White paint colors are beautiful and an ongoing trend in home design. We get a lot of questions about our favorite whites and how to choose a white paint, so we put together this post to share the best Sherwin-Williams white paint colors and how to use them.
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Why is White Paint So Popular?
White paint colors have been a popular choice for whole-house paint colors for years. And while more colorful homes are beginning to trend in 2023, white will always be a classic choice for everything from walls and trim to ceilings and cabinets.
Still, while choosing white paint colors may seem easy, it can go really wrong fast. Even some of the best Sherwin-Williams whites don’t look good in every space or with every hard finish or decor.
If you use the wrong white for your space, the paint color could either look like primer or your walls could look dirty.
Before we start to explore our favorite SW white paint colors, let’s talk a little bit more about choosing and using white paint in your home.
How to Use White Paint
- The secret to white paint is counter-intuitive. Brighter white paint colors need a lot of light to look their best, so you should always use those whites in a sunny space. If you use a bright white in a poorly lit space, the shadows in the corners look gray and make the room look dingy. (If you do want to use white paint in a darker room, look for warmer and darker whites. Check out the 6 Best Whites for Dark Rooms in our blog post for our top picks.)
- For white paints, a modern look is to paint the same white color for the whole room, with different sheens for added depth. For example, if you choose to paint with Sherwin-Williams Alabaster, paint the baseboards satin, walls eggshell or matte, and ceiling flat. It will look as if you painted with three different gorgeous whites and can really bring out the textures and architectural features of a room.
- Don’t have your paint store try to match a color. Don’t ask a Benjamin Moore store to create their own version of SW Alabaster, for example. Paint-matched whites have the tendency to go green, and not in the best way. Instead, test the right color from the manufacturer you want to use.
- Always, always, always test your paint colors! Choosing white paint can be tricky because white is like a mirror – it can reflect surrounding paint colors as well as colors from outside your home, such as foliage or even a neighbor’s exterior paint. Choose a few similar white paints to sample and compare them to each other in natural light in the space you plan to use them.
What is the easiest way to test Sherwin-Williams whites?
We always recommend that you test paint colors in your house because lighting can completely change the wall colors.
In the old days, this meant we painted a large poster board with sample pots and a huge mess.
Now we have 9X14″ Pre-Painted peel-and-stick paint samples from SAMPLIZE. Check out the SAMPLIZE website here.
What are the best Sherwin-Williams white paint colors?
Sherwin-Williams has some really beautiful white paint colors in its collection, including some of the most popular white paints in the U.S.
Sherwin-Williams recently launched a new line of colors called the Emerald Designer Edition Paints. This line of colors added several white colors that are brighter than before. This was a gap in the Sherwin-Williams colors that was filled beautifully. We love this new line of paints, and they deliver beautiful, crisp colors with better hide that the standard line.
We chose our favorite 6 white paints to feature in this post, sharing the colors we’ve used in our clients’ homes with great success.
Click on the links below to read more about each of our favorite SW white paint colors:
- Sherwin-Williams Extra White
- Sherwin-Williams White Snow
- Sherwin-Williams Pure White
- Sherwin-Williams Cheviot
- Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa
- Sherwin-Williams Alabaster
Order the Samplize bundle of all 6 colors here.
Sherwin-Williams Extra White (SW 7006)
SW Extra White (color review) is one of Sherwin-Williams’ most popular paint colors – one of their top 5 best sellers and one of the Top 50 Paint Colors. Many houses in North America use Extra White in one way or another, especially as a white trim color. It’s also used as a base for many Sherwin-Williams colors.
Extra White has an LRV of 86, which makes it a darker white paint color than expected. Despite this LRV, it looks like a very bright, crisp white thanks to its cool blue undertones.
While it’s most frequently used as a trim and ceiling color, SW Extra White can make a beautiful wall color as well – especially in rooms with lots of sunlight. This client’s living room pictured below, for example, featured huge windows and tremendous natural light, making Extra White a perfect wall, ceiling, and trim color.
