White seems like it should be so easy. White is white, right? No, not in the decorating world. Ask any designer and he or she will give you a different white recommendation, but all will tell you that picking the right white is largely dependent on your decorating scheme and the natural light your room gets. White is as complex as any color in the spectrum. That being said, there are a few tried-and-true whites. Below are two of my favorites, plus recommendations from a couple top interior designers:

● Benjamin Moore’s Decorator White has a slightly gray, chalky undertone and reminds me of meringue icing. I have used it in semi-gloss to trim almost every room I have ever had, but I have also used it on walls in flat.

● Pratt and Lambert’s Seed Pearl has many undertones, not unlike its inspiration, and thus it changes color based on surrounding light or lack thereof. If you choose this color, make sure you test it first and watch it throughout the day.

● Todd Klein of Todd Klein Inc. likes Benjamin Moore’s Simply White because it’s a very pure white which translates as clean and modern. Klein uses it in both matte (flat) and glossy finishes.

● Klein also likes Fine Paints of Europe’s White 0001 for super high gloss oil brush-painted trim or for lacquered walls.

● Connie Newberry of Gerald Bland Inc. points to Benjamin Moore’s Linen White, which has a rich, buttery tone. Newberry particularly likes it on woodwork, like trim and paneling, in a satin finish.

● Amanda Nisbet of Amanda Nisbet Design chooses Farrow & Ball’s White Tie in the Estate Emulsion Finish for walls because of its creamy, soft tone. Nisbet likes that it is “neither too pink, nor too yellow as many whites can be.” Darren Henault of Darren Henault also likes White Tie because “it’s far more sophisticated than your basic white,” plus its mellow tone keeps the wall color from being too sharp a contrast.


White paint to the designing rescue

— Elizabeth Mayhew