Off-white or soft white? How to find the right shade of white for your home painting project.

Off-white or soft white? How to find the right shade of white for your home painting project.


It seems like the simplest of projects: painting a white wall. After all, white is white, right? Well, not so fast. You see, there are so many different variations of white paint available that it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed trying to choose which white paint is the best for your interior decor project. 

So do yourself a favor and don’t settle for the first gallon of white paint you find. Choosing between different shades of white is crucial to making your room look exactly how you want it to look. In this article, we’ll show you why all whites aren’t created equal, and give you tips on how to choose a white paint colour that will work best in your space.

Why are there so many shades of white paint?

So, why isn’t all white paint the same? It's because there are so many different kinds of white. Almost every form of white has a different undertone to it—and that can make a big difference in how your space feels.

White paints come in three main shades: warm, cool, and neutral. 

Warm whites tend to be more yellow-based, while cool whites tend to be more blue-based; this means they will look warmer or cooler when applied over different colors. Neutral whites are somewhere between warm and cool, but they're not quite green either—so they're considered "transitional" tones that are very versatile for most spaces.

How to choose the right white paint for your home

The first step to choosing the right white paint is understanding whether a warm, cool or neutral shade will work best in your space. That will depend on the lighting in your home, the size of your room,  the colour of your flooring, trim and decor, and of course, the overall mood or effect you’re hoping to create with white paint.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What is the light source in the room? Natural light will emphasize the undertones of your paint colour, while different kinds of artificial light can make a cool white feel dull.

  • What is the size and shape of the room? Longer rooms generally require cooler whites, while smaller spaces look best with warmer whites.

  • What other colours are present in your space? The coloured surfaces in your room will impact how a white is perceived. For example, a light coloured wood floor will have yellow hues that can either complement a warm white or contrast with the blue undertones of a cool white. 

  • What kind of feeling are you trying to create in your room? Warm whites tend to be softer, creating a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Cool whites are more crisp, clean and modern, and can create a feeling of openness.

Our favourite white and off-white paint colours from the Benjamin Moore interior paint collection

Still stumped? There are a lot of considerations when trying to find the perfect shade of white for your home, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But it’s so important to find that perfect shade of white - it will make or break the design of your room! 

Here are six of the most popular whites in the Benjamin Moore collection right now:

  • Chantilly Lace

  • Cloud White

  • Decorator's White

  • Oxford White

  • Simply White

  • White Dove

Which one is right for you? Why not try them all?

The only way to be 100% confident in your white paint selection is to test the whites out in your space

You can learn all about colour theory and try to narrow down the best whites for your space. But the only way to be 100% confident that you’re choosing the right white paint is to test it on your walls. 

Here’s a shortcut to picking the right shade of white paint, with 100% confidence: use our Benjamin Moore Top Box of Whites & Off-Whites to try six of the most popular shades of white directly on your walls.

Here’s how it works:

  • Purchase the Whites & Off-Whites Top Box online. We’ll ship you 6 Big Paint Chips, each one hand painted with the most popular white shades in the Benjamin Moore Collection.

  • You peel the backing off of these 12” x 12” vinyl stickers and stick them to your wall. They are removable and repositionable, so you can see the true colour, sheen and texture of the paint on your wall without any mess or stress.

  • You’ll be able to instantly compare six of the most popular whites in your space, moving the peel-and-stick paint samples around to different areas of your room to see how the colours look and feel in different lighting and next to your flooring, windows, trim and decor.

  • You’ll be able to see which white works best in your space, so you can pick the perfect white paint for your room with 100% confidence.


Your home should reflect your style and personality. Choosing the right white paint can help you achieve this goal. There are many different variations of white that you can choose from, which can be confusing at first, but by taking the time to consider all of your options, you’ll be able to find one that matches what you want your space to feel like.