White can be an intimidating home exterior paint color to pick because it’s the most reflective of all colors. This means it picks up colors in the environment well and changes its look depending on the time of day, accent features, or environment. To take the guesswork out, we are sharing our top nine off-white paint colors, why we love them, and in what applications they work best. We still recommend testing samples in your specific environment before you make a final decision, but this list should help you narrow down the options.
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Warm vs. Cool Whites
Before we get too far into it, let’s talk about the different types of whites. One of the more common questions we get is, “What color white is that?” Let’s break down the options. There are essentially five types of white: warm, cool, bright, soft, and true. Bright and soft whites can be either warm or cool depending on the primary and secondary undertones. Understanding Light Reflective Value, or LRV, can also help you determine which white shade is best.
Warm whites have an off-white tone, making them more cream or ivory looking. Warm whites pair well with wood and stone. Cool whites have a more blue or gray undertone. Cool whites are used more often on contemporary homes. Something that’s helpful to know on home exteriors: don’t mix cool and warm paint colors. Once you determine your fixed elements (i.e., what’s permanently around and not being painted) and what undertones they have, it will help you decide if you need a warm or cool white.
Location and Choosing an Off-White Paint Color
Additionally, you’ll want to consider the location of your home, weather, shade, exposure, and lighting to determine which off-white is best. If you have a perfectly green manicured lawn, some off-white colors will appear greener than others. If your home is in direct sunlight, the white you choose might become too bright. But if your home is shaded most of the day, that same white color could be very appealing. Your white will also look warmer or cooler depending on the type of bulbs you use in your exterior light fixtures.
Because there are so many variables, we highly recommend painting large swatches and living with them for a while to truly decide what works best. To help you narrow down your options, here are our top 9 favorite off-white paint colors.
#1 // Seapearl by Benjamin Moore
No question, Seapearl by Benjamin Moore is one of our top off-white paint colors for home exteriors. With an LRV of almost 78, this is a very versatile white that pairs well with many home styles. As a softer and muted off-white, almost gray, it works well on homes that get a lot of bright sunlight most of the day.
#2 // Olympic Mountains by Benjamin Moore
Olympic Mountains by Benjamin Moore is another solid choice for an off-white paint color, coming off as more of a greige. With an LRV of 71.6 it works well in always-sunny environments without much shade. We love using it on contemporary homes with contrasting colors, angles, and interesting design features. Using this color with other white shades will make it appear dingy, so be sure to test it out if you have white trim.
#3 // Gray Mist by Benjamin Moore
Don’t be fooled by the name — Gray Mist by Benjamin Moore can definitely sneak its way into the off-white paint category. It pairs well with browns, blues, and brick red, making it a great accent choice for brick homes. We also love to use Gray Mist with other darker gray shades like Revere Pewter (pictured above). If you want a softer white, with slight creamy yellow undertones, Gray Mist might be the way to go.
#4 // White Dove by Benjamin Moore
White Dove by Benjamin Moore is the brightest, coolest off-white color on our list. With its highly reflective value (its LRV is 85.38), it’s a great option for trim and accents, as well as contemporary homes . We also love using White Dove in urban settings because it makes a great contrast to the city surroundings. If you have a more traditional home or are going for the farmhouse look, we tend to recommend White Dove as full-house off-white paint color option more for a cloudy environment or a home that gets lots of shade.
#5 // Shoji White by Sherwin Williams
Shoji White is a warm white paint color with an LRV of 74. It pairs well with chocolate browns, greens, and greige. Shoji is also one of the few warm whites that works well with a true-white on trim, gutters, and windows without looking too yellow. It has a very slight green undertone that will be amplified by a lot of greenery outside your home.
#6 // Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore
If you’re looking for a warm, creamy, golden off-white color, this is it. Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore is the perfect choice for updating midcentury ranch homes, and pairs exceptionally well with browns, natural stone, and wood. Adding a contrasting color to trim or windows makes the otherwise subdued color pop. While we love the slight yellow hue, not everyone does, so be sure to test Swiss Coffee on your home before committing.
#7 // Eider White by Sherwin Williams
When off-white colors start leaning into grays, something to look for is a purple or pink undertone. If you’ve used a purple under-toned gray paint without realizing it, the result can be quite shocking. The lighting of your home and your exterior accents can definitely make a grayish off-white look purple. Eider White by Sherwin Williams is one of those colors you should be cautious of if you don’t like purple undertones. It’s a cooler white with an LRV of 73 and pairs well with aqua and blue, as well as cooler greige tones and brown.
#8 // Dover White by Sherwin Williams
Dover White is another top off-white option with a warm and creamy vibe to it. We love using it on Mediterranean, Southwestern, and stucco homes. It also pairs well with natural stone and brick and green accents. Whether you want to blend in with a desert scene or stand out amongst the green trees and grass, Dover White is an excellent creamy off-white choice for your home’s exterior.
#9 // Alabaster by Sherwin Williams
Last but certainly not least, we wanted to highlight Alabaster by Sherwin Williams. It’s one of the few off-white paint colors that can claim it’s creamy but not yellow. With an LRV of 82, it works well in bright, sunny areas. As a warm white, it pairs well with earthy tones like rust, orange, and browns. Alabaster is one of sour go-to for both monochromatic looks and as a backdrop for brighter accents, making it a very versatile off-white paint color.
The Bottom Line on Off-White Paint Colors
We love off-white paint colors for many reasons. They’re versatile, timeless, and universal. When choosing an off-white paint color for your home’s exterior, be sure to test it out in a few different places so you can be sure you’re happy with the undertones and reflection value at different times of the day.
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