Extra White is also a great choice for use in kitchens and as a kitchen cabinet paint color. It looks fantastic with white backsplashes and classic black countertops, such as in our client’s coastal cottage kitchen below. It also pairs well with Carrara Marble and other cool quartz colors.
Paint Color Interior Paint Tips and Tricks:
- Use with: Carrara marble counters, other cool marble counters and crisp, clean quartz countertops, black countertops and accents, warm wood finishes, and colorful art.
- Don’t use: As a wall color in darker rooms without natural light or North facing rooms. Could end up looking like a primer. Does not look its best with creamy quartz or earthy granites.
- Best ceiling color (flat): SW Extra White
- Best trim color (satin): SW Extra White
- Best Paint Matches: BM Decorator’s White (CC-20), though not perfect.
Can I Use SW Extra White Exterior Paint?
You can, but it’s not our favorite choice because it can look cold and too stark. If you’re going to use Extra White exterior paint, make sure to use primer and/or stick with higher-grade exterior paint such as Duration or Emerald. You may need to paint more than two coats because it’s a low-pigment color. Extra White exterior paint works best when paired with a warm brown roof or warm stone to keep it from looking cold.
Sherwin-Williams White Snow (SW 9541)
Sherwin-Williams White Snow is a bright, clean white paint color with nearly invisible warm undertones that keep it from looking too stark. An Emerald Designer Edition color, it filled a gap in the Sherwin-Williams offering with an LRV of 90. It’s not quite a true white but very bright and covers beautifully.
White Snow is one of the best Sherwin-Williams white paint colors because it is not overly warm or cool. As a result, it’s a very versatile color that can pair well with both cool and warm paint colors, flooring, and other hard finishes.
One of the best things about White Snow paint, however, is just how well it covers despite being a bright white. It hides incredibly well compared to High Reflective White (Sherwin-Williams’s legacy clean white). High Reflective White is notorious for taking many, many coats because of its low pigment. I don’t know what Sherwin-Williams did to White Snow, but it’s like a miracle!
I painted a back hall previously painted with SW Cyberspace (a deep blue that is almost black) and it covered the walls in just two coats!
Another bathroom (pictured below) had only been painted by the builder and was still extremely porous; it took just 3 coats of White Snow. High Reflective White would have needed at least one coat more.
SW White Snow Interior Paint Tips and Tricks:
- Use with: Carrara marble counters, crisp grays, blacks, and other clean colors. Also works well with clean, crisp quartz countertops.
- Don’t use with: Dark earthy colors or granite countertops. It can work with these finishes, but doesn’t look as good as a warmer white paint would.
- Best ceiling color (flat): White Snow or Extra White
- Best trim color (satin): White Snow or Extra White
- Best Paint Matches: BM Chantilly Lace or BM Oxford White
Can I Use White Snow Exterior Paint?
Sherwin-Williams White Snow is currently not available as exterior paint (none of the Emerald Designer Collection are).
Sherwin-Williams Pure White (SW 7005)
Pure White is a very specific paint color; there is no real equivalent in any other paint brand. We love using Pure White as trim and ceiling color, but it can also be lovely as an interior or exterior wall color.
Pure White (color review) has an LRV of 84, which makes it a crisp slightly off-white paint color. It has light yellow undertones that keep it from looking harsh even though it’s crisp.
Pure White is a great option for kitchens because it pairs well with popular white backsplash tiles and light quartz countertops. In our client’s kitchen pictured below, SW Pure White doors, walls, and ceilings pair well with a cooler white cabinet, clean white backsplash, and violet-gray countertop.
Pure White can be a calming bedroom paint color, as long as the room is flooded with light. In our client’s bright bedroom, for example, Pure White is well-balanced with warm finishes and colors.
My favorite use for Pure White is as an interior trim and ceiling color. It pairs well with most modern finishes such as quartz or light countertops.
Pure White paint is flexible enough to use with most white quartz countertops, clean white subway backsplashes, and soft warm Calacatta tile. It’s also flexible enough to use with Carrara Marble.
