Need the Right White Paint Colour? 6 Keys to Unlock the Secret

How to choose the right white paint colour

Just for fun I Googled how many white colours are available in paint. The answer was surprising: Google says there are more than 150,000 shades of white paint to choose from, which means your next home DIY project could be an overwhelming prospect if you don’t know where to start.

White may be a neutral colour, but the undertones and finishes can significantly impact the overall look and feel of a room. In this guide, we’ll explore the 6 key factors to consider to unlock the secret to choosing the right white paint colour.  We’ll also help you make a decision that complements your style and space.

Bear in mind that white paints usually don’t cover with your typical 2 coats — it can take 3-5 coats to get full coverage. If the work necessary to do multiple coats doesn’t work with your time or budget. Consider picking a very light taupe or gray- they can brighten a room and add a bit of warmth at the same time.

1. Understand Your Space:

Before diving into the world of white paint, take a moment to analyze your space. Consider the natural light, the size of the room, and the existing colour scheme. Whites can have warm, cool, or neutral undertones, so understanding the lighting conditions and your desired ambiance is crucial.

Consider adding an accent wall to bring a designer look to an otherwise blank canvas. Plain white can look unfinished, so the addition of an accent wall or a large dramatic painting brings personality to a room.

2. Identify Undertones:

White paints can have undertones that range from warm (yellow, beige, peach) to cool (blue, gray, green). Small amounts of coloured dye added to white creates the different shades but also creates undertones To avoid unexpected colour shifts on your walls, compare different whites to determine their undertones. Test samples in different areas of the room and observe how they react to changing light conditions throughout the day.

It’s hard to predict from a small colour chip what undertones the available light in a room will bring out. Even with whites, every wall may look different.

I love how the newer paints changes throughout the day depending on the light. The Benjamin Moore Aura product in particular is chemically designed with more pigmentation; when mixed with a colour from their CSP line it can have a remarkable differences throughout the day

3. Consider the Finish:

The finish of your white paint can also influence the overall look of a room. Choose a flat paint aka matte for a soft suede look but be aware it’s not as washable as eggshell. The flip-side is that it’s easier to touch up invisibly because there is no sheen.

Keep in mind that higher gloss levels tend to be more reflective and durable but may highlight imperfections on your walls.

4. Test Paint Samples:

Never underestimate the importance of testing paint samples in your actual space. Paint a small section of each wall to observe how the colour interacts with the lighting, furniture, and other elements in the room. Take note of how the paint looks during different times of the day.

Rather than paint directly on the wall, you can paint on a sample board and move it around to see what it looks like on different wall and angles.

5. Be Mindful of Surrounding Elements:

Consider the existing elements in your room, such as flooring, furniture, and artwork. The undertones in your white paint should complement these elements rather than clash with them. If you have warm-toned furnishings, opt for a white with warm undertones, and vice versa.

Hold a chip against any permanent fixtures in a room to ensure they complement each other. I always put a chip on a sunny spot on flooring to see if it’s going to work on a bright day.

6. Seek Professional Advice:

If you’re still uncertain about which white paint to choose, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional interior designer or paint specialist — their experience and training means that they can offer valuable insights to help you navigate the vast array of white paint options.

When you consider the cost of materials (paint and labour costs have gone up more than 20% over the past 2 years), spending a couple of hundred dollars on professional advice in your home potentially saves you from wanting to do it all over again. Before our team begins a paint job, we always send in a colour specialist to help our clients make the best choice — it’s part of our service.


Selecting the perfect white paint involves careful consideration of your space, lighting, undertones, and finish preferences. By taking the time to test samples and seeking guidance if needed, you can ensure that the white paint you choose enhances the beauty of your home and creates a timeless and inviting atmosphere.

Wondering how much it would cost to have our team of professionals paint your space instead? Enter the room dimensions here to get an instant estimate: