14 Designers Share Their Favorite Shades of White Paint

updated Mar 25, 2020
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(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Move over, 50 Shades of Grey; when it comes to painting your walls, it’s more like 50 shades of white.

Design lovers know there’s no such thing as one shade of white paint. There’s egg shell, cream, ivory, snow, alabaster, ecru…shall we go on?

With dozens (and dozens) of nuanced shades to choose from, painting your walls white is easier said than done and, quite frankly, is a complete headache. To help ease the process, we asked 14 designers for their favorite white paints. Now all there’s left to do is see if you can tell the difference between “Simply White” and “Extra White.”

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

“We use Strong White from Farrow & Ball because it literally is the most neutral white, but has a milk quality to it. It does not have pink or yellow undertones but has a softness that is needed in a true white. When people think of white, they think that sterile, hospital white, but Strong White is one that is soft and has depth.” —Caroline Grant and Dolores Suarez, co-founders of Dekar Design

“Farrow & Ball’s Strong White is my go-to for period properties because it adds a fresh, subtle urban feel to heavily detailed plaster moldings. I always use Estate Emulsion over Modern Emulsion as it has a gorgeous soft patina that only improves with age.”Katharine Pooley, interior designer

(Image credit: Max Kim-Bee)

“Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17 is my go-to workhorse white paint that never lets me down. It is white with a subtle hint of gray that keeps it from being too cold and stark. At first glance, it appears to be pure white but it’s not. Other off-whites can tend to render drab yellow or green in waning light and pure ‘super white’ can feel almost blue. This color gets us that crisp, bright, and happy backdrop without skewing cold or drab.” —Patrick Sutton, interior designer

(Image credit: Anthony Carrino)

“Typically, when I am using white paint, I want a true white: crisp, clean, and devoid of tints or hints of other shades. This allows the additional colors in the room to work as they are intended and not color cast a piece of furniture, wallpaper, or other design elements within the space.” Anthony Carrino, designer

(Image credit: Luis Peña)

“Benjamin Moore Simply White is always a great choice. A warm inviting white that still feels crisp and like a true ‘white’ white. It is especially nice on cabinetry and walls, but mixed with color as a nice trim and ceiling color as well!” —Kristen Peña, owner of K Interiors

“Simply White has been our go-to for years, even before Benjamin Moore called it out as color of the year in 2016.” —Jessica Shaw, director of interior design at Turett Collaborative

(Image credit: Rajni Alex)

“It’s a bright and cheery white that’s still graceful (not pasty) and in this case suits the first floor of our client’s Jackson Heights home perfectly. We used it along with Benjamin Moore’s Intense White on the moldings and trims in a high gloss finish, and additional accents on the stairwell in Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White. The combination of these different shades of white feels very modern and uplifting without becoming too stark.” —Rajni Alex, interior designer

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

“I love Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White. The shade reads as a white when you walk into a room, but has a subtle cool undertone that creates a nuanced look. It’s white without feeling like a stark hospital.” —Alessandra Wood, director of style at Modsy and interior design expert

(Image credit: Clare)

“I love using warmer whites in spaces because they keep a room from feeling too sterile. Whipped is my favorite! With dreamy and whisked-to-perfection vibes, this warm white has a soft, delicate feel. Our best white for north-facing rooms but versatile enough to work in any space.” —Nicole Gibbons, interior designer and founder of Clare

(Image credit: Vladislav Borimsky)

“I love it because it doesn’t read too yellow or gray and works with a variety of neutral colors. It complements warm and cool neutral tones.” —Michele Dopp, textile designer and founder of Fabric & Steel

(Image credit: Anastasios Gliatis)

“At Oniro Taverna, we used colors from the 1960s and ’70s that resembled whites that one would identify in the Greek Isles. Pure, crisp, fresh, clean were the first emotions that took me back home once seeing these colors.” —Anastasios Gliatis, interior designer

(Image credit: Joe Robbins)

“It’s a soft, neutral off-white, which reflects a range of tones as the day passes. [It’s] warm in the morning, cool midday, and in the evening has a soft atmospheric glow in incandescent light.” — Joe Robbins, interior designer

(Image credit: Studio Life.Style)

“Our favorite white is Farrow & Ball’s ‘All White’ in the Estate Emulsion finish— Farrow & Ball’s version of a matte finish.It’s a timeless white that looks great in anything from an ultra-contemporary space to a traditional space. A lot of whites can lean bluer or more yellow, but Farrow & Ball ‘All White’ is truly a perfectly balanced white.” —Shannon Wollack, founder and partner of Studio Life.Style

(Image credit: Studio Gild)

“It’s an incredibly versatile white that we find ourselves using again and again. It has a touch more pigment than other whites, which results in a subtle depth and chameleon- like quality that allows it to change quite dramatically in different environments, depending on light conditions and surrounding materials. Even with a bit more punch than whiter shades of white, it still provides a beautiful blank canvas to showcase colorful decorative layers.” —Melissa Benham, co-founder of Studio Gild