SW Pure White Interior Paint Tips and Tricks:
- Use with: Carrara marble counters, light quartz countertops, clean white subway tile, and soft warm Calacatta tile.
- Don’t use with: Rooms with low light or cool, North-facing light, or with earthy brick or stone
- Best ceiling color (flat): White Snow, Pure White, or Extra White
- Best trim color (satin): White Snow, Pure White, or Extra White
- Best Paint Matches: Pure White is pretty unique and special, and there isn’t an exact match in the Benjamin Moore world. To get a similar look and feel, I would try Benjamin Moore Oxford White.
Can I Use Pure White Exterior Paint?
Pure White looks great as an exterior paint color, especially when used as part of a black-and-white exterior palette like in our client’s home below.
Pure White can also work well as an exterior white trim color, but it can be too bright unless the siding color is very light.
If you use Pure White for an exterior, make sure that you use one of the higher quality versions such as Super Paint, Duration, or Emerald so that you only need two coats.
Sherwin-Williams Cheviot (SW 9503)
Sherwin-Williams Cheviot is a newer SW white paint color, part of their Emerald Designer Edition. With an LRV of 89 and soft yellow undertones, Cheviot is a bright off-white with a high LRV that still has plenty of warmth. It is only available in Emerald paint.
It’s similar to Benjamin Moore’s popular Simply White paint color. It’s not quite as glow-ey as Simply White on the walls but does the same job. As a result, it’s one of the best Sherwin-Williams whites for darker rooms that you want to brighten with white paint.
One of the best things about Cheviot, though, is its coverage. It only took two coats to cover builder grade Agreeable Gray in my studio pictured below.
The warm white paint looks really beautiful paired with the warm charcoal accent wall (painted with SW Iron Ore) in this lofted studio space, which has a lot of natural light.
SW Cheviot Interior Paint Tips and Tricks:
- Use with: Warm wood floors, warm/dark accent wall colors, rooms with low light.
- Don’t use with: Tuscan-look earthy finishes with pink-beige undertones, such as travertine or tile; blue-white trim colors
- Best ceiling color (flat): SW Cheviot, White Snow, SW Extra White, or SW Pure White
- Best trim color (satin): SW Cheviot, White Snow, SW Extra White, or SW Pure White
- Best Paint Matches: BM Simply White
Can I Use SW Cheviot Exterior Paint?
SW Cheviot is not currently available as an exterior paint, like all the Emerald Designer Collection paints.
Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa (SW 7551)
Sherwin-Williams Greek Villa is one of our favorite off-white paint colors and also one of Sherwin’s top 50 paint colors. It is a soft and forgiving off-white paint color with very slight yellow undertones. With an LRV of 84, it sits right in the middle of the off-white range.
Greek Villa can work well with clean and crisp finishes, and some brighter granite tiles and countertops. It looks great as a kitchen cabinet color with black granite or quartz countertops.
We love it as a wall color, and it works well in brightly lit or low-light rooms, which makes it very forgiving.
Check Greek Villa out in this beautiful office with cool North-facing exposure. It looks soft and pretty.
Can I Use SW Greek Villa as Exterior Paint?
Absolutely! Greek Villa is one of our favorite exterior paint colors, especially as a whole-house paint color. Even though it’s a warm off-white inside, it looks like a crisp clean color in the sunshine. This is our go-to color when a client wants a clean white that won’t look cold for their white farmhouse exterior.
Since this color is so bright, we only use it for exterior white trim colors with lighter siding colors. Below is a photo of a light yellow home where we used Greek Villa as a white trim color.
Below is the photo of a home that we painted SW Greek Villa with SW Iron Ore accents and SW courtyard Green Shutters for a New Orleans Creole Cottage look. Greek Villa looks great with white brick. You can read more about this project here.
SW Greek Villa Interior Paint Tips and Tricks:
- Use with: Warm wood floors, quartz countertops, less earthy granite countertops, clean white tile, and colorful accents.
