Curb Appeal: Architects’ 10 Favorite White Paints

At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s hard to find the best paint color for your house’s exterior. White is a classic, but choose the wrong shade and you’ll end up with a very expensive mistake.

We wanted to take the guesswork out of choosing the best white paint for your house, so we asked the architect and designer members of our Architects & Designers Directory to share their vetted shades of exterior white paint. They’ve painted countless houses over the years and know what works. Here they generously share their 10 favorites.

What’s your go-to shade of white paint? Tell us in the comments below.

Swatch photographs by Katie Newburn for Gardenista.

Above, top row, from left: Benjamin Moore Brilliant White; Benjamin Moore Simply White; Dunn-Edwards Crystal Haze; Farrow & Ball All White; Benjamin Moore White Heron. Bottom row: Sherwin-Williams Pure White; Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee; Benjamin Moore Linen White; Porter Paints Atrium White; and Benjamin Moore Cloud White.
Above: For this house in Connecticut, Brooklyn’s O’Neill Rose Architects used low-luster Benjamin Moore Brilliant White, which principal Devin O’Neill calls “a standard that always looks good.” The firm worked with Donald Kaufman on the palette for the house and chose Donald Kaufman Color DKC-44 in semi-gloss for the porch and ceiling.
Above: Interior designer Meg Joannides of MLK Studio in LA recently completed this Brentwood Park home. On the exterior, she used Sherwin-Williams Pure White, a true white that barely hints toward warm. The charcoal gray shutters are painted in Benjamin Moore Onyx.
Above: Architect Tim Barber chose Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee for this new house in Santa Monica. The color is also a favorite of SF Bay Area designer Nicole Hollis.
Above: Donald Billinkoff of Billinkoff Architecture in NYC rarely uses any other white than Benjamin Moore White Heron. Says Billinkoff, “In bright light it is warm, and in low light it is bright.”
Above: NYC’s 2Michaels worked with midcentury antiques dealer Larry Weinberg in choosing Benjamin Moore Simply White for this outdoor room on Martha’s Vineyard. Interior designer Kriste Michelini also recommends this shade.
Above: Los Angeles’s DISC Interiors painted the exterior of this Los Feliz home in Crystal Haze from Dunn-Edwards. This shade has the deepest tan inflection of the paints recommended here.
Above: SF Bay Area designer Nicole Hollis chose Farrow & Ball All White as her pick—the whitest white of our recommendations. In this image from Farrow & Ball, the door and metalwork are painted in Pitch Black.
Above: Nashville architect Marcus DiPietro chose PPG Porter Paints Atrium White for the exterior of this modern, Japanese-influenced home in Oak Hill, Tennessee. Next to Linen White (further below), Atrium White is the second warmest of the bunch.
Above: NYC’s Steven Harris Architects painted this Upper West Side townhouse in Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White. Photograph by Elizabeth Felicella.
Above: SF Bay Area landscape architecture firm Pedersen Associates admires Benjamin Moore’s Linen White, shown here on a house in Mill Valley. Says principal Pete Pedersen, “Here in Northern California, the quality of light is such that you need to take a little off of the whites to keep from too much reflective glare.” Linen White is the warmest of the 10 whites shown here.

Planning a curb appeal project for springtime? See Exteriors & Facades 101: A Design Guide and our curated guide to Exterior Hardware 101. Looking for a shade of white to paint an indoor room? See 10 Easy Pieces: Architects’ White Paint Picks.

We also consulted architects for their picks for exterior shades of gray and black.

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