How are you at choosing paint colors? Is it a breeze or does it stress you out? Can you immediately pick a color from a hundred swatches and stand confident in your choice or do you agonize over the slightest of shades? Well, it’s time for me to admit that choosing paint colors for our walls is my kryptonite. It’s one of the reasons why we painted our walls white, but not the main reason. In this post, we’ll talk about why we painted our walls white and our favorite white paint colors.
Since we built our home 20 years ago, the walls in our house have been yellow – 4 different shades of yellow actually. But it was time for the yellow to go.
I started looking at paint swatches. Tried to decide on a new color – gray, greige, cocoa, green, blue. It went all wrong right from the beginning.
Choosing a Style, Then a Color
You see, I made the mistake of trying to choose a color and working that color into a style. I realized that was completely backwards!
Instead, what I needed to do was decide on a decor style that I love and then choose a paint color that achieved that style.
So what is my style?
If you had asked me 15, 10, or even 5 years ago I would not have been able to answer that. But today I could. My style is….
White. White with natural wood with black/dark gray accents, and greenery. Would interior designers put a name on my style? Probably. They may call it modern farmhouse. Or rustic modern. Or some combination of words. But I don’t really feel the need to label it.
My style is white with natural woods with black/dark gray accents and greenery.
Here’s a sample from Pinterest:
Isn’t it gorgeous! To me it is, because it’s MY style. And while the oak wood in our home is more yellow and our kitchen cabinets are stained cherry like those two leather chairs in the photo, I still believe there are elements of this design that I can integrate into our home to get a similar feel.
So what are those design elements?
- Black lights
- Warm leather
- Lots of natural light
- and WHITE WALLS
If you remember, a few months back we changed out a few of our ceiling lights from brass to black. This was in preparation for the white walls.
Now that I knew the walls would be white, I just had to choose a shade.
Ha! Easier said than done right? Actually it is.
Choosing the Perfect White
When choosing a white paint color, the first step is to decide what undertone will work best in your home.
- Bright white
- Warm white with a yellow undertone
- Cool white with a blue undertone
- Or, a white with a pink, green, or purple undertone.
Next, choose a white paint color based on which direction the natural light enters the room. no matter which white you choose, it will look different on different walls in your home and at different times of the day as the sun moves around your home. Here’s a basic guide:
- North Facing Rooms: choose a yellow white to counterbalance the cool northern light.
- East Facing Rooms: choose a clean, warm white.
- South Facing Rooms: choose a white with a hint of gray or blue to counterbalance the amber cast of southern exposure.
- West Facing Rooms: choose a cool blue or gray white to counterbalance the warm setting sun
We’ll get more into exactly which paint colors fall into those categories in a later post so be sure you’re signed up to receive Entri Ways’ weekly email in your inbox!
Let’s keep moving. Here are a few of my favorite whites:
Favorite White Paint Colors
Sherwinn Williams Fundamental White is the the color we ultimately chose to paint our walls. We painted the main floor of our home, including the kitchen, dining room, front entry, and center hallway.
We have an open concept so the light comes from all directions. I wanted to be sure the walls looked clean and bright in the darker areas but not too stark white in the brighter areas. Fundamental white, with just a slight yellow undertone (but not too much) was the perfect mix choice.
We opted for Fundamental White on both the walls and the woodwork. Semigloss went on the woodwork. Eggshell (similar to satin) was used on the walls.
Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White is a shade warmer than SW’s Fundamental White. It’s also the color we painted our master bedroom and upstairs hallway several year ago. I’ve never felt the need to change the color upstairs. Absolutely love Cloud White. It’s perfect upstairs, but when I tried it downstairs on the first floor, it looked more yellow.
If you’d like to go a hint brighter than the Fundamental or Cloud White, choose Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. It’s a crisp, clean winter-white like a fresh snowfall, but not the bright white of a men’s t-shirt.
Benjamin Moore’s White OC-151 is basically the pre-mixed white or the white base you buy off the shelf. It’s the men’s t-shirt of whites. It’s bright, crisp, and clean with no undertone at all. White OC-151 is what I used on the woodwork and shelving unit in our master bathroom.
Speaking of our master bathroom, wait until you see what’s happening in there! I just finished painting it and brought in this white cabinet and our shower sprung a leak. Actually, now that it’s torn apart, it’s likely it’s been leaking for a long time. Aye! What a mess in there. More on that renovation as we get through it.
I hope this post helped you choose the perfect white for your home.