White is a versatile and timeless paint color for any home. It offers several transformative benefits, mainly by reflecting the most light, which creates a feeling of openness. Clean white colors also appear pure and encompass cleanliness and perfection. 

In our experience, the neutrality of white allows interior decor, exterior accents, and lush landscapes to be accentuated better than any other paint color. We have curated a list of the best white colors from Sherwin Williams. Our top 10 list considers undertones, lighting, and style and shares our experience with the colors. We even included a few application tips.

By reading our tips and recommendations, you will be able to understand all the nuances of white paint colors. Let’s dive in and discover the transformative power of painting with white.

Off-White Paint: Cool and Cream Colors

By definition, “cool white” is a crisp and bright shade with a high LRV and contains little undertones. It is a popular choice for modern and minimalist interiors. On the other hand, warm white shades have subtle yellow or beige undertones, offering a touch of warmth and coziness.


Other popular shades of white include off-white, ivory, and cream. Off-white shades have a slight gray or blue undertone, making them versatile and relaxed. Creams contain light shades of raw umber and yellow undertones.

Applying White Colors

White is not a particularly difficult color to paint. Rolling, brushing, or spraying white paint is relatively straightforward under normal conditions. However, paint manufacturers are widely known for reducing TO2. Therefore, depending on the color you are applying, the color you are covering up, and the paint type, you may find white will require a few additional coats. Here are a few tips to maximize your efforts.

Interior Painting Tips:

  1. Prepackaged, non-tintable white paints provide the best coverage.
  2. You may need to apply three coats to cutt-in the edges.
  3. Use premium paint when painting over dark or shiny surfaces.
  4. Premium paint is more wipeable for cleaning.
  5. Learn skills to paint exterior trim and interior walls. 

Exterior Painting Tips:

  1. Paint with an extra white base and little tint has a thinner consistency, resulting in more overspray.
  2. Brighter white trim colors provide less coverage.
  3. Paint sheen variations are less noticeable in lighter colors. 
  4. White exterior colors show ground-level dirt and splashback. 
  5. Using Sherwin Williams Emerald will reduce excessive dirt collection on textured surfaces.

#1 Pure White

Pure white is a Sherwin-Williams color that perfectly balances the warm and cool effect. These characteristics make it a perfect fit for any space, including kitchens and exterior trim. Pure White is among the best colors for monochromatic layouts based on how it casts light.


With only a couple of drops of gold and one drop of red, Pure White is comparable to slightly aged paper. Pure White is an excellent option if you’re looking for a bright and clean white for your kitchen. This remarkable white shade creates a modern and fresh look, making your kitchen feel spacious and bright. It works well with both light and dark cabinetry.

Hence, the name Pure White stays true to color over time and strikes the perfect balance of hiding dirt and not being too stark.

Recommended Areas:

  • Kitchens
  • Exterior Siding or Trim
  • Interior Doors, Cabinet, & Trim

Light Reflection Value: 84

#2 Snowbound

If you don’t want a yellow, gold, or blue undertone, Snowbound is a serious consideration. Think of Snowbound as the lightest shade of Beige possible. However, the Beige ques are so subtle that they will likely go unnoticed, and this is a massive strength, which makes this color #2 on our list. 


Snowbound is not easily controlled by light. It sticks to its neutral white roots unwaveringly and unapologetically, so you don’t have to be concerned about how light will influence this color.

Well-lit areas will benefit from Snowbound. Since it sticks to its proper form, you can pair nearly any color beside it.

Recommended Areas:

  • Interior Walls
  • Well Light Areas
  • Beside Accent/ Dark Color

Light Reflection:

#3 Alabaster

Alabaster is a subtlest version of light cream. The slight cream undertone is most visible under natural and incandescent lighting, shedding understated gold shimmers. 

Despite the ever-evolving design changes, Alabaster has remained one of Sherwin-William’s most popular colors, which is a testament to its versatility. It provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for creating a relaxing and comfortable space. It pairs well with both neutral and bold color schemes.

Natural paint aging and yellowing over time increase its gold characteristics. To some, Alabaster may appear too yellow in 10 years or less. We recommend using a premium paint to slow the process of yellowing.

