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What’s the Perfect White Paint? 6 Designers Share Their Picks

What’s the Perfect White Paint? 6 Designers Share Their Picks
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Sure, deciding to paint your walls white seems like the easiest way to go, but not all white paints are created equal (hence the endless number of options to choose from). So we asked a few of our favorites designers what they consider the perfect white paint; not surprisingly, no two answers were the same.

Darryl Carter

Huntington White by Benjamin Moore
“I use this color often because it is a very chameleon white that responds atmospherically as the day progresses.”


Grant Gibson

Linen White by Benjamin Moore
“The creamy undertones of Linen White can help add a glow and warmth to a space. It looks especially beautiful at night in a room full of lit candles. Often I also like to mix a blend of 50% Linen White and 50% Decorator White; it’s sort of a design secret that has been used for years.”


Kathryn Ireland

New White by Farrow & Ball
“New White is a great background color for me to build a room around. It pairs incredibly well with the earthy tones that I like to use in projects.”

Steal the Look

The white walls in this gorgeous living room, designed by Sasha Adler and Lauren Gold, provide a clean backdrop for its colorful furnishings.

The white walls in this gorgeous living room, designed by Sasha Adler and Lauren Gold, provide a clean backdrop for its colorful furnishings.

Sasha Adler & Lauren Gold

Snowfall White by Benjamin Moore
“This color is one of our favorite go-to whites because it’s a soft white that’s versatile enough to work with both modern and vintage architecture. We have used it to paint trim, bathroom vanities, and kitchen cabinetry.”


Ruthie Sommers

Ivory White by Benjamin Moore
“Believe me, I have made every white error you can imagine, but I love using Benjamin Moore’s Ivory White everywhere. My favorite place to use it is on the floor because it lights up the house like a lantern!”


Lulu deKwiatkowski

Atrium White by Benjamin Moore
“I painted my whole house in Southampton in Atrium White—the walls, ceilings, and moldings. It looks amazing and has incredible depth with a fresh appeal.”

Steal the Look

Related: 6 Rooms Painted Fall’s Hottest Shade >

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

17 Responses to “What’s the Perfect White Paint? 6 Designers Share Their Picks”

  1. Westy J says:

    I love this article because I am so in love with all the different choices in white. I have a creamy white in my office & it gives off such a beautiful glow that it actually is my favorite room to be in (which is good since I have to work in that room lol)….I want to look into the other whites mentioned for our bathroom & kichen. I am in the mood to go all kinds of crazy with white lol…thanks for a great article.

  2. Lidz01 says:

    Having read decades of issues of “Architectural Digest,” I KNEW that I was going to use Benjamin Moore Super White in my remodeled Home. As we can from this article, Benjamin Moore is the consensus choice for the highest quality standard of paint — especially white paint. The problem with the painting contractor industry is that Painters are notorious for being absolutist and finicky in their professions. I stared learning this when I was six (6) years old and my family was having an apartment remodeled. Painters have not changed in 56 years.

    Unfortunately my local painting contractor is a devotee of Sherman Williams. I went to both the local Sherman Williams store and a local independent store to get samples of both Benjamin Moore Super White and another BM white colour and a sample or two of the whitest white that Sherman Williams blends.

    I wanted to see for myself. In the end it is best not to even begin to discuss the brand and/or colour choice with the painting contractor especially if it is already clear that he is set in his ways and means. One is better advised to first find a contractor that will work with the paint you want without argument. If you live in a larger population demographic this is easier to do. I can see where painters are artists and craftspeople and no doubt they are the inheritors of Michelangelo, But when you have spent decades imagining your residence done in a certain colour, etc., and you are stymied by the painter, you go back to the “it’s just a wall” theory of settling for something that the painter is happy with. Many painters have their own methods of adding a drop of this or that to the commercial blend and creating a “custom” colour — white or otherwise. In the end this is what we used, but one always wonders the proverbial what if. . . ,

    • Renee says:

      I would definitely find a painter who would use the paint that I wanted. Are you ultimately happy with the results? Or do you feel like you “settled?”

      • Lidz01 says:

        Renee, Thank you for your observation. I appreciate it. We live in a small community up here. There are not that many options. The painting contractor was part of the Team of craftspeople that the Prime Contractor assembled. It is one of those situations where the area is so small, maybe three degrees of separation, if that, that you want to be on as good terms as you can with folks. I guess I am not sure yet whether I am ultimately happy with the results. There have been various trubbles with other sub-contractors and materials, parts, etc. in the course of the Project. It is like the final Punch List is never ending. I guess so far I would have to say I settled. I am already planning either a remodel to the remodel or an addition to the remodel or another house or another place to live altogether. They say that one’s problems go with one wherever one goes, but this house has been problematic from the get go. I think we have been suckered into the whole American Dream, “Dream House” thing as part of that “Americans can do anything” ethic and as we have seen the whole thing is broken, has failed, is dying a rapid but ugly agonizing death. This particular saga has been a long, savage one in the tradition of a Russian biography or novel. I found and bought this house in October of 2012 and have only been under roof since April 1st of 2015, and have consulted an attorney about neighbours who appear to be violating my property rights. If anything this experience is a prime example for “Elle Decor,” “Architectural Digest,” and any and all house, home and housing related periodicals, journals, etc. of the complete present horror of housing in America.

