeping it for future reference. I want to paint my master bedroom and your post will help me greatly.

  104. Charlotte Sammons says:

    Such a great, informative post! We also have a ton of windows with an open floor plan. I went with SW alabaster white and I’m loving it!

  105. Thank you for breaking this down so its easier to understand. U didn’t realize that there is so much to pick the ;right; paint color

  106. You have a talent for explaining color concepts so very well!

  107. I so agree with your post.I find it so difficult to pick paint colors because they change so much in different light.I just chose paint for the exterior of our house,boy,did that drive me crazy !! Finally settled on a light gray for the house and a charcoal for the trim.

  108. Anne Marie says:

    Thanks for all the great information. You are always such a wealth of information.

  109. Karin Prunty says:

    Thank you for this informative post. I am trying to decide if I should take the plunge with white walls. Unfortunately, our trim is Accessible Beige which limits my options for walls.

  110. Thank you for addressing this fundamental issue! One on beige would be great as well!

  111. Becky White says:

    Thank you for the helpful information! I never knew there was so much to know about choosing white paint!

  112. All whites are NOT alike! Thanks for the clarity before I visit the paint store. Love your suggestions and best wishes on your big milestone of posting.

  113. I always learn so much from your blog posts; thank you! Happy 300th; looking forward to the next 300!

  114. Thank you for the tips!

  115. Becky.Robertson says:

    Great info! I am wanting to repaint my family room, breakfast area and kitchen.

  116. I’ve always loved “white” walls. I’ve hesitantly painted walls with color (because someone told me white walls were ‘boring’). What always ended up happening is a situation I found difficult to live with. So neutral it is now with color added that can be quickly changed. So much easier than painting and repainting and repainting…

  117. Cynthia Sirois says:

    All of my walls are painted with either white or beige. I find that it is so helpful with any color palette and always makes the rooms look bright and airy. I especially like your section that talks about how the outside light and ambient light affects the color that one chooses. Thanks for such a great posting!

  118. Ruth Newton says:

    Yvonne, your blog was the first blog I started following so many years ago. I agree white is a great backdrop for decorating. Not only does it allow to change things out easily, but it also works so great with holiday decor. Thanks for inspiring me daily.

  119. Caryn Buchhorn says:

    Choosing white paint is such a challenge! Great tips! I like Chantilly Lace for trim.

  120. Thank you for sharing. One would never guess there were so many colors of white . Very informative .

  121. Love your style, love your home, love your blog!

  122. Deborah Turner says:

    Always love your style and your wonderful advice!!

  123. Enjoy your decorating suggestions…always looking forward to Wednesday’s must have suggestions!

  124. JoAnn McM says:

    Great tutorial. I learned the hard way to always try samples on your wall. I never knew how to tell the undertones though. Thank you for sharing all these tips!

  125. Thanks for the in depth explanation. I love flat paint on wallsthe best, too!

  126. What an interesting and thorough blog post! WOW! I’ve recently been thinking of painting all my walls white, and I now know where to begin the thought process! THANKS for sharing your wisdom!

  127. Maggie Keller says:

    I am so glad you published this post again
    And I had a chance to read it and SAVE it this time! So much good information. Thx, Yvonne.

  128. You have opened a new world to me in regards to white paint. My neutral has always been beige and tans, but you have opened a Pandora’s box with new ideas. Change is always a good idea and that’s what your decorating ideas give, “a new life”. I loved your Stone Gable home and didn’t think you could improve anything, but then you again outshone yourself with decorating your new home. It’s interesting to wait for your always new and upcoming ideas. You truly make a house look like a home. You know how to give it a personality!

  129. Sandra J Knight says:

    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  130. Edna Smith says:

    There certainly is a lot to think about when considering white paint. I love the way you have used it in your home. Thanks for information which will make it easier to make a choice when buying white paint.

  131. I’ve followed your blog for years. This post is another great one and as always so informative. I hope you will continue your blog for many more years! Thank you!!!!

  132. Karen Harris says:

    Choosing paint is SO hard! I once had so many swatches on my bedroom wall that my son said I should continue to swatch the rest of it and make it look like a quilt! LOL! Thank you for all the inspiration and how-tos you share!