Recommended Areas:

  • Trim/ Cabinets
  • Open Living Spaces
  • Bathrooms

Light Reflection V

#4 Shoji White

A better example of a gray and warm white balance is Shoji White. This Japanese-inspired color is one of the most popular yet hardest to pinpoint. Like most neutrals, it is affected by lighting. 


The darker traits of Shoji White make calling it a bright color a hard sell. However, it has enough warmth to remain in the category. However, its identity starts to fall apart compared to a dedicated, warm color. 

This color is best used independently in a dedicated space and with intent. We don’t recommend putting Shoji White beside other warm or comparable colors. But not all is lost. Shoji White remains useful as a standalone white color that compliments any color that’s a bit more pronounced.

Recommended Areas: 

  • Kitchens, Nooks, Dining Rooms
  • Low Lit Areas
  • Offices

#5 Ice Cube

Ice Cube is the perfect example of off-white. It has a slight blue-gray undertone. But again, these undertones are so subtle that it will be hard to distinguish in well-light areas. 

More applicable, Ice Cube is a modern white color that pairs well with fluorescent lighting. The modern, less bright appearance makes it a perfect interior or exterior home trim color.


Sometimes, trim and wall contrasts can be too drastic. Ice Cube does an outstanding job of maintaining its white coloration while making smooth transitions to more dominant colors.

Recommended Areas:

  • Interior Trim
  • Bathroom Vanity
  • Interior Walls

Light Reflection Value: 77

#6 Greek Villa

Greek Villa is a controversial paint color in many ways. Some characterize it as having gray undertones. While this may be true in areas that are not well-lit, Greek Villa is more of a muted cream overall. Greek Villa is the lightest warm color compared to the other nine colors in this article. 


Since it’s a popular color in the Sherwin-Williams catalog, and grays and whites are in, writers may be compelled to support these claims. While we highly recommend the color, we would never depict it as gray. 

Greek Villa offers a slightly muted but creamy backdrop that is calming, neutral, and considered to increase productivity. This warm Sherwin-Williams white color perfectly merges the lines between warm, light, and modern.

Recommended Areas:

  • Offices/ Studies
  • Library
  • Interior Bedroom Walls

Tip: Great for interior walls and ceilings when you want to calm down the intensity of the light reflected from a ceiling but still obtain a warm light feel.

Light Reflective Value: 84

#7 Creamy

Light, bright, warm, and proud, Creamy is the seventh color, and for good reason. Creamy is the most cheerful color on this list. It contains a loud remanence of yellow and gold, and, according to Julie Blanner, is considered to increase mood. 


While creamy is not a vivid color, its yellow hue is undeniably pleasing. It offers a controlled warmth that no other color on this list provides. 

Creamy is an excellent choice for a touch of elegance and sophistication in dining rooms. This warm, creamy white creates a cozy and inviting feel, perfect for hosting intimate gatherings. It pairs well with both light and dark wood furniture.

Recommended Areas:

  • Sunrooms
  • Living Rooms
  • Bedrooms

Light Reflective Value: 81

#8 Extra White

Extra white creates a cool white canvas that doesn’t attract attention. For the minimalist, the simplicity of Extra White is appealing and is among the safest choices. The crisp, clean look is perfect for a modern atmosphere. 


But extra white is not as white as you would think. As the notable design influencer Kylie Interiors suggests, it’s slightly dark compared to other white colors provided by other paint manufacturers. We won’t explain why but know that Extra White already contains a drop of black (B1). Extra White can be used as is but is primarily a tintable base to mix light paint colors.

This white shade creates a clean and crisp look, perfect for a spa-like atmosphere. It pairs well with light and dark flooring and tiles, creating a timeless and elegant feel. Brighter Sherwin-Williams colors will require a high-reflective base to eliminate the added black.

Recommended Areas:

  • Bathrooms, Spas, Small Open Areas
  • Exterior Trim/ Siding
  • Interior Ceilings

Light Reflective Value: 86

#9 High Reflective White

High-reflective white is Sherwin-Williams’s response to brighter colors that other brands like Benjamin Moore provide. However, it lacks pigment and does not cover well. So, prepare for multiple coats when using any color that requires a high-reflective base.

All colors requiring a high reflective base lack pigment and require more experience to apply. Applying a base coat such as SW Extra white will improve coverage and prevent excessive coats for colors requiring a high reflective base.

