Not all white paint shades are created equal. And a number of factors come into play when deciding on the perfect white: the region (Northwest? East Coast? Southern California?), the quality of the natural light, window placement, room size, ceiling height, and more.
That said, every architect has a favorite all-purpose, works-anywhere shade of white. We consulted a selection of architects from the
Remodelista and Gardenista Architect/Designer Directory for their go-to white paint picks.
Photography by Mel Walbridge.
Above: The top choice for an all-purpose white is Benjamin Moore’s White Dove Paint. San Francisco–based Cary Bernstein calls low-VOC White Dove a “foolproof, livable shade of white.” According to John DeForest of DeForest Architects in Seattle, “White Dove is clean and calm, a great backdrop for art.” Celeste Robbins of Robbins Architecture in Winnetka, Illinois, is another proponent of Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. Above: For woodwork, molding, and cabinetry, Hope Dana of Platt Dana Architects in New York likes Farrow & Ball’s All White (in an enamel oil-base high gloss). Sample pots are available for $7.50 at Farrow & Ball.
Above: Jim Poteet of Poteet Architects in San Antonio, Texas, says, “Our favorite is Pittsburgh Paints 520-1 Gypsum. It has a tiny amount of gray and a warmth to it that moves it away from pure white. We primarily use eggshell finish on walls and prefer that they be sprayed for a smooth, hard finish.” Above: Brooklyn-based Delson or Sherman Architects favors Benjamin Moore’s low- and no-VOC paints in either Decorator’s White or Super White. “Because color is so dependent on context, we always select colors based on the material palette and lighting in each room; the relative amount of gray or yellow is critical. We avoid pink-tinted whites.” Above: The go-to white paint for Brooklyn-based architect Clay Miller of Bergen Street Studio is Farrow & Ball’s White Tie—a warm, neutral white (“the white of old, pre-brightened, starched cotton,” as the company says). Sample pots are available for $7.50 at Farrow & Ball. Above: Dana of Platt Dana Architects favors a mix of half Benjamin Moore Linen White and half Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White for walls, which creates a “warm and consistent color whether it is in shade or sun.” Above: Bay Area architect Ken Linsteadt’s “patented favorite” is Benjamin Moore White Chocolate. Above: A favorite white for Michielli & Wyetzner Architects in New York is Benjamin Moore Atrium White. “We like it because it has a warm, almost reddish tone, as opposed to most whites, which we find either too blue, too icy, or too yellow,” Michael Wyetzner says. Above: Pulltab prefers Fine Paints of Europe in Pantone Bright White (Fine Paints of Europe can specify any Pantone shade); the firm also likes Benjamin Moore Snowfall White. Above: Lewis Butler of Butler Armsden Architects nominated Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace: “It’s a terrible name, but the best white out there,” he says. The firm used it on the walls of its new San Francisco offices.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on April 20, 2011.