Best white paint colors: Expert share the top options

Finding the best white paint in a sea of shades can be a challenge. So, we asked color experts to narrow down the list into the top options for every space and style

benjamin moore cloud white
Benjamin Moore Cloud White
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

White paint is beloved by homeowners, landlords, designers, home stagers, realtors, and buyers. The popularity of this color is due to its versatility. It looks good in big or small spaces, and old or new homes, and it makes a perfect hue whether you're painting walls or looking for the best paint for furniture. Whether traditional, transitional, modern, mid-century modern, contemporary, Hollywood glam, farmhouse, Scandinavian, or industrial – the beauty of white paint is that it fits any design style. And it can create a blank slate or bring all of the other colors in the room together.

However, there’s an endless selection of white paint colors to choose from. And it can be overwhelming trying to decide if you need a warm white, a cool white, or a neutral white – or determine which white paint is best for trim, small spaces, or faking natural light. 

Relax, we’ve got you covered. We spoke with the color experts at some of the top paint companies in the world to discover the very best white paint colors for all of your needs. 

The best warm white paint colors

Warm white paint colors are a top choice for traditional interiors and classic spaces, but can also work well for cozying up contemporary spaces.

Below, our experts share their favorites. 

Valspar Cream Delight

valspar cream delight

(Image credit: Valspar)

When would you use a warm white color? According to Sue Kim, color marketing manager at Valspar, it’s a perfect way to make a space feel minimalistic yet cozy. “Cream Delight 7002-14 is a beautiful white with warm undertones that works perfectly if you’re looking for comforting shades,” she tells us. “Use this creamed white if the overall aesthetic in your home is warmer shades like browns, tans, reds, or orange tones.”   

Benjamin Moore Cloud White

Benjamin Moore white paint

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

But that’s not the only way to use a warm white. “A warm off-white paint color, like our favorite Cloud White OC-130, is great for north facing room or rooms that get cooler, natural light,” says Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore. She tells us that the slight hint of yellow undertone adds a touch of warmth without overpowering the space. 

PPG Vanilla Milkshake

PPG vanilla milkshake

(Image credit: PPG)

According to Amy Donato, PPG senior color marketing manager, warm white paint colors can create a cozy, restful ambiance, like in a bedroom. “Vanilla Milkshake (PPG1015-1). a dusty, warm white, and Mother of Pearl (PPG1100-1), a shaded, yet cheerful white are great options for creating a comforting space.”

The best cool white paint colors

Cool tones complement modern homes and cool-toned decor schemes, and can also neutralize spaces that get a ton of natural light. Here are top picks if you're looking for a cooler white paint shade.

Valspar Bistro White

PPG White paint

(Image credit: PPG )

Kim recommends a cool white for creating crisp and clean spaces. “Valspar’s Bistro White 7006-4 is a white emphasizing a modern look of a space,” she says. “Pair this clean white with cool shades in your home like blues, greens, and grays.”  

Benjamin Moore White Wisp

Benjamin Moore white wisp

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Yeo agrees that cool whites help to create a clean modern look. “One excellent option is Benjamin Moore’s White Wisp OC-54, which is a cool and refreshing white,” she says. “With a hint of blue and gray undertone, White Wisp OC-54 pairs well with colors like Coventry Gray HC-169 and Hale Navy HC-154.”

PPG Delicate White

ppg delicate white

(Image credit: PPG)

Donato tells us that a favorite among PPG customers is Delicate White (PPG1001-1). “For rooms with distinctive features, like an arched doorway, consider highlighting the architecture by painting around the area to create a focal point,” she suggests.  “Paint the arched doorway using Romeo (PPG1056-2) and use Delicate White to brighten up the walls around the arched doorway.”

The best neutral white paint colors

Don't want a warm or cool tone? Neutral whites, like the picks below, are the perfect blank canvas not matter what sort of space you're decorating.

PPG Cotton Tail

ppg white paint

(Image credit: PPG)

A neutral white is a perfect option for mixing various tones and color temperatures. “PPG’s Cotton Tail (PPG0998-1) is a clean, neutral hue that offers great versatility throughout the home,” Donato explains.  She says it can serve as the primary color on the walls of bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, or offices, and it works well with trim.

Valspar Swiss Coffee

Valspar swiss coffee paint

(Image credit: Valspar)

Kim recommends Valspar’s Swiss Coffee 7002-16. “It is a great color to use when you have warm and cool colors throughout a space, working well with grays, beiges, and all the shades in between.”  

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Over at Benjamin Moore, Yeo says that Chantilly Lace OC-65 is one of their brightest and cleanest white paint colors. “There’s no limit to neutral white paint as it easily pairs well with other surrounding colors, so you can use it on the walls, trim and/or ceiling for a crisp look.” 

The best white paint for trim

Trim paint is often stark white, but it doesn't have to be. Whether you're looking for pure white, or something with a bit more depth, you can't go wrong with these hues. 