        • Renee says:

          Oh no. That sounds so frustrating! I hope the journey becomes easier and more peaceful.

          • Lidz01 says:

            Thank you, Renee. It will take a long time, perhaps a couple more years to sort all of this out. It has cost me a lot of health of physical, mental and any other type.

          • margot tenenbaum says:

            I am not trying to be nosy but I’m very curious as to where you live? I also live in a very small isolated northern community, and struggle often with small business owners, who no I don’t have much choice due to lack of options. I’m pretty resigned already to not continue to live here, let alone, buy a house! I’m truly sorry for all the nightmarish problems you’ve experienced. Hope things improve for you soon ☺️

          • Lidz01 says:

            Hi Margot, I currently live in Clatsop County, Oregon — some of the sites are Seaside, Gearhart, Warrenton, Astoria. I don’t know that we are isolated, and I have not been here all that long, but one can size up an area pretty quickly. From my start here I have said that there is just enough to sustain life here. I would not go much further than that. There is opportunity and potential but, the old guard and old money families are dead set against change, even the smallest amount of progress, ways to improve the economy, put people to work and back to work. There was an over 5 hour power failure on 4th July and that just about set Seaside, back into Recession/Depression for at least this year. It is one shot or bust economy and the infrastructure is weak, fragile, vulnerable. If one really wanted to fight it out, one could live here, but I have already indeed made the decision to leave and the House is on the market already. I have been under roof for only less than 4 1/2 months. Oregon is the most dissimilar state in the Union and it is proud of that fact. I was labeled an “outsider” from the get go. I bear folks little grudge, but when one (me) start to pack your House twice in 2 weeks, it is clear I have made a choice to not stay. Best of success to you. Our nation is very unstable, fearful and insecure at this point. No where is there anywhere to go, but the “New York Times” reports that the ex-pat tide is rising every year and at this point 35% of Americans would leave altogether if they could. That is a very strong statement. I wish you success, safety and health!

    • Aerogenous says:

      I think you mean Sherwin Williams, not Sherman. LOL Anyway, I married into a Benjamin Moore distributorship family and even my husband, the store manager, bought his paint at Sears. Benjamin Moore is like any other business that’s been around for a while, you pay for the name but its quality is not necessarily superior. I am a die hard Sherwin Williams fan and have found most contractors in my area are as well. Try it, you might like it! I would not include house painters in the catagory of artists, being an artist myself, but tradesmen, yes. They are good at their craft. Get the damn paint you want and the quantity you need and tell him that is what he is using. You are paying him to do a job, make him do the job you want!

      • Lidz01 says:

        Aerogenous, Thank you very much for your information! I understand what you mean by companies trading on their name. Unfortunately that has become part of “The American Way.” We did indeed succumb to the painting contractor,’s colour, and the entire interior is indeed painted in SherWIN Williams Extra White with a blend of Raw Umber and a couple other things to achieve what the painter calls his “Custom White.” The intent was that any colour in the house would come from minimal and sparse furnishings and art on the wall. I don’t know how durable the S-W will be, but it may largely covered over by various art pieces. So far the painting has been very difficult to keep clean and depending on how the light shines one can see the occasional miss or omission, etc. It has been a very problematic house from the get go, and I doubt I will remain here.

  3. TAG says:

    I have a problem I wonder if anyone else has encountered. My kitchen was supposed to be painted in Simply White by Benjamin Moore, walls ceiling and all the wood: cabinets, trim. We are noticing that the cabinets are staining from tea and coffee drips. The painter was supposed to use the mid-level quailty of Benjamin Moore: Ultra 500. That’s what the cans said. But I have never had a problem like this with any other paint job. Anyone have any ideas of what went wrong and how to fix?

  4. Lidz01 says:

    Hi TAG, I am not sure I understand the physics of the problem. Most “drips” usually hit the counter above cabinets or they go straight to the floor. I will concede that some drips do hit the vertical surface of cabinets on their way down. Tea and Coffee are both extremely powerful elements. Any natural element from the earth is going to be a real stain-maker. It could also be a “breathing” problem with the wood or the paint. We were finishing a table and did not allow for proper breathing and we had “bubble trouble.” I would consult Benjamin Moore either on their web site or their 1-800 number, or send them an email via their “Contact Us” button on their web site. Your local BM retailer might also have an answer. Take photos with your cell phone to show the retailer. Hope this helps.

  5. R. Walker says:

    This is THE best book on getting your home clean and organized before and after you paint:

  6. Tori says:

    To my eye, most Ben Moore colors are muddy. I much prefer Sherwin Williams for that reason.

  7. BenjaminLatrobe says:

    I like the chalky look of Benjamin Moore’s “China White” as a background. Artwork and antique furniture look great against it. It reminds me of whitewash but in a paint.

  8. Vanilla Bean says:

    Well, I’m very late getting into this discussion but I do use the paint and color I love and my painter has no problem with whatever I choose. Last year, I simply tired of looking at my colored walls and had all the walls in the main living areas, including the kitchen, painted white. My choice? Vanilla Lace by Sherwin Williams and white linen for the baseboards and moldings. It looks absolutely beautiful and my painter/s thought so, too! They did an awesome job in this small town I live in. It’s your house and you’re the one who has to live there, so choose what you love and be happy!

  9. boofinky says:

    thanks for the regression analysis

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