- Don’t use with: Very cool white paint or finishes such as Carrara Marble (Greek Villa may look too yellow). Extra White as a trim and ceiling color can work but not ideal.
- Best ceiling color (flat): SW Greek Villa, SW Pure White, or SW White Snow
- Best trim color (satin): SW Greek Villa, SW Pure White, or SW White Snow
- Best Paint Matches: BM Cloud White
Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (SW 7008)
Sherwin-Williams Alabaster is one of the company’s most famous white paint colors and one of their Top 50 Colors. It is a creamy off-white paint color with strong yellow undertones that are a bit grayed out. With an LRV of 82, it’s still a fairly light color but is the darkest on our list of the best Sherwin-Williams whites.
SW Alabaster is a beautiful kitchen paint color because it works perfectly with granite countertops and other earthy finishes. In our client’s home pictured below, Alabaster kitchen cabinets complement granite counters and the SW Pewter Green island.
Alabaster is also a lovely bedroom paint color. I used Alabaster walls in a guest bedroom within my own home (pictured below). Even though the room has low light and small North-facing windows, Alabaster lights up the room and holds up even in the corners.
SW Alabaster Interior Paint Tips and Tricks:
- Use with: Warm wood floors, granite countertops, earthy finishes, clean white tile, quartz countertops, and colorful accents.
- Don’t use with: Very cool white paint or finishes (Alabaster may look too yellow). Extra White as a trim and ceiling color can work but not ideal. The photo above has Extra White as a trim and ceiling color, and it works. Make sure you test.
- Best ceiling color (flat): SW Alabaster, SW White Snow, SW Pure White
- Best trim color (satin): SW Alabaster, SW White Snow, or SW Pure White
- Best Paint Matches: BM White Dove
Can I Use SW Alabaster Exterior Paint?
SW Alabaster exterior paint can look really beautiful! It’s a very bright paint color, so in bright sunshine it can look pretty stark. It’s best used on homes that are surrounded by trees and in the shade.
Avoid using Alabaster when your next-door neighbor has a red or yellow house, too, or your white house will reflect those colors and look pink or yellow on the neighbor’s side.
Alabaster is a lovely, crisp white trim for exteriors, but doesn’t work well with very dark siding colors. If you’re using Alabaster as a siding color, however, it looks wonderful paired with dark accents, such as a black-and-white exterior color scheme.
Our previous web developer’s house, for example, has SW Black Magic accents with an Alabaster exterior.
Sample All The Best Sherwin-Williams Whites
Don’t forget to always sample your paint colors. Use the links below to order Samplize samples for each of our favorite Sherwin-Williams white paints.
Get 10% off your Samplize order today by using the code “ColorConcierge10” at checkout. Order today and get samples tomorrow!
White paint colors can be gorgeous in any interior, but if you don’t pick the right white paint color for your space you could end up with a room that looks too stark or dingy.
Key Learning Points
When it comes to using Sherwin-Williams white paints, remember these points:
- Warm off-white paints with strong yellow undertones look best with other warm colors, such as natural wood floors and earthy finishes.
- Clean white paints pair well with cool finishes or slightly warm finishes.
- Warmer whites pair best with earthier finishes but not cool finishes such as Carrara marbles.
- Choose your exterior white paints carefully and consider your home’s location and surroundings before going with a white exterior. Otherwise, your home may look too bright or reflect nearby colors.
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We love your comments! Please note that the blog is meant as general advice, and it is not possible to give out specific answers to your paint questions. If you want more specific advice, please consider purchasing a color consultation. Thank you for your understanding.
- Our 5 Favorite Benjamin Moore White Paint Colors
- Best White Paint for Dark Rooms
- Best Exterior White Paint Color Schemes
- Best Exterior White Trim Colors
- SW Alabaster Color Review
- SW Extra White Color Review
- SW Pure White Color Review
- SW Greek Villa Color Review
- SW Greek Villa with Red Brick Before and After