While white walls are ubiquitous, choosing precisely the right shade isn't as straightforward as it might seem. "White paint is made of using one of several pigment options as a colorant," explains New York decorator Elaine Griffin. "So there's really no one pure white—just different shades of white, each with it's own nuances of warmth, coolness, and differing color undertones."
With an endless array of snowy hues to choose from, we turned to Griffin and a panel of other top interior designers around the country to give us their tried-and-true white paints. (And, as it turns out, there's one white paint in particular that three of our 12 experts happen to favor. Keep reading to find out which one wins.)
"I adore Farrow and Ball 'Pointing' (2003) and use it for walls and moldings (pictured, above). It's the perfect soft white that adds warmth to a room. Light plays beautiful off of it, so you feel like you're enveloped in a cloud." —Sara Gilbane, New York
"Benjamin Moore 'Dove Wing' (960) is a favorite of mine because it pairs so nicely with almost all colors, and looks soft and lovely at all times of day in both dark or bright rooms. Not a white-white, Dove Wing is especially pretty with sharper, crisper whites on trim or cabinetry as a nice balancing act." —Caitlin Moran, San Francisco
"I like Benjamin Moore 'White Opulence' (OC-69). In most locations it just looks white, but if you compare it to white-white it has a very slight pink hue. It's bright, luminescent, fresh, and yet not cold—the perfect white." —Jessica Helgerson, Portland
"Benjamin Moore 'Chantilly Lace' (OC-65) is a clean fresh white, but it still has a bit of warmth to it (pictured, below). I used it in my Southhampton cottage, where you can really see how lighting, time of day, and surrounding colors can really warm it up." —Timothy Whealon, New York
"Our favorite white wall paint color at the moment is Benjamin Moore 'Glacier White' (OC-37). This is a creamy white that literally is the color of heavy cream before it is whipped. We love to pair it with a more crisp white trim color, preferably Benjamin Moore 'Super White' (PM-1), the whitest of whites." —Suzanne and Lauren McGrath, New York
"Farrow and Ball 'New White' is a terrific choice if you want an all-white room that doesn't make you feel cold. It has just enough warmth that it can work in the starkest contemporary or most traditional of homes." Timothy Corrigan, Los Angeles
"My new go-to white is Benjamin Moore 'Super White' (PM-1). I recently remodeled my house and painted everything this brilliant, crisp white. With no creamy undertones, it highlights architectural detailing and makes artwork really pop." —Grant Gibson, San Francisco
"You can't go wrong with Benjamin Moore's 'Decorator's White' (CC-20). It's what I use in my own home and for clients' walls when they tell me they can't decide on a white and I want to play it safe. There might be fancier whites, brighter whites, darker whites, grayer whites, ad infinitum, but this one always delivers in a friendly, consistent way." —Susanna Salk, Connecticut
And the Winner Is...
"Farrow and Ball 'Pointing' (2003) is always the white we choose for a clean backdrop, helping showcase colorful artwork or furniture (pictured, above). Rather than the very bright whites found in many modern rooms, this is a soft white that never feels too 'granny' in our neo-traditionalist interiors." —Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham of Tilton Fenwick, New York
"Farrow and Ball 'Pointing' (2003). It's a warm white with beautiful depth. A lot of our projects are in California, and I like how Pointing reflects the light here. It adds a certain inexplicable sensuality to any room." —Chris Barrett, Los Angeles