Choosing the perfect white paint color can be tricky, but it can make your room look beautiful. Check out these Behr white paint favourites and tips on how to pick the perfect one.
Why paint your room white?
I've done several room makeovers with white painted walls. Why? White walls can make a room feel much bigger than it is, it can make a room feel fresh & new, plus it can make a room feel brighter when there's limited natural light. White paint doesn't have to be boring, though! Most of my favourite Behr white paint colours have beautiful undertones to make them look interesting. You can also paint your walls and trim slightly different shades of white to add further interest.
Let's talk Undertones
Most white paints have a slight undertone. This means white paints have a tiny hint of blue, pink or yellow which makes them appear more colourful when compared to pure white. You'll find most whites have a subtle hue to them.
The best way to find a paint colour's undertone for me personally is using white copy paper in natural light. Go outside an hour before sunset, or go near a window inside. You can see your white paint’s undertone by placing the paint chip on a piece of copy paper. You'll see the subtle differences between the paint colour and the white copy paper that will make all those undertones pop out at you!
Let's talk LRV (Light Reflectance Value)
How do you know if a color will make your room feel cozy or brighter? The Light Reflectance Value (LRV) measures the amount of light that reflects from (or absorbs into) painted surfaces. Colors with higher LRVs are lighter mostly used in natural settings while those with lower values are darker and provide an environment where people can really relax. It's important to consider both factors when deciding on paint colors for different areas within our home! You can also use LRV to help you choose a slightly lighter and darker white to use for trim and walls.
My favourite Behr white paint colours
Here are my absolute favourite, best Behr white paint colours that I've used in my home renovations. Please note that many things can affect how you see these white paint colours in the photos below such as the room's lighting and your computer/phone's screen. Make sure to read my notes at the end of this blog post to ensure you're picking the right white paint for YOUR space!
Behr Ultra Pure White
Behr Ultra Pure White 1850
LRV: 94 R: 248 G: 248 B: 243
This is as close to a pure white as you can get, and it has one of the highest Light Reflectance Values I've seen. It's a great choice if you love a true, clean white, and it's also my favourite white paint for trim work and cabinetry. Ultra Pure White contrasts beautifully with any of the following whites I'm listing.
I used Ultra Pure White for all of the trim, doors and shiplap in our Little Lake House rental project. It's the best neutral white for almost any trim & door project, in my opinion. A high reflective white like this always looks crisp and fresh!
Behr Whisper White
Behr Whisper White HDC-MD-08
LRV: 89 R: 244 G: 243 B: 234
Whisper White is an excellent paint colour choice if you want something that's close to pure white, but slightly warmer. Warm white can look too yellow, but to me this one is subtle and perfect. It's my favourite white paint colour right now! In fact, I love Whisper White so much that I wrote a whole blog post about it! To me, this is the perfect white paint color for any space.
I used Whisper White on all of the trim work in our home, plus I used it in Our DIY Camper 2.0 for the walls and ceilings.
Behr Polar Bear
Behr Polar Bear 75
LRV: 90 R: 245 G: 244 B: 236
Polar Bear is another paint colour that's very close to a pure white with a little bit of warmth to it. It's one of Behr's most popular white paint colours for a reason! I haven't used Polar Bear that much because I like Whisper White a little more (I find Whisper white to look slightly richer), but my sister recently used it to paint her home and it looks beautiful.
Behr Silky White
Behr Silky White: PPU7-12
LRV: 83 R: 238 G: 235 B: 226
I love Silky White because it has a slightly grey-beige undertone (greige), so to me it doesn't read overly yellow or grey. It's soft white and has a modern feel. Silky White looks exceptionally good paired with trim work and shiplap in Ultra Pure White. This is the combo I used throughout Our Little Lake House!
Behr Blank Canvas
Blank Canvas DC-003
LRV: 84 R: 241 G: 237 B: 225
As Behr's 2023 colour of the year, Blank Canvas is a beautiful choice for a soothing, light wall colour. We chose to use this colour on the walls of our Tiny Lake House renovation, and contasted it slightly with the ceiling and trim in Ultra Pure White. Blank Canvas is quite similar to Swiss Coffee, below, in that it's a warmer white with some creamy yellow undertones. It's only very slightly cooler than Swiss Coffee, but it's not easy to see the difference in some lights!
Behr Swiss Coffee
Behr Swiss Coffee: 12
LRV: 84 R: 241 G: 237 B: 224
Swiss Coffee is a warm off-white that has slightly yellow-beige undertones. It's warm and cozy, so it's perfect for a room like a basement, kitchen or bedroom. You can see Swiss Coffee on my mom's lake house walls in natural light here:
Swiss Coffee also looks lovely paired with Ultra Pure White trim and doors, as shown above in my Mom's home. It does have a yellow undertone, so beware of that if you don't love yellow.
How to choose the best white paint colour for your home
I never advise anyone to choose a white paint colour based off of solely seeing it online. You may love how it looks in a photo on Pinterest on on Behr's website, but in real life IN YOUR HOME, it will probably look different. You also shouldn't pick a colour based on the small paint swatch you see at the paint store. It will look a lot different on a wall in your home!
My favourite way to choose any paint colour is to purchase a few sample pots of paint in a few different whites you want to try. At Home Depot Canada right now, Behr sample paint pots are around $5. This can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run - it's expensive to completely re-paint after choosing the wrong colour for your space!
Next, paint large swatches of the colours either directly on your wall, on a large poster board, or on a scrap piece of drywall. The swatches should be at least 1 x 1 ft, or up to 3 x 3 feet large is even better!
Then, place the swatches in the room you want to paint and look at them throughout the day. Make sure to see how they look in the morning, afternoon, and evening and how they look in natural light and at night when your interior lights are on.
After this, you should know which white paint colour you like most that suits your room. It's surprising how different paint can look when it's in your home and painted in a larger swatch!
Let's talk paint sheen
As far as the sheen of paint you choose goes, my preference is an eggshell for walls and a satin for doors and trim. Why? Eggshell is slightly shinier than flat paint, so it's a little easier to clean. Satin is even easier to clean, and I love the contrast of the two sheens in a room. Some people like to paint trim and doors in semi-gloss paint, but I don't prefer it.
What's the best white paint color?!
So, what's the best white paint colour for your home? It depends on the undertones you’re looking for. For something neutral, choose Ultra Pure White. For something warmer, go for Swiss Coffee. No matter which colour you choose, make sure to check the LRV to be sure it will reflect enough light in your room. With so many beautiful Behr whites to choose from, it can be hard to pick just one! But I hope this blog post has helped narrow down your choices and given you some ideas for painting your next project.
Other brands of white paint I love
Behr paint is my favourite paint brand for its price vs performance, but I also love Benjamin Moore paints. They're pricier, but beautiful and high-quality paint colours. Some BM white paints I love:
- Simply White (a slight beige/green undertone)
- Oxford White (crisp white)
- BM Chantilly Lace (a bright white similar to Behr Ultra White)
- Benjamin Moore White Dove (warm white)
- Decorator's White (white with blue undertones)
Which of these white paint colours do you like the best? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for all your advice on white paint. Makes making a decision much easier
I think you've made my.life s whole lot easier. Thank you do much. Seriously, you have no idea just how much you help people. I always look forward to seeing you on YouTube.
Love this post and your advice. Have you seen Behr's 2023 color of the year, Blank Canvas? Curious what you think of this white. Thanks!
The DIY Mommy
I am using Blank Canvas in my tiny cabin makeover. You can see it here https://thediymommy.com/before-after-small-entryway-makeover-in-our-tiny-cabin/
I am new to your blog. I am redoing my master bedroom. I have dark traditional furniture that I am not sure I want to repaint; I am adding a pale blush pink comforter I want to work around. I am going for a Provance French country look. What color wall paint would you use in the bedroom. Thank you.
The DIY Mommy
White walls are always a great choice when you have darker furniture and colourful textiles. I would get a sample of each of these whites and see how they look in your particular space - it really depends on your lighting, elevation etc.
I have a question, we have an open concept kitchen - living room & its painted honeymoon (benjamin moore) my appliances are white I was wondering if white cabinets would look good & what color white should I paint them. We have lots of light coming in.
Thanks so much for this post - very helpful! I wanted to ask, when you are using Silky White on the walls and UPW on the cabinets and trim, which white are you using on the ceiling?
Thanks for reading! I like to use the same colour on the ceiling (Ultra Pure White in this case) as on the trim.
Love this post! I am curious if you have tips or a blog post on choosing white paint color based on a room’s location - south-facing, north-facing, etc. I’m working on a bedroom with south and east -facing windows and have noticed that warmer whites look yellow. But I’m worried a cool white will make things look stark.
Thanks for your tips! 🙂
The DIY Mommy
The best way to choose the right white for you is to paint a swatch on the walls and look at it different times of the day.
Hi! Great post! I have been looking for one white paint colour for my whole house for a while now and keep changing my mind. I now know that I want to use Behr paint, and that I want a neutral white that will go with everything without looking stark or sterile, but which colour would that be?! I want to decorate in a mid-century modern/Scandinavian style and my worst fear is to have the walls look yellowish! Not sure if you have any experience with Behr Whipped Cream, but would you agree that it is comparable to BM Chantilly Lace? Also considering Polar Bear, Whisper White, Bit of Sugar, and White 52 from Behr. Thanks for any help you can give!
The DIY Mommy
It is best to get a sample of each of your favourites and paint a patch on a couple walls to see how the colours appear in your lighting.
Thank you! This article was exactly what I was looking for. You did a great job of describing how these whites work and work together. So often these articles are just non-specific fluff for clicks. You actually answered all my questions and I really appreciate the info. Silky white it is!