Valspar Ultra White

valspar white paint

(Image credit: Valspar)

If you paint your trim white, Kim says it’s a good idea to use the same color throughout your entire space.

“It needs to work with various wall colors that are painted in the different rooms of your home,” she explains. “Choose a nice clean white with no undertone so it can work with any color, like Valspar’s Ultra White 7006-24.”

Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White or White Dove

Benjamin Moore Decorator's White

Benjamin Moore Decorator's White

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Yeo also recommends using the same color trim throughout your house for continuity. “For finishes, consider semi-gloss for trim and doors, matte or eggshell for walls, and flat for ceilings,” she says.  

Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White OC-149, a clean bright white, and White Dove OC-17, a softer warm off-white, is the go-to trim color for many homeowners.”

PPG Cotton Tail

ppg white paint

(Image credit: PPG)

If you’re looking for complementary tones, Donato recommends a dreamy, light blue paint color like PPG’s Graceful (PPG1152-3) on the walls of a bedroom and then Cotton Tail as the trim in a high-gloss sheen for added durability against scuffs.

The best white paint for small spaces

White is a natural choice for small spaces, since it's light-reflecting properties make a space feel more open and expansive. Here are the colors to look for if adding square footage (visually, at least) is your goal. 

Valspar Swiss Coffee

Valspar swiss coffee paint

(Image credit: Valspar)

If you have a small space – and you want it to look larger, Kim recommends painting every surface of the room the same white. “When the walls, ceiling, and trim are all painted the same color, it draws your eyes up making the ceiling feel taller,” she explains. “Valspar’s Swiss Coffee 7002-16 is a clean yet cozy white, great for an all over color in a space.”  

Benjamin Moore White Heron

benjamin moore white heron

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

In addition, Yeo recommends crisp whites such as Benjamin Moore’s White Heron OC-57 or White Diamond OC-61 for small spaces. “These clean whites provide brighter space, which gives the illusion of a bigger space.” She’s also a fan of keeping the wall, trim, and ceiling the same white to visually unify the space. 

Best white paint for faking natural light

Donato says that lighting should always be a consideration when choosing white paint colors. “Lighting can make or break a white color, which is why it is crucial to consider the amount of daylight in a room or the surrounding landscaping for an exterior paint color,” she explains. “For example, clean whites look the best in a room with plenty of windows and natural lighting; otherwise, they can come off looking dingy or grayed.”

Valspar Ultra White 

valspar white paint

(Image credit: Valspar)

In a dark room, the right white paint can make the room feel lighter. Kim recommends a bright white color.  “The brightest white reflects the most light, making a space feel less dark and gray,” she says. “Valspar’s Ultra White 7006-24 is a fresh white that will help lighten a room, making it feel more open and brighter.”

Benjamin Moore Simply White and White Blush

Benjamin Moore simply white

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

According to Yeo, warm whites like Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117 and White Blush OC-86 are her go-to white colors for room that lack natural lighting. “These soft hues provide a subtle warm glow to any room,” she explains.  

Decorating with white paint

PPG pegasus paint

(Image credit: PPG)

Since white is such a versatile paint color, Yeo says it’s easy to layer white and off-white paint colors to create an elegant look. “Various textures, such as fabric, window treatment, and decorative accents create visual interest,” she says.

To Donato, since white paint can create a blank canvas, she loves that it can allow your furniture and décor to take center stage. “For a Scandinavian-inspired look, use a soft white like PPG’s Pegasus (PPG1010-1) and incorporate light wood furniture, linen fabrics and potted plants to lean in to the minimalist vibe.” Or, she says you can bring in bright, fun pops of color in a bedroom or living room. “Choose a piece of artwork, cushions, curtains, or maybe a rug with colorful hues and draw the eye – and don’t be afraid to add in more white décor.”

Prepping to paint with white

Want to know how to paint a wall so your white room looks its best? As excited as you may be to start on your paint project, don’t forget that prep work will determine how well it turns out. “Cleaning, sanding, and priming walls before painting is critical,” Yeo says. “Depending on the condition of the substrate, and the color you are covering - such as going from a darker hue to a white or neutral - using a high-quality primer will be important.” The primer is crucial because it helps seal the surface and she says it will help the topcoat to adhere to the surface.

In addition, Yeo recommends purchasing samples of the white paint colors you want and test them on the wall before you buy anything. "White paint colors are especially prone to taking on different tonalities from morning to evening, under both natural and artificial lighting conditions.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams

Terri Williams is a journalist with real estate, home improvement, and product review bylines at Realtor.com, Bob Vila, Yahoo, MSN, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, and Apartment Therapy. She also covers business topics, with bylines at USA Today, The Economist, US New & World Report, Verizon, and several other brands that you’ve probably heard of. Follow her adventures on Twitter.

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