  133. What a wonderful lesson! Back in ’79 when my ex and I were building our house, we took the paint chips outside to see them in natural light, then brought them back in to look at them under the flourescent light…back and forth…people thought we were crazy. My creamy living room walls had a gold undertone that was lovely at night by lamplight. The “burnt orange sherbet”, my name for it in my kitchen was gorgeous at night under the flourescent light! Taking that time was a valuable lesson; your post added a LOT more!

  134. Thanks for the great info!

  135. Thank you for all the wonderful thoughts and ideas. (I especially love your Sunday posts!) I am trying to decide on a white paint now, so this post is very timely for me!

  136. We used all your suggestions for white paint in our new home last year and we receive so many compliments. It makes our home nice and airy yet still homey. Many people have asked us our colors. We are currently finishing our basement and using the same colors there. Atrium white for all trim and doors, Sea Salt for the bathroom and Simply white for the walls.

    1. I love Atrium White! It has just a hint of pink undertones that makes the white a tiny bit warm.

  137. Thanks for the information on white paint. I am thinking about repainting with white. To me it is hard to choose any color. I might like the color on the swatch but when I finally decide on a color and put it on the wall it is not always something I like.

  138. Nancy Itson says:

    Thank you so much for the info on white paint. I am about to paint a few rooms and what you shared will be so helpful. I have followed your blog for several years and love all of your posts. Thanks for sharing with us your recipes, inspirational thoughts and decorating ideas!

  139. I appreciate your advice on picking white paint. My living room has a large north-facing window and a slightly smaller east-facing window. The light in the room varies greatly throughout the day. My 9-foot fireplace takes up half of one wall and I painted the mill-work in Behr’s Ultra White. A few months ago, I painted the walls Elegant Ivory. The creamy tone adds just enough contrast to the tirm.

  140. Your post on choosing paint came at the perfect time. I am planning to paint my living room within the next few weeks and your post was so helpful. Thank you.
    Also, I so enjoy your weekly menus. They have been so welcome as one can get in a rut making the same things week after week.

  141. Juraye Moran says:

    In our house not a single room is painted white! But I really am keeping all your tips for the next time. Your decor always looks so fresh and clean and I love how you can change your seasonal decorations so easily By using a neutral palette. In addition I love your blog. I especially love your menus and have tried many of them. Your chicken taco soup is my absolute favorite

  142. I appreciate all the info and time you put into your content and photos. Your blog is one of the few I stay with

  143. Bernadette says:

    We r building a new home and we can only choose one color throughout. House faces south and kitchen is in front with white cabinets. Light wood floors. SW paints only.
    In your opinion, is alabaster a good choice. My colors are black gray and white

  144. Whites can be so difficult to choose! Thank you for sharing this guide. It is quite helpful.

  145. I always think I don’t like flat, but I’m changing my mind, you know about it than I do, lol. thanks for tips!

  146. Enjoy reading your blog especially how-to projects, recipes, and home decoration ideas.
    Thank you, Jo

  147. Mary Kay Swindlehurst says:

    I love how clear your explanation is on the complexity of white paint!! It’s so overwhelming to go to the store and get lost with all the paint samples.

  148. What a great article with so much info on choosing white paint. So helpful to have the warm and cool tone examples too. Thank you !!!

  149. This is such a helpful post! We just purchased a home and had the walls painted white and will be using this as a reference for decorating.

  150. Thanks Yvonne. I think I’m ready to go for it and get my white paint for my home !

  151. This is very informative for anyone who wants to try white but has no idea where to begin! Thanks for sharing and the giveaway!

  152. I recently discovered your blog. Love it and your home.

  153. Codie guidry says:

    Omgoodness I love all white everything, your pics are gorgeous. It’s so calming.

  154. Penney Helms says:

    Beginning to undwrstand why I never wanted to paint white. I have seen so mych that did not work where it was used. Thanks for all the great details.

  155. Have enjoyed your blog for a long while. We have a center room with warm colored paneling and find that using white in the surrounding areas brings more light to the area and white also is an effective “color” for gallery type decorating. Thanks for the information.

  156. And I thought white was boring!!! Learned a lot from this article. Now it’s time to try it!!

  157. Thanks for a great tip–Google the source to find the undertones!