Tip: Our painters use extra white for the first coat and the reflective color on the second or third coat to prevent excessive coats needed for adequate coverage.


  • Only Use Indoors
  • Spray to Improve Coverage
  • Expect Additional Costs When Using this Color

Light Reflection Value: 93

#10 Super White

Most homeowners are not familiar with SW Super White. Its lack of popularity doesn’t reflect the importance of this color in exterior applications. Super White is mainly an exterior color used for trim. At its core, it’s a thicker version of Extra White with additional black pigment. 

Since more light is reflected outdoors, the difference between Super White and Extra White is negligible. However, the advantage is it’s improved coverage. 

Now restricted to the Sherwin-Williams Super Paint line, finding this rare white variant is even more challenging. But its ability to cover stains and hide dirt remains, and not all is lost. Adding drops of black to an Extra White base is equivalent.

Tip: Super white cannot be tinted, is exclusive to exterior usage, and is most commonly found in gloss finishes.

Recommended Areas:

  • Brick/ Block Foundations
  • Exterior Trim
  • Exterior Doors/ Entry

Light Reflective Value: 82

Tips & Considerations When Choosing White Colors

White is a popular but preferred look. Some consider white colors basic, dismal, or plain. But if you know you want a variation of white as your next paint color, here are a few considerations.

  1. Determine where the color is going and what other colors it will complement.
  2. Compare how the color is affected in well-lit and dark areas.
  3. Interior walls are often darker than trim unless you want a monochromatic look.
  4. If the color naturally has a yellow or earth tone, the natural yellow emitted by incandescent light will magnify how yellow the color looks. 
  5. Without natural light, fluorescent light will make light colors appear slightly green or blue.
  6. Light colors with gray undertones are less impacted by light.
  7. Cool colors naturally take on blue or green tones, regardless of the light source. 
  8. Cool white colors will appear as muted light gray in darker rooms.
  9. White colors incorporating black tend to provide the most natural look.
  10. Gold, raw umber, or new red in paint formulas provide a warmer feel. 

Tip 1: The formulation or mixture will be on the can when you get test samples. Ask the Sherwin-Williams rep at the counter for the formulation to determine the undertone before purchasing the paint.

Tip 2: Interior paint finishes that are too shiny could create unwanted glare. White walls combined with too much sheen could be overbearing. The goal is to create a clean and inviting atmosphere, not a blaring room where everyone has to quint on a sunny day.

Using White Paint In Different Design Styles

White paint can be used in various interior design styles to create different looks and atmospheres. Here are some tips for using white paint in different styles:

Minimalist: White paint often creates a clean, uncluttered look in minimalist interiors. 

Scandinavian: White is a critical element of Scandinavian design. Use warm white shades to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. 

Farmhouse: White paint is commonly used in farmhouse-style interiors to create a rustic and inviting feel. Choose creamy white shades and pair them with natural wood and exposed brick materials. Add vintage-inspired decor for a charming touch.

Modern: White paint creates a sleek and polished look in modern interiors. Opt for cool white shades and pair them with bold, vibrant furniture or artwork. Use clean lines and minimal decor to achieve a contemporary feel.

Traditional: White paint can add a touch of elegance to traditional interiors. Choose off-white shades with warm undertones and pair them with rich, luxurious fabrics.

Paint Maintenance & Touch Up

Interior Cleaning: Use a soft cloth or a duster to remove surface dust. For stains, gently wipe the area with a damp cloth and mild soap.

 Exterior Cleaning: Wash exterior surfaces annually using low pressure. Avoid applying harsh chemicals or cleaners, as they can damage the paint. Stick to mild soap, light bleach, or non-abrasive cleaner designed for painted surfaces.

Touch-ups: Paint chips, scuffs, and smudges can develop due to normal paint wear. Storing extra paint is critical for future paint touch-ups.


By considering factors such as lighting and decor and testing paint samples, you can confidently choose the right white paint color for your space. Properly maintaining your white-painted surfaces guarantees they look stunning for years because your white color will transcend through time.

Start your home transformation journey today and experience the beauty and versatility of the best Sherwin-Williams white colors by contacting us for your next interior or exterior painting project in Raleigh, NC, or the Triangle area today!

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