CHOOSING WHITE PAINT

September 28, 2015

This post will likely epitomize what people make fun of designer types for being like. I am going to analyze the white that will be “our house’s white.”

Before you laugh or say they all look the same, there is a great variety in shades of white and they really can change the feel of a room. That is all the lobbying I will bother doing to make you think I am not crazy. Let us begin.

OUR HOUSE'S WHITE from Rachel Schultz

My vision for our home is to have most of the rooms white. I think lots of white with nice architectural details like thick molding (which I plan to add) is a really classic and beautiful look. So this pick is really important! It will not just be ceilings and trim, but most of the rooms too.

At first, I thought I would like a yellow undertone white, that would feel warm rather than sterile. Once we got the swatches on the wall, they were not crisp enough to us. David and I both clearly leaned toward the true whites for that fresh and clean feeling. I went back to Home Depot for the second time that day (new home ownership does that to you) and grabbed some white-white swatches while waving to all the employees who are certainly starting to recognize us.

OUR HOUSE'S WHITE from Rachel Schultz

Our clear favorite was Ralph Lauren’s “Brilliant White.” (That was the top left in the photo further above). It has been between the time of putting up these chips and getting ready to buy some paint that I had the last straw with “color matching.” I wrote about why I do not like it here. While we sprung for the $35 per gallon paint in the living room for a special color, we will buy gallons upon gallons for the whole house of this white, so I want it to be in a cheaper brand. (I like Behr Pro).

The closest match I could find in Behr was Ultra Pure White. I thought I saw a difference, but also wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me. From the swatches alone, UPW had the cold feel that true whites can get. Giving them another chance to woo me, I decided to try to color match Brilliant White. At Home Depot, the paint matching machine said there was no difference in color between Brilliant White and UPW.

I cannot trust that machine.

What happened was Brilliant White and UPW are each brand’s base white, meaning it is the color that comes in the cans without adding anything to them; it is their truest white.

OUR HOUSE'S WHITE from Rachel Schultz 2

Can you see any difference? In artificial light, I cannot really. Most of the subtle differences we did see throughout the day could be attributed to light hitting the spot of the wall in various ways. I will say, however, Ralph Lauren was a noticeably higher quality that goes on thicker and smoother. (An extra $16 per gallon thicker and smoother? Not for me.)

Still unsettled, I needed to not leave the warmer white stone unturned. Ace Hardware was running a sale of $.99 for pints of paint, which was a perfect way to get some cheap test pots. I added Valspar’s “Wedding Cake” and “Four Winds” to the running.

OUR HOUSE'S WHITE from Rachel Schultz

Wedding Cake was eliminated as too creamy, almost mushroom. Brilliant White got eliminated on price. This left Ultra Pure White and Four Winds on which I was completely torn. Like when we painted the living room, I am beginning to think you cannot really know until it is on all the walls. What to do? Add more options, of course! I knew I wanted to buy my paint in Behr, so I added in colors already in that brand. Some favorites I saw from researching were Polar Bear, Falling Snow, and Cottage.

As you may have noticed above, these walls have suffered a lot of wear and tear. There are many different shades of white in various rooms, some cream, some pinkish, some yellow-y, some a little blue. As unexciting as it may be to buy some paint and change a white room to a different white, it will make a significant impact for everything to feel brighter, more uniform, and cleaner.

This white was needing to be picked so I can freshen up the baseboards since they will soon be ready to reattach of the finished floor! From where we stand currently, it is between Valspar’s Four Winds and Behr’s Falling Snow. Oh, the agony.

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Comments

  • Which did you go with? I just brought home 2 gallons of Four Winds.

    • Rachel Schultz

      We’ve used a few different ones in a few different rooms. I did four winds in our entryway!

  • Oh, the great white paint debate! Why is it so difficult? I found that the white samples in the store looked COMPLETELY different in our home! Because we lived on a wooded lot, the lighting played tricks with our eyes. We looked primarily in the Sherwin Williams for Lowe’s selections and settled on Sincere White. We loooooove it. It’s not creamy, looks great in every room, & is a true neutral. However, it’s a little more taupe than crisp crisp white, so it might not be for you. We painted our bathroom teal for a fun change and hated& had to change it it because we really just love WHITE!

  • Oh, the great white paint debate! Why is it so difficult? I found that the white samples in the store looked COMPLETELY different in our home! Because we lived on a wooded lot, the lighting played tricks with our eyes. We looked primarily in the Sherwin Williams for Lowe’s selections and settled on Sincere White. We loooooove it. It’s not creamy, looks great in every room, & is a true neutral. However, it’s a little more taupe than crisp crisp white, so it might not be for you. We painted our bathroom teal for a fun change and hated& had to change it it because we really just love WHITE! and if we tire of it, at least it’s a blank slate ;)

  • denise

    did you try o’leary paint shop? start an account which may give you a per item discount. graham paint is my favorite-cost more-requires two coats always(wrap your brush and roller in plastic wrap to use to reapply in four hours). the finish in flat is beautiful and is a ceramic formula so washing (after 10 days) is a dream. remember to use a little dish soap on your brushes when you are done – the polymers give the bristles longevity.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Denise

  • I hear ya on the white search. it feels obsessive to be comparing all these shades of a “non-color”. I recently went through this when I painted my office and recognized all of these paint colors. It was only one room so I tried not to agonize too much and just picked one. I ended up using Behr’s Ultra Pure White and loved it, which I know you’ve ruled out. It’s funny how one color can change so much depending on amount and location of light sources. Go with your gut!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Maybe I won’t rule it out now! Oh brother.

      • Natasha

        My husband and I are also looking at whites to paint our exterior. We are going with Sherwin Williams Super Paint. We painted the inside with the Super Paint Interior and it gives good coverage and goes on more per gallon than the other brands. I noticed you mentioned Polar Bear which is one of our options. It has a slight green undertone, another option is Greek Villa and it looks True White (cool undertones). When you line them up, you really see the difference. Colour with yellow undertones,in my opinion looks dated.

  • Sonja

    You don’t necessarily have to use the brand of paint that the color is linked to — let’s say you wanted a Behr color but the Valspar paint is cheaper. You can take the Behr color and have it mixed with Valspar’s base paint. I *think* homedepot might do a match for you — on whatever base paint you like. I know a woman who picked a farrow + ball color (super pricey) and just had HD mix her up an equivalent.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Sonja, yes you are right they can do this. In my experience they color matching does not have much accuracy, however.

  • My husband is an avid supporter of white! When choosing a color I like to go bold. I told him I don’t like things so white all the time…..he says “there are 256 shades of white….can’t you just choose one?” LOL

    I do like the Brilliant White the best